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View Full Version : English or Continental - what's your preference?


Newbie2Knitting
02-10-2008, 03:51 PM
When I taught myself to knit via KH last summer (thanks :muah: ) I learned the English or throw method. I got purty good at it, too. BUT, for various reasons (I find ribbing a PITA this way, I'd love to dive into stranded knitting, speed baby speed) I'm now learning Continental. Ribbing is a BREEZE It made me curious to what everyone here prefers.

lactosefree
02-10-2008, 03:56 PM
I learned to knit English when I was a kid, but recently started doing Continental and have found it to be much more efficient. I've been practicing, but it's frustrating at times since I'm not proficient yet and I lose patience with myself. Eventually I would love to able to knit both ways with ease.

knitgal
02-10-2008, 04:07 PM
I knit English- but I don't even know how to knit Continental, so I'm sort of biased.

Gertie
02-10-2008, 04:08 PM
Eventually I would love to able to knit both ways with ease.

Me, too. I want to learn to controll my tension w/ my left hand so I can do two color knitting with one yarn in each hand. Very hard for me.

I prefer to do English method. I have more control with the purls and my yarn tension is easier for me. I've seen people do it by letting go of the right needle and wrap the yarn round. I don't let go. I just use a slight dip w/ my left hand to get the old stitch in place and then at the same time, use my right index finger to slip the new stitch on the right needle.

dreamsherl
02-10-2008, 04:16 PM
I voted wrong. I'm a continental knitter.

knittingymnast
02-10-2008, 04:26 PM
i knit english, but i do know continental. (not real good at it YET)

Eccie
02-10-2008, 04:53 PM
I knit combined and purl continental, except I kinda throw with the left hand. *shrugs* I have my own little way of doing things :P

Jens
02-10-2008, 05:13 PM
I knit conti I tried to knit english first but couldn't get it.

mom2rachjust
02-10-2008, 05:16 PM
I am slowly learning continental. I am so extremely intimidated by knitting though, so keep going back to my numerous crochet WIPs. I tried english before and it was horrid since I'm used to having the yarn in my left hand with crocheting, and continental so far feels better (I can do the knit stitch). Don't know if I'll ever conquer my fear of knitting though.

maniago
02-10-2008, 05:56 PM
I learned to crochet very young and cannot hold my yarn in the right hand.

Mystery_Gyrl
02-10-2008, 06:09 PM
I can't say that I have a preference; since I only know how to knit English. I would like to learn Continental, if just to compare styles. I would also like to try Combination knitting (but that is probably just a pipe dream). Like Maniago I learned how to crochet before I learned how to knit; strangely though I am more comfortable holding the yarn in my right than left hand, but then again I am right hand dominant. :eyes: :zombie:

Aggie S.
02-10-2008, 07:14 PM
I've beenn knitting English for 45 years. I want to try Continental, but I'm waiting 'till I start a new project so my tension won't change.

Mike
02-10-2008, 07:32 PM
I tried english before and it was horrid since I'm used to having the yarn in my left hand with crocheting, and continental so far feels better
Same here. Yarn in the right hand is soooo wrong because of crochet (plus I have to change my couch around to put the yarn on my other side).

The first place I went to had English and that swatch got thrown a few times.

I learned with Combined (with the help of KH) and quickly went to Continental.

Newbie2Knitting
02-10-2008, 07:37 PM
This is interesting. Quite a few of you have said since you learned to crochet first, knitting continental just felt more natural. I've had the reverse so far. I learned knitting English and when I tried to crochet, I couldn't do it for the life of me since I was so used to holding the yarn in my right hand. Hopefully now that I'm getting the hang of continental I'll be able to crochet, too.

Jan in CA
02-10-2008, 07:46 PM
I crocheted long before I knit, but holding the yarn continental feels awkward for me. :shrug:

I always say do what works for you. One way is NOT better than another.

