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Parrot Girl
Permanent Resident

2129 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2006 :  08:46:38 AM  Show Profile Send Parrot Girl a Private Message
I throw the yarn with my right hand, I guess that's English? I've been doing it for so long that I'm fast and my tension is good. However, I know that the way I do it isn't the best, because I fold my right forefinger and ease the yarn through. I've never been able to figure out how to wrap it around the finger and feed it--I end up with it wrapped tightly around my finger which is turning purple. When I watch someone on Knitty Gritty knitting continental it looks awkward and confuses me.

"The past does not equal the future"

The other Fran in Kansas City
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knitcatmom
Warming Up

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  09:26:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitcatmom's Homepage Send knitcatmom a Private Message
When I was little, my mom taught me continental style. About 7 years ago, when I decided to re-learn, the book I had taught English style, so I learned that. It was awkward for me until I came across directions for continental, so I switched again. It's more comfortable for me because the hand movements are smaller, and it's more similar to crochet. One thing I recently learned (while doing fair isle, which involves both styles for me) is that when I switched to continental, I started making twisted stitches. Maybe this mistake is rare, but it's something to look out for when switching styles. If you're making stitches but they look 'different', then the stitches are probably twisted.
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tejer
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
410 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  1:44:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit tejer's Homepage Send tejer a Private Message
I throw when I knit and crochet. I keep meaning to learn another way, but it seems so awkward to change. One of these days I will sit down and figure it out.

My blog: http://kristijo.blogs.friendster.com/my_knitting_blog/
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craftybernie
Gabber Extraordinaire

United Kingdom
398 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  5:16:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit craftybernie's Homepage Send craftybernie a Private Message
I never heard of continental until recently. I came across an online tutorial where the knitter was holding wool in left hand (I hold it in my right hand, looped over little finger..). The way she was knitting looked much more efficient, if that makes sense. Almost like less effort was needed. I must look into this further. It looks fairly easy but I imagine it would feel funny holding yarn in opposite hand.

www.craftybernie.blogspot.com (my knitting blog)
www.fairystuff.blogspot.com (my handmade flower fairies)
www.beadingbernie.blogspot.com (my beaded stuff)
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Momma78239
Permanent Resident

USA
4859 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2006 :  6:02:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit Momma78239's Homepage  Send Momma78239 a Yahoo! Message Send Momma78239 a Private Message
I knit continental most of the time, but I can do English, and hold the yarn in both hands for fair isle work.

When I teach people, I do as Fran does. I teach them how to make a stitch without any instruction on holding the yarn, and only show them how to hold the yarn when they have the stitch action down pat. You'd be surprised how many figure out holding the yarn on their own before I show them. When I do show them, I'll show English and Continental ways (but not combined, because I've never been comfortable doing the combined purl).

-WendyM[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v632/Momma78239/smallspindlepic.gif[/IMG]
And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. Exodus 35:25
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Mickey
Permanent Resident

USA
1670 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2006 :  12:38:07 AM  Show Profile Send Mickey a Private Message
quote Originally posted by Julie:
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.

Some of us think it's FUN to learn new techniques/ways to do things. ;-)
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lucienh
Honorary Angel

919 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2006 :  05:48:48 AM  Show Profile Send lucienh a Private Message
So what do you call the one (Knitting for Anarchists-style), where you are basically continental, but loop the purls in the "wrong" direction? Is that combined or something else?
I learned to knit in elementary school the year my family lived in Luxembourg, but when I came home and showed my mother, she, coming from the English style, tried to help me. Result was that I didn't knit for 40 years. When I came back to it, continental felt right.
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NursePurl
Chatty Knitter

USA
103 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2006 :  09:11:01 AM  Show Profile Send NursePurl a Private Message
I learned and have always knit English style until recently. After having elbow surgery in April I had to learn Continental because I just couldn't throw the yarn with my right hand anymore. Even now 2 months post-op it is painful to try and knit my old way. I have found I really like knitting Continental...I knit quite a a bit faster. I am still adjusting to purling though, it just feels awkward...I think I may have to do English for purling and Continental for knitting

Rhonda

"We cannot all do great things but we can do small things with great love" Mother Teresa
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ghk
Warming Up

79 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2006 :  3:13:58 PM  Show Profile Send ghk a Private Message
I learned first the English and then taught myself Continental. My motivation was that I was knitting a lot of socks, and I hated getting to the ribbing portion and having to move the yarn from back to front--it was slow and painful. Now that I knit Continental, I don't mind ribbing at all.

