View Full Version : English vs continental?

10-26-2007, 05:50 PM
Hello knitting howers.
I have only been using this site for a couple of days – and I have loved the video instructions – so clear and easy to follow. Have tried a few new things that were very hard / against all my knitting instincts. Slow going and of course my tongue was poking out of the side of my mouth with the concentration. Not a great look on the train into work.

I can see that cabling without a cabling needle makes sense (especially when you have forgotten your cable needle on previously mentioned train into work). But continental knitting – I mean – what is that all about?
Am I wrong and this is a really great way to knit / worth the time and effort to master?
Or am I right and it is a wholly unnatural practice?

Comments please….

(Slightly biased English knitter – being English. Anywhere other than a knitting forum and this question would be about breakfast!)

10-26-2007, 06:04 PM
LOL! I think it will totally depend on the knitter.

I am brand new to knitting. I learned first without holding the working yarn at all, just ignoring it so I could work the knit and purl stitch. Then I tried holding it in my right hand - that felt really akward, and I was doing extra movements from not holding it at all. So I tried holding it with my left. That worked well! A few days later I was told I was a "continental knitter" :p and that I should watch the pink videos here so as not to confuse myself.

So, for me, knitting English is totally akward, but I still practice it every now and then (and after seeing the yarn harlot video, I admit I want to try her way!) just because I think it's great to know more than one way to do something. :)

10-26-2007, 06:07 PM
Can't help you. I am an "English" style knitter through and through. I watched the video about continental knitting and because I am self taught I thought perhaps I had taught myself the wrong way. Then I learned that there are two varieties of knitting. I've been knitting "English" so long I don't think I could change now. Good luck if you can!

10-26-2007, 06:18 PM
I was wondering if your comment was meant to be amusing and not as insulting as you come across.

Do you really want an honest opinion or are you just expressing yours?

I learned to knit Continental first and then English and can see the merits of both.

I'd give my answer to your question more consideration if you had given the wording of your question more thought.

10-26-2007, 06:23 PM
Oh dear - this honestly was not meant to be the least bit rude.... mark it down to English humour and please dont take offence.

Blimey! I take you are a continental type.

10-26-2007, 06:53 PM
I didn't think it sounded rude. Maybe that's why nobody gets my jokes, they're all English and I didn't even know it!

10-26-2007, 06:54 PM
Sorry, didn't mean to get my knickers in a twist :aww:

Ok -- here's my honest opinion then. I learned to knit Continental (actually, combined, but that's another story) and I admittedly couldn't see the sense of English knitting. I mean, what is up with that wrapping thing, anyway?

Then both my kids learned to knit English style and I was thinking about teaching knitting to some homeschoolers. I wondered which was was easier to learn, English or Continental. So since I couldn't knit English I thought I'd learn.

With my daughter's help and some time in front of Amy's videos, I knit and knit and knit until I had it pretty well down.

What I discovered with this: I can knit either way and it's no big difference. I like to knit English when I am doing a garter stitch -- my stitches are much more even than when I knit Continental. I prefer to knit Continental when I rib or do a moss or seed stitch. It's much easier to switch back and forth from knit to purl while knitting Continental.

I do knit faster Continental but I also find knitting English very relaxing (maybe it's that wrap thing?)

So my true answer is that there are benefits to both -- sorry for the quick reaction above.


10-26-2007, 06:56 PM

Now then this most likely to sound rude - but could you explain what a yarn harlot is? Am a little nervous about typing 'yarn harlot video' into google.... Heaven only knows what might turn up!

10-26-2007, 06:58 PM
And thanks for the moss stitch tip = that makes perfect sense.

10-26-2007, 07:10 PM
Don't worry about typing in Yarn Harlot, it's the name a woman gave her blog, it's harmless.

