Continental vs. English?

I asked this is my other thread but thought I’d make a new post in case it gets lost in my other question.

I was told that since I know how to crochet, that continental knitting would be easier to learn than english knitting. True? What do you think? I don’t really even know what the difference is and what to think.

I’m obsessed with learning to knit but can’t seem to get started!!!

I was a crocheter first and while some crocheters say that continental was more natural to learn, I think that any style of knitting will be extremely awkward for a new knitter. I don’t necessarily think you’ll be at an advantage or disadvantage for any way of knitting you choose to learn. I’d say it’s all up to personal choice.

Great to hear you’re excited to learn knitting!!! Good luck!

There are so many ways of knitting–and as long as your knit and purl stitches are correct, it probably doesn’t matter how you got them there. Annie Modesette does a really differnet method; Elizabeth Zimmerman really prodded people inot knitting Continental (also called German) because she felt it saved time, and was instrumental in doing colorwork so you could hold one color in one hand and the other in your other hand. I think it’s probably good to learn both, but try as I might, I still knit better English–my guage is better, I’m more comfortable, it’s faster–everything!! But I still made myself learn Continental because one day I hope to do colorwork, and I’ll a tleast knowhow to do both–well, that’s the plan anyway!!

Wow, I just posted a response to another thread talking exactly about this! Check out my response in the thread titled “American or English Style Knitting!” by Sia under the General Knitting section of the forum.

In case you don’t want to read it, I found that going from crochet to continental knitting was more natural since I already knew how to hold the yarn tension with my left hand. I had tried knitting first, but couldn’t get the hang of it. After a few years of crochet and many afghans later, I picked up knitting again and didn’t have to think so hard about my left hand so that I could focus on holding the needles and then doing the stitches with the right hand.

Hope that helps,

v. :happydance:

as a new knitter myself and a past crocheter - from my own point of view the continental method was much more difficult. in fact i quit trying for awhile as i was sooooo frustrated. when i tried knitting again i was shown the english method and i took to it like a duck to water. go figure…
one thing tho = i crochet really really tight and i dont really enjoy it so that might have a LOT to do with my lack of success with continental- it felt really really awkward

good luck and go with what feels best

I learned knit first, and crochet not too long after. I knit english and find that holding the yarn the same way as I do crocheting makes my tension soooo much tighter, so I had to find a different way to hold it for knitting.

Seems I’m going against the stream, I’m a continental knitter and I’ve crotched quite a bit and to me english style seems like so much more work. Switching from purl-stitches to knit-stitches is efortless with continental knitting and I really don’t have the patiense to take the time to wrap the thread to make stitches… but whichever way works is the best so I’d suggest you to try both.

Not for me. It was easier with the yarn in my right hand. :shrug: It’s all personal preference, Eileen. Do what works for you and don’t worry about it.

Long-time knitter/crocheter. I’ve tried continental. Seems counter-intuitive to me for some reason. Can’t get the rhythm I have with crochet and yarn on left. And like suzeeq, the tension isn’t what I want. It’s all about finding a method that is fun and relaxing.


I do understand that these two methods are referred to as right-handed and left-handed because of how the working yarn is held. I think that the most challenging part of the mechanics of knitting and purling is REGULATING THE TENSION ON THE WORKING YARN. At least, it is for me.

SO…I wonder…if someone is very dominant in the right or left hand, they might find the corresponding “right-handed” or “left-handed” method easier to learn. Just a thought.

I myself have long wished that I were AMBIDEXTROUS. It would be so handy!

Wow, thank you all so much, your input is very helpful. I’m going to keep practicing both ways until I figure out what works best for me. It’s good to know I can do that, do what works, rather than think I have to do it a certain way. You really helped me see that. Thanks again!

I agree, try both and see which you find easier! I think that regulating tension of the wool between one’s fingers is a totally new skill and if you have not knitted before, no hand is going to be familiar with the required movements, neither hand will be better as it’s such a new skill. And different populations with the same handedness have adopted the two different techniques, it’s purely preference.

I suggest that you see the videos, and then choose which method you feel more comfortable using. Personally I prefer the Continental. Good luck:cheering:

It is always a good idea to be versatile!
I wish both methods were equally easy for me, but as they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

I started out as a thrower (English) and tried to learn continental because I was told it is so much more speedy. I just didn’t care for it FOR ME. A friend of mine is a continental knitter (picker) and is so super fast and just loves it. You really have to try both and decide for yourself. Annie Modeset does combination knitting (which can be really helpful if knitting intarsia or fair isle). No method is the most natural method. It’s which ever method you feel is most natural for you. Good luck and happy knitting!

I learned to crochet 40 years ago and just taught myself knitting (English) last year. I tried Continental also and I can do it but have same problems as others mentioned, mainly my tension is just off and I don’t like the rhythm (or lack of it, in my case, LOL). I continue to practice Continental every once in a while, I like knowing both ways since it does come in handy at times, but for a project I generally stick with English.

Really, whatever works best for YOU and is most enjoyable is the way to go - the only wrong way would be to try and conform for whatever reason to something you really don’t like.

I’m going to quote Elizabeth Zimmermann from [I]The Knitting Workshop[/I] :

"You may have noticed that I hold the wool over my left forefinger and hook the stitch through with the right needle. Now you very possibly hold the wool in your right hand and loop it around the needle. Both ways are right, and both yield the same result. They are known as the German or Continental way, and the American or English way respectively. It matters not one bit which one you use habitually.

I would, however, MOST STRONGLY suggest that you learn both methods, as they will come in very handy later on."

There’s my opinion, too!

I forgot to mention - If you are a new knitter and planning on taking classes, you may want to learn continental style because I’ve found alot of teachers use this method. If you aren’t thrown off by someone using a different method, than it doesn’t matter which you use.

Side note: My son learned to throw because I throw. I had him learn continental style so that he could learn both methods. He said he didn’t like it because he felt like he was more ‘actively’ involved by moving both hands alot. LOL! So I’m wondering, does that mean if I’m a thrower I can count it as a workout? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

You’d probably burn more calories than if you were just sitting there… :wink:

I am a crocheter and when I started knitting about a year ago, I was told that it would probably be easier for me to learn knitting using the Continental method. Not so, for me I knit faster, more accurately, and more comfortably using the English method. Every once in a while if I have a number of knit rows or a number of rib stitch rows, I will try the Continental method and it is still very awkward to me. I like the statement that there are many methods and techniques but that as long as I am doing a knit and a purl correctly there is no right or wrong way. The reason I keep trying the Continental way is that I keep hearing it is faster, but for me that is just not the case and I am really close to just keeping with what is comfortable.

However, I did find that reading patterns and understanding the stitches was probably easier for me to pick up because of my crochet background. I think I probably went from knitting scarves to other pieces pretty quickly because of my crochet background.