I am a novice and I have a question. Because I learned to crochet before I learned to knit, I decided to learn the continental method of knitting which makes a lot of sense to me. I can knit very quickly but purling is a real effort. Is this usual? right now I am practicing stockinette stitch until I get it perfect before going on to a project.


Hey there.....I was in the same situation when i started knitting. I can tell you that purling took some time to master, but now I'm able to knit so much faster than if I were knit English style.

Give it some time, and it'll become second nature very soon. What helped me alot was knitting ribs. Having to switch from knit to purl on the same row really made me analyze the movements necessary, and helped me master the purl stitch.

Good luck.

Marknits's picture

I also knit continental, have for 20 years and I still purl slower than I knit if I do it the 'right' way. I can purl just as fast as I knit if I keep the yarn below the needle and "pick" it like knit stitch- but then it twists the stitches the other way on the needle and I have to watch how I knit or purl it on the next round. (that is, how I enter the stitch) I my memory isn't failing me, I remember reading somewhere that this weirdness of mine is actually the common way to knit someplace in the east, may be the Balkans... anyway, just a thought to share.

Oh, and it also means that I have to watch how I decrease to get them to lean in the correct direction.

albert's picture

Purling is definitely easier with English style. When I am not doing two-handed color knitting I prefer to knit English- it's the way I learned and is still the most comfortable for me.

MMario's picture

Check out the "norwegian purl".
With a little practice it's as fast as a knit stitch and as easy.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

stillday's picture

When I first started knitting in January, I didn't think I could get this purling stuff. My wife taught me to knit continental. It' seemed that my brain and hands refused to cooperate with each other (see my early posts). I got a lot of encouragement from the folks at this site who told me that it would get better with practice, and they were right. So hang in there.

It's refreshing to find a forum where the members all seem to encourage each other rather than tear each other to shreds.

mwkbloom's picture

I learned to knit English. Then a few years later I learned to crochet. Then a few years after that I learned that there was "another" method of knitting, i.e. Continental. I "figured out" how to knit Continental from reading a Miss Silver mystery. I remember a scene where she was described as "holding her needles low in her lap in the continental manner with the yarn coming from the left." So I put my yarn on the left and experimented till I figured it out. Later I figured out how to purl, but I, too, wrap the yarn the "wrong" way round. Compensating for this in the next row is now automatic, though I still have to concetrate when knitting lace so that I use my SSK for K2tog and vice-versa. Recently a friend of mine said that she'd been to a workshop where this was described as the "uncrossed Eastern method" of purling. Go figure!

boyforpele13's picture

i also purl with the yarn the 'wrong' way, thereby twisting the following stitches and this is truly the thing that made continental work for me. I crocheted first, then English, then switched to Continental, but often purled English because I couldn't stand it. I then found Annie Modesitt and Grumperina's articles on 'combined knitting' which is the term they use for the 'wrong' purling which is done English and Continental actually. I actually really love the fact that it twists the stitches because it quickly helps establish a pattern for knitting by touch. I have also tried the Norwegian one. I didn't stick with it because it was too loose for me, but it is really fun to do and 'magical'. ;- )

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