I'm a continental knitter, because it's easier for me, and makes more sense. Also, I'm left handed. Purling is a breeze with 'conti', and now English knitting seems strange. My right hand is mainly here to help me wash my hair and pick up the baby. :)

BTW, why did you choose the name IronLung? As a nurse for a million + years, an iron lung is a bad thing. Just curious ~

10-26-2007, 07:21 PM
Hmmmm. Am already getting a bit of a bad rep for poor sense of humour so this might cause all sorts of problems.
1. its hard to remember names for all the various log ins or indeed find ones that noone else is using so you need something that you wont forget.
2.The ironlung incident made friends and I laugh so much that I wont forget it in a hurry. Some girlfriends and I had had a bit too much wine one evening and for some reason decided to go online and try out a chat room. It was all very tedious - but after a while some dope asked us into a 'private room' for some special typing. Being chat room novices we agreed - only to get lots of what are you wearing type questions from said dope and well we gave him an answer that put pay to that line of enquiry. I expect you can guess the punchline - and yes it is probably not very nice. Did I mention the wine? I feel I may have over shared and it is probably time for me to log off.

I think am more convinced about the continental business. So thank you.

10-26-2007, 08:12 PM
Well, i didn't get the joke:teehee: But for my defence - I'm neither English nor American. But I do knit continental (though i learned combined, like Zkimom) and English knitting is very awkward to me. I tried, i honestly did, but i felt like i'm wasting time with the wrapping thing. I could knit two more stitches in that time. I hope you don't think it's some horrible technique :teehee:.
And welcome by the way! It's a very friendly forum, but it consists of many people from different cultures and different places, so we all try to get along :thumbsup:and i think we're rather good at that:woot:

of troy
10-26-2007, 08:55 PM
and speaking here for the 10% (the aproximate number of knitters who knit combo in US/UK/Western europe/commonwealth countries)

there are more ways to knit than English and Continental.
there is combo,

there is 'thumb knitting" (called greek, portuguese, turkish and various other names.. but all have in common that the yarn is moved manipulated by the thumb, not index finger (left hand)

there is crossed knitting(aka Eastern)

there are lots of ways to knit.. just cause most in english speaking and western europe tend to knit in 2 styles doesn't mean there are only 2 styles, (its a continuum, not a dicotamy!)

10-26-2007, 09:53 PM
I knit English and I don't get the whole thing with the wrapping. It seems every video or pic I see, they take their hand completely off the needle to wrap the yarn. In that respect I could see where it would take more time, but if you work it right you can wrap with a minimal movement of finger and needles.

10-26-2007, 10:51 PM
I am an English knitter (I love the term thrower) but I am really intrigued by the Continental style. I have arthritis and I am always looking for ways to continue working. I think I am going to try the Continental on a scarf or something that isn't too complicated. I think like many others, it is just personal prefernce.

10-26-2007, 11:39 PM
I knit English and I don't get the whole thing with the wrapping. It seems every video or pic I see, they take their hand completely off the needle to wrap the yarn. In that respect I could see where it would take more time, but if you work it right you can wrap with a minimal movement of finger and needles.

Agree, here, most demos of english knitting look really awkward - maybe because the person making them doesn't knit that way?. I kind of slide my hand up to the needle tip, but don't take it all the way off.

Anyway, Ironlung, (I can sorta imagine what you told that guy in the chat room :teehee: ), welcome and don't worry about whether one style is better than another. It is just a preference. Whatever gives you the result you like is right for you. After you get experienced, you may want to try other styles, just to see what they're like. Then you can decide.

10-26-2007, 11:42 PM
Just picked up my knitting needles after years (many years) of not knitting. After detangling my fingers and thread a number of times, I decided I need a little help in getting jump-started. I was lucky to find this site. Great videos! I learned to knit from my grandmother as a girl and knitted for years. I always found it sort of comforting and cheaper than therapy, as well ;)

I remember being taught both the English and Continental methods and was told to do whatever felt best. Seems the English came very easy, but sometimes seemed to take more effort for some reason. There may be a bit more consistency in my stitches though using the English. Oh well, maybe the best choice for me is to switch off now and then. Variety is one of my favorite spices! :knitting:

PS - Your bit of cold water on the guy from the chat room was, I thought, pretty creative. :teehee: