Continental knitting

I want to teach myself continental knitting so I thought I would make a scarf to give to charity. If I just do stockinette the edges will curl so should I do the first and last two stitches in garter? Got any suggestions?

First and last two stitches in garter will not be enough to keep stockinette from curling, no matter what fiber yarn you are using. I’d suggest either a fully garter stitch scarf which would give you lots of practise, or seed stitch or ribbing.

I am having a hard time with the tension. When I knit with the yarn in my right hand I don’t wrap the yarn at all. I just hold it between my thumb and middle finger and my tension is always bang on. But I am tired of moving my hole hand and shoulder for every stitch. With the yarn in the left I am able to pick up the stitch ok but the yarn seems to get stuck on my fingers and then when I pull I get too much yarn and then I have to re-wrap my fingers. I am trying it the first way Amy showed with just wrapping it around the pointer finger because when I try the method of wrapping it around my pinky it does not work at all. Amy said you control the tension with it wrapped around the pinky by sqeezing your pinky and ring finger together. So how do you control the tension with it wrapped around your pointer? My tension is so tight I am afraid to start my next project and screw it up.

Changed my mind, I don’t think I will like continental knitting because I just watched the purl stitch and you have to use so many fingers I don’t think I am co-ordinated enough. The knit stitch is faster but I don’t like the purl stitch. I guess I will stick to my backwards way but at least my tension is good. :oops:

Hey, go to and search for continental knitting. She holds the yarn slightly differently so you don’t have as much trouble purling. I’m learning it this way and like it a lot.


I don’t do the purl with two fingers, I only use my pointer, it’s fast, easy and I now can’t imagine knitting any other way.

I can knit continental style and I don’t wrap the yarn at all. I put it over my index finger and curl my other fingers around it, kind of tensioning it along the needle. Anything else and my tension is too tight. I agree about the purl though and even if I knit conti, I’ll purl English. You might look at combination knitting; that’s a much easier way of purling. There’s a video here and a demo at Annie Modesitt’s site -


Wow, thanks for the youtube tip! I have been knitting conti and loving it for stockinette in the round, with my index finger down on the needle. Hated purling. That CraftSanity video is great, it looks totally easy and I am going to go try it right now!

Then later today I’m going to play with the combi method…


I can’t find the video you are talking about. I went on youtube but did not see continental knitting. The combination knitting will get me confused when I come to inc and dec so I better stay away from that for now. The tip about holding the yarn just over my index finger and squeezing it inbetween my index finger and middle finger works better than wrapping it around my pinky. I just cant get the purling it seems so like more work than english style. I will keep looking for the video you where talking about.

Here’s the link


That is a great video, thanks. When I hold my pinky and ring finger together the yarn has no tension because I have no meat on my fingers there. I have a space when I put my fingers together. I can see how much faster it is than the way I do it. I hold my yarn in my right hand exactly the way she shows. I just hold it between my thumb and middle finger. I thought I was the only one that did it that way. I could never get the hang of wrapping it around my fingers. With her method my tension is so loose I will have to use a needle four times smaller. :teehee:

You may find that with practice, your tension will tighten up. Wasn’t it different when you first started than it is now?


My tension was easy for me when I started because I did not hold the yarn right. I had more control because I just held it between my thumb and middle finger. I tried to change it to wrapping but I could never get my tension just right. The girl that taught me did the thumb and middle finger and I guess old habits are hard to break. I do feel thou that the continental knitting is more efficient than the way I do it because I have to move my shoulder and whole hand. I will keep trying. I am envious of you ladies that can do continenal. :notworthy:

I actually wrap the yarn once around my pinky AND once around my index finger. When I need more yarn I just kind of lift my index finger and it pulls it off my pinky. Works for me anyway. :teehee:

As far as the continental purl stitch goes, I just put the needle through the stitch, then kind of point my left index finger over the needle so that it is easy to “grab”. Also very easy!

I am trying to teach my niece how to purl…however she learned to knit conti style and I am having a really hard time helping her. I had her watch Amy’s video, and just found this thread with some suggestions. Two problems I see her having is…

She knits and purls so tightly you can’t pull the yarn along the needle. I have tried to explain to just loosen up, but it’s hard to explain since I knit english style. Any suggestions?

The other is when she purls, her stitches end up backwards on the needles when she goes to knit. What is she doing wrong?

She is really frustrated and wants to give up learning. Is there anything that I can show her that might make it easier to learn.

I did suggest that after Christmas she check out several books from the library and do a bit of reading on conti knitting.

Later today I will have to look at the other video clips that were suggested, maybe that will help a bit also.

Have her hold the yarn different, that could loosen up her tension. What size needles is she using? A larger size might help her loosen up. And she’s probably wrapping her purls the wrong direction, a la combination knitting.


I think Amy’s videos are 10 million times more helpful than any book could be. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a tad. But only a tad. :teehee: Hopefully the problems she’s having now will go away once she gets the hang of it. Have her sit in front of the computer with yarn and needles in hand, and encourage her to pause and rewind as necessary. That’s what worked for me. :thumbsup:

If the stitches are ending up backwards the purl stitch is being made by picking the yarn up under the right needle and pulling it through. You don’t have to change the purl stitch, all you have to do is to knit through the back edge of the knit stitch on the return row. This is called combination knitting. It’s not wrong, and I find it to be very quick and easy. To change, you want to place the yarn on top of the right needle and pull it through when you purl. Then the knit stiches will look like they do in English knitting. I personally think it’s harder to do a purl stitch this way because I’ve always done it with the yarn under the needle. Knitting the way your niece has learned isn’t wrong–though I will admit to having people wonder what the heck I’m doing when they watch me knit!


Just following up after the holidays…

She was using really long 15 metal needles and homespun yarn. We went and bought some easier yarn to knit with but couldnt’ really find any thick yarn she was happy with. She picked out size 10 circular needles in resin - that is what the yarn called for so she wanted to try that. I think that between the different in the size and feel of the yarn and trying to do a new stitch it might be a bit overwhelming to her.

I had her try a couple of different ways, but the purl stitches are still twisted. I did notice her knitting is not quite as tight and she is getting the hang of a knit an purl stitch. I think she will just have to find what works best for her and encouraged her to keep practicing. I also suggested she keep watching the videos and get a book or two from the library that might help her.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

It does just need practicing to get any of it looking `right’. Like a few thousand stitches…