Knit4Fun
02-10-2008, 08:14 PM
It took me a long time to learn both...heh heh heh. :aww: I started with English but got frustrated since it seems to take SO long to rib knit, so I persevered with Continental and now vastly prefer Continental.

greenwitchknitter
02-10-2008, 08:14 PM
learned to knit continental because I am left handed and it just made more sense! Cant even see how you could knit with the yarn in your right hand!! Would be interesting to learn!

linknit41
02-10-2008, 08:42 PM
taught myself the English method years ago,but my daughter taught herself continental and persuaded me to try it. now i alternate between the two, as each one uses different hand positions, and it rests my hands to sometimes use English and sometimes continental--still have trouble in continental with ki, pi ribbing, especially using small (sock)yarn,but am improving with practice. knowing how to use both is probably a good idea, so if you find it difficult,just keep practicing, and it should become easier to do. linknit41

lostchyld
02-10-2008, 08:54 PM
I tried knitting English when I was teaching myself and it was one of the least comfortable things I tried. I switched to Continental and haven't had any more problems.

bethany
02-10-2008, 09:00 PM
I just decided to try to knit continental for this new project...I should finish by Christmas and learn some new swear words. Grr...

KitNKnitN
02-11-2008, 01:48 AM
I taught myself how to use both the English and Continental method. I use both interchangeably but notice I knit a bit faster when using the Continental method so Continental is my preferred method.

To those who think Continental is hard, it's really not. In a few ways it's easier-- especially to make knit stitches. With Continental since both hands are working basically equally, you will notice less "fatigue" on your right hand. (I used to get slight cramps in my right forearm from "throwing" the thread while doing English but once I switched to Conti it stopped). Not having to make large movement to "throw" the thread in Conti really helps to speed up things. ;)

If you just watch the video demos on this website over and over of Conti knitting and practice along with the videos I'm sure you all will be Continental knitting in no time!

Good luck! :)

Gertie
02-11-2008, 01:53 AM
I just decided to try to knit continental for this new project...I should finish by Christmas and learn some new swear words. Grr...

:roflhard: My attempts at Continental don't go well either. I'm more comfortable and so much faster with my right hand. :gah:

Catz
02-11-2008, 04:54 AM
I used to knit english. I didn't realise I was knitting through the back loops for knit and purl :rofl: . Then I came on here and started to knit through the front loops. Now I've taught myself to knit continental and I find it so much easier and quicker.

Ronda
02-11-2008, 07:25 AM
I just decided to try to knit continental for this new project...I should finish by Christmas and learn some new swear words. Grr...

:roflhard:
I've been trying continental. My knits are okay but my purls are not right, I think. After I "purl" a row, when I knit the other row (I've just been trying a st st swatch), my stitches are tight and maybe twisted, so I'm obviously doing something wrong. I'll figure it out eventually...

gingergal4l8r
02-11-2008, 08:39 AM
I am in the same vote as Newbie.
I too have taught myself with KH and well, have tried to continental but just can not do it.

Koehnae
02-11-2008, 08:50 AM
I am slowly learning continental. I am so extremely intimidated by knitting though, so keep going back to my numerous crochet WIPs. I tried english before and it was horrid since I'm used to having the yarn in my left hand with crocheting, and continental so far feels better (I can do the knit stitch). Don't know if I'll ever conquer my fear of knitting though.

Never fear.. you will conquer it! I learned to crochet at 5 when my mom taught me. It wasn't until I was 16 that I decided I wanted to learn knitting. So I grabbed some books, needles and yarn... and got instantly frustrated. After all those years of crochet, holding the yarn for knitting felt so wrong.

I put aside my knitting needles for a few years, but I never lost the urge to learn to knit. Then I discovered continental. It was tough going at first, but it felt so much more comfortable and natural to me. I haven't touched my crochet hooks in nearly 10 years! (Well, except for the occasional decorative edging. LOL)

Plantgoddess+
02-11-2008, 11:16 AM
I just realized why English was so easy for me to learn. I am a lefty and I taught myself to crochet as a teenager, but I held the hook in my left hand and the yarn in the right. It made for a little confusion on some patterns but overall not much.
Then I taught myself to knit using pictures in a book and already used to holding yarn in my right hand it made the transition to needles from a hook pretty easy. I haven't had much luck with continental yet, but I think mainly because I have such a long list of things I want to make that I don't want to slow down to learn a whole new way of doing things. Maybe someday I'll be willing to just sit and swatch continental until it feels natural.

Sanibelle
02-11-2008, 11:23 AM
I knit combined - my gransma taught me that 40 years ago and that is how I have always knit. Sometimes I have to adjust to get my knitting to come out right but I cannot imagine knitting any other way. It is so fast - especially when you are knitting stockinette.

Jaxhil
02-11-2008, 11:27 AM
I chose continental by looking through the different methods to knit in the book by Mary Righetti (not sure if thats the right name) "Knitting in Plain English", when I was teaching myself to knit. The conti method just looked so much easier than the English to me-I didn't want to let go of the needle to throw the yarn, either-no telling where my stitches would go :teehee:

Since then I have learned English as well but it's much slower going for me and I only use it when doing colorwork.

Ilove2knit
02-11-2008, 01:04 PM
I knit continental style. I learned to crochet when I was a little girl, and it just seems to make sense to me to hold the yarn that way. I've found that it does make switching between knitting and purling simple. When I watch people who knit English style, it seems like bringing the yarn forward or back is a whole extra step. I've tried knitting English style, but I just get tangled up in the yarn.
~Christine~

lelvsdgs
02-11-2008, 01:52 PM
I was taught English by grandma almost 40 years ago. I have tried to do Continental because I kept hearing it was easier on the hands. I have found the opposite, I could only knit for short periods of time with continental and experienced way more pain that way. So I stick to English.
I guess really, it's just personal preference.

monzogary
02-11-2008, 07:39 PM
I learned to crochet and knit in the same year, with crochet being first (this was way back in jr. high!), and I knit English method and crochet holding the yarn in my left hand. I am fairly ambidextrous though, so that may make a difference. I can do both pretty fast.

knittingymnast
02-12-2008, 04:38 PM
Me, too. I want to learn to controll my tension w/ my left hand so I can do two color knitting with one yarn in each hand. Very hard for me.

I prefer to do English method. I have more control with the purls and my yarn tension is easier for me. I've seen people do it by letting go of the right needle and wrap the yarn round. I don't let go. I just use a slight dip w/ my left hand to get the old stitch in place and then at the same time, use my right index finger to slip the new stitch on the right needle.

i know how to knit conti but do not really do it well and am SO slow at it.

SusanAnn
02-12-2008, 04:54 PM
When I joined this site, I decided it was time to spruce up my knitting and learn continental. I can do a knit stitch fine, but my purls are poor, and I had a light bulb moment that perhaps I should just get on and improve the English knitting style that my dear grandmother taught me forty years ago. So that is what I am doing at the moment, I may come back to conti knitting at some time, but there is something enjoyable about the fact that I am knitting the same way that both my grandmother and mother did.

marlajap
02-12-2008, 05:36 PM
I wish I could knit Continental, but I can't. Like others here, I've been a crocheter for 30+ years. I certainly hold the yarn in the left hand for that, but it's just the yarn and a light control hold on the work. I can't seem to hold the yarn in the left and control that left needle, too. I can do a knit stitch Conti, but the tension is off, usually to the tight side, which makes the next row hard. Can't purl in Conti to save my soul. I do English just fine, although, at first, I would switch the yarn to throw from my left hand to purl - got it back into my right hand now. I'm not super-speedy, but I've only been doing this since November, so I'm fast enough for this stage of my knitting development.

My friend, who is also a long-time crocheter, has also recently learned to knit (via this wonderful site, to which I referred her!), and she does very well with Conti, does not like English at all. She thinks I'm really fast at knitting (hah!!), and hates purling - says she can't seem to get the tension the same on purl as on knit. She'll get there, though, and then she will be blazingly fast, I think, and I'll still be plodding along English-ly.

