Doesn’t it sound cosmopolitan? Let me begin by admitting that my knitting journey has been bumpy. And it wasn’t until I started looking at knitting videos and instructions that I understood something crucial: there are multiple ways to knit!
I learned to crochet before I learned to knit, and I had been attempting to knit with the yarn in my right hand for quite some time. Because it was, it felt entirely backward to me. My crochet hands were resisting my attempts to English knit. That’s how I learned about continental knitting.
Continental knitting: What is it, and how does it differ?
Because you hold the yarn in your left hand, this method of knitting resembles a crochet. It’s the opposite hand from your working needle but closer to the work itself. After putting the needle into the next stitch, you pick the yarn through with it. Continental knitting is commonly called “picking” because of this motion. German knitting is sometimes known as left-handed knitting or European knitting.
What are the benefits?
The continental method makes knitting easier for crocheters because the motions are more familiar. You don’t want to convert your crocheting pals, do you? I’m sure I do!
When working with the knit stitch, it has the potential to be speedier. Because you’re holding your work in your left hand, it’s only natural to have your working yarn in your left hand directly behind it. The working needle swoops in and picks the yarn through in one fast movement.
Even if you know how to knit, learning to do so with both hands is helpful. It will also make colorwork knitting much more efficient!
Maintaining a consistent tension can be difficult if you’re not used to holding the yarn with your left hand. Some knitters like to loop the yarn around their pinky, then over the backs of their other fingers before draping it over their index fingers. I lay the yarn over my index finger and hold it against my palm with my pinky. It allows the yarn to move freely, allowing me to apply additional pressure if necessary. My thumb and middle finger assist with stitch progress down the left needle toward the tip.
The KNIT Stitch
When I knit, I still tend to move my left hand! As you can see, I’m not a complete “picker,” I tend to rock the yarn over the needle with my index finger. It’s simply more comfortable for me to do it this way and comparable to how complicated I crochet.
The PURL Stitch
Purling in the continental style is a little more difficult. As the yarn passes through the stitch, I use my thumb to keep it over the needle. Purling took a long time for me to get used to because it’s so much slower than knitting! But, as they say, practice makes perfect, and my nightmares are no longer with me (no joke).