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Lizars1735 01-03-2013 12:35 PM

Trouble knitting continental style
Hi. I'm in the process of trying to switch from English, throwing style, to the faster continental style with the yarn on my left finger. I can't seem to keep any tension in the yarn no matter how I wrap it around my fingers. I can do a straight knit, but not purl, or anything else complicated. As soon as I start to lose tension it all falls apart. Any advice?

suzeeq 01-03-2013 12:37 PM

It'll take some practice to get the right tension, just like it did with english. You can look as some of the other continental purl versions, like combined or the Norwegian purl.

GrumpyGramma 01-03-2013 01:19 PM

suzeeq is right, it takes practice. How you hold the yarn can make it easier or more difficult. In Knitting - Basic Knit Stitch (Continental Method) Amy shows two ways of holding the yarn, I find the second is the best for me for purling. Try different ways until you find what works for you.

Lizars1735 01-03-2013 02:15 PM

Thank you. I am going to just have to practice. I watched the videos, and I think I see how to do the purl without dropping the yarn accidentally. I am going to have to make the switch because I started a project that I need to finish quickly, and the throwing style is making my right wrist and elbow hurt with all the time I'm spending knitting.

suzeeq 01-03-2013 02:31 PM

There's a lot of different ways to hold the yarn and needle in the right hand too. I don't really 'throw' my whole hand or arm, I just sort of flex out my index finger to wrap the yarn around the needle tip. Here's some examples of other ways to knit english -

I'm a Thrower
Knitting english
I'm a "flicker"
That's How I Do It

GrumpyGramma 01-03-2013 02:58 PM

I wonder if working on a different way of knitting English wouldn't work as well as or better than learning Continental. Being able to switch between the two would be good, though. Your gauge may differ between styles so pay attention for that. Whatever you do, however you ultimately manage this problem, best of luck to you. I'd hate to have to stop knitting but right now if I had to knit English I'm not sure I could manage it. I can make Ks but not Ps English-style.

suzeeq 01-03-2013 03:16 PM

Interesting, I find purls english style much easier than continental, almost easier than knitting a stitch. The needle just goes into the stitch the same way the needle points - R to L - and you wrap the yarn the same direction as the knit.

fatoldladyinpjs 01-03-2013 03:18 PM

I started out doing Continental. Now I'm doing Eastern European but the yarn is held the same. Try holding the yarn with your middle finger. I don't know why, but that's the way I was taught to do it. It may work out easier for you. Get some scrap yarn and just practice doing the stitch over and over. Rip out the yarn. Cast on. Keep doing it. This is what I did to work on tension and decrease stitches. Work slowly. Think about what you're doing. Pretty soon this will have become a habit and you will find yourself doing the mechanics naturally without even thinking about it.

Lizars1735 01-03-2013 03:55 PM

I actually spent a good few hours practicing, and I thought I was getting the hang of it when I realized I was slanting everything the opposite way. I think it was the combination style, I can't explain how I was purling, something like pulling the yarn from underneath, but I was knitting into the backs of the stitches. It seemed OK, but I'm not that experienced of a knitter to be able to follow a pattern that way if I needed to adjust increases or decreases the opposite direction. So I went back to try to figure it all out again. I think wrapping the yarn around my pinky and using the index finger will work the best for me, I just need to practice keeping tension in the yarn.
I'd rather not try to adjut my English style because I still knit really slow and I'd like to speed it up without flicking my wrist around.

suzeeq 01-03-2013 06:11 PM

You'll be fine - many many people knit this way, a combination of eastern and western styles. Just knit into the leg closest to the tip of the needle and the sts will be untwisted. The only thing in following a pattern is that you'll need to swap the decreases so they lean the correct way. Do a k2tog tbl for the ssk, and ssk where the pattern says k2tog.

Continental isn't necessarily faster because it's continental, it depends very much on the individual knitter and how productive their movements are. If you look at the youtube links I posted for english/throwing as well as loads of others there, you may find a style that's better for you and easier on your wrist without trying to learn a whole new style which is going to take time to get better at.

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