I, too, take comfort in the fact that my mother was an English knitter, so I now knit the same way she did. :) I would love to be as fast as Amy or as the nice young lady in my LYS who knits Conti so quickly and effortlessly (without even looking) that you can't sort out what she's doing. Once in a while, I try a few Conti stitches, but usually wind up frogging them. :(

Knit Princess
02-12-2008, 07:02 PM
I learned English Knitting and Crochet at the same time, and taught myself Conti (via the KH videos - THANKS!!) so that I could knit faster, and now the English way feels awkward. I do wonder if it's because of learning crochet. I don't crochet that often, though...

Arielluria
02-12-2008, 07:04 PM
:X:Continental here. That's what I learned and though I tried throwing so I can do cottage style knitting, I just couldn't hack it.

I'm surprised to see so many others here are Continental, it seemed to me there were more throwers here in the U.S.

Newbie2Knitting
02-12-2008, 07:10 PM
What is cottage style knitting? I've heard it's really fast. I downloaded a video to check it out but unfortunately I couldn't view it.

maniago
02-12-2008, 07:26 PM
I get alot of strange looks and comments on how I knit, Continental seems a bit rare around here

MerigoldinWA
02-12-2008, 08:21 PM
A friend taught me the English method in high school. I knit that way for a long time. Then I learned to crochet. After reading EZ's Knitting Without Tears and then meeting a Continental knitter, I decided to learn that. I now prefer it. Easier on my hands and a breeze to switch from knit to purl. I still use English for stranded knitting, RH English, LH Continental.

Becky Morgan
02-12-2008, 10:47 PM
No one around here will admit to even knowing what Continental knitting IS. (The norm seems to be an extreme and wrist-twisting form of "throwing".) I let them stew and try to "fix" my work all the time.

panchita
02-12-2008, 11:19 PM
I taught myself to knit English style out of "Stitch 'n Bitch" about 2 years ago. I've tried doing Continental, but my hands hurt, my stitches fall off the needles while I'm trying to make new ones, and the tension is very uneven.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!! :-P

Arielluria
02-13-2008, 07:17 PM
There's a link online that everyone goes to and seems to have trouble with. I found this alternate one from theanticraft.com (http://www.theanticraft.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/124-Irish-Cottage-Knitting.html), it works for me. It's the Yarn Harlot speed knitting.....how jealous I am! But I found the trick to it on Continental knitting is to keep the needles at an approximate 90 degree angle. I find that speeds up my knitting considerably and I can knit without looking because I have confidence that my right needle is in the stitch like it should be.

Gertie
02-13-2008, 08:22 PM
What is cottage style knitting? I've heard it's really fast. I downloaded a video to check it out but unfortunately I couldn't view it.

I saw it on this site:

http://www.archive.org/details/irishcottageknitting

Hope you get to see it.

mommydearest
02-13-2008, 10:39 PM
I learned to crochet very young and cannot hold my yarn in the right hand.

I feel the same way. I love continental but to be fair I have tried English since I want to try Fair Isle someday. I could never knit English on a daily basis - such a waste of time. Continental is much more convenient IMHO.

Mary

Sulwen
02-14-2008, 06:41 AM
As someone just (JUST) starting out, I've found Continental to be much easier. I tried English first, and the stitches were really messy and kept doing strange things. When I tried out Continental, they were neat and even, and the motion just feels easy and right.

Max'inux
02-14-2008, 06:55 AM
I don't necessarily prefer either yet; I'm proficient at English but am learning Continental. I get a different gauge with each--I knit a LOT looser with Continental, I knit so tight with English that I can have trouble sliding the work on aluminum needles--and since I have a limited selection of needle sizes this will probably be useful for me to get a specified gauge.

Or so I'm telling myself :mrgreen: I'm a ridiculously new knitter. I kind of need to test all my theories...

Newbie2Knitting
02-14-2008, 09:26 AM
I don't necessarily prefer either yet; I'm proficient at English but am learning Continental. I get a different gauge with each--I knit a LOT looser with Continental, I knit so tight with English that I can have trouble sliding the work on aluminum needles--and since I have a limited selection of needle sizes this will probably be useful for me to get a specified gauge.

