Teaching Knitting: English or Conti?

On the lines of the thread about English versus Conti, would you [B]expect[/B] that a beginner class in knitting would be taught using the English method?

I’m working on teaching a beginner knitting class in order to get my CYA (Craft Yarn Council) teaching certification and I knit conti. I can’t knit English. Never learned that way (although both my kids knit that way – go figure!) So I’m teaching the way I know best and that’s conti.

Is this going to be a problem? I know some people have said that English is easier to learn but is that really the case or is it that you are just more comfortable with the way you learned to knit? Knitting is awkward in the beginning any way you slice it (IMO)

Just wondering. :think:


PS – I’m going to have my dd who is turning 9 next month show me how she knits so I can get a better feel for teaching knitting using English method.

I’d say that you could demonstrate both methods once or twice and let your “students” choose what they want to learn. If you “talk up” and prefer conti, then many of them will choose that just for that reason…and if one or more of them choose English–then it’ll give you some good practice!

Show them both ways and let them knit in whatever way is most comfortable for them.

Just a bit of personal experience for you…

I had absolutely no knitting/crochet/needle-art/sewing/crafting background, but decided to take a knitting course (5 classes over 5 weeks). The instructor taught conti style, and I was the only one in the class who had never held a pair of needles and yarn before. The rest caught on right away, but I was completely lost, despite practicing and practicing.

After showing my mom my “progress” after the class ended, she immediately showed me how to knit in English and I haven’t looked back since.

One last thing to consider, as a brand new knitter, if the instructor had asked if I wanted to learn English or Conti, I would have been very confused :scratchinghead: as I had no frame of reference to determine which would work for me.

Good luck with your class. It sounds like a lot of fun!

One last thing to consider, as a brand new knitter, if the instructor had asked if I wanted to learn English or Conti, I would have been very confused :scratchinghead: as I had no frame of reference to determine which would work for me.

Good point… Show them both ways and have them try out both ways to see which is eaiser for them.

I would expect that the class would be in either both methods or in whatever the instructor prefers.

I would teach both methods, but a warning: Let them completely master the knit stitch and the purl stitch in one method before teaching the second. If you don’t, I’ve found that they often get confused, and think knitting is “hard.”

One question I have is, are they signing up because they know you knit Conti? It’s hard to say unless we know what the students are expecting. But, Yes, both ways are good- Now can you teach me how to knit the English way with the needle under my arm? smile

I’m just offering a beginning knitting class. I didn’t think about how I was going to teach it until I read in my CYC manual that English is easier to learn and that you can control your gauge better using English. (Yes, that’s what the manual says – take it up with them, not me!)

I started thinking about all the debate about English vs Conti and the fact that there are more English knitters than Conti knitters. I was wondering if there was an expectation about how one would learn to knit – do people assume that a beginning knitting class teaches English and that you only learn Conti if you are being taught by your Eastern European grandmother or mother or learn it after you’ve mastered English knitting?

I spent a good part of yesterday knitting English with the help of Amy’s videos and my 9 yo dd and I did pretty well. It took me awhile to get the hang of purling but if I must say so myself, I took to it pretty quick. My gauge was much tighter knitting English, bordering on too tight but then again my gauge in Conti is too loose. I actually enjoyed my English knitting and I think I can now teach both – however, the needle under the arm thing is not anything I can do just yet :eyes:

So now I think I can comfortably teach either way and hope that people will pick up the method they are more comfortable with.

I so appreciate all of everyone’s input!


I think a lot of beginners wouldn’t know the difference between English or continental by name, so there wouldn’t be an expectation of either. However they may have seen a relative or someone knit one way or another and think that’s `knitting’ so would expect to learn that way. Explaining and showing there’s two ways to hold the yarn and knit, and that both are correct
would satisfy everyone.

I was just going to say this - I had never even heard of continental until I found the on-line forums (no knitters in my circle!). I think if I had been aware of it I might have learned this way first as it feels more “natural” to me but I am glad I learned English as I can now (sort of) do both. I would just show them the two methods, tell them you prefer contintental so they are aware that is your preference, and then let them choose. In a beginner’s class you will probably get people who have never picked up needles to people who have knit a little in the past and already have some preference…Just my thoughts…