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Old 02-05-2005, 07:11 PM   #1
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Whohoooo! I'm continental!
Yay! I finally seem to have figured how how to knit and purl continental, thanks to the incredibly helpful videos here! :D

When I started knitting, all the way back in October 2004 , the easiest thing for me was combination knitting with the yarn in my right hand. It took about halfway through the first scarf to find out I was twisting my stitches; it was easy to figure out how to untwist them, but for the sake of uniformity I knit the rest of the scarf twisted. After that, I just knit 'eastern uncrossed', aka combined.

Still, all the waving about of hand and yarn, and the adapting of patterns I have to do gets a little tiresome. I've also recently done a stretch of seed stitch, and that seemed like it would be soooo much easier when knitting continental.

So tonight I took the plunge, grabbed some raspberry red yarn and some needles, plunked myself in front of the computer and tried it out. It wasn't nearly has hard as I thought it would be!
I've also figured out how to knit English 'properly', so that the leading leg of the stitch is the front one. So really, I now have three ways of knitting at my disposal!

I'm still having a bit of trouble controlling the tension of my yarn when I knit continental though; for some reason it doesn't flow across my pinky smoothly, so I end up choking my fingers and my knitting. But I suppose that will get better with practice.

Now, the dilemma..... will I practice that on the 'Bella' cardigan I've just started, and run the risk of horribly uneven knitting? Or just go the easy way and knit that one in English, and practice my Continental knitting on something else?

Ps; I've found that when purling, I tend to use my left thumb rather than my left middle finger to press down the yarn. Is that something I can keep doing, or does that have any disadvantages?

I keep thinking of myself as 'she's gone Continental', rather like 'she's gone postal'.....
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Old 02-05-2005, 07:29 PM   #2
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Yay Bummble! You're going to love having all those skills. They all come in handy!

I know exactly what you mean, about not wanting to go through the extra hand movements. I originally was taught English, and taught myself Continental after learning to hold the yarn in my left hand like that through a crochet video. Continental comes naturally if you hold the yarn like that. I didn't know I was doing it "Continental," I just thought of it as efficient knitting with fewer hand motions. I think that kind of efficiency comes naturally when you do something a lot. I've seen some very efficient English knitters, too, who have it down to a very fluid science. But there's no arguing that Continental requires fewer motions, especially when it involves alternating between knit and purl stitches. I'm sure you'll love it!

Hmmm, should you do the sweater now? I see your dilemma! I'd say if it's ribbed, or patterned, then yes. If it's all stockinette, then you might want to do a small project first, or at least start out by knitting the back.

Happy knitting, and congrats!
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Old 02-06-2005, 09:47 AM   #3
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Funny thing is, I crocheted before I knitted, but I still had trouble with Continental.
Then again, I've never crocheted very much.

The sweater is mostly stockinette, with a little seed stitch at the hems. Only the sleeves have a fancy, leaf-like pattern. I guess I'll stick to English for it for now (that also still goes a lot faster than Continental).
I'll probably start a little pixie-hat today using Continental though, to get my fingers used to it.

Thank you so much for putting up those videos, they really are the most useful I've ever come across!

I really like this forum as well, it's friendly, not too crowded (yet) and the layout is pleasing to the eye and very clear.
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Old 02-07-2005, 03:20 PM   #4
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Bumble, for years I did 'thumb-purls' too. A few years ago, I finally learned how to do it with my index finger (which is the finger I use to guide the knit stitch.) I found htere were two advantages to this. 1) It requires less motion in your left wrist. Good for people with repetative stress injuries. 2) It is faster, once you get the hang of it, since you are not moving the yarn from thumb back to index finger.

However, even now, sometimes if I'm doing a long row of purls, I will still revert back to the thumb to give my index finger a rest.
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Old 02-13-2005, 03:16 PM   #5
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I saw this post a little while ago and thought maybe I'd try to learn continental--and I'm so glad I did! It's so much faster for me, especially the knit stitch. Purl is still giving me some trouble, but I think I'll get it soon.

So I'm also a bit sad that I'll have to do some more practicing before I can start on my first sweater I had wanted to do, but I think it will go much faster once I do start!

Thanks for the videos Amy--most of the beginner books I've seen barely even mention continental, so I don't think I would have bothered trying it without this site!
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:35 PM   #6
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oh. i want to be continental too. but i am always in such a hurry on my projects i never have "time" to learn.

soon though. soon.
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:02 PM   #7
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Just a thought for Bummble:

If the yarn is choking your fingers, are you putting the yarn ball in a place where the yarn can flow into your fingers smoothly without crossing itself? Depending on your hold, your lap might not be the best place for good yarn flow. I set my yarn on a table to my left. Also, do you pull enough yarn out of the ball at once so it can flow in a relaxed way? If not, it can cause a real struggle. Or maybe it's just that fingers take their own sweet time to learn things, sometimes.

I'm very impressed that you can knit in three different styles. I'm not sure whether I'm up to learning more than one. I was attracted to Continental because I'm left-handed, and it seems to use the right and left hands fairly equally.

And, I too have to say THANK YOU, AMY! because without Amy's videos the process might have been thousands of times more frustrating than it has been -- thanks, Amy. :D
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:40 PM   #8
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Hi Eggplant!

LOL, I wouldn't be too impressed if I were you - it's not as if I am 'fluent' in Continental yet....

Actually, usually the problem is that my stitches get too loose.
I've turned out to be a rather loose knitter anyway, much to my surprise; this from someone who clenches her teeth in her sleep until they crack, and regularly bends or breaks pens because she pushes too hard......

But I think my stitches are turning out more evenly now.
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Old 02-15-2005, 11:59 PM   #9
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I have the opposite desire. I learned Continental from my German grandmother, but I have a hankering to teach myself English.

I'm not sure why? Just so I can say that I'm knitting "ambidexterous" I guess.

Someday, I too will plunk myself down in front of the 'puter with red rasberry yarn, watch Amy's fab videos and try to "go English."

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Old 02-16-2005, 07:08 AM   #10
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Well, I was reading this thread and feeling jealous because even though I've been knitting for 30 years, I had never learned continental. I decided it was high time last night at about 8:00 and I, too, plunked myself down in front of the computer to learn, thanks of course to Amy and her great videos.
I have also been crocheting all these years and foolishly assumed there would be nothing to it!
The knitting got to the point at which it was pretty fluid. The purling, not so much. For one thing I have pretty short fingers and found that the motion of pushing down the working yarn with my middle finger was almost impossible and began experimenting with the index finger and thumb, but I got annoyed because I figured I was somehow cheating or something.
At other times, I got my fingers/needles/yarn twisted into some pretty funky shapes, aka like a bunch of pretzels, like a five-year-old.
I love the idea of the sheer economy of motion with this method. I'm going to press on, thinking that teaching an old dog a new trick is perhaps just a matter of teaching my fingers to get used to something new. This will be a really valuable skill to have, especially for Fair Isle knitting. What a luxury it will be not to have two colors twisting around and around each other!
This morning my left hand is kind of achy, so for sure I was messing up the purling motions. On the other hand, I did end up with a little swatch of stockinette stitch in the end.
I will keep practicing!
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