View Full Version : Continental Knitters - which hand does what?

01-31-2006, 03:41 PM
So I was interested to read in the recent poll (continental vs. English) that there are a few other continental knitters out there who, like me, use their left thumb to pull the thumb through while purling. It has now finally dawned on me that this isn't just with purling. I actually use my left hand way more than what I think is supposed to happen with typical Continental knitting. I know that Continental knitters are called "pickers" but I don't really pick the yarn with the needle in my right hand; I wrap it with the thumb and first two fingers of my left hand when knitting, and sort of pull through with my left thumb when purling. Basically, my left hand does all the work (with knitting and purling) while my right hand just moves the needle into the stitch and pulls it off. Does that make me a left-handed "thrower"? I don't know. (I'm right-handed, btw).

I never knew till watching Amy's videos that normal continental style involves more movement of the right needle. I'm self-taught from a book, and it's hard to tell from non-moving pictures what all is going on.

Anyway, now I'm curious. What do the rest of you do? And why? And I'm also wondering if it would be worth it to retrain myself to use my right hand more - would that make things more efficient?

Share your experiences and thoughts. :D

01-31-2006, 04:10 PM
Great question; I'm curious about this too!

When I'm knitting, I "pick" the yarn with my right hand, but when I purl, I use my middle finger and thumb on my left hand to push the yarn down and around the needle.

01-31-2006, 04:21 PM
My right hand does all the work. :thumbsup:

01-31-2006, 06:33 PM
Great question; I'm curious about this too!

When I'm knitting, I "pick" the yarn with my right hand, but when I purl, I use my middle finger and thumb on my left hand to push the yarn down and around the needle.

Yep, that's how I knit, too. :)

01-31-2006, 06:44 PM
hmm.. I'm doing the movements without knitting in front of me LOL :thinking: when knitting I have the yarn going through myleft pinky then around my left index finger.. I use my right hand to enter the needle into the stitch but my left index finger does a wrap movement... when I purl I enter the needle with my right hand but help the yarn over the needle with my left thumb... :D

01-31-2006, 07:16 PM
My left hand does all the work while purling (I actually grab the yarn between my thumb and middle finger) but right hand does the work while knitting!

01-31-2006, 08:02 PM
I'm yet another variation on the "standard" continental knitter. I'm also self-taught, earthchick, and I started out doing all the work with my left hand. I'd wedge the left needle between my crossed legs (or use circular needles) and do a full throw with my left hand on both knits and purls. I've finally developed a hybrid method in which I "pick" on the knits, and do a a throw on the purls holding the yarn with my left thumb and index finger while bracing my crossed needles with my right hand.

Guess that's what I get for trying to figure it out on my own, but it works!

01-31-2006, 09:16 PM
I mostly use my left index finger to wrap the yarn around the right needle. When purling I hold the yarn below the needles, and wrap the right needle using my left index finger from there. I might move my right needle some, but not much.

01-31-2006, 09:29 PM
For non-lace patterns, I knit/purl combination style and my left index finger is draped over the left needle, the right hand maneuvers the needle into the stitch, and the left wrist rocks back and forth (from palm down to palm facing chest) to make the right tip scoop the yarn.

I can't handle the large quantity of decreases usually called for in lace this way, though. For that I switch to regular continental and turn my hands palm almost out so that I stick my left index finger out and up for the purls. The same rocking motion (out to down instead of down to in) plus a slight waggle of the left index finger gets the yarn around the needle.

I've rewritten that four times. Does it make ANY sense?

01-31-2006, 09:34 PM
Wow, great question!

I pick the yarn while knitting, using the tip of the right needle to do all the work; while purling I use my left index to pull the yarn down behind the tip of the righthand needle (but in front of the lefthand needle of course) and then pick the yarn with the right needle again to pull it back through and off the left needle.

I taught myself from the book "Knitting in Plain English" by Mary Rigetti (not sure about her last name). Watching Amy's videos on how to do various things, I think I knit/purl using the same movements she does.

I think it would make things more efficient in the long run, so it would be worth it to give it a shot. If you find it's too miserable you can always go back to your t-n-t method! I like that I don't have to work so hard to get a stitch, lol. Then again a lot of english style knitters knit a whole lot speedier than me ;)

01-31-2006, 10:04 PM
I knit and purl almost exactly like Amy does. She's the one who taught me, after all. ;)

01-31-2006, 11:21 PM
I learned to knit continental style from Amy's videos, so i think i do it nearly exactly the way she does, only i feel that i use the forefinger of my right hand to grip the last stitch on the right needle which then 'guides' the strand of yarn past the middle finger of the left hand ready for picking up with the tip of the right needle. (don't know if that makes any sense...) I'd never go back to english style now i've learned continental, even tho i don't think i'm as fast as i used to be yet... but i enjoy knitting continental so much more!

01-31-2006, 11:29 PM
Good question!!

My middle finger moves the yarn over the needle for both conti knitting and purling. My forefinger just holds the yarn up, and my pinky controls tension. The right needle moves constantly, the left hardly at all.

When purling, I used to use my thumb, but I started to get a blister... :shock: