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New Pal

45 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2006 :  2:49:38 PM  Show Profile Send a Private Message
do you knit continential or English? Which do you think is easier for beginning knitters to learn? Is it easy to convert from English to continential?

Guardian angel

9776 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2006 :  5:50:09 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
I knit combined which is a variation on continental. When I teach new knitters, I do not emphasize how to hold the yarn. most beginners just hold it for a stitch and then drop it to work the stitch through. Only when they feel comfortable with their stitches and ask how to hold the yarn (usually when they want to pick up speed) do I show them Both ways to hold the yarn. I think it is easier for beginners to get even stitches with the "throw" method of knitting. I also teach it to any knitter who lacks confidence or expresses the need to do things "correctly". I don';t thing it is the more correct way, just the more conventional way and that is important to some people. Left handed knitters do better with the continental method because they are controlling yarn tension with their dominant hand.

The continental style is thought to be faster because it is more conservative of movements and therefore I recommend it for anyone who needs to be conservative of movement like older people and arthritics. Eventually, knitters who want to do color work will learn both methods.

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Permanent Resident

1445 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2006 :  6:06:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit Knitrageous's Homepage Send Knitrageous a Private Message
I learned English but want to know Continental. I had a friend who knitted Continental style and she was so fast it was amazing. I think knowing both would be useful.


I don't have a problem with authority, I just have a problem with people telling me what to do.
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Permanent Resident

12598 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2006 :  6:12:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
I knit Continental predominantly, but can do either combined or english.

When I teach (which is my main source of income) I emphasize the motion of the yarn and needles, and let students have their hands in whatever way works for them. I show them several options if they have questions, but mostly I just talk about the relationship between needles and yarn without suggesting a hand hold (I do explain the variations in the beginning).

In my experience, people are going to end up with the yarn in one hand or another without realizing it, just as a matter of comfort.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
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Gabber Extraordinaire

464 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2006 :  6:44:52 PM  Show Profile Send cknits a Private Message
I'd like to learn Continental. I've been reading EZ's book, Knitting Without Tears, and it has me interested. I was able to use both methods when I tried my hand at Fair Isle this winter, and it felt comfortable. When I was practicing this week, the tension seemed so much looser.

Right now, I knit with the yarn in my right hand, wrapped around my finger. I don't drop the needles but use my finger like a lever, wrapping the yarn around the right needle as I knit. Does that sound confusing? I don't know how efficient it is, but it's comfortable and seems better than dropping a needle.

Two things are holding me back from Continental, right now. I like to knit lace and find it confusing to manipulate the decreases and stitch changes. How do knitters do that? I also need to work on my tension and I think that will come with practice. Any advice would be great!

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Gabber Extraordinaire

516 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2006 :  7:12:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit ~bananaKnits~'s Homepage  Send ~bananaKnits~ a Yahoo! Message Send ~bananaKnits~ a Private Message
I've knit Continental all my life and am very fast knitter. It is difficult to switch for me when "throwing" the yarn and letting go I loose the tension. I guess it's all what you have gotten used to. I'm so used to knitting this way that I can knit blindfolded.

I've tried to teach Continental method of knitting but I've never been successful in teaching a new knitter. It becomes really frustrating for both the pupil and the teacher. Teaching knitting is not easy! I'll just stick to knitting and stay away from teaching.

Happy Knitting,


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Chatty Knitter

138 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2006 :  9:19:11 PM  Show Profile Send pwoods a Private Message
Learned English, switched to Continental, now use either, depending on what I'm working on. I purl Norwegian mostly, especially when knitting Continental.
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Chatty Knitter

250 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  12:19:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit harakiri's Homepage Send harakiri a Private Message
English. I cant wrap my hands around continental, its just feels so awkward to me. I'm in no rush, I dint care about knitting fast so I'm not concerned about learning Continental anymore.

~ Sarah

Knitting since April 2006, excuse the mistakes, I'm a newbie.
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Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  01:10:48 AM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
I learned Continental after having many knitters try to teach me English. I can do English but find it far more laborious. When I teach people I teach Continental because that is what I know and use best, but I let them know there are other methods.
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Gabber Extraordinaire

521 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  04:03:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit JulieB's Homepage Send JulieB a Private Message
English by choice, but I'm doing two-handed fair isle and the moment, so I'm capable of both. I never knew there was such a thing as continental until I found knitters online.

I don't think one way is necessarily easier than the other - it's really a matter of the teacher's preference.

Why would you want to switch? I learnt how to do the other for the colourwork, but if I'd never wanted to do fair isle, I would have gone my whole life not worrying about the continental style.