Yup, that's me, too. Uber-tight knitter using English, and really loose Continental. Go figure.

I checked out the vid of Cottage style - holy crap!!! Now THAT is fast. (Off to try yet another style of knitting...)

KnittinMitchie
02-14-2008, 09:32 AM
Being self taught I too "throw" my yarn. But I do have to say once I get going I can knit at a good pace. I would like to "master" continental eventually. I think part of my problem is I'm a lefty crocheter and I'm so used to the yarn being in my right hand. Oh well knitting goes on no matter ow I "throw" the yarn

Arielluria
02-14-2008, 10:29 AM
I learned to crochet very young and cannot hold my yarn in the right hand.

That's a great point! I hadn't thought of that. I too learned to crochet first, since I didn't have anyone to guide me on what to do after I learned to K and P in knitting.........and the yarn in the left hand totally feels he most comfortable to me.

panchita
02-15-2008, 10:56 PM
That cottage style knitting is smokin' fast! How would you hold the right hand needle if you had many more stitches on the needle?
:whoosh:


Wow.:noway:

WildMountainHoney
02-16-2008, 06:38 PM
I prefer continental.

I am self-taught with a verse and dvd (for kids) and first learned without holding tension at all, just letting the yarn hang in back. Then, I guess I had muscle memory from years ago when my mom taught me crochet, and I picked up the yarn in my left hand.

However, I can throw too, and use 2 hands when doing colorwork fairly painlessly.

Sewing Angel
02-16-2008, 09:56 PM
When I was taking lessons, the teacher tried to make me knit English. I was a new knitter and she thought I should learn that way. I tried and tried. My brain insists that I knit Continental. From time to time I will try English and it just won't work. I think as long as you're comfortable with how you knit , that is what is most important.
Angel

Eekee
02-16-2008, 10:23 PM
I started out with the English method, but now use Continental for almost everything. I do English for the first row when knitting in the round, and when purling for a long time. Everything else is Conti, and much less awkward. It's handy being able to do both.

McKnitty
02-18-2008, 02:21 PM
I first learned to knit with English/throw, then switched to Continental specifically for ribbing. I also taught myself to knit and purl in Combination style, but I can only knit scarves so far because I don't know how to do the increases and decreases (yet, but I plan to learn).

ArtLady1981
02-18-2008, 03:19 PM
I was taught to knit by my boss on my breaks back in 1969...on two pencils and a piece of yarn! She taught me English knitting, and I'm stickin' to it! :teehee: I have my 'gauge' down pat by now, and don't want to interfere with it! :eyes:

edhicks79
02-18-2008, 03:59 PM
I tried knitting English when I was teaching myself and it was one of the least comfortable things I tried. I switched to Continental and haven't had any more problems.
I'm like you, lostchyld, except I'm more of a lostgeezer. Learned to crochet years ago and enjoy it every now and then, but one is limited to the articles possible to crochet: doilies, dishrags, afghans, granny squares, and what else? Lo-o-o-o-ve to knit. EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman) and I are kindred souls. You gotta get her Knitting Without Tears, and other books. I can do Fair Isle with both hands, but I only knit English style when I have to.

BethLaf
02-18-2008, 04:21 PM
as a southpaw , i knit continental, things just go easier that way for me, i do know how to crochet, but i crochet :knitting: "backwards" too...

Becky Morgan
02-18-2008, 11:47 PM
...but one is limited to the articles possible to crochet: doilies, dishrags, afghans, granny squares, and what else?

I dunno...pillows, curtains, coats, jackets, shawls, sweaters...
Whether I knit or crochet a sweater depends on the pattern. Crochet makes some beautiful light, lacy ones. Combined knit and crochet also works nicely. I don't like crocheted ribbing, so I knit it. On the other hand, if a knitted sweater looks better with a crocheted lace collar, that's what it gets. Knitted filet...well, it doesn't translate for me.

Be fearless. It's only yarn and you can always frog it!

snowbear
02-18-2008, 11:51 PM
part of my resolution on New Years, was to try continental.. I've been a natural English, but, hey.. I'm up to trying something new.