Feeling much better (update) & continental knitting

I post a few days ago about how I was stressing out over learning to knit (English style): http://www.knittinghelp.com/forum/showthread.php?t=89236
Well, I took a day off and put it out of my mind. The next day I started thinking about it again and realized that I really do want to learn. I decided to just teach myself one new thing every couple of days. When I sat back down to do it again, I took it very slowly and was very careful. The next day my knit stitch was better. Then I started learning the purl. I practiced it very slowly and the next day it was better. Then I begin doing a knit row and a purl row. I just started clicking along and it was so much fun. I have gotten pretty good at knit stitch and purl stitch and am now learning to bind off. I am doing the English method. I am thinking about before I really get into the English method that I might try the Continental. I have heard that it is easier and does not have the same tension problems (is that true?) I am still having problems with a loose stitch at the end of a row, even though I have been pulling tightly. I am wondering if continental might correct this? Any thoughts?

Good for you for putting your mind to it and learning to knit. :thumbsup:

There are thousands (millions?) of english knitters who don’t have tension problems. What corrects it either way is practice, practice, practice. No one has good tension when they learn no matter which method they use.

People who knit continental style also have tension problems, generally the purl st is looser or tighter than the knit stitch. It’s not which method you use, but how proficient you get at it. As Jan says, practice makes it more even. And washing or blocking when finished helps a lot too.

Thanks suzeeq and Jan in CA because I really did not want to take a break from the English knitting. I was just thinking if the continental would fix my end of row problem I might give it a shot. I am stitcking wtih the English. I think I am going to try slipping the first knit stitch off like is recommend in one of the videos on this site. This is supposed to stretch it over two rows and fix the problem.

Hi, Blessed…
Good for you for sticking with it. As everyone else is saying, the more you knit, the better you’ll get at it. And, the last stitch being lose is just the way of knitting. I’ve heard it explained before it’s because that stitch doesn’t have another stitch on either side to hold it so it will always be a little looser than the rest of your stitches. But, when you’re finished with the project, unless it’s a scarf or something like that, it’s usually hidden in the seam. And even if it’s not, it will not be that noticeable.
As for English vs. Continental, you do whichever way you’re most comfortable with. I’ve been knitting over 30 years and I can do both ways, but I prefer English. I switch back and forth sometimes in the same project, but I always go back to English. I taught a coworker of mine to knit and I showed her English which was the way I knit so that’s how she learned, but she now knits Continental and loves it. There is no wrong or right way to knit as long as you’re doing the stitches correctly. Since you now know knit and purl, you can do just about anything because that’s all knitting is…knit and purl…but it’s the different things you can do with those two stitches that make this so much fun. Enjoy it…don’t let it get you all flustered or upset. Do like you did and put it away for a while and when you come back to it, things will work out.
Have fun…Mary

Just putting in my 2 cents and reiterating what everyone else is saying and to commend you on sticking with it. I think pretty much everyone has a problem with tension when they first start. I knit English style and have never knit continental, but I do not have any of those early tension problems from when I first started to knit. Those loose stitches tighten up with practice. After some time you’ll suddenly notice that your tension has gotten much better without your even seeming to try. Good for you for taking it slow and learning something new :cheering:

Just an aside… I’ve always knit english, but I taught myself continental this week so I could use it for ribbing. I also use both hands when I do fair isle. Knowing a lot of one and a little of the other comes in handy sometimes, but do practice with english till you become proficient. :thumbsup:

I do a mixture of both styles. I NEVER purl conti style however. When anything is tricky I do English. As far as waiting a day or two then re-visiting a problem - that was my experience with picking up stitches. I COULDN’T get it, then one day when I wasn’t thinking about it, it dawned on me how it worked. I was trying to pick up the stitches right onto my needle, instead of get the strand of yarn through the picked-up stitch and onto the needle. Know what I mean?

I just noticed myself doing this last night. I taught myself English first and knit that way for about 3 years. Then, because of ribbing, I wanted to learn Continental. My gauge with English is very tight. My gauge with Continental is very loose. With English, I’m a much neater knitter, but I just keep practicing my Continental. What’s funny is that when something seems “tricky” to me, I switch to English. I ended up knitting 3 stitches in one row English and then switched back to Continental.

Is it possible to do ribbing with English knitting?

Absolutely! You just have to move the yarn between the needles do the purl and then move it back to knit. It’s kind of an extra step you don’t have when knitting conti, but once you develop a rhythm it becomes second nature.

One hint to make english easier and improve tension is to learn how to wrap the yarn around your hand so you tension it as you go rather than just picking it up each time you need to wrap around the needles. It feels weird at first, but it just takes practice.

Of course! Some people just prefer to do it continental. You do have to keep an even tension, no matter which style. I don’t wrap the yarn around any fingers, but thread it through them - over the index, under the middle, over the ring and the little finger kind of curls over the trailing end. This is what works for me and every knitter has a different method of hold it that works for them. Check out videos on Youtube for a variety of methods.

I, too, have put my knitting down when something wasn’t going right and I got too stressed. When I return I’m ready for a fresh start and that usually does the trick!