G.
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elkymama
Seriously Hooked

USA
688 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2006 :  8:29:37 PM  Show Profile Send elkymama a Private Message
It's interesting hearing why you like one method or the other and why.
Learning Continental made a world of difference in my knitting. I learned English style when I was 10 and even knit a couple of sweaters when I was a teenager. Even so, knitting never made sense to my hands. When I took up crochet, I stopped knitting for 15 years. Then when I was 33, my Aunt Elizabeth taught me what she called Comtinental, but I think it's really Combined method.

It was a moment of illumination for me and suddenly my knitting looked much more smooth and even. I'm not sure I like Fair Isle work enough to make me want to learn English method again. Theoretically it's smart to know a couple of ways of doing somthing, but in reality, I don't have much enthusiasm for learning English method.

"You can be patriotic and still believe some things cost more than they're worth."
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highdesertrose
Gabber Extraordinaire

Malta
544 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2006 :  11:43:29 AM  Show Profile Send highdesertrose a Private Message
I tried Continental since I crochet also and thought it would feel more natural to hold the yarn in my left hand, but it felt so awkward that I tried, and stuck, with English.

~Rena~
Making and wearing handknit socks just makes the world that much more interesting.
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ladysmithknitter
Chatty Knitter

152 Posts

Posted - 06/27/2006 :  10:05:48 AM  Show Profile Send ladysmithknitter a Private Message
I knit combined, which until recently thought it was an odd continental way of knitting. Not sure where I learned it, but I can knit really fast and maintain a very even tension. And I finally figured out how to rearrange the stitches to get patterns to turn out right!

Project pictures at:
http://photobucket.com/albums/b338/annemarie246/
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Pinnsvinn
New Pal

20 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  06:44:58 AM  Show Profile Send Pinnsvinn a Private Message
Well, I learned to knit as a girl in Norway and I knit in the manner called continental. I am amused to see people calling how we purl,the "Norwegian" purl.

I do knit quickly. I just finished a baby sweater with a hood in four days. But I like to knit things that make me slow down. Right now I'm knitting Elsbeth Lavold's "Coral" with nothing but yo's and cables. It's very relaxing and fun to watch the pattern grow.

Pinnsvin
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kadiddly
Permanent Resident

USA
3076 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  10:22:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit kadiddly's Homepage  Send kadiddly a Yahoo! Message Send kadiddly a Private Message
I learned to knit and purl English, and that is what I am most comfortable with. I can DO Continental and combined, but am still having tension issues, mostly due to lack of practice. One of these days I'll do a small project just to practice Continental, and I think I would like to do more colorwork again, so I will have to practice combined, as well.

"Alright everyone, back to your knitting..."
- Fred or George Weasley, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (movie)
Backstage Stitches
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llinn
honorary angel

USA
1650 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  10:57:07 AM  Show Profile Send llinn a Private Message
You guys changed some of the terminology while I was out driving the last 10 years or so.
The way I learned it, manipulating the yarn with the right hand was either English or American, American being the common way, English involving bracing the right needle and sort of flicking the yarn with the right index forefinger, and continental holding the yarn in the left hand.
I learned American, switched mostly to Continental in my 30's use both for color work and for DP's.
I don't know the term "Norwegian" purl. I only know underhand and overhand. Overhand is the more common style which results in the knit stitch with the right side of the stitch in front of the needle. I vastly prefer the underhand purl which sets the knit stitch up with the right side of the stitch behind the needle. So long as you knit into the right side of the stitch, opening the stitch, it makes no difference whether you knit into the front or the back of the needle. It makes both knit and purl extremely fast.
It also can create a minor problem with tension, if you are not aware, you will find your purl stitches rather looser than your knit, but it's easily corrected.
Lin
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PamelaA3
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
476 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  08:48:23 AM  Show Profile Send PamelaA3 a Private Message
I can knit both English, (throwing the yarn with yarn held between thumb and first finger) and Continental, only garter and stockinette stitch. I find decreases and yarn overs somewhat baffling. I do yarn overs simply by moving the yarn to the front and then working the next knit stitchwhen doing English style. How would you accomplish this with the yarn in the left hand? Someone recently told me that you must reverse K2tog and SSK in the directions to get the decreases to lay correctly. And third, I have been told that many Euopeans size their needles down one or two sizes doing continental. I always thought it was to make a denser fabric in cold climates. Now I am told that continental has a looser tension and this is why they size down. Anyone, answers to these questions would be wonderful! Those of you who knit both styles, do you find that you must size down to get your gauge in continental? I though it was just me that knitted this style looser.

