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Topic: continental v.s. English methods?  (Read 2245 times)
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mooshie
« on: November 09, 2007 02:57:14 PM »

I'm a lefty, and the book I learned from taught me the English method of knitting, but then I discovered the continental method on knittinghelp.com it looks like it would be much faster than the english method after some practice.  what do you guys think? anyone here know both methods? which do you prefer?

I'm just wondering if it's worth putting in all the time to master the continental method when I already know the english method?

thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2007 03:21:14 PM »

yes, it worth it, i learned the english first, then taught myself the continental and  i think it goes faster for me- plus i just like it better. it won't take you long to master the continental method. and it's a bonus that you'll know both methods.
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mooshie
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2007 03:49:08 PM »

yes, it worth it, i learned the english first, then taught myself the continental and  i think it goes faster for me- plus i just like it better. it won't take you long to master the continental method. and it's a bonus that you'll know both methods.

I was kinda thinking that.  plus I knit left handed english style, and I'm finding it easier to knit right handed continental style, so I could just knit back and forth and never have to turn my work! lol I don't know if that's a good idea or not. anyone have an answer?
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rhythmgrl
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2007 06:14:27 PM »

it's seriously good to know both methods.  i mainly knit continental, but all of my k2togs i find it easier to wrap the yarn, english style.

I learned to purl continental; I still have a hard time when I teach clients and patients how to knit, how to knit & purl English style.
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coldpizzaforbreakfast
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007 07:35:11 PM »

I just taught myself cont. knitting and it's fab! Once I got the tension down and all. I'm a crocheter so cont. it similar.
And knitting english... too slow! I have a whole list of things to knit for my grandchild who is due in Jan and english just wasn't going to cut it.
Go for the cont. - you won't regret it!
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soozeq
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2007 08:39:05 PM »

You've never seen me knit english style if you think it's too slow! Most videos that demonstrate it must be made by newbies or people who normally knit continental because they show a very awkward way of going about it. My right hand never actually leaves the needle to `throw' the yarn. It just skims it and my fingers sort of flex out and flick the yarn around the needle.

mooshie, you can try the other way if you like; knit sts can be faster, but purl is harder to do and really awkward. People who use continental even say so! Grin
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2007 09:36:20 PM »

I figure this thread is a good place to ask this question:

continental knitting has to do with how your knitting is on the needle, correct?

like, let's say I knit a row and have transferred all the stitches to the other needle. instead of flipping it around, i keep it on that needle and work it back onto the other side...
in other words, the "right side" of the knitting always faces me.

this is how I taught myself to knit, and I've been doing the other method for a while after trying to convince my friends that it was correct because I didn't know any better. Tongue

is that what continental knitting is?
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StitchLikeABoy
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2007 10:45:48 PM »

I figure this thread is a good place to ask this question:

continental knitting has to do with how your knitting is on the needle, correct?

like, let's say I knit a row and have transferred all the stitches to the other needle. instead of flipping it around, i keep it on that needle and work it back onto the other side...
in other words, the "right side" of the knitting always faces me.

this is how I taught myself to knit, and I've been doing the other method for a while after trying to convince my friends that it was correct because I didn't know any better. Tongue

is that what continental knitting is?

I'm pretty sure what you described is actually backwards knitting. Continental is holding the yarn with your left hand and picking it with the right hand needle rather than holding the yarn with your right hand and throwing it around the right needle. This video shows Continental knitting.
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cranberry
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2007 09:33:36 AM »

As someone who can do English (learnt this first) and continental:

Continental knitting is quick! You won't believe how quick it is, and for Moss (seed) stitch and ribbing it's really fast. However, I find my tension on ribbing to be loosey goosey, so I'd have to go down 2 needle sizes.

But I do like my English for stocking stitch - my knit and purl stitches are brilliant - no uneven tension at all, unlike say my continental knitting.  Tongue
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2007 11:43:15 AM »

I'm coming into knitting from crochet, so continental came much much easier for me than english. I put myself into rages when I try English knitting.
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2007 01:43:16 PM »

yes, it worth it, i learned the english first, then taught myself the continental and  i think it goes faster for me- plus i just like it better. it won't take you long to master the continental method. and it's a bonus that you'll know both methods.

