View Full Version : English or Continental?

Jackie M.
12-07-2006, 06:00 PM
Now that I get Knitty Gritty on HGtv, I watched someone knitting the continental way and wondered if it would be as easy as English method. Has anyone switched or tried the opposite way of knitting than you normally do and find it harder, easier, or about the same?

12-07-2006, 07:42 PM
I learned to knit the continental way and I don't want to change!! IT looks like it takes so much "extra time" to wrap the yarn over the English way. :happydance:

12-07-2006, 07:46 PM
I've tried to switch to continental several times, and I just can't get it. I finally decided that I'm a thrower, and I just have to accept it. :teehee:

12-07-2006, 08:08 PM
I knit continental and cannot knit English even though I have tried!

Jan in CA
12-07-2006, 08:10 PM
I started continental and switched to english.

knit ya'll
12-07-2006, 08:12 PM
I knit English but when I took a sock class, the instructor knit Continental and was so fast! I tried it and I do like it but old habits are hard to change. I guess I am a thrower most of the time.

12-07-2006, 08:22 PM
I learned English when I was 14 and recently decided to try Continental. I know how to do it, it just goes VERY slow for me. So I gave up on it.

12-07-2006, 08:57 PM
I know English but want to switch to Continental as apparently it's faster. Just bought some thick white wool to make garter stitch scarf to start with. Find the purl especially awkward but I think practice will change that. Remember how awkward you were the first time you knitted! It took a long time to get comfortable with the stitches. Persist and it will work out.


12-07-2006, 09:19 PM
I tried to learn English and thank goodness I found Amy's continental videos, or I doubt I would have stuck with knitting. (Perish the thought!) English was so hard for me. I do still want to become proficient at it someday, though, so I can knit fair isle with one color in each hand. :D

I always tell people who are struggling to learn one way to try the other...you just never know what's going to make it "click." :shrug:

12-07-2006, 09:32 PM
I learned English and decided to switch only a few weeks ago. It was slower at first, but practice made it come faster and now I knit far, FAR faster in continental than I ever did in English. It's more fun, too! I'm sold!

12-07-2006, 09:51 PM
i've always meant to try continental, but never quite got around to it...

12-07-2006, 11:02 PM
I learned English as a child and also here and there as an adult. After many years, I picked up the needles again and found I was having trouble with my tension. My yarn just wasn't flowing. So, I tried continental and after pratice I found the yarn was flowing better continental and the tension was better. But, it was a back and forth for awhile until I'm now just continental. I can do either really. But, I do think a person just has to become comfortable with the style there are better at. I have seen some people that knit very fast using the English method.

It's not speed it's the end result! :D

12-08-2006, 01:07 AM
I was taught throwing...

I truly think it's the main reason I never got back to knitting sooner..

Now I'm a picker and I knit so fast compared to my mum.. :)

12-08-2006, 01:54 AM
I've tried to switch to continental several times, and I just can't get it. I finally decided that I'm a thrower, and I just have to accept it. :teehee:

I think so for me too. I think that it takes more time and "work" to throw the yarn, but I just can't seem to knit continental. I'll keep trying, though!

12-08-2006, 06:00 AM
I've tried continental but can't do it for more than 10 stitches at a time. I think I am an 'extreme English' because my right hand actually leaves the needle to throw the yarn. I cannot for the life of me hold my needles like Amy does in her videos - my index fingers have to be holding the needle - Amy has the yarn over her index finger and holds the needle with her middle finger :?? tried many times but :shrug:

Maybe I will try again....

12-08-2006, 06:10 AM
I'm an english knitter and although I really want to try continental I haven't found the courage to do so. I'm really proud of my tension, because it's always the same, even when I don't knit for a couple of months, and I'm afraid that will change if I switch to continental. But I do want to learn it, because it looks easy to knit with both hands when you do fair isle. (the only thing I haven't tried yet)

Mrs. D.
12-08-2006, 10:14 AM
I have done both. I learned knitting the English way. However, I am a crocheter so my instructor thought it might be easier for me to knit Continental. I find that my tension is a lot tighter with Continental which a lot of times throws off my guage. I have more control when I knit English. So my preference is English but I can do both. The Continental is a little faster for me.

12-08-2006, 11:05 AM
I knit English. I've tried continental but I feel like a beginner all over again so I go back. I really like knitting English and I suppose that's what it's all about.

