Switching from English to Continental

Hey. I learned to knit English style when I was younger. I quit knitting for approximately fourteen years, and have recently taken it up again. I feel myself drawn to the continental style - so I’m using the videos on this site to help me.

I have arthritis, so knitting will be a helpful pastime.

I’ve been practicing only the knit stitch in continental (just began a few minutes ago). Taking a break because my thumb is cramped and I need to stretch it out.

Anyway, while practicing I’ve noticed that it’s rather messy. I’m sure that will improve as I practice the technique. Any tips or anything would be appreciated.

Other than that, I’m taking a break from the ribbed scarf I’m knitting for my boyfriend (English style) to learn continental. He’s supportive, but really wants his scarf. :mrgreen:

Update, I’ve tried practicing the purl stitch (continental style) and I’m horrible at it. The stitches come out fine but it’s so difficult to do, it’s really awkward for me. I guess that’s because I’m so used to the English style. It’s driving me buggy. I just threw the yarn and needles. Haha. Just like me, frustrated - so I throw the work down. :hair:

I switched to Continental last summer. The purling was extremely awkward. I watched a lot of different videos and finally figured out my own way to do it. I use my left middle finger to “push” the yarn down behind the needle when purling.

Good luck, and keep at it!

K, I have a question for both of ya…Have either of you guys crocheted before (doesn’t matter if it’s a doily or just a chain). You would hold the yarn in your left hand just like you would for crocheting. The needle motion is similar also, where you go into the stitch and “grab” or “pick” the yarn and pull it through the stitch. Same concept with conti.
In english, you are used to the right hand knitted stitches just moving along rather nicely and not bunching up on you. In conti. you have to consciously move those stitches so they don’t bunch up and your gauge gets all messed up. So every once in a while you have to rearrange your stitches so that they feed nicely up to the points. Another little point is to not move the yarn hand very much at all, it’s pretty much all in the wrist, not the fingers like english.
You also don’t want to choke your needles (trying to keep the yarn tension). Wrap the yarn aroung your little finger and have it rest close to your hand in that joint ditch or on that 2nd knuckle bend. That way your pinky curls and that holds your yarn to tension pretty much without binding up. Then have the yarn go under your 2 middle fingers and then up and over the index finger.Another little tip is if the yarn is thin or slick, wrap the yarn twice around your index finger and rembember it’s not a wiggly snake so don’t strangle it. Let the yarn flow through your fingers as you go. You will get better tension and the muscles in your hands will start to remember what they are supposed to do as you get more experience.
Hope that helps at least a little bit.:thumbsup:

I knit both (learned English first, though). When knitting Continental, I hold the yarn different that what Fibrenut describes. I found thisvideo on youtube and it’s what I do. You barely have to move your fingers at all and I can purl easier this way. I never could get the hang of pushing the yarn down with my middle finger. HTH

I think you should knit in whatever method works for you and not worry about it. :thumbsup: I was a crocheter, but I knit english and it works fine for me. One method is not better than another, just different. :hug:

I agree with Jan on this one. Do whatever technique suits you best. You end up with the same product anyway:thumbsup::slight_smile: .
I was just trying to help with continental techniques that have worked for me. Not saying that it’s the end all be all way to go. Like the old saying, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” LOL.:slight_smile: :aww:

Ya’ll just go on and knit whichever way that is the most comfortable to you, and it’s a wonderful thing when someone wants to broaden their reportoire:knitting: :slight_smile: :thumbsup:

So, here’s to knitten to the beat of a different drum…:clink: :whistle: LOL!!!

p.s. there is a great tutorial video here on the site that should help you with that purl stitch problem thing…:guyknitting:

I totally agree. Go with what feels ‘right’ for you. I started English, went to Continental, Continental with Norwegian Purl, and am now doing Irish Cottage. Cottage is the most comfortable for me. I learned the Norwegian Purl because of pain from pivoting my index finger, but it was sooooo slow. I learned Cottage method to tighten my gauge for socks and I think that’s where I’m gonna stay, lol.

I’m a little in the dark here. What is Norwegian Purl and Irish Cottage? Are these ways to knit?
I’m always interested in different ways to do things.

Norwegian purl is just another way to do a purl stitch. There’s a video of it here. Looks like a pain in the butt to me, but then I’m kinda set in my ways. Irish Cottage knitting is yet another way to hold the yarn and apparently you can go crazy-fast. You can see a video of it here.

Thanks to everyone.

English knitting is comfortable to me because it’s the way I was taught. But I just think broadening my craft is a good idea. Plus, I hear that Continental is faster - so I’d like to master it. Just in case I need to whip something up real quick.

I’ll check out those videos though. Many thanks to Newbie2Knitting for the links. :mrgreen:

Thank you all for great posts…I’m encouraged from that video which really takes alot of the angst out of learning a new way to knit. I am a beginner as well,taking up knitting after a 20yr. stall. I’ve also had surgery in both thumb joints for arthritis,(better now,thank goodness)but think changing up the style would be a good thing so the hands would move differently on occasion…pls. the brain/thinking function would be healthy as well. I’m a life long student,and always interested in learning something new. Thanks again~

I was exactly where you were a few months ago. I was taught English and then decided I wanted to learn Continental. Partly because I was trying to get comfortable with the yarn in my left hand (I hope crocheting is in my future!), and also because I was doing a lot of ribbing and Continental seemed faster.

I looked up the videos here on KH and the knit stitch seemed to go okay, but when I got to purling I was a wreck. I would get so frustrated but luckily I was on a break from school and just kept at it. Now it’s months later and I can purl just as fast as I can knit!

So don’t give up! It’ll be loose and messy at first, and you may find making the stitches awkward, but the longer you go the more confident you’ll be. You’ll be knitting like the wind in no time! :x:

I agree that it feels awkward at first, but most things do when you are learning something new. I actually think it is fun to purl continental, though it did take a lot of practice.