Doing the continental

I'm on a quest to learn the continental method. I've been using the English method all my life, and my old joints are protesting. I think that there will be less pain knitting without all the yarn throwing. It's still very awkward to use my left hand. I guess that it's just of matter of practice.


Crafty Andy's picture

I love knitting continental, and reserve the throwing for certain things. O also like the Portuguese stly knitting with the pin and the only thing you flip is your thumbs. Some people do it around their neck as well. Practice of course, the more you practice the better you get, lol, that is the secret in almost everything in life!

KenInMaine's picture

I knit continental 99% of the time. I first learned English and used that method for a long time. It's actually really handy to know both, especially if you ever want to do colorwork with a stand in each hand.

When I first learned continental I thought it was pretty awkward and that I would never get used to it. But with practice it not only becomes easier, but for a lot of people, becomes their method of choice. Like Andy said, lots of practice.

I'd recommend making some practice dishcloths or maybe a scarf...something that you can make mistakes on, take your time and not worry about the finished project so much as gaining familiarity with the technique. Once your comfortable with how to do it you will build up some speed, too! Good luck to you and let us know how you make out!

I love the continental method myself. Not long ago I was reading a book where the author mentions that a fellow knitter mentioned to her that they had no unfinished projects. The author noticed that she knitted fasther with the continental method and only teaches that method to her classes.
I have to say, I don't have any unfinished projects either. It's very worth it to learn.

'No unfinished projects' is a bit of a sweeping statement. I don't have any unfinished projects either, and I only knit English.

Feel free to take the sweeping statement up with Jennifer Stafford (author of Domiknitrix:whip your knitting into shape). I was only relating the story from her book.

superi's picture

Yes, practice, practice, practice! Once you get continental purl down you're golden. The only con I find with continental is that it's hard to knit backwards, so if you're doing entrelac you have to turn your work each time.


JesterTwin's picture

I learned the English style and have been doing that for most of my life. My shoulders would not like the hours of work I put them through, and the pain was evidence of that. Last year I decided to try to learn Continental, and now that's the way I prefer to knit. I chose a garter stitch baby blanket as my first practice project because it's simple enough, and a baby doesn't care whether every stitch is completely uniform. My next project is currently a Thistle and Fern shawl which is coming along very nicely. I love Continental, and my joints are happier too.

bobinthebul's picture

I first learned English, but decided I wanted to learn Continental when I saw how much less work switching between knitting and purling was. I like Miriam Tegels' way (you can see her on YouTube) - with the left finger down. I can't knit as fast as she can, but as a musician one of the first things I learned was to minimize extra/superfluous movement. For me, speed is more a matter of getting into the rhythm of the thing.

I also like Portuguese for stranded knitting, though I don't do lots of that yet. ("Mediterranean" might be a more appropriate term since it's used all the way into W. Turkey at least). It just makes such good sense to have your colors there ready to grab one or the other with your thumb. I've only done it around the neck but suspect that doing it with a pin would be more consistent and comfortable.

mn-don's picture

I started knitting English did that for a few weeks then took a class on continental knit and perl and have done that ever since. I don't knit supper fast but I like the fact that I'm not stopping every stitch to wrap the yarn.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I taught myself to "throw" the yarn but later learned to "pick" it. After lots of diligent practice, I now get even tension with either method and switch back and forth between styles as I knit. Both have their advantages but I often do Continental as it is easier on my wrists and hands. I'm still struggling with getting my purls consistent when knitting Continental right-handed [I'm a left-handed knitter naturally] but will sit down and work on that exclusively sometime. I also recommend a small project - dishcloths are great - as a way to get the practice when learning a new technique.

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

chicquette's picture

I'm with you. I still struggle with "picking" at the yarn, and know it will take much more practice to train my brain. For now, I continue to look like a recovering stroke victim...with requisite tongue hanging out on occasion.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

LOL...I still do that at times also. And I've knit both styles for years.

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

scottly's picture

Another continental fan here. I, too, originally learned English and now I can't even remember how to throw. Good luck and I'm sure your hands and wrists will appreciate the change.

Britannic's picture

I've done some continental knitting when I've done Fair Isle work. I've got a small dish cloth project waiting in the wings to practice Continental on as I would like to be able to knit in either technique easily and quickly.

ulf's picture

I´ve never seen ANYONE knit the english way in Europe. It must be just knitters from England who knit that way

Sorry to say, but Spanish ladies knit the 'English' way as well.

YarnGuy716's picture

I learned to knit in the 1980's when Continental was "the way to knit". So I've always knit that way. I've taught others to knit Continental and always say that it's like learning to knit for the first time again. Just like when you first learned to knit, it takes practice.