I was kinda thinking that.  plus I knit left handed english style, and I'm finding it easier to knit right handed continental style, so I could just knit back and forth and never have to turn my work! lol I don't know if that's a good idea or not. anyone have an answer?
Why not? My Mom was a leftie and she knit more or less English throwing style (I'm really not sure how she learned to knit though). If it makes sense to you and it works for you, again... why not? It's not how you do it but the results that you get from what you're doing that really count.

I'm coming into knitting from crochet, so continental came much much easier for me than english. I put myself into rages when I try English knitting.
I'm the same way... I'm a long time crocheter that learned how to knit recently. At first, I was doing it English style but saw the videos on knitting help and Continental style seemed much more natural to me too.
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2007 03:15:50 PM »

I'm a continental knitter because I learned to crochet first, and it's more natural to me.  I did learn english as well, but continental is so much easier on my wrists, and it's faster.
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2007 09:45:11 PM »

I taught myself continental after years of throwing and I love it. Especially for rib. Watching me breeze through K1P1 rib has inspired several fellow knitters to try the other way. But i don't know about right or left handed knitting- I think it's just best to find which way works for you
I've never had issues with pearl (tho when I first switch I had some loose tension problems which I've fixed)
Tinkerbellforever I'm so impressed you've been knitting backwards the whole time! I can't get my head around it- I wish I'd just tried it before muscle memory made it hard to change  Tongue
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« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2007 12:38:37 PM »

I'm a lefty while I crochet, but knitting I do right handed. So I'm used to the yarn being in my right hand. I'm trying to teach myself continental, but purling is so HARD! And my guage is awful  Sad

But I want to be able to do it all, so I'm still going.
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kmsmaverick
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2007 09:54:12 AM »

I just taught myself cont. knitting and it's fab! Once I got the tension down and all. I'm a crocheter so cont. it similar.

coldpizza, that is the main reason i chose continental also. the motion mimics the motion of crochet for me. since i was already a pretty competent crocheter, continental was a tiny bit less frustrating for me to learn.
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2007 12:48:56 PM »

I'm a crocheter who has just finished her first knitting project (well the pieces of it anyway). I taught myself continental as it seemed the most crochet like. When I crochet, i just hold the piece in my left hand. I am thinking of learning continentla though as I am eyeing off some two colour work and I was watching the video at knittinghelp and she has one strand in each hand, doing both at once. I thought that was really cool.

Not sure if this is relevant. My stitches appear really even to me. Once my thingie is received, I can post a close up and you can critique if you want.
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2007 01:11:47 PM »

I'm so excited this topic is here! I was just about to start one to proclaim how amazing continental is! I have been knitting english style for 6 years and I have never been a quick knitter. I have wanted to learn continental for a LONG time, I have started various projects saying I was going to do the whole thing in continental, but I would get frustrated at how long it was taking and go back to the familar english style. Recently I knitted 2 BR knock off hats completely in continental. I had to force myself to get through the first 6 rounds or so and then I started getting the hang of it. Once I got the hang of it though- it became SO much faster and easier than english style. I am already probably double as fast as I ever was with english after only 2 hats. I had 6 years of practice with english style!
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2007 05:14:39 PM »

I taught myself to knit & couldn't get it at all as a thrower.  I totally ignored the section on "left-handed" knitting in my instruction book because I figured it didn't pertain to me - I am right handed.  Out of frustration, I gave it a try & took to it right away.  It is soooooo much faster and you use less muscle power (I know that sounds silly!) in your fingers, hands and wrists. Eventually, you will get to the point where you can knit using only the slightest motion at all.  That's a big deal to me because I've had carpel tunnel syndrome - not fun!  My friends can't believe how fast I fly through project & its only because they are English knitters  & I am not.   

Purling is another story.  I have devised what my friend (a master knitter, MFA in Textiles & nun for 56 years) calls the "clumsiest crap purl" she's ever seen.  I basically just use my left thumb and forefinger to wrap the yarn around the needle in front.  Moral of the story - do whatever feels the most natural & causes the least amount of strain on your hands. 
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2007 08:44:35 PM »

Quote
Tinkerbellforever I'm so impressed you've been knitting backwards the whole time! I can't get my head around it- I wish I'd just tried it before muscle memory made it hard to change  Tongue

haha!

