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Old 11-02-2007, 09:47 AM   #1
knitmonster
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Not so much a how, more of a why...
I am trying to train myself to knit continentally, but I am wondering if there is a real difference, or an advantage, to knitting this way? How do you (all) knit and why? Is knitting lefty easier? Faster? Smarter? Sexier? Is knitting righty tighter? More even? Lazier?

Thoughts? Comments?
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:11 AM   #2
MrsDavis3
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This issue is discussed often. I think English knitters are often made to feel inferior for using the "less efficient", "slower" way of knitting; it's not ostensibly intentional, but hardly anyone pipes up to tout the advantages of English, in contrast to continental, which is often described in terms of its superiority to English. I myself have always knitted English ("throwing"), but I do knit continental with a second color.

Sometimes I wish I were equally skilled with both, but the fact is I am not. Purling continental feels awkward, and I just don't see myself putting in the time to practice on swatches in order to improve. At this point I would rather just be creating a desired object with the technique I have already mastered.

IMO the oddest thing said about the continental method is that it "requires less movement, and therefore less energy". My main complaint about knitting in general is that it doesn't burn enough calories, so I would never prefer a method based on that distinction!
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:43 AM   #3
gargoylelib
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Imo, it is all about personal preference. Neither way is better than
the other. I taught myself to knit continental but I came from
crocheting so it just felt more natural to me to hold the yarn in my
left hand. I'm in the process of learning to knit English because it
would be advantageous for 2 color knitting however, I doubt I will
ever switch completely because purling English just isn't clicking so
I find I always just go back to Continental. I also knit using the
combination method (if you dont' know it you can read about it here)
and I find doing Western purl a pain and only use it when
necessary! As many will no doubt tell you, knit the way that gets
results for you and that you are comfortable with!

Libbie
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:05 AM   #4
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Purling in continental is more difficult if you're used to english (and even if you're not). There's really no advantage, nor is it better. Most of the demos of English knitting I see have a lot more arm motion than I use, I just sort of flick my fingers and my right hand barely leaves the needle, so I use no more motion or energy than continental knitters. If you'd like to learn it just to try out, that's fine, but if you're comfortable knitting english you don't have to switch.
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:12 AM   #5
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The one thing I've heard that makes me vaguely want to try learning continental (I'm purely english) is that switching between knit and purl -- or, at least, switching between yf and yb -- is easier in continental, and so something where I'm constantly flipping back and forth between the two (a 1x1 or even 2x2 rib, or double-knitting, or seed stitch, or whatever) might be easier with continental. ...but I've tried it and it feels awkward, and most of the time I'm fine with english methods, so I don't bother changing
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Old 11-02-2007, 01:25 PM   #6
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Well, I'm still just learning, but I'm more comfy continental (and I must be the odd one out, but purling conti doesn't feel awkward at all, I love ribbing!). BUT, I'm knitting a shrug that is all garter, and I'm making myself do one row conti, next row english. I simply loved the video of the yarn harlot and her irish cottage knitting - it was the first "english" video that didn't look awkward, so I'm trying to find my rhythm english on this project. I think I will practice purling english too on my next dishcloth. I'm mostly doing it so color work will flow easier (I love the look of fair isle ) and because I don't want repetitive motion to cause injury - 2 ways to knit, and changing things up, seems the best way to prevent that!

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Old 11-02-2007, 01:39 PM   #7
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This is a topic that will be debated till the end of time...(kind of like the Mac vs PC wars.) No matter what any one says one way is not better, it's just different. I use both hands when knitting fair isle, but otherwise I knit english and prefer it. As far as speed goes..1. who cares how fast you are unless you're in a contest and 2. it's subjective. As I always say.. Do what works for you!
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Old 11-02-2007, 01:55 PM   #8
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I also wonder if how comfy it is depends on handed-ness? I am right handed, but not strongly so - I wonder if a left would prefere conti, where, imo, the left hand has the more delicate "job" and stronger righties prefer english where it's the right hand that has to be careful and, maybe delicate isn't the right word, but doing the work instead of just holding the needle.
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Old 11-02-2007, 01:59 PM   #9
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Nope, which hand you use for everything else doesn't seem to play any part in which you hold your yarn in. Neither does whether you've crocheted before or not.
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Old 11-02-2007, 02:13 PM   #10
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I think the primary difference lies in which hand has the responsibility for the tension of the working yarn. I believe my left hand has not developed enough sensitivity to that tension.
When you throw, you wrap the yarn around the needle directly, so you can determine the tension with that action; but with continental, you pick the yarn up with the tip of the needle and the tension depends on how tightly the working yarn is held as it winds through the fingers of your left hand, which is a different thing. When I'm knitting continental, I have to stop if the yarn gets too loose in my left hand. With English, it's not a factor, it's all in the throwing and it doesn't matter how loose the yarn is held in the hand between throws.

At least, that's how it seems to me.
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