Cont. Vs. Eng

This is pretty basic but i was looking for some feedback on the pros and cons of both methods. Is one faster than the other. Currently i’m an english knitter but i feel like continental is faster and easier especiall when ribbing? are there benefits to knitting eng. style? can eng. knitting be as fast? should i learn continental knitting? Thanks all!!

Do you knit fast as an English knitter?

I recently tried to teach myself to Continental knit, and, while I found it interesting, I was very, very frustrated. I could not keep the yarn from coming off of my pointer finger.

My speed while knitting English style is much faster than Continental. However, I liked the looser tension of Continental knitting. My main reason for trying Continental is because I was watching one of Amy’s videos on using multiple colors (maybe it was intarsia or fair isle). I figured that it would be less cumbersome to knit Continental when handling multiple colors.

Go with what you feel comfortable with, but don’t be afraid to try something new. I still intend on mastering Continental…just not while I’m teaching myself how to knit socks. :wink:

Yeah. As a new knitter i’m not super fast. but pretty fluent with the english method. i tried continental too assuming it’d be easier to learn having a background, but it felt like i was learning to knit all over again. I thought it would come in handy too for fair isle. But there are ways around that… THANKS!!

You know, though, since you’re a new knitter, you may, if you want to learn continental, go ahead and train yourself that way. It’s hard once your hands get accustomed to one way for too long.

Just a thought…

I do find continental faster when doing ribbing. I picked up conti very quickly, but I was a crocheter for a long time, so holding the yarn with my left hand came very naturally. I don’t know that I’m a whole lot faster doing continental, but my purling has a more consistent tension than it does English. English still feels more Zen-like to me. I’m a knitting schizophrenic.

However, when I use Lion Homespun, I have to do it English. I just can’t pick up the yarn working continental with that stuff. And of course, everyone I know loves it because it’s so soft and fuzzy.

I’m in the camp that says do whichever one you enjoy the most, even if that means switching back and forth depending on which way the wind is blowing.

[color=indigo]I passively watched folks knitting English style for many, many years and never “got it.” It also seemed like a lot of extra movements. As soons as I saw Continental style one time, the penny dropped, and I immediately had an “understanding” of what one was doing in knitting. Just me, I suppose.


Not just you – me, too.

I was taught continental by my mom and gramma and I didn’t know for years that there was another way to knit. When I started knitting after my kids were born, I met other knitters who knit English and was puzzled at the technique. It seemed so strange to me. I just think it has to do with the fact that the only knitters I knew for my “formative” years knitted Conti.

I think Conti knitters are in the minority in this country – now when I go to the knitting store or knit with others most of them are knitting English.

I do know some very fast English knitters but for the most part I knit faster than the others I am around who knit English. I think it more has to do with what one is used to and how adept they are at knitting and not the technique itself.


I knit English, and I’ve tried to knit the other way and can’t seem to get it figured out. For me, although speed is nice, it’s more relaxing when I can just focus on getting the stitches on the needle. I also knit “left-handed” (left needle into right) which I’ve been told is wrong. Oh well. I taught myself from a book and it’s worked great so far.

I think just like with anything else in this world, it’s a matter of personal preference. My mom drives with both feet, my aunt with her left foot. Are they wrong, no, just special!

I totally think all knitters should learn both English and Continental method. Knowing both is invaluable and I’m sooooo glad I took the time to learn Continental.

English is easier for me and I can knit and purl without looking. If I’m working on a simple knit stitch, I can do it while immersed in a movie and make nary a mistake. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But, continental is ideal for ribbing, seed and moss stitches. Soooo much quicker because moving the yarn from front to back is an almost indiscernible motion whereas in English it’s a full separate step. I’m working on a baby blanket right now with lots of cables and moss stitch, so I’m knitting it Continental.

BOTH methods are needed for quick Fair Isle knitting. One color in one hand, the other color in the other hand, and knit, knit, knit your way to beautiful color work. And it’s a good way to get Oooos and Ahhhs from your fellow knitters! :wink:

[color=indigo]I eventually did learn the English technique just to have the skill. But, I still find that it feels like a lot of extra movement. Of course, both ways get the job done; I’m not sure that either has any (dis-) advantages, although using English to knit in the round seems counterproductive to me.

I have knit a lot while in South America and Europe, where I have rarely seen anyone knitting English style. As I think about it, the knitters I know in the UK, all knit continental style. Oh well, personal preference prevails.

Knit On . . . .[/color]

Thanks for all the feedback. I practice cont. once in a while but get fed up. i think i’m going to try to get better at it so i can be well versed in both methods.

I was taught to knit while an exchange student in Germany, so I learned the Continental way. Actually, until I found this site, I didn’t know there was another way! :teehee: My grandmother taught me to crochet as a girl, so the Continental method of left hand yarn holding was a natural.

I don’t think my fingers could learn the English method now, I’m much too much set in my ways. I can straight knit and purl without looking at the yarn. It drives my husband batty to glance over and see me knitting, WHILE watching tv. :happydance:

knitting is not a dicodime.

the choices aren’t just English/continental.

english has several variations
scotish (needle held under arm, or in harness)
lift and loop

continental has variations too

and there are several other styles of knitting besides these 2 major groups. (and lots of options with in the groups.)

speed comes with practice.
speed comes with economy of movement.

there are ergonomic styles of knitting if you want to develop speed, in all styles.

its good to learn (for various reasons) different ways to knit. but don’t limit your self to English (what ever sort of english that is!) and continental.

what about learning backwards or true left hand knitting?
(from right needle onto left!) then you can knit entralac or knit on edging with out turning the work. (its good for short rows too!)

and how about a norwegian purl? its faster too, as is the combo purl.
eastern (and some eastern european knitters) often purl with their thumb, sounds weird, but its also very fast! (it is a left hand yarn hold, and you might think it to be continental (if you define continental as hold the working yarn in left hand!) but its really an aspect of eastern knitting.

So many choices you’ve given - my brain may explode. :passedout:

I am desperate to learn Conti for all the reason listed here. A LYS in my town actually has a class on it, so I may spend the 30 bucks just to focus my intention. Without fail, when I try it on my own, I give up after 10 minutes. I find my left wrist cramps from the position the index finger is in when you hold the yarn in the left hand.

I’m actually a little miffed because I learned to knit by taking one introductory class at Micheal’s. I’m not casting aspersions on the teacher at all - she was lovely - but the first half hour my instinct was to hold the yarn in the left hand. I kept saying - “I want it in this hand, having it on this side of my body feels weird” - and not once did she mention that there was a whole 'nother style for which my instincts were dead on. I could be stranding already. :pout:

[b]I met a gal recently who does English as I do … that’s the only way I ever learned … I did try to do the conti one but as someone said earlier, the stitches kept slipping off the needle … I’m just not experienced enough to get it to fly … I’m pretty fast with English but it would be nice to be able to be fluent in both …