Has anyone switched from English to Continental?

I’ve heard so many good things about how continental style knitting is so much better for avoiding repetitive motion injuries, and since I have a tendency toward tendonitis, I thought switching would be a good thing.

I took a class at Stitches and love the ease of the continental knitting…but I’m actually finding my “knitter’s elbow” to be worse, not better. I realized I was still very tense because it was all new to me, but I’m beginning to relax more now.

I believe the logic that less movement should be a better thing, but just wondered if anybody found they perferred sticking with English even if you’re having repetitive motion issues.

Maybe it’s just because I’m working on a Moderne Baby Blanketand that’s just so much garter stitch it doesn’t matter what style you use! :slight_smile:

I don’t see that one style or another would be better at preventing RSIs. Switching back and forth may be a good idea, but they both have repetitive movements even if not the same ones.

I taught myself continental for things like stranded knitting or making a ribbed scarf. I find it’s harder on my hands than english though. There is less movement of my hands using english and less stress on the joints. English is my method of choice for most things.

I don’t like it when people say continental is “better” or “faster” than the english because it’s just not true for everyone. One size does not fit all so do what works for you personally. :thumbsup:

I have to agree with Jan. I tried continental style, after much practice, and found I used my hands/fingers a lot more than with the English-style knitting. I watched very closely to see the movement(s) with both and English is far less stressful than the other. However, what works for one doesn’t necessarily for another. BTW, I do have carpal tunnel syndrome and I don’t move my wrist or fingers with English nearly as much with the afflicted (working) hand.

Part of the reason English gets a bad rap about hand movements is that most learn how videos show exaggerated wrapping motions and most of us don’t actually knit that way, but keep the hands close or on the needles.

I tried and failed. Bah! :frog:

So I stick with [U]what works[/U] for me. English. :wink:

Thanks, ladies. I was thinking that it would be better because it seemed like less movement…but for whatever reason, it’s either not really less or just different than what I was doing before. I’ve been switching back and forth from one to the other to see what works better. Haven’t fully decided, but am thinking I do better the way I’ve always done it. :slight_smile:

I switched many years ago from English to Continental. I use the English for two handed color work. I get a little trouble, with of all things, my left thumb which does absolutely nothing as far as I can tell. :lol: I guess it helps hold the work.

Every body is different so nothing works for everyone, but I find it much easier on my hands, not sure about elbows. Sometimes I think I will try knitting English a while for a change up. But I can’t stand doing it for very long. My right fingers always feels so tensed up. I probably have a bad way of holding things or something, but this is what happens for me.

Hi! :waving:

Even though I’ve gained lots of knitting experience over the last few years I still go back and review this video on continental knitting. It answered all my questions and truly launched me into a method I absolutely love!

I switched from English to Continental and haven’t looked back, but am very happy that I can knit both methods easily. Sometimes changing to the alternate style can help relieve stress and perk up the interest level in a plain project with expanses of basic stitches. After a couple of large baby blankets done with the Grandmother’s Favorite pattern (LOTS AND LOTS OF KNIT STITCHES!:thud: ) I was happy to have more than one style option! :slight_smile:

Good luck with your projects whatever they are!

Happy knitting, :knitting:

When I took my first knitting class, the teacher insisted on teaching us English. I could not get it. I was slow and my brain just could not wrap itself around it. Then as I started knitting more, I just fell into Continental. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but knitting really became enjoyable to me. I occasionally try to knit English, but I still haven’t been able to become proficient in that style. I think you knit in whatever style suits you. Most importantly, it should be fun and not a chore to do it!

I wear gloves, Handeze for my tendonitis. It helps but with gardening and riding and spring cleaning, everything hurts. I don’t spend a lot of time knitting during the spring/summer, too much outdoor time!!

I completely agree! Recently I met someone who was learning to knit and was showing someone how to knit a stitch. Their aunt was watching me knit and she said that the way I was holding the yarn (I’m an English Method knitter) and working with it seemed “better” then holding it in the left hand like her niece was. I told them that one way isn’t “better” than the other, and that she should just hold the yarn whichever way she was comfortable with.

I never noticed that in videos, but checking the English Method video here I was like “o.O she’s right.” I guess I always pay more attention to what I’m trying to learn then to pay attention to how they’re using their hand. Although when I was first learning to knit I know that I used the ‘exaggerated wrapping motions’ since I would always drop the yarn and hold it in my hand. Now though I keep it tensioned over my index finger so like suzeeq said, I keep my hands close to the needles.

It’s possible that I’ve switched from English to Continental. A while back :wink: , in college, the same GF who taught me to crochet also tried to teach me to knit. She must have tried to teach me English style.

I remembered through the following years how to do the knit and purl stitches, but could not for the life of me remember casting on or off. So…no knitting, just crochet.

Then, about five years ago, another GF tried again w/casting on and off. It was like water through a colander: nothing stayed in my brain. So she cast on for me, just to see if I really did know the knit and purl stitches.

I did. That was a relief!

Then, a year ago, I joined a community-service group that knits/crochets items for others. I crocheted sturdily on until, earlier this year, I decided to go for it. I tried again English style, because that’s what the current GF uses, and she could demo things for me. It also seemed that many of the on-line videos were English.

I even checked out a book from the library called [I]Kids Knit![/I] (Sarah Bradberry) aimed at approx. middle-school readers. It was, bar none, the BEST book I could have read to get me over the hump of fear and give me a small-enough project to start with (a cat toy). And then…the next week…

Within three days (!) of one another, I found this site [B]and[/B] the conversation at the knit/crochet group work session in May turned to the question of knitting styles. Out of the six knitters then present, FOUR OF THEM worked in the Continental style!

I seized my chance. In crochet, I always tension the yarn with my left hand. I had been able to manage the yarn with my right in “knitting” English style, but it never felt natural, easy, or even. With some one-on-one, in-person help, I got much better very fast. I’m still not good, but oh so much better in Continental than ever I was in English style.

So maybe I’ve switched. Or maybe I just finally found my natural style. At last.


I don’t think one style is necessarily “better” than the other, it’s just what works for me. I started out with the English method but then (years later) wanted to try Continental. I found out that Continental works well for me in most of my knitting projects.

I sort of go back and forth with whatever works better. I don’t stick to one exclusively. If I’m working on size 35 or 50 needles and multiple strands of yarn, then I use English.

It all depends on which method works better for YOU!!


Congrats! I learned Continental style and have heard that if you crochet it feels more natural because the yarn is in the left hand with both. I have tried English and I can’t stand it. “Picking” (i.e Continental style) in my book is way better than “Throwing” (i.e. English style), but it is purely a matter of preference. I think most people who do both agree that Continental is faster.

Also, I think it’s easier to learn to knit without looking down at your work if you knit Continental, because you are picking the stitches. I was knitting in the dark within a year of starting to knit seriously (because I’ve loved and tried since I was a kid, but only really started knitting and improving when I found this site in 2007).

I started with English, but learned Continental for stranded work. I rarely use English now, but I have switched to it if my hand gets tired or something. In my experience, Continental is faster and I get a more even tension.

I’ve switched from Continental to Eastern knitting. I’m the oddball here.

I don’t think either one is better than the other. I prefer Continental, but I started on English. I find that I get a little less fatigue with Continental if I’m doing a lot of knitting, however if I’m doing a lot of purling my left index finger gets tired and sore. So I think it depends on what you are doing as to what type of repetitive injury you are going to have.

I do think its best to know how to do both though.

Totally off-topic, but I love your screenname! :slight_smile:

I’m not familiar with Eastern knitting. Can you give me a link to a site with photos/illos of this style of knitting? Thx! :slight_smile: