#needleworkmonday :: Learning Continental vs English style knitting

in needleworkmonday •  last year 


In the past week, I have been exploring Continental style knitting which is said to be faster than English style knitting. I am okay with English style knitting because I am familiar with it but one of my reasons for faster knitting is to hopefully be able to finish a project faster and to essentially not get bored midway through a project, although I only work on beginner projects so far of scarves and straight items :D We got to start somewhere right? :)

In Continental style knitting, the working yarn is held at the left hand and the finger movement to create a stitch is said to be quite minimal:

In the English style knitting, the working yarn is held at the right hand and the fingers is said to need to move more to create a stitch compared to Continental style knitting:

I self learnt to knit English style and although I am a little faster now compared to before, I am still considered slow at knitting. Somehow, in most videos I watched, they would learn English style knitting first before shifting to Continental style knitting. Interesting.

Continental style knitting is said to have originated in continental Europe, specifically recognized in Germany (Source). No wonder most of the best knitters here on #NeedleWorkMonday are in German :) This was also mentioned at the beginning of this video by Rokolee DIY.

In the ExpressionFiberArts video on how to knit faster using Continental style, the first thing that caught my attention was when Chandi said at the beginning of the video (somewhere around 0:49) that since she is a crocheter, holding the yarn on the left hand felt more natural. She moved on to say that another benefit of Continental style knitting is that it is super easy to switch between knitting and purling, for patterns like ribbing and seed stitch. Listening to that, I am quite tempted to try and make this work for me since I do prefer to crochet and I like ribbing and seed stitch :D

In another video by Yay for Yarn, the demonstrator mentioned that the key to faster knitting is actually knitting them more efficiently. True words of wisdom. I can be quite clumsy when I try to go fast.

I attempted Continental style a few months back, but my fingers felt awkward and I was not able to control the tension of the stitches due to the awkwardness of the fingers, ending up with very loose stitches that looked like misplaced holes and a strained left hand, thanks to all the trying-to-control-yarn-tension movements.

After watching the ExpressionFiberArts video, Chandi mentioned at 4:09 that its going to be a lot of new little motor skills that we'll be learning and I couldn't agree more. My fingers still feel a little awkward but trying Continental style knitting now seems to feel more comfortable than a few months back. I guess that is the trick? When you are tired, leave it first and come back to it. I have to say that I am quite liking this Continental style knitting now because it does require less hand movement compared to English style and I just need to practice more.

My yarn is getting quite tired of me now for I have been knitting and frogging (a term I learnt from @neumannasalva in one of her posts :D) and knitting and frogging countless times now, trying out this Continental style knitting and testing knitting and purling too while comparing it with English style knitting. And I think @neumannsalva talks about Combination knitting too which will be my next mission to explore :D. If you knit, which style do you prefer?

In case you are interested, here are the direct video links that demonstrates both these Continental and English knitting styles but geared more towards Continental style:

Expression Fiber Arts:

Rokolee DIY:

Yay for Yarn

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It's difficult to say for me which one is "easier" or "faster" - easiest and fastest is always what you know ;) For me that was continental style, of course. And it's right that knitting this way is easier if you know how to crochet. Just like you hold the project with the left hand and work the yarn and needle with the right, you do in knitting: holding the project (on the needle) in the left and and work the yarn with the right hand needle. If you know how to crochet, try binding off your knitting with a crochet hook like in this video. OK, she's holding the crochet hook a bit strange - hold it like you would a knitting needle. But that way you use two needles with the yarn in your left hand - voilà. Continental knitting ;)

But I have to admit that changing your knitting style is hard work, you should start it as early as possible so you don't have to "unlearn" things. Muscle memory works against us sometimes. I tried learning knitting the Norwegian way (the difference is in how you hold your left index finger) and got so confused, I stopped that rather quickly.

Hehe yah. I know English style but I am not that good at it, I thought why not learn Continental and see which fits better. So far so good I think but I am still slow 🤪 Yup, I grew tired the last time I tried learning Continental but this time, it felt better. Thank you for the video! Will check it out. Oh wow, there is Norwegian style too?

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I learned English as a girl, then Continental. Now I knit mostly continental and just use English when I do colorwork with a different color in each hand.

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I learnt English style too! Is English easier for colorwork changes?

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Because I know both ways, I knit English when the stitch is the color in my right hand and Continental when it is my left-hand color. Very fast this way.

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Wow! This is the first I have heard of Continental style. Thank you!

  ·  last year (edited)

Yup yup and I just found out there is Norwegian style too! 🤪 Do you knit too? You can share your work with us here every Monday 🙂 even older projects that you have completed.