Teaching children to knit : english or continental?

I have read that continental knitting is by far better for your fingers/joints if you are going to knit a lot, as it uses less movements than English knitting.
Would you teach continental knitting to 6/7 year olds rather than English knitting?
Or is it harder to learn?
Are there places where they learn continental knitting straight away, and what are the rhymes to help you learn it?

I wish I had learned continental instead of English, simply because it seems like people that knit that way are able to go a lot faster than I. Maybe it’s not really that much faster, and I’m just really slow, lol! I honestly don’t know. Continental does seem to be much more efficient as far as wrist/finger movement goes, as well.

I’d see how teaching Continental goes, and if it causes any problems use the English method.

Unless you’re knitting where your only goal is a finished product I don’t think speed is important. That being said I’ve seen fast English knitters and slow continental. Everyone is different and some find one method easier than others. I crocheted before I knit, but found English knitting easier.

It’s actually VERY useful to know both methods as I do now. It makes fair isle much easier and faster. So… Teach whichever method you want to start. If the child is struggling too much try the other method. It’s more important that they enjoy themselves than the method they use. They can always learn another method later. :thumbsup:

I’ve learnt how to knit the continental way (probably because I grew up on the continent ) and never even heard of the English method until I saw a video on youtube and thought “What the heck is she doing there?!” :stuck_out_tongue: It looked quite crampy and slow to me, so I haven’t tried knitting that way. I’ve since seen other people do it, some quite easily and relaxed, so I guess it all depends on preference.

The rhyme I used wasn’t in English, unfortunately, but I found this on a quick google search: auntiesuzanne.blogspot.ch/2006/10/knitting-rhymesold-and-new.html

Hope that helps!

I’m biased, but I’d start them on Continental. They can always learn other methods later on.

I can knit both English and Continental, but my preferred method these days is Portuguese. My stitches are more even and my gunge has improved. Much easier than Continental and while gaining speed was not what I had in mind, I seem to have increased my knitting speed. I wanted to add, Portuguese style is much easier on hands and shoulders. Well, for me any how.

Whenever I’ve taught a class of new knitters (kids or adults), I always start them out with the English method. I can knit using either of these methods but since I learned English first that’s what I use to teach others.


Do they already know how to crochet? It might be easier to learn first, actually. You know, seeing as you only have one “foreign” object (=hook) and only one loop.

I don’t think the kids of this age can learn continental or English knitting. You should engage them in other educational activities rather that these. My kids go to the Phoenix kindergarten and they have been taught such activities that are beneficial for their academic career.

In Scandinavian countries children are taught knitting beginning at age 4 and it’s also taught in schools.

To the poster that said don’t teach kids knitting, that’s totally bizarre being that they are on a knitting forum! :slight_smile: Of course teach them… some of the best memories of my childhood is learning to knit and then knitting with my mum. She had all these knitting patterns and the clothes I remember best are the ones she knitted for me. I learned continental, and when I came to the west and saw the English way n youtube it seemed very confusing and slow. I haven’t picked up knitting in 20 years, but amazingly I could still remember how to do it and it felt like riding a bike. You never forget it. I imagine that learning to knit for the first time as an adult would be pretty daunting. To get back on topic, continental way is better, to me at least, as it seems more efficient, less movement and much quicker. And I don’t think its more complicated at all, it seems more natural/intuitive.

I learned English first and when I went to learn continental I felt like I had too many fingers. Now I know both and know the value of knowing both so I always say to teach them with what you are most comfortable with, but be open that they find the other method more to their liking. :wink: