Combination Knitting

So my grandmother (who originally taught me to knit) told me that she knit continental. It wasn't until I'd been knitting for about two or three months that a friend of mine brought to my attention that she had no idea what I was doing, but it wasn't continental. For a long time I had no idea what I was doing differently, but I knew my stitches were turning out basically the same way (although now I see just a slight difference). I now realize that my grandmother (who I'm sure does not realize she's doing it to this day) knits, and consequently taught me to knit using combination knitting. Mine is even slightly different from what I've seen people doing when they use combination knitting- and it wasn't until recently that it became a little problematic for me.

My stitches still work the same, and I can do just as good work as anyone else, but I find that I have to find a way to adjust more complicated stitches sometimes, and it makes my pieces come out just a little bit differently. The difference is SO slight, but I see it sometimes. I tried to learn actual continental knitting, but it's so uncomfortable compared to what I'm used to, and I can't bring myself to try to break the habit.

Are there any other combination knitters out there? I'd love to hear about your experiences knitting and figuring out stitches, particularly pertaining to turning stitches.



Chris Vandenburg's picture

As always, there is more that one way to skin a cat and that's the beauty of this group, we all work to achieve the same result but decidedy in different ways. Take mathmatics. Who cares if one person adds 2+2 in their head and gets 4 while another counts the same equation on their fingers or another uses toothpicks to get the same result. Whatever works for one's self is the right way to do things. Do it your way and you will be fine. In short, know how the stitch works and work it the way it is most comfortable for you.

Hence, if your Mima knits......... she's right. Lord I wouldn't even consider telling my Grandmother she was wrong and she's no longer around! Hell, she'd pull her ashes back together and slap me into next week!

As always, best from Texas,


PS..... Believe it or not the CAPTCHA answer is 4!!!!!

"If a man has cream at home in the refrigerator he won't go out looking for 2% butterfat"
............Erma Bombeck

scottly's picture

Hopefully this link will work, it will take you to a youtube page with a bunch of combination knitting videos that might be helpful to you.

combination knitting

murfpapa's picture

I believe I knit combo. It just feels right to me but does cause some problems with k2tog and ssk. I have to figure out which way it needs to lean, whether the stitch below needs to be turned so it isn't twisted (or to twist it if it needs to be). Reteaching myself the "right" way would make it more consistent but I'm too darned set in my ways and the frequent pauses gives me a break to assess the work so far and determine how I need to do the stitch, gives me time to look over what I've done and possibly tink or frog to correct something I found that isn't quite right.

albert's picture

I'm not getting what is meant by "combination knitting"??

Neither am I.

scottly's picture

It's just another method of knitting like English or Continental. As far as I understand it, it's more like Continental but the purls and knits are almost done in the obverse. They say it makes a more even stitch almost as if it were machine knit. I haven't tried it yet.

pjmma's picture

Annie Modesitt is where I first learned about Combination Knitting, and as far as I know, she's the authority on the subject. She also wrote the book "Confessions of a Knitting Heretic" which I believe also deals mostly with Combination Knitting. (They have it on Amazon.)

Her site is:

There's a lot of free info there, including how to adjust to standard patterns and stitches to make them work. Hope this helps>

NonStopAndrew's picture

Here is the best place that I have found for knitting videos. It has all kinds of different techniques, and makes it a lot easier to learn what style you are, and maybe try the other styles.

@ Chris: My CAPTCHA was 4!

Thomasknits's picture

You probably are doing combination purls...which orients the stitches with the left leg in front as opposed to the more common right leg in front. When you do your knits, you have to ktbl to reorient the stitches. Which is why some of your decreases and more complicated stitches require some thought.
The idea behind combination knitting being more even is that the rows alternate the orientation on the needles, so you don't get a constant one side of each stitch that is prominent in your fabric.
I personally understand the allure of the combination purl, but i am very comfortable purling continentally, so I stick with that so I don't have to think the complicated stitches through.


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

As long as your knitting works for you and the results are what YOU want, it really doesn't matter how you get there. I knit English or Continental interchangeably and haven't actually done Combination knitting as such. As to how you have to change things for your decreases and such, that's okay too. The main thing is that you enjoy yourself and knit up some beautiful pieces...which, it seems to me, you have down pat. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

grandcarriage's picture

My opinion is this: You're pulling a stitch through another stitch. It can be from front to back, back to front (knits or purls) twisted or not. How you get there doesn't matter a tinkers damn as long as you have gauge and you don't hurt yourself.

CRobertK's picture

Thanks to everyone who posted video links. Being a beginner yet, I didn't know what the differences between Continental, English, or Combination. A couple friends of mine pick on eachother for knitting Continental vs. English. I never knew what they really meant. After viewing several videos, I have discovered that I knit Combination, and I know what you mean PieInTheSky88, some times my stitches don't look quite like the pictures in the books. Thanks again everyone for your input and help!

-- Why live and let live when we can live and help live?

dannvictoria's picture

Combo knitters rule!!!!!! When k2tog you knot from the front of the stitches as if you are knitting continental for SSk you knot together through the back of the loop, takes a bit of time to adjust but it works out really well. Works very well with lace knitting.

My captcha is 11

michaelpthompson's picture

That's some great information guys. Apparently, I knit English style. Learned from my babysitter when I was seven years old. Mom didn't knit, grandma crocheted.

I was watching a knitting show on TV the other day and this lady did Continental and she was blazing fast. I was fascinated. I saw another show yesterday where a woman used Continental rib stitch. She was faster because she only needed to flick her finger to move the yarn from front to back to change from knit to purl. When I do it English, there's a lot more movement from the hands.

Other than this, is Continental actually faster than English in general, or was it just that the first lady was really good?

"All knitting is just one stitch at a time."