Correct way to hold the wool

I have watched both videos of the two different methods of knitting, english versus continental. It seems to be that I may be better off in the long run to learn the continental for efficiency. However, no matter how many times I watch the videos,I have a great deal of trouble understanding exactly how to wrap the wool around your fingers and how to hold the wool properly. This has been a constant frustration for me, as I cannot seem to find instructions focussing on this problem. I have tried to practice the continental method, but am finding it very awkward and difficult to work with , especially so with the purl stitch. I would appreciate any advice that would help me with this problem. Thanks, Misie

Here is a video to heip you

I can knit both handed… some… and I don’t hold it the same way English as Conti. For English, I thread it through my fingers, but when I do that for continental/combined it comes out way too tight, so I just loop it over my index finger and hold it in my hand. But since that puts it alongside the needle, that keeps it from being too loose.


First off, thanks for using a post title that describes what your problem is rather than ‘help, new knitter!’. What you are having problems with is your tension in holding the wool. The main thing involved in learning how to knit is developing a consistent tension. There are many different ways to do this. Some of Amy’s videos demonstrate how she holds the wool when knitting continental. If your wool slips through your fingers too fast and loosely, or gets tight/stuck between your fingers, you probably need to wind it around different fingers, or a different number of times, or in a different direction. This is really a personal preference and takes time to get used to. You need to just try winding it lots of ways until you find a way you like, but seeing other knitters do it may help give you some ideas.
I believe it’s quite common to wind the wool around a little finger, the first finger, or both (try different directions), but there are many different combinations possible. I often readjust my hold depending on how hot my hands are, or how slippery the fibre is. With practice, you will get more constant and even. This is why a smallish square or rectangle is often recommended for beginners (e.g. scarves).

Since you are new to the craft, please research ‘gauge’ online (especially Knitty magazine). Some people knit tightly, others loosely. Too close to either extreme may cause problems. After you have gotten a constant tension, it will be more difficult to adjust your habits than now, before your habits are set! If gauge isn’t too confusing to you at this stage, here’s what I recommend you do: once your tension is even (may take a while of knitting), get an idea of whether you knit tightly, or at looser gauge.
Do this by looking at the label on your wool, it should say ‘x number of stitches per 4 inches (width) on size x needles’.
Use that size needles on that size wool, and make a square about 5x5 inches. Measure how many stitches your square of fabric has across 4 inches in the middle. If you have more stitches than recommended on the label (for that size wool and needles), you knit tightly (like me). If the same, you knit, um, perfectly.
If you have more stitches per 4 inches, you knit loosely, so try to loosen up before you are stuck firmly in your knitting habits. Now is the time to adjust your tension if you can, it will be helpful later when you are a more experienced knitter!

However, those of us who knit tight or loose, rather than average, can use bigger or smaller needles to adjust our stitches to the right size. If this gauge and stitch/needle-size thing confuses you, forget the whole paragraph I spent on it (at least until later). It’s helpful, but not necessary, and developing a consistent tension is most important right now! I promise you the holding wool-problem improves the more time you spend on it. If you intend to take this up as a serious hobby, and covet lace shawls/socks, I think it is worth learning Continental. I learned English first and then switched to Conti.
If you intend to do more basic items - simpler stitch patterns, scarves, maybe hats sometimes - as a relaxing distraction, I think English will be fine. It is easier /faster to learn for most beginners.

Lots more to say but this is way too long already! I’ll just add that you can get information on almost anything you want to know about knitting by Googling the relevant phrase. Please PM if I have not been clear enough! Happy knitting


i am a fairly new knitter myslef and also struggled to hold the wool comfortably and in a way which allowed me to knit steadily and smoothly.
I mae a concious effort to wind the yarn around my little finger and my index finger, it felt awkward at first and i kept dropping it or getting it too tight or loose, but the more i worked with it, especially now i have started knitting in the round, i have found it very comfortable and an easy way of controlling my working yarn.
I also occasionally use my thumb either in addition to or instead of my index finger when doign k1p1 ribbing, as it helps to move the ayrn from front to back. i dont know if this is normal or not thoguh.

there is no right or wrong way of doing it it depends on how you knitt and how you are comfortable, but on the other hand some methods are tried tested so its bedt to at least give them a go.

Godd luck and persevere you will find a way that is right for you.


PS. Im a continental knitter.

Thank you very much to all who took the trouble to advise me. I guess it’s a matter of practicing to find what is comfortable. I’m sure once I get past this difficulty that knitting will be a great hobby. Thanks again. Misie

here’s a couple of pics of how i hold my yarn. sometimes i only wrap it once around my index finger, depending on mood/degree of tiredness/phase of the moon :wink: etc.

i wrap around the pinky first, then the index finger.