Continental Knitting Questions

OK. I’ve seen Amy’s video. :thumbsup: I’ve looked in a couple of books. :study: I’m curious how those of you doing the Continental (German) knitting hold your yarn. :x:

Here is what I do, with the problems I seem to have.


  1. I’ve tried wrapping the yarn around my pinky twice before going over my index finger. Doing this, I cant seem to control the flow of yarn this way. Closing my pinky doesnt stop it, so it either gets really loose or really tight (depending on the yarn) and I have to stop twice mid row to fix tension. :wall:

  2. I’ve tried wrapping twice around my index finger and loose over my palm. It tends to get really tight. Which means at each stitch I have to stretch (pull) the stitch out (first) to keep it from getting tight, which means my stitches are less even. :thinking:

ISSUE 2: Holding index finger close vs away from the needle.

A. If I hold it away from the needle, it tends to get too tight, which means I have to stretch (pull) each stitch before knitting it. :frowning:

B. If I hold it close to the needle the yarn falls off my finger (even when my index finger is straight) and I must fix it just about every stitch. :doh:


So how do you hold the yarn? Do you have any suggestions on how to fix what I am doing? I’m not posting this question at home so can’t post pics of what I am doing at this moment.

Awaiting pics from ya :wink: … I’m such a visual person :smiley:

Here is how I hold the yarn…

pic 1: I wrap once around my pinky, once around my index finger. Occasionally I have to wrap twice around my pinky – depends on the yarn. Likewise, occasionally I don’t have to wrap around my pinky at all when knitting, only when purling.

pic 2: I keep my index finger right behind the work.

Joel, a lot of this will come with time. At first I just couldn’t understand wrapping the yarn and it didn’t feel right to me. It was soooo awkward. But then one day it just clicked and now it’s second nature. :smiley:

I don’t wrap the yarn around the pinky finger, I wrap it around the index one.

Usually I just wrap it once as this gives enough tension. Only if I knit with slippery yarn do I wrap it around twice.

I might add that I learned to crochet before I learned to knit and was instructed back then by my mum to hold the yarn like I do.

Yep. That’s how I do it. Until I learned Continental knitting, it just didn’t quite click for me and I had the hardest time with my (English) knitting. Watched Amy’s videos to teach myself Continental, but continued to hold my yarn as if I were crocheting. I didn’t have any problems with my tension since I was used to holding my yarn this way from my time as a crocheter.

Tension will come with practice…

These are all Western European bits of info. I learned to knit Eastern European and hold my yarn similar, only adding that it is over my ring fingere then under the middle one and over the index, but I wrap my sts in the opposite dirrection thus making my purl st the easier of the two.

For the pur st, yarn forward, needle tip in with yarn below it, then raise the yarn between the two tips of the needles and pull it through the st. Being able to do both styles makes something like Double Knitting easier as you can do both and keep the yarns seperated.

I do not advise anyone to try changing if they alreay knit European but if you are learning it is an easy way to purl. It does require that i convert all k2togs to SSKs and VS.

Hi Joel,

The only tip I can offer you is make sure your hands are relaxed. Tension in your hands and fingers can sometimes tranlsate to tension in your yarn.

You could also try small variations on the standard holds, like wrapping around your pinkie back-to-front instead of front-to-back, etc. I found my best yarn hold by experimenting that way.

Hi Joel

Not sure this is any help at all but I don’t wrap the yarn round any finger because I always found it getting too tight when I did!
I just hold it against the left hand needle with my middle finger and hold it away from the knitting with my first finger, or not, to take up any slack.


Great pics y’all!! So Joel, whenever I knit conti, I hold my index outward like javede does, but I wrap my yarn like Julie. And I use the pinkie to regulate tension by pushing it either against or away from my ring finger. If the yarn is more slippery, then my purl sts usually require a bit more tension. So in addition to wrapping around my pinkie, I also drap over my ring finger too. I know that probably a lot of wrapping :oops: … but hey … it works :mrgreen: That’s how I hold when I knit English too. When doing conti purl, I move my index to nearly touch my thumb nuckle in order to securely wrap the purl sts around the RH needle. My English purl looks almost identicle to the lady’s in this Coats & Clark CD (sorry I couldn’t find a video sampler of this CD). The only difference is that I hold my RN more vertically than she does.

Ok… here are a couple of pics as promised to go along with my original post…


I wrap once around my pinky, then WEAVE the yarn through the rest of my fingers…over my ring finger, under my middle, then over my index. I did the same with my left hand when I was double-knitting those hats.

Hey Joel…have you tried wrapping the yarn like Julie, EXCEPT … wrap it around your ring finger instead of your pinkie? I do that sometimes … namely when my pinkie gets crampy :blush: It’s not my first choice as the yarn is a little looser for me that way. So perhaps with the wrap around your ring finger and your index held outward, it might prove to be the right about of tension for ya! :wink: Just a thought…

Thanks everyone, I will be trying these suggestions this weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes.

:thinking: :x:

Im not sure how clear this will be… our digital camera still doesnt have a new card so I’m relying on the webcam for our digital pics. I tested out a bunch of those continental styles and the one that seemed to do the trick for me was… wrapping the yarn around my ring fingers instead of my pinky with the index finger held out.

It’s not perfect but the difference when you look at the project is night and day… and too boot I sped up doing that too. For the first time I can see why Continental Knitting could be much faster. As I continue to practice this method, I’m looking forward to seeing what extent the difference is when doing the knitting this way. I didnt spend a lot of time knitting and still got 8-10 rows done over the weekend… (mostly in the car). That said… here are a couple of pics for ya.

Thanks to everyone for their help! :thumbsup:

:cheering: Congrats! I have always maintained that half the battle of knitting is finding a way that’s best for you to hold the yarn.

It only gets better from here Joel!! :wink: :x:

Joel, are you only working with kitchen cotton? If so, that may be part of your problem, imho. It is not very forgiving stuff. Try working with some regular worsted, wool or acrylic. I find kitchen cotton pretty hard to handle. So it’s doubly impressive that you’re really catching on! :wink:

You know, I never thought about that before…Sara is RIGHT!

I’m working with 8 ply cotton. It’s either a dishrag or potholder so my wife and I figured cotton would hold up to the heat the best. Hence, my yarn selection.

I didnt realize cotton was so hard to knit.

Bingo! That explains it. Just try a few rows with a different yarn and feel the difference.

It’s been suggested to me that I should ask the mods if they will make this thread into a sticky.

So… how about it Mods? Is this sticky enough?