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Old 03-18-2008, 07:08 PM   #1
AnimaInsolita
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Switching from English to Continental
Hey. I learned to knit English style when I was younger. I quit knitting for approximately fourteen years, and have recently taken it up again. I feel myself drawn to the continental style - so I'm using the videos on this site to help me.

I have arthritis, so knitting will be a helpful pastime.

I've been practicing only the knit stitch in continental (just began a few minutes ago). Taking a break because my thumb is cramped and I need to stretch it out.

Anyway, while practicing I've noticed that it's rather messy. I'm sure that will improve as I practice the technique. Any tips or anything would be appreciated.

Other than that, I'm taking a break from the ribbed scarf I'm knitting for my boyfriend (English style) to learn continental. He's supportive, but really wants his scarf.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:49 PM   #2
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Update, I've tried practicing the purl stitch (continental style) and I'm horrible at it. The stitches come out fine but it's so difficult to do, it's really awkward for me. I guess that's because I'm so used to the English style. It's driving me buggy. I just threw the yarn and needles. Haha. Just like me, frustrated - so I throw the work down.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:11 PM   #3
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I switched to Continental last summer. The purling was extremely awkward. I watched a lot of different videos and finally figured out my own way to do it. I use my left middle finger to "push" the yarn down behind the needle when purling.

Good luck, and keep at it!
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:32 PM   #4
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K, I have a question for both of ya...Have either of you guys crocheted before (doesn't matter if it's a doily or just a chain). You would hold the yarn in your left hand just like you would for crocheting. The needle motion is similar also, where you go into the stitch and "grab" or "pick" the yarn and pull it through the stitch. Same concept with conti.
In english, you are used to the right hand knitted stitches just moving along rather nicely and not bunching up on you. In conti. you have to consciously move those stitches so they don't bunch up and your gauge gets all messed up. So every once in a while you have to rearrange your stitches so that they feed nicely up to the points. Another little point is to not move the yarn hand very much at all, it's pretty much all in the wrist, not the fingers like english.
You also don't want to choke your needles (trying to keep the yarn tension). Wrap the yarn aroung your little finger and have it rest close to your hand in that joint ditch or on that 2nd knuckle bend. That way your pinky curls and that holds your yarn to tension pretty much without binding up. Then have the yarn go under your 2 middle fingers and then up and over the index finger.Another little tip is if the yarn is thin or slick, wrap the yarn twice around your index finger and rembember it's not a wiggly snake so don't strangle it. Let the yarn flow through your fingers as you go. You will get better tension and the muscles in your hands will start to remember what they are supposed to do as you get more experience.
Hope that helps at least a little bit.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:31 PM   #5
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I knit both (learned English first, though). When knitting Continental, I hold the yarn different that what Fibrenut describes. I found thisvideo on youtube and it's what I do. You barely have to move your fingers at all and I can purl easier this way. I never could get the hang of pushing the yarn down with my middle finger. HTH
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:00 PM   #6
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I think you should knit in whatever method works for you and not worry about it. I was a crocheter, but I knit english and it works fine for me. One method is not better than another, just different.
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Old 03-19-2008, 12:26 AM   #7
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I agree with Jan on this one. Do whatever technique suits you best. You end up with the same product anyway .
I was just trying to help with continental techniques that have worked for me. Not saying that it's the end all be all way to go. Like the old saying, "there's more than one way to skin a cat." LOL.

Ya'll just go on and knit whichever way that is the most comfortable to you, and it's a wonderful thing when someone wants to broaden their reportoire

So, here's to knitten to the beat of a different drum... LOL!!!

p.s. there is a great tutorial video here on the site that should help you with that purl stitch problem thing...
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:24 AM   #8
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I totally agree. Go with what feels 'right' for you. I started English, went to Continental, Continental with Norwegian Purl, and am now doing Irish Cottage. Cottage is the most comfortable for me. I learned the Norwegian Purl because of pain from pivoting my index finger, but it was sooooo slow. I learned Cottage method to tighten my gauge for socks and I think that's where I'm gonna stay, lol.
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:35 PM   #9
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I'm a little in the dark here. What is Norwegian Purl and Irish Cottage? Are these ways to knit?
I'm always interested in different ways to do things.
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:56 PM   #10
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Norwegian purl is just another way to do a purl stitch. There's a video of it here. Looks like a pain in the butt to me, but then I'm kinda set in my ways. Irish Cottage knitting is yet another way to hold the yarn and apparently you can go crazy-fast. You can see a video of it here.
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