I figured out that I really, truly was wrong when I would follow a pattern knitting "backwards" [thanks for giving me the term!] and then the way i now know is "correct", and it only came out right when i was doing it the way all my friends said i was supposed to.  Roll Eyes

let's just say, I'm stubborn. Wink
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mmdm
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2007 06:57:11 AM »

...mooshie, you can try the other way if you like; knit sts can be faster, but purl is harder to do and really awkward. People who use continental even say so! Grin

I disagree. It might be awkward the way some people do it (I have no idea what they must be doing), but I knit continental and don't find purling to be difficult at all and am always baffled when people say they hate to purl. With continental style, it is very quick and easy to switch from knit to purl for ribbing and seed stitch. Knowing both methods is always a plus.
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soozeq
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2007 08:12:29 AM »

You found a method to purl that's easy for you. Others have difficulty with it though. But others find it difficult to knit english style while I find it very easy. So it's a very individual thing and everyone needs to figure out which is better for them.
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sue
stripey_cat
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2007 08:37:58 AM »

I'm another one who gets annoyed when everyone says English knitting is slow - my sprint-speed is better than a stitch a second, and I'm (very) slow compared to my grandmother, who could manage 80 or 90 stitches a minute sustained for ages (it was fun to literally watch something like a sock grow under her fingers).  You (OK, I and she) make (made) only the tiniest movements with your index finger to throw the yarn, and then a little flick with your left hand fingers to move the needles into place for the next stitch.  I've tried continental, and my stitches were uneven, my time was a lot slower, and (the thing that convinced me to stop trying to get any better at it) my left wrist siezed up all RSI style from trying to make too many movements at once.  Add in that my left hand is weak and clumsy, and it just isn't the style for me.  If you're left-handed, closer to ambidextrous, or your right hand is prone to RSI, then I think it could work well.
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kmsmaverick
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2007 10:08:15 AM »

i sort of wonder about that too.

i've seen english and continental knitters on knitty gritty, and i have to confess, sometimes i can't really tell which is which- i mean as far as speed is concerned. some english style knitters don't actually throw the yarn the motion is sort of all in one. i imagine stripey cat you might be one of them. Contrast that with my mom, who puts down the right hand needle to throw the yarn. then holds it in place with a left finger and picks up the right needle again- she's a very slow knitter. i think that's really an comparision of a more experienced, and practiced knitter. it really just takes practice with either one. 

make no mistake, my first forrays into continental were just as slow as those into english style. the similarity to the motion of crochet is really the biggest mechanical difference between the two, wouldn't you say?
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dr_marti
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2007 11:40:40 AM »

I've found continental to be a faster method for me, too (even purling!)  I learned English first, got frustrated, learned to crochet, and then came back to knitting continental style; as others have said, if you have the hang of crochet, continental seems easier.  There are advantages to knowing both, though.  One can be that it gives your muscles some variety; I sometimes switch back and forth to give my hands a break from repetitive motion.  Also, if you're doing colorwork, it can be helpful to hold one strand of each color in each hand and knit one continental, the other English.  But in the end, it comes down to what works best for you!
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kmsmaverick
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2007 11:53:31 AM »

oh, i just had a wonder- the stitches come out exactly the same don't they?

that must sound very flaky, but i just want to be sure. when i was doing combined, the yarn over, k2togs didn't come out the same as when i did them in proper continental.
so i just want to be sure.
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« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2007 03:28:57 PM »

Quote
oh, i just had a wonder- the stitches come out exactly the same don't they?

that must sound very flaky, but i just want to be sure. when i was doing combined, the yarn over, k2togs didn't come out the same as when i did them in proper continental.
so i just want to be sure.

well, being *flaky* myself, I would say that yes your stitches should come out exactly the same as long as you are winding the yarn around the needle in the same direction.  It makes no difference which hand wound the yarn around the needle.  You may have just wound the yarn around the opposite way.
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cranberry
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2007 02:27:00 AM »

oh, i just had a wonder- the stitches come out exactly the same don't they?

that must sound very flaky, but i just want to be sure. when i was doing combined, the yarn over, k2togs didn't come out the same as when i did them in proper continental.
so i just want to be sure.