12-08-2006, 11:37 AM
I always thought I was a Continental Knitter, but found out this morning I am a left handed english Knitter.


I'm so confoozled!

12-08-2006, 12:01 PM
I learned here from Amy's videos. Since her preferred method was continental, I decided to try it first. I still haven't gotten around to trying Engish. ;)

12-08-2006, 12:41 PM
I taught myself continental and have tried english, but found it is way slower than conti. So I'll stick to what I know.

12-08-2006, 01:29 PM
I started out English but switched to Continental. It took a good month to feel the same way it does with English and for my tension to be consistent but it did come and I'm glad I learned. I knit entirely Continental now. A good tip is to try it making a dishcloth first to get the hang of it on something that is inexpensive and can still be used even if you make a hash of it.

12-08-2006, 03:17 PM
I started English years ago, laid it down for a few years and when I picked it back up English is what I fell back into... but.. once I tried continental I found it much easier, maybe cause I'm an avid crocheter? :??

Now I teach and I use both methods depending on what is easiest for the student to pick up, though I really would like to become faster with English. It seems to make my arms and hands tire faster though. In any case, no lie, in one week I had a student on Tuesday night that for the life of her couldn't get the english method, but caught onto the continental very quickly and easily. Two nights later a student just couldn't pick up on the continental but the english made sense. Go figure :shrug: The only correlation I could find was that the lady who found the continental so much easier had also crocheted years before. Coincidence maybe?

12-08-2006, 03:22 PM
I've I think I am an 'extreme English' because my right hand actually leaves the needle to throw the yarn.

Me too! I'm self taught, so that was the only way I could figure out how to do it. I want to try Continental, but I haven't gotten around to it.

12-08-2006, 04:39 PM
I figured out continental this morning, it's different, that's for sure. I've had trouble getting the tension right, but i'm getting there! Give it time!

12-08-2006, 05:37 PM
I learned English as a child and might be considered one of those "extreme" throwers. :rofl: I learned Continental from Amy's videos and now use it for seed stitch, ribbing, or anything else that involves a lot of switching between knitting and purling. Oh, and for the CC in Fairisle stuff.

12-08-2006, 05:41 PM
I'm a continental gal. In fact, I didn't even know there was such thing as "throwing" the yarn until I found this site. :teehee:

12-08-2006, 06:35 PM
The only correlation I could find was that the lady who found the continental so much easier had also crocheted years before. Coincidence maybe?

Nope, no coincidence at all. I crocheted first and holding the yarn in my left hand was what felt natural. The last person I taught to knit also crochets and her holding the yarn in her left hand, also no problem at all. She was knitting continental in 2 minutes. The person before, she doesn't crochet, I tried to teach her continental because that's the way I do it and if people ever do want to change methods, it's usually from English to continental, but she was getting so frustrated (c'mon people, give yourselves a little time!), that I taught her English.

If you already crochet and so hold the yarn in your left hand, you, well, you already know how to hold the yarn in your left hand and maintain tension.

I learned how to do English so I could do fair isle. I have a very hard time maintaining tension English, I'm sure just because I haven't done it enough.

12-11-2006, 06:21 PM
Ladies and significant others like myself:
(mwedzi wrote: c'mon people, give yourselves a little time!). :cheering:

Various technics take a bit of time to learn, but are well worth the investment. Variety is spawned by necessity. The "Walesish" English version of knitting is an extremely fast English like off spring of the common English. You hold the right needle like a pencil and throw the yarn with the next finger (one not holding needle). I'm told this is how it is done in Wales - I use it for speed on K only rows when my left hand is hurting too much to do continental. I find it as fast as Continental.

I learned English, Continental, circular, dpn, two color combo for Fair Isle. If anyone, I am slow learning -> have arthritus in hand and broke left this summer. Sometimes knit with fingerless glove to keep hand warm. If I can do it you sure can!

Give yourselves a break and take it as slowly as it comes; it will speed up with time and you will be rewarded for the effort. I don't test on real projects. I learn, as I did when I began, knitting row after mindless row. When I'm somewhat fluent I begin using the skill on a project. Usually after checking Amy's videos and perfecting my skill with her help. Without this site and Amy I might be still sewing!


Wales variation from a friend that was born in Wales and learned that style called "English" as a child. I've not yet learned the purl stitch, but will soon IF THERE IS ONE. This style fast and easy, but it is difficult/impossible with short circulars 16"'s or smaller. It works well on strait, or long circulars also on 8" dpn. The ONLY difficulty is learning to hold the previously knitted material with the needle once you get some rows knitted. You place your thumb into a fold under the work & needle; holding the needle and the work in the right hand (like a pencil) with next finger free to throw yarn.

