View Full Version : Switching to Continental - a couple questions

05-02-2007, 10:08 AM
I finally tried Continental knitting again after a few unsuccessful tries in the past. I'm not sure what made this time different, but it finally clicked in my brain. I'm working on a Booga Bag (and I HATE that name, btw) and since it's all in stockinette I figured I'd give it a try. Here are my questions:

1. I'm having trouble keeping my tension consistent. I'm holding my working yarn the way Amy does in her video, but it's not sliding through as I would like. I'm getting some stitches that are very tight, and others that are much looser. :wall:

2. The pad of my middle finger on my left hand keeps getting "pinched" between the needles. It doesn't hurt at first, but after a few hundred stitches, it is starting to bother me. Does this happen to anyone else?

3. I'm working on a circular needle, and I haven't figured out a comfortable way to push the stitches up on the left side to work them short of stopping knitting and moving them up in a big section. When I knit English it just sort of comes naturally and I never have to think about it. Any tips, or will this start to come naturally, too?

Thanks in advance guys! You all rock. :notworthy:

05-02-2007, 10:14 AM
1. Me too. Still. I've been knitting back and forth between English and Continental for at least 2 years now and my left hand tension is still not as consistent as my right hand. I guess because I'm a right-hander and my left hand is kinda like the dork between the two. lol But, I started to get better results after I tried many different ways to wrap/wind the yarn between my fingers until I found one that works well... enough. I just wrap the yarn twice around my pointer finger. Just try different ways until you find the one that works best for you.

2. Can't help you there. Doesn't happen to me.

3. Me neither. I have to stop, push the stitches towards the tip, then start again. Arg. This is the only reason that I prefer English to continental.

05-02-2007, 10:27 AM
I switched to Continental from English. I don't know about the pinching problem but I have some familiarity with the others. The tension just requires patience. Switching to Continental was a humbling experience for me. I was clumsy again and my tension was all over the place to the extent that I was about three needle sizes apart between English and Continental to achieve the same gauge. Same thing with the stitches on the other side. I don't know about you but when I was knitting English after a while I just didn't pay attention to what I was doing mechanically. The same thing will happen after a while in Continental. The stitches will just get there and you won't think about it. The magic ingredient here is persistence. Just keep doing Continental and try not to do English for a while. Good Luck

05-02-2007, 12:04 PM

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool ('scuse the pun) English knitter but I liked the idea of knowing more than one way to knit.

Try this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuRLFl36tDY

In fact, if you Google youtube and then go to search - just type in Continental knitting and there are a few demonstrations on there, giving different ways of doing Continental.

The tension still seems the most difficult thing to achieve and yes, I do still have to slide up a bunch of stitches on the left hand needle.

Keep trying though and it will get better.

All the Best


05-02-2007, 02:06 PM
I knit continential because it's exactly like holding yarn for crochet -- which I've done for a long time.

I'm a tight crocheter AND knitter. I had been weaving/wrapping the yarn between each finger and just recently switched to using just my index finger to keep tension. It seems to help me loosen up the stitches.

05-02-2007, 05:09 PM
It tooke me a while to figure it out, it was mostly tension problems, but I just practiced, and I got it.

05-02-2007, 06:17 PM
I can't really help with most of your questions because I started out continental, and never really had to make comparison. I found holding yarn amy's way was awful for me. The yarn just didn't move the way I needed it to and was uncomfortable. So for your one problem, perhaps try holding the yarn a different way. Find what is comfortable for you.

For the most part is all practice practice practice... (the joys... :doh: )
Good Luck!

05-02-2007, 06:23 PM
This is a shot in the dark, but I'm guessing that the pinching thing is caused by holding your needles too close to the tips. If you ease back at least an inch from the tip it may help your tension, too.

05-02-2007, 06:29 PM
I never thought of holding it how I hold crochet! I will try that! Although I hold my crochet very weirdly. I hold the garment in my thumb and ring finger, and the string held up high with my pointer and middle fingers. I wonder if this might work because I'd love to start knitting continental! My right wrist has been a little stiff lately, which is making me nervous.

05-02-2007, 10:14 PM
I hold my yarn and knit continental exactly like I crochet. Although I can knit English, for me especially on a rib stitch it's easier to switch from knit to purl and back again.

If your tension is too tight, try not wrapping it around ur pinkie finger, but instead run it between the pinkie and ring finger, under the ring & middle finger and over the index finger. It should help loosen up the tension a good bit :)

05-03-2007, 12:52 AM
Thank you all so much for your advice. I'll keep practicing with Continental, and hope I get better at it.


05-03-2007, 11:03 AM
I've been practicing the proper Continental style on washcloths. Apparently, I was wrapping my yarn one way when I knitted and a different way when I purled, making my stockinette stitch look more like herringbone. :?? So I'm still a work in progress.

05-03-2007, 06:41 PM
About holding the yarn, I cannot hold it the way Amy does. I just hold it they way I do when doing crochet, and it works ok for me. I have never had a problem with the finger pinching. I'd say you are probably holding the needles too close together. Welcome to the wonderful world of continental!