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Old 06-07-2010, 10:23 PM   #1
badboy1cdx
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Learning a new style - grrrrr!
So, when I first started knitting, I knitted in a "somewhat english" style. Not quite classic english, but close enough that when I tried to learn how to do formal english knitting, it was easy enough to pick up. I've recently started trying out continental knitting, mostly for the speed benefits, but also to make intarsia easier...

...And I'm beating my head against the wall now because it's so darn frustrating! My fingers don't want to move like they should and the tension is all over the place! And while I can see that once I really get it down it might be quicker, it is waaay slower than my english knitting right now...

Has anyone else had similar issues trying to switch between styles? Any tips you can give me for making the transition easier?
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:30 PM   #2
Jan in CA
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Just for the record knitting english style can be very fast for some of us. That said.. yes, there often are some tension differences. It really just takes practice.

I knit english most of the time, but I do know continental for when I'm doing stranded (fair isle) knitting or when I'm doing a lot of ribbing.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:14 AM   #3
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I knit continental. Since I am 4 years old. That makes a lot of muscle memory! My mother in law is American and knits English style. First time I ever cam across it... I was puzzled. I tried to copy it, and miserably failed.
From all the (good and bad) knitters I have seen with both styles: Mostly the continental was much quicker. But there are some FAST English knitters our there.

So I encourage the transition. But I also see your pain. I would not do the switch for me. Even though someone tried to tell me the saying they learned in school with bunny ears and holes and all of that. Well, but I just want to knit! :D

The tension problem is not sooo uncommon I think. With continental knitting in general. It all depends on experience of course. But it also depends on how you run your yarn trough your hand. Can you describe what way the yarn takes from the coil to your needle? Maybe I can help to fix that part of the problem - at least somewhat.
Just to describe my way for "regular" yarn (not especially sticky or slippery): from the coil in between my pinky and my ring finger, out above my ring finger, around my index finger and down to the needle.

If the yarn is very slippery I hold it once around my pinky or one extra turn around my index finger (don't cut of the blood flow).
If the yarn won't slip at all, it just goes into my hand and through the "fist" up to the index finger.

This is all not mandatory but you have to find your own way to do it.

With the tension of the yarn held propperly equal you use your right needle to pull the stitch to the desired size / tightness.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by badboy1cdx View Post
So, when I first started knitting, I knitted in a "somewhat english" style. Not quite classic english, but close enough that when I tried to learn how to do formal english knitting, it was easy enough to pick up. I've recently started trying out continental knitting, mostly for the speed benefits, but also to make intarsia easier...

...And I'm beating my head against the wall now because it's so darn frustrating! My fingers don't want to move like they should and the tension is all over the place! And while I can see that once I really get it down it might be quicker, it is waaay slower than my english knitting right now...

Has anyone else had similar issues trying to switch between styles? Any tips you can give me for making the transition easier?

Practice. That means swatching in an easy yarn (rips out easily and with little damage, and one that doesn't split easily) Alternately you may choose a simple garter stitch dish cloth or scarf pattern for such practice. Then you get something usable while developing you new skill.

Start with simple repetition of one stitch (knit or purl); start slow and after several correct repetitions increase your speed. Repeat with the other stitch and again with a mix of these stitches. I you have 20 to 50 stitches per row then in just 50 or 20 rows you will have mastered the stitch and be well on your way to getting consistent tension.

If you hate to waste yarn on swatches and don't want a dish cloth, make it larger in a plastic yarn (acrylic) and use it to wash your car.

If you plan to rip it out and reuse it:
You might want to use a braided ply of cording that is about worsted weight yarn. Less splitting and easier to FROG (one of the terms here for ripping out your work because when you say "rip-it, rip-it" it sounds like a frog croaking.)

Time and patience are rewarded. Good luck.

Edit to add after reading Hyperactive's post...:
Continental is often call German knitting.

I'll add that if you crochet, the direction you wrap the yarn may trip you up because crochet wraps in the opposite direction from western knitting. (I use western to include both continental and American/English styles that wrap both the knit and purl in the same direction.) Combined knitting is generally used to refer to the method that wraps the yarn for purl sts in the opposite direction from knit sts. I
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:36 PM   #5
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I started with english style, then changed to continental, for the ease of ribbing, and as I found out later, double knitting as well.

If it doesn't feel comfortable to you, you don't have to switch, it might be that you're faster in english than in continental. And even though I was not very fast in the beginning, with practice, speed goes up.

Keep on trying, and if you really don't like it, don't do it.
Otherwise, practice
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:58 PM   #6
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My vote...
Hi!

I would definitely vote for continental. I switched over a year ago and I love it. My knitting motions are smoother and switching from knit to purl on ribbing is incredibly easy.

But I had this you tube video to encourage me. It's the best I've seen on the subject anywhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuRLF...eature=related

Just practice this until you get past the "Holy-Cow-I'm-all-thumbs-and-feel-like-I'm-starting-over" stage which probably won't take more than a few hours or so. The worst that can happen is that you'll have learned two knitting styles that you can use whenever you want them!

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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Old 06-08-2010, 05:56 PM   #7
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There's also use for both techniques in double knitting, if you prefer to use the continental/english mixed method.

I personally don't do it. I just knit with two strands on the left hand.
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:11 PM   #8
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Thanks for the tips all!

I know intellectually it will just take time and practice, but boy is it frustrating right now...

I am fairly quick with english style, but I do want to get continental down as well...

To answer hyperactive, I wrap the yarn once around my pinkie finger then run it up and over the back of my other three fingers...this way I can "grab" it between my pinkie and ring finger to control the tension...once again practice is the key here I guess...

Oh, and Ruthie, thank you for that video link...I really liked that video - it was a lot more comprehensive than the videos here and had a lot of great tips...
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by blueygh2 View Post
There's also use for both techniques in double knitting, if you prefer to use the continental/english mixed method.

I personally don't do it. I just knit with two strands on the left hand.
When I've done stranded color work in the past, I've been knitting with both strands in the right hand...
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:12 AM   #10
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I think if you do English with the yarn wrapped and flick your finger instead of the big hand motion it's just as fast as Continental. (Not getting into those who are fast with the big hand motion.)
Watch Knit And Crochet Now on PBS Create, Brett Bara knits like that.

I don't know if that would help with Intarsia. I knit Continental and knit backwards when doing Intarsia. I don't change my left hand hold, I pluck the yarn with my right hand.
I bet if you did it like Brett does you could also pluck to knit backwards like I do.
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