Not for me. I find that when I do continental for knit (and then switch to English for purl) my stitches come out backwards. I have to purl to the back loop if I want my stitches to be even and not twisted.

I do want to attempt an entire cardigan in contintental though (I've done tiny things, like socks and all). I haven't done that before. It should be cool.
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rhythmgrl
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2007 05:00:31 AM »


Not for me. I find that when I do continental for knit (and then switch to English for purl) my stitches come out backwards. I have to purl to the back loop if I want my stitches to be even and not twisted.

I do want to attempt an entire cardigan in contintental though (I've done tiny things, like socks and all). I haven't done that before. It should be cool.

The only reason I can think that your stitches would come out twisted when you purl is that maybe you're knitting through the back look when you use the continental method?  If you're knitting through the front loop, there should be no reason that I can think of that your stitches would come out twisted.
That's such an interesting problem.  Maybe someone else has a better idea!
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soozeq
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2007 07:29:02 AM »

Wrapping the yarn the other way on a stitch would cause that too.
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sue
mmdm
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2007 07:20:40 AM »

Wrapping the yarn the other way on a stitch would cause that too.

Yes, that's it. Some continental knitters wrap the yarn the wrong way when purling. A more appropriate wording might be the "nontraditional" way. That will twist the stitch. I often wonder if those aren't the same ones who find purling more difficult, but I don't know. If you wrap the yarn the right, or traditional, way, it will look exactly the same whether you did it Continental or English style.
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cranberry
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2007 08:55:50 AM »

Ahhhh *nods*

I'll definately keep an eye out. You guys have really helped. I'm going to do a comfy sweatshirt (read: stocking stitch) in all continental. It should be fun.
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soozeq
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2007 11:50:06 AM »

Yes, that's it. Some continental knitters wrap the yarn the wrong way when purling. A more appropriate wording might be the "nontraditional" way. That will twist the stitch. I often wonder if those aren't the same ones who find purling more difficult, but I don't know. If you wrap the yarn the right, or traditional, way, it will look exactly the same whether you did it Continental or English style.

Hee, yeah, that's why I called it `the other way'. Could be why some knitters have tight stitches and have trouble putting their needle in on a knit stitch. Twisting the stitch makes it tighter, sometimes you want that, like in a twisted rib pattern, but not always.
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sue
mooshie
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2007 12:46:24 PM »

wow! I took a few days off of posting here to finish the sweater I was working on (which I decided to finish continental style) and this thread exploded! lol 

I had no idea there could be such a debate about which method was faster/better. 

I'd love to see video of some of the english knitters that are so fast!  I believe it can be done, but I've never seen it. 

anyway, now that I've gotten the hang of it I do prefer continental style, but I'm really glad I can do both.  I can definatley see that it's a benefit! 

thanks for all the input everyone!
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« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2007 01:00:39 PM »

Wrapping the yarn the other way on a stitch would cause that too.

Yes, that's it. Some continental knitters wrap the yarn the wrong way when purling. A more appropriate wording might be the "nontraditional" way.

It's called Combined Knitting - Mary Thomas' Knitting Book talks about it (published in the 1930's sometime) and Anne Modesitt has a book on it published in last 2 or 3 years. She has a website too with info, there might be a video, I'm not sure.
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kmsmaverick
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2007 01:10:35 PM »

i did Combined Knitting for a time, and knitting through the back loop seemed to correct the twist of the purl. none of my stitches came out twisted. i stopped doing combinced because my decreases were too frustrating- in combinced, k2tog slants left, rather than right. so my lace ended up looking just not quite right.

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« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2007 03:17:44 PM »

You have all encouraged me to try to learn continental... again.  It's not that I don't know how, it's just like what someone said earlier, when you know one way and are comfortable, it's difficult to go back to struggling!  I'm doing a stock. blanket now though with nice long rows that would provide great practice!
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