My blog:
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Permanent Resident

1349 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  04:34:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit hissyknit's Homepage Send hissyknit a Private Message
I was taught the English method and when I get together with my friend, she is trying forever to "convert" me to continental. I've tried both but the English method is more natural to me and I can control the tension better.

Christy B.
"I run with scissors and eat paste."
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7254 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  05:03:49 AM  Show Profile  Send gwtreece a Yahoo! Message Send gwtreece a Private Message
Continental for me. I'm left handed (knit right handed) and find it easier to hold the yarn in the left hand.

My Blog
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Permanent Resident

1475 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  05:06:08 AM  Show Profile Send socks4all a Private Message
I could not for the life of me learn to purl English. Then I learned Continental and could both knit & purl. Now, many years later I can purl English but I prefer Continental. Like Mokey I let my students get comfortable with the stitches first. The one exception, if a person has a crochet background I start them off in Continental.
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Seriously Hooked

702 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  05:54:14 AM  Show Profile Send renee_knits a Private Message
I learned English, and still use it primarily, but also started using Continental for some projects (seed stitch, garter) and some yarns (lighter weight). It really depends on the project.

Knitting IS real life!
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Chatty Knitter

273 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  06:06:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit Cozy's Homepage Send Cozy a Private Message
I knit English, but would like to learn Continental, at least to know it. I've taught 2 left-handers how to knit & since reading that sometimes Continental is easier for lefties, I wished I knew it so that I could've taught them that way.

Come see me at my blog:cozy's place

Knitting addict since November '03

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Seriously Hooked

826 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  06:11:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit yarnfanatic's Homepage Send yarnfanatic a Private Message
I learnt english as a child.. I have done lots of crafts, and was an OR nurse, and can feel carpal tunnel trying to creep in, so I have wanted to learn continental. I can do it, but having the yarn in the left hand is not comfortable yet. Carrie, I also wrap the yarn around the finger like that, and did recently learned combination. I can do the knit stitch fast. but the purl stitch, I do not and hope to take a formal continental class this fall. I just hope the teacher will suggest the best way to hold the yarn in the left hand.
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Permanent Resident

1927 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  06:41:10 AM  Show Profile Send Chayah a Private Message
I knit continental style. I do a scoop kind of purl stitch, not sure if that is continental or something else, but it seems to work. I'd like to know how combination knitting differs from other styles.
Chayah in NY
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Permanent Resident

1800 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  07:26:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitz2's Homepage Send knitz2 a Private Message
I've come to the conclusion I don't knit either Continental or English but am closer to Continental. Like Ana, I find it very difficult to control tension when I "throw" and feel awkward turning loose of the needle to do so, then grasping it again to finish the stitch. However, as I understand Contintental, I don't do that either as that seems to involve holding the working yarn on the outstretched index finger and "grabbing" some with the right needle to form a stitch.

I hold the working yarn in my left hand (on index finger if knit only, between index and middle if purling or ribbing), put the right needle through the existing stitch and either use a combo of picking up yarn with a wrapping motion of my left index finger, or hold the yarn between index & middle to wrap it around the needle. most of the motion is in my left hand/wrist and the working yarn is held very close to, sometimes touching, the left needle. when purling I use my left thumb to assist in wrapping the yarn over the right needle. Make sense to anyone??? I'm primarily self taught and watched grandmother and an aunt crochet for years before learning to knit on my own.
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Chatty Knitter

120 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  07:38:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit's Homepage Send a Private Message
I knit mostly continental. Like others, I learned English in order to do colorwork. Also, like others, tension suffers when using English, but only if I am using straight needles. When I am knitting hats or other small items on small circulars I can knit English without tension changing. And sometimes I like to knit English just because I love that little flourish that the sweep of my hand makes. It just FEELS nice.

Knit someone a scarf and they'll have an accessory; teach someone to knit and they'll be in stitches for the rest of their life.
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Permanent Resident

1570 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  08:03:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit Rho's Homepage Send Rho a Private Message
I knit continental and purl Norwegian -- that is how I was taught and it didn't seem to be a problem to learn for the first style. That said I had probably 2 lessons in purling before my mind really got around it completely but I think purling of any kind would have done me in for awhile. I took lessons with the library group and there were about 10 people learning at the same time. I know that the woman who sits next to me in knitting circle has some shoulder problems and I think that knitting like I do would be less painful for her shoulders than the English style.


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New Pal

18 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  08:17:45 AM  Show Profile Send NettiePur a Private Message
I was taught Continental and still knit that way, although I sometimes am not sure that I regulate tension as well as I might. When I try using my right hand to control the yarn, however, it just doesn't feel natural, so I will stick with Continental and hope to develop better skills.
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