View Full Version : Continental or English for brand new knitter?
02-12-2006, 09:33 PM
This may be more of an "opinion" than how-to question, I don't know. Since I don't have any knitting experience, is there an advantage to teaching myself one method over another? I have the Continental caston down, but I am having trouble with both methods of knitting at the moment. I want to focus on just one, to avoid confusing myself, but I don't know which to choose.
02-12-2006, 09:38 PM
You'll get opinions on both, I'm sure. I knit English, always have, always will. Others swear by Continental, saying it's faster.
I suggest trying both and see which feels more comfortable for you. That's the deciding factor for a lot of people.
In the end, the knitted project looks the same, so that's not a consideration.
Jan in CA
02-12-2006, 10:48 PM
English here because it just feels right to me. I actually started out continental, but was having issues so I switched. There is no right or wrong or easy or hard way. It's what works for you.
02-13-2006, 12:05 AM
It looks like the English is working a little better for me. But it's so frustrating! I feel like I "have it" and then I have lost it again. I have a couple of yards of yarn and I'm just knitting and pulling it out over and over again. Can I really learn this?????
02-13-2006, 12:08 AM
It's knitting. Kids learn it. Hang in there--it was odd for all of us the first time!
02-13-2006, 02:47 AM
I'm doing it! I'm doing it! Something finally went "click" and it started working. Oh boy!
02-13-2006, 03:13 AM
You have to admit, taking two sticks and using them to tangle up yarn in a particular way over and over again is not what you might call a "natural" skill! No one is born knowing how to knit - Though several of us are born to knit. ;)
Jan in CA
02-13-2006, 03:24 AM
Don't keep taking it out...keep going! That is the key to getting the hang of it and you can see your progress as you go further.
02-13-2006, 02:18 PM
Your frustration is so normal, but hanging in there will reap 1000 times the reward of conquering the cordination. As to which technique is best..... it is all about comfort. I perfer the continental method because of holding the yarn on the left ( I crochet, it is a habit) and the continental method has less right hand movement. Watch Amy's videos and copy her movements, step by step. Have the needles in hand and use the pause button after you each movement, mimick each movement. The size of your stitches will be different, but at this point, gauge is not important, technique and what, where, and how is the focus. I wish I knew about this website when I started.
02-13-2006, 03:20 PM
I have gone insane. My neighborhood craft store is having a big yarn sale, and I went back this morning and bought lots more yarn, more needles, books . . .
Once I started "getting it" I couldn't stop! And all those luscious yarns, how can you not buy them all? I had to slap myself to get me out of the store today.
What I have found working for me is the double caston, then English style knitting. I was able to figure out the English better.
02-13-2006, 03:49 PM
We've hooked another one ladies!! :happydance:
02-13-2006, 04:02 PM
Good for you Kathi!
I have tried to teach myself knitting on and off over the years. I can not tell you the level of frustration I suffered! For many years I have gone through this 2/3 year cycle of buying a ball of yarn and needles and a booklet.
Then for several days and many hours try to make sense of what I was reading and apply it. After a few days I would give up and put away the stuff -only to give my needles away a few months later.
Over and over again for about the last 20 years (heart breakin aint it?)
Keep in mind I am the one with dextrity and mechanical aptitude in my house. I can wire a light fixture, install a faucet and hang a picture stright just by eye balling. Im the one who builds the bikes and diagnoses why the broke stuff wont work. (yeah I do the taxes too)
I am also very crafty in general and sew and design my own clothes, know how to make shoes and had a very sucessful soap making business and can crochet anything you have ever dreamed of.
So why oh why couldnt I knit?
Then this past Christmas I did my usual 2/3 year knitting cycle and and with more patience than I have ever had before, I really paid attention to what I was doing when the instructions read "right needle" "left needle". I discovered to my, utterly right handed, amazement, that I was using my left hand to knit. OHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Well that makes all the difference in the world.
But I still didnt feel right. All the books I had showed knitting "continental" and I did not know that knitting "english" was acceptable. I imagined myself sitting at a knitting club and everyone looking at me strangely for my perverse knitting style. My self conciousness was really getting in the way. But then I found this site and the wonderful videos. Wait! That woman is knitting like me! Well knitting like me if she were using her left hand! Now I know my knitting is normal! lol
Suddenly I was off knitting like a feind. I have knit a shawl, a couple of scarves and I even knit a pair of socks on dpns! (no - they arent just right, but they fit!)
Right now I am swatching cables - I have a dream of a sweater one day.
Ingrid's signature says "If I can do it, you can do it"
I think I should amend my sig to read "never ever give up"!
Perhaps my lefty knitting style is just what God ordered though, my son is a lefty and he wants to learn to knit. :D
02-13-2006, 05:49 PM
Oh, how funny!
I had the idea that Continental was the "right" way and I just couldn't get it. Then when I started with English, "it" would come and go. But then I got it, and it is even starting to make sense.
I discovered all those fun funky yarns, and I decided to make a scarf for my friend who is coming to visit this week. I told her I was trying to teach myself to knit and she jokingly asked for a scarf. But hey, I am doing it! I am finding that the funky yarns are great at hiding my beginner sins. One day I will make that baby sweater with teeny yarns maybe, but for now, I'm happy! (and yes, hooked)
02-15-2006, 05:37 PM
I also like english best. That's how I learned and after making a couple of scarves I saw a friend of mine knitting a fantastic aran sweater and she was knitting continental. I, of course decided that's how really talented knitters did it since she was doing things I'd never thought of, She showed me how and I tried and tried. It hurt my wrists, made my hands tired, my tension didn't stay even and I just didn't enjoy it. Finally I realized that is I used the english method I could knit all evening and my hands didn't get tired or painful, my stitches were nice and even and, best of all, I was able to feel the stitches so I can knit in the dark, in the car, watching T V and suddenly it wasn't a chore anymore, it was like meditation. Every now and then when I'm doing something simple I try continental again just to see if I go "AHA!" but it hasn't happened and whenever I do anything more complicated that garter or stockinette I'm back to english and happy. I say try both and do what's most comfortable for you. Enjoyment of the process is the important thing. If making 1000 garter stitch scarves for a homeless shelter makes you happy go for it!
02-16-2006, 04:04 PM
I was wondering the same thing myself.
In my crocheting I work with my right hand (I'm right handed) while I hold the yarn and control the tension in my left hand.
I'll try out both caston methods to find out which one feels most comfortable to me. :D
02-17-2006, 01:36 AM
I started learning to crochet in Dec 05, and learning to knit in Jan 06. Yes, I am insane. :roflhard:
My SIL knits continental, and she recommended trying that first especially since I recently learned about crochet and use my left hand for crochet yarn. A good friend who has crocheted for 10 years is also playing around with learning to knit continental... so I watched and watched Amy's videos. I got the continental cast-on after watching for an HOuR over and over and trying for an hour... but it wasn't until SIL showed me how to knit that I totally got it. I was doing something really awkward before SIL helped me out. It was resulting in the right look to the stitches but was sooo uncomfortable and awkward. now, I'm getting faster and faster and more and more confident.
Continental works for me. :)