View Full Version : English v. Continental

Tamar Dohel
03-15-2006, 10:13 AM
Hi all,

I knit English and am pretty slow. I want to knit a bit faster and was thinking may be to try knitting Continental style.

Has any of you tried switching from English to Continental? Are there any other ways which can help me speed up a bit?


03-15-2006, 10:19 AM
I think that one way just "clicks" for you...give it a try, give it a few weeks and see how it feels. I tried learning English and if I hadn't switched to continental, I would have quit knitting. Something about it just didn't feel right to me, it was so difficult, and I could not get even tension to save my life. Continental, on the other hand, feels totally natural to me. But my MIL just tried to switch, and she didn't take to continental at all.

To each their own....it's just pulling loops through other loops, no matter which way you do it :D

Jan in CA
03-15-2006, 10:34 AM
I started out continental and switched to english. Julie is right, try it for awhile and see what works for you.

Tamar Dohel
03-15-2006, 11:31 AM
Thanks guys,

Jan, can I become faster with time if I stick with English?

Jan in CA
03-15-2006, 11:35 AM
Thanks guys,

Jan, can I become faster with time if I stick with English?

Sure, time will increases your speed and improve tension. Continental knitters say that doing it that way is faster because you don't have to throw the yarn, but you have to do what works for you. My speed varies with the yarn and pattern, too. I had a hard time purling with continental so that is the main reason I switched and now I find it easier.

03-15-2006, 11:55 AM
I knit both ways, though now that I figured out continental, I like it better. I learned English from a book, and did that for a while, but then I started making my sock and my finger was getting sore from where I pushed the needle down, so I switched to continental to save my finger tips.

A few observations I have about my knitting:
*I have a slightly looser tension when knitting continental than I do when knitting English.
*Some stitches are harder for me to perform in continental
*If I have coarse yarn, it's going to eat up my finger no matter which way I knit.
*I am no faster knitting continental than I am while knitting English, but it looks cooler

Your method may vary. I say go for it. You can't lose. It took me a while of trying continental before I got the hang of it.

Tamar Dohel
03-15-2006, 12:04 PM
Thanks Jan,

Your words are very encouraging. I was sure that all the fast experienced knitters on this site were continental and that you can't get very far on English.

I did try continental once for just a few stitches and it was too fiddly. I could probably master it if I put my mind to it and take my time. May be I'll give it another go again.

Also, my knitting friend, Susan, who lives down the road from me said that I might as well stick to what I know though she's a continental.


Jan in CA
03-15-2006, 12:10 PM
I was sure that all the fast experienced knitters on this site were continental and that you can't get very far on English.

INGRID knits english method! :cheering: :roflhard:

Here's an older thread on the subject with a poll. Very interesting!
English vs Continental Poll (http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8152&postdays=0&postorder=asc&vote=viewresult)

Tamar Dohel
03-15-2006, 12:25 PM
I'm still reading the old thread.

Thanks. I feel more confident now.

03-15-2006, 12:56 PM
I'm a crocheter and supposedly that's supposedly to help with continental, but it doesn't for me. I think it's because I crochet left handed and knit (English) right-handed. Weird. Anyway, I've tried and tried and tried continental and I can't do it, so I've given up.

I say do whatever feels best for you. I know continental looks cooler and that's probably why I tried so hard :oops: but it's just not worth the frustration and sweaty fingers to me. :roflhard: :roflhard: :roflhard:

03-15-2006, 01:05 PM
I agree with "whatever feels best". I tried to learn English from a book and was ready to run into the nearest craft store and break every needle in sight...Then I tried continential and I picked it up like I had been born to do it. (I'm not a great knitter but I understand what I know...)
I tried to convert my sister to continential but she got lost...
I taught my best friend the basics in continential and several folks in my SNB want me to teach them continential (they are English knitters). See if you can watch someone who knits continential for a little while--that might help too if you decide you want to try it!

03-15-2006, 01:34 PM
I've been wondering lately whether I should switch from English to Continental. I learned to knit sort of incidental to taking my wife and neighbor around to various yarn shops. When I finally did take a lesson it was from someone who only knit English. I would appreciate hearing from someone who decided to make the transition, how they did it, how long it took and whether in the long run it was worth it.

03-15-2006, 02:07 PM
I originally learned English and started Continental last summer when I was having pretty bad hand pain. It was slow at first, but now I'm a little faster at knitting with Continental. Learning to purl Continental was a lot harder for me, I'm only now getting where I am as fast as I was purling English. Also, I can't knit Continental with big needles, say 13 and up. So what I use varies from project to project and how tired my hands are. It's also useful knowing how to do both cause it makes fair isle knitting go faster :D

Jan in CA
03-15-2006, 02:08 PM
I've been wondering lately whether I should switch from English to Continental.

Why would you want to if knitting english works for you? I guess I can see it if you are still feeling awkward with it or something. Just curious. ;)

03-15-2006, 02:54 PM
From what I hear, English is supposed to be slower going than Continental. So I guess I just want to go as fast as I'm able. (typing this I'm laughing at myself; as if I'm in the business of manufacturing shawls and socks.) Anyhow thats the reason. :D

03-15-2006, 03:25 PM
Many years ago, I learned to knit from my left handed granny, and learned contential... unbeknowst to me... so when I decided to take up knitting again, I was learning from a book, and it taught English. I tried and tried to knit that way, but the tension was crappy and I was setting needles down to throw and get the yarn into place... just generally making a mess of everything. Then I watched Amy's video of contential knitting, and it looked so much more familiar. I switched over and all the sudden I had tension and rhythm. It "clicked" for me.

That being said, I have a hard time with purl because I purl much tighter than I knit so I end up having to use a larger sized needle when I purl just so I can knit back into the stitch, otherwise I spend a lot of time stretching out the loop to knit into. I do find it much faster, but it could be because of the muscle memory from my youth.

03-15-2006, 03:37 PM
I think no matter how you knit you get faster and more efficient.
There are plenty of very fast english knitters out there. Look at it this way, if you are uncomfortable with a style then your knitting will always be just a bit worse than in the style that works for you.

03-15-2006, 04:33 PM
I've tried to knit Continental, but even after watching Amy's videos time after time, I still can't get the hang of it. I feel like I'm learning how to knit all over again. I'd like to learn though because I'd like to be able to knit when my right hand gets sore.

03-15-2006, 04:40 PM
I knit English because that's how I learned and that's what feels like knitting to me. I've tried Conti just to see what the difference was, but I prefer English. I think I'm quite fast enough, thankyouverymuch. ;)

The bottom line is to enjoy knitting and to enjoy the method that you use. No one's ever sat next to me with a stop watch.

03-15-2006, 05:05 PM
I'm not sure a stop watch could keep up with you Ingrid!! :lol:

03-19-2006, 01:15 AM
Heres a funny one. I have carpal tunnel in both hands so that neither one of them get overly wore out or sore, I knit english and purl cont.

Don't ask, I dont know. :roflhard:

If I try only doing it one way, english or cont, the other hand gets wore out and visa versa so If im giving one hand a break every few stitches, back and forth, it causes me far less discomfort and I'm able to knit alot longer. I dont care about my speed so that doesnt factor in for me. As long as what goes where its supposed to be, then I dont care if I'm the slowest knitter on the planet. :XX:

03-19-2006, 07:30 PM
I knit Continental and always have. I do not remember how I learned to knit but thats the only way I know how. I do like that it is a fast way of knitting. :XX: :XX: