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Old 03-18-2009, 11:08 AM   #1
Norman
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Hello Ladies (and gents)

I gots a quick question for you all.. now that we have our house rebuilt and we have time to just "relax" I'm going to get back into my knitting..

Question is.. I was talking to a few folks that knit and found that when I learned to knit (which was partially my dad telling me and pictures on the internet) that I learn.. the hard way..

These folks I talk to now say that I should learn continental because it will 1) loosen up my stitching (I have a problem being kinda a tight knitter) and 2) be faster..

It currently takes me a very long time to make anything, which kinda takes some of the fun out of the hobby you know what I mean..

So I've been pursuing the awesome videos by Amy, but having a hard time "tackling" the continental method.. Is it too late.. as I've already learned a bad habbit? And as they say it's hard to unlearn something?!
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
knittingincarolina
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I used to knit European style (throwing the yarn with my right hand) and saw someone knitting Continental style, and asked them to show me how and I've never looked back. I find my tension is much better, and I can knit faster. Keep at it, it will come to you, just keep watching those videos.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:49 AM   #3
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- Continental vs English knitting is kind of like Mac vs PC, or Canon vs Nikon. One is NOT better than the other, they are just a little different, but the end result is the same. The choice really comes down to what you are most comfortable with. It can be a little slower, but that's not an absolute. Take Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for instance..she's blazing fast! Some continental knitters are slow.. Sooo...

That being said- knowing both methods has its value. I use both hands when I knit fair isle for instance. There are tight and loose knitters in both camps. It kind of depends on how you tension your yarn and hold your needles.

So I say go for it if you want to. It's fun to learn something new and a handy skill to have even if you only use it for certain things.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:52 AM   #4
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I would tend to agree with both of you.. I've heard that with the way I knit, I grip to tightly too and some have said it will help with my hands.. I love to knit.. I just don't want it to feel like a job Last time I did a hat, it took me like 3 days.. I'm hoping to cut that by a third.. but you know.. frustration sets in and you put it down..

I need to try this continental method of which you speak
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
of troy
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why just limit the either/or to european methods?
what about eastern (crossed and uncrossed? or combo?

what about portuguese? or norwegian purls? what about true left handed knitting?

there are many ways to knit.

ALL OF THEM are RIGHT!

the best method of knitting is the one that works best for you.

learn them all (or stick to the style you now know)
(and lets vow to kill all the knitting police on site!)
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:36 PM   #6
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I think Jan and I have something in common; we both started with crochet then picked up knitting. Then I think we each followed opposite methods. For all I know she may hold her crochet hook wrong like a pencil instead of like a knife.

I don't use the right hand throw because it looks to me to be more time consuming. I'm slow enough at knitting as it is without extra movement to make it worse.

When I started knitting, I naturally picked up the yarn in my left hand because that is how I did it for crochet. I followed the videos and picked the yarn with my pinky finger, then turned my hand and wrapped the yarn to the back of my fingers and began knitting.

It was very tight. I don't crochet tightly so I asked myself, "what's up?" Eventually I decided to pick up the yarn in my left hand just as I did for crochet, woven between my finger and not wrapped. Spread your fingers palm toward you with thumb up, draw the yarn in front of the pinky finger, behind the ring finger, in front of the middle finger, and behind and over the index finger. Once I did that, I was no longer knitting tight stitches (unless I wanted to do so between DPNs or at the selvage edges).

You've already identified one cause of your tight stitches: holding the needles to tight. Holding the yarn too tight might also be contributing to it. It may be easier to learn a new method than to re-learn your current method with a looser grip on both the needles and the yarn.

Either way, it will be best to be very deliberate in your movements. If you feel your grip get tight, relax and figure out if there is a cause (like yarn slipping off the needle). Maybe a switch to wooden needles would help overcome that "slipping" feeling. It will take time to unlearn the tight grip. Speed while re-learning is not helpful, but repetition is the path to learning.

Complete 3 correct repetitions to wipe out a tight one. Complete 1000 correct stitches with out a tight stitch and you've made it.

Sounds like a Rx for a scarf project to me.

Good luck with what ever method you choose.

I'll be betting on the continental,
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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Then basically you need to learn to loosen up. That's what's causing your hands to hurt, not the method. You'd probably hold the needles too tight if you switched to continental too. Neither is faster than the other, it's just whichever you prefer and get more comfortable with.

I agree with Jack that the exaggerated throwing motions will slow you down, and you don't need to knit english style that way - I don't and neither do many others. Here's a couple videos that show other ways to hold and move the yarn -
I'm a Thrower
Knitting english
English Style knitting
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:47 PM   #8
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Okay let me just start out with saying, I'm not trying to start a "Style" war.. and I don't take the "Your are doing it wrong" to heart at all.. I know, being a developer, there is more than one way to do it..

What I'm trying to figure out, which is why I asked, is if continental would be a logical next step to try.. And yeah.. I lost all of my metal needles in our flood, so I'm needing to re buy all my straights .. I'm thinking of getting bamboo..

I'm open to all styles.. I am just trying to find something that's comfortable.. and with what I'm doing now, my hands cramp up.. And learning a new style, I know, can be frustrating.. but can also be fun.

Thanks for all the info guys.. I'll see if I can get comfortable with the left handed style. I've always been interested in the "picking" method that is continental.. it has always intrigued me..

And for those of you who know me, I'm still working on my HP Scarf.. been a few years now
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by OffJumpsJack View Post
I think Jan and I have something in common; we both started with crochet then picked up knitting. Then I think we each followed opposite methods. For all I know she may hold her crochet hook wrong like a pencil instead of like a knife.

For the record I hold my hook like a knife when I crochet.

I tried knitting continental for the same reasons most crocheters do, but I could not get the hang of it and was frustrated. Then I saw that I could do it with my right hand and it went like a charm. Now I see value in knowing both methods. It's also handy if one hand hurts and you still want to knit.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:19 PM   #10
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If you're going to have to re-buy all of your straights, I would highly recommend the Harmony ones by knitpicks. They are wood but very smooth, fairly light weight and very pretty! http://www.knitpicks.com/straight+kn..._NL300304.html
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