Thanks,
Pam
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grouchywif
Chatty Knitter

243 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  11:14:24 AM  Show Profile Send grouchywif a Private Message
I knit English style...I sort of flick the yarn over with my right forefinger, although depending on how my hands are feeling, I also put more arm into it. I have repetitive stress/carpal tunnel issues.

When I first started trying to teach myself to knit, years ago, I would go to Michael's or some other store, buy one of those "teach yourself to knit" books and get so frustrated I couldn't think straight. Seems to me they were all demonstrating Continental. With Continental, my left hand just seems like it has too much to do. Hold the yarn, maneuver the yarn a bit to be picked up, move the stitches along the left needle. I just can't get the hang of holding yarn with my left hand and my tension is either so loose as to be non-existant or, with a different hold, so tight the yarn won't move. A little over a year ago a friend recommended the "Stitch 'n' bee-hotch" book and when I tried English for the first time I was off and running. I do think Continental can be a faster way of knitting, so I keep trying it. (Too many projects, too little time, LOL!)

Just last night I was working garter stitch on a scarf and figured it would be a good time to practice my Continental, but after about 3 rows I decided I couldn't deal with my lack of tension and switched back.

I've never picked up crocheting, and wonder if I'll be able to handle yarn in my left hand for that. I guess as long as my left hand isn't expected to do anything but pretty much hold yarn, maybe I'll be able to do it.

http://haveyarnwilltravel.blogspot.com/
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azknitter
Honorary Angel

5539 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  12:36:07 PM  Show Profile Send azknitter a Private Message
Continental...it's fast and easy. I taught myself to knit that way before I even knew there was a name for it.

Trish
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PamelaA3
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
476 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  12:44:49 PM  Show Profile Send PamelaA3 a Private Message
I have recently had Carpel Tunnel symptoms. I knew I had the pinched nerve from some spine studies I had last year. So I started watching my hands more carefully to see what I was really doing. If I finger-throw the yarn, this twists my wrist in a circular motion and involves the arm and shoulder. If I hand throw, meaning I hold the yarn between thumb and first finger, moving the hand slightly forward to wrap, I have very little rotation of the wrist or shouder. I then looked at the way I crochet. If I hold the hook like a pencil, there is little rotation, if I hold it more like a knife there is a lot of wrist motion. Since I am lucky to have chosen the less active wrist motion for both crafts early on when I learned, I am having less problems with carpel tunnel. However, I decided to knit a k2, p2 ribbed scarf on size 10 needles and had big problems. I have learned that big needles and/or lots of ribbing aggravate the carpel tunnel.

Currently I wear a brace at night and this helps keep problems down during the day. Otherwise there is burning, severe pain and sometimes numbness. I am trying to avoid surgery since it is my right hand. Not all surgeries come out OK. My orthepedic doctor said not to let it continue if the numbness and pain become constant. I am not using large needles and doing patterns with a lot of moving yarn back and forth. This has helped. Carpel tunnel can cause permanent damage to the medial nerve. See your doctor if problems persist.

And Good Luck,
Pam
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grouchywif
Chatty Knitter

243 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  1:09:55 PM  Show Profile Send grouchywif a Private Message
awww, man, Pam, I'm sorry to hear you are having so much pain. It's my nightmare scenario. I've had carpal tunnel for years, it surfaced when I used to work (did a lot of spreadsheet/mouse work) and when I switched to a roller-ball mouse it lessened quite a bit. I no longer work, but it has been bothering me more since I started knitting 1.5 years ago. It isn't bad, though...just a little numbness now and then if I do a lot of knitting and I can control it with the occasional Tylenol at this point.

My mom has CT in both hands and got it in about her 40's. She wasn't doing anything to provoke it, either, she was a stay at home wife and mom to four. She had one surgery (about 30 years ago now) and it wasn't successful, so she never had the other hadn operated on. She's in her 70's now and has permanent nerve damage and consant numbness in her fingers. The doctor told me I may have a predisposition toward CT, which I am very unhappy about given my love of handicrafts.

I usually use a lot of arm movement when I throw and it slows me down a bit, but sometimes I feel like a time bomb waiting to go off. I'm fairly young still...37....and hope I can knit into my old age.

http://haveyarnwilltravel.blogspot.com/
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