Thanks to all the wonderfully helpful ladies that helped me to learn knitting - especially AMY, our personal professor.

12-11-2006, 06:45 PM
I think I am an 'extreme English' because my right hand actually leaves the needle to throw the yarn.
- AmandaC

I think I am in your boat, although recently i have tried many times to knit continental, cause it appears every vid i've seen on the net, are made by preferential continental knitters - i thought they must know something I don't so i better switch. However, everything just feels like it's about to fall to the floor, and my poor right hand feels so left out, it just doesn't know what to do. I've resigned myself to the fact that i am, quite simply, english...

12-11-2006, 06:54 PM
posted before i got to the end and have more to say :teehee:

ChuckG wrote:The ONLY difficulty is learning to hold the previously knitted material with the needle once you get some rows knitted. You place your thumb into a fold under the work & needle; holding the needle and the work in the right hand (like a pencil) with next finger free to throw yarn.

hmmm... this is how i knit (i thought everyone held their stix like this if they were an english knitter). Just out of curiosity, how do you hold it without putting your hand under and holding your needle AND work?

12-12-2006, 01:13 AM

I learned English knitting from the top. Holding needles from the top (down) not bottom up. Wales"ish" I was told to hold from the bottom (up). The second (Wales - I call it after my friend) method is superior by far, but I am far from a expert at styles. The post is my understanding of the styles I have learned and use. I could be all wet, but what the heck they all work to some degree. I assume your style is influence by the English, and maybe my understanding of English is really American...We do often make improvements that are useless. Most around here Western Pennsylvania use the overhand method. :?? Check Amy's basic English (or American) Knit stitch video it is the top down style that I am referring to.



Enjoy your quotes keep them coming!

12-12-2006, 02:46 AM
I can knit both ways but i'm generally a continental knitter :D

12-12-2006, 09:43 AM
i tought myself continental from this website.. i had been asking the mother in law to teach me but she was always "too busy" so my mum brought me some wool and needles and i tought my self continental (because it was sone of the first videos i watched and i didnt realise there was a different one for english lol)

I showed mother in law my knitting and she said "oh no what are you doing your left handed and doing it all wrong" she pulled all my work off the needles (i was gutted it took me all week to do them 12 lines lol) and then she sat there and did it how she was tought (english) and was going really fast and i couldnt understand it

i found english easier now that iv switched, altho i find it easier to do continental if i want to undo work lol (does that make sense)

I want to try continental again because im finding english a bit hard on the old hands at times

right im waffling now and my lil boy is poorly and wants mummy


12-12-2006, 11:31 AM
I taught myself continental from the Knitting in Plain English book -I looked at the pics of different ways to do it, and thought it looked simpler and more efficient-plus I couldn't imagine *dropping* the needle to throw the yarn over!! I wasn't going to let go for *anything*!!

Now I can knit english for the two-handed fair-isle method, but I'm definitely better and waaaay faster at continental!

I would love to see a video of the Wales-ish method-it sounds interesting!

12-12-2006, 02:09 PM
I taught myeslf to knit--I read several different books, and nothing made sense to me at all. Finally, I found something that I understood and that came out looking right to me. Everyone said I was knitting "backwards" or "left handed"...turns out that I'd taught myself continental. English still doesn't make sense to me! :)

12-12-2006, 05:52 PM
I learned english when i was 12 or something like that. But I always wanted to switch.
My most recent project (the Rowan Ana Socks) was going to be the one where I switched. Unfortunatley I can't seem to Purl in Continental. But I now knit continental, unless it's a complicated pattern with lots of fancy stuff. But for stockinette, I am golden.


Ellen Johnson
12-14-2006, 04:33 PM
I also started English but read so much about Continental I wanted to learn. I learned by watching videos on websites like this one. Picking is faster and also helps when you want to do 2 color knitting. You continental one color and English the other. Very Fun!

Ellen Johnson
12-14-2006, 04:35 PM
Another thing I learned on this website is Norwegian Purl. You can purl with the yarn in back!

12-14-2006, 04:37 PM
by some odd freak thing I learned continental in a knitting class here in the south, most people knit American.

I'm glad though because they say its better on the hands and also because my family is European so it makes sense :)