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Readers Respond: Why Do You Prefer Your Knitting Style

Responses: 36

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Whether you knit in English style, continental style or some other method, odds are good you think your method is the best -- at least for you. Tell us why you love the knitting method you use and why you think it's better than the other options out there. We'd particularly love to know if you started out knitting one way and now use a different method. Why did you make the switch?

I Merge Both

I was taught to knit as a child, plastic needles, chunky wool, in, over, through, off. Mastered stockinette and that was it. Scarves were boring to finish so didn't last long. Started again at uni, remembered my basic stitch and made it up from there. Never had to go back and "learn" a style, so just learnt techniques as I tried different patterns. Sussed continental when I did a proper fair isle sample blanket, but didn't know it was a proper named technique. Always did a basic knit similar to English, but I loop the wool around with my finger and keep hold of both needles. Don't really consider it enough for a "throw." I have noticed my hand/needle dominance changes as I change from a knit row to a purl one in patterns. Right hand and needle for knits, lefts for purls. I have been known to chuck my left needle under my left armpit and do several stitches just with right needle and right finger to wrap the wool round when sorting out the baby! What's that called?!
—Guest Sarah

It just depends . . .

When my best friend and I were in fourth grade, I taught her to crochet and she taught me to knit. (37 years ago, wow!) So I "picked up" the yarn from my left hand because my friend did, too. A Danish friend commented that I knitted "European." A few years later, I took a knitting class, learned a lot more, and the teacher showed me right-hand-throwing of the yarn. It slowed me down but made the stitches look a lot more even and almost machine-made in appearance. So I went slower, to be neater. Then I fell in love with Elizabeth Zimmermann's books and tried right/left holding for two-color work like she wrote about. That was really challenging and I felt like Superwoman for sure! But now I only "pick up" the yarn from the left hand for ribbon or flat-type material (I don't think that's exactly yarn). It is easier for me to lay the ribbon over the needle without twisting it too much.
—Guest Elizabeth T.

Either One Now

I was 8 when I started and had to teach myself. At first I learned the English method from a book then about 4 years later learned the continental method to make my projects easier. I have used both in my large projects since. I guess I was used to "throwing" my yarn because even though I had crocheted first, I never had tension. Now I have learned both methods using both leftie and righty knitting on my projects with at least 2 strands of yarn in it, and became the odd one out in my family. I had the hardest time finding patterns until I found this site. Thanks for all the help.
—Guest Katara

English Knitter...

I have tried both methods, despite being ambidextrous, I favor English knitting. I find my speed is accelerated versus Continental and I posess greater yarn control. When working Fair Isle patterns, it does come in handy to know both methodologies. As previous comments have stated, I do not 'drop' the right needle when wrapping the yarn.
—Guest SisterSpooky

Continental

I've always knit some version of continental since my mother taught me when I was a child. When I started lace knitting I had to adjust to a more "correct" continental to make the pattern work out. I don't even know how to knit English, it always looked so inefficient and tiring, I never really wanted to learn, I suppose I should at some point, but I really can't see why.
—Janet5686

I like to experiment

I like to play with a variety of methods -- continental when I'm doing plain knitting, Turkish (like the Polish method: yarn around neck, yarn flicked over needle; also called Portuguese) for long purling stretches. But I've found it hard to switch permanently to either one. I use the English method for fast, mindless knitting and purling. It's hard to break a habit after 50 years.
—Guest Leslie

Continental

I can't even imagine knitting English. I've been knitting continental for as long as I can remember, and whenever I see someone knitting English I almost feel sorry for them. It just looks so tedious and awkward. To each their own, of course, but to me continental is just so much more efficient.
—Guest Jill

Continental

I was taught Continental (which I just learned is sometimes called German style). I was taught by my mom, who was taught by my grandmother, who was taught by her mother, who was undoubtedly taught by her mother (my great great grandmother), who was from Germany. I feel like my knitting style is a direct result of my heritage and I love that!
—Guest CPH

Learned English but use Continental

I taught myself through books, all of which began with English. But I found it to be too cumbersome early on and decided that there had to be an easier/quicker way so switched to Continental.
—Guest Jennifer

Just Learning

I just started to learn how to knit seven months ago. The instructor taught the English method, so now I am accoustomed to throwing my yarn. I tried the continental method, but feel more comfortable with the way I learned. Then there's casting on....but I guess that's a whole different topic to dicuss.
—Guest damonty862

I Agree with Breegirl

I am also left-handed, and with the exception of embroidery, have had to adapt while learning to knit and crochet. I also use the English method, but control the yarn with my right hand. I have been told that my finer motor skills are on the left, while the grosser are on the right. Whatever. It works. So I say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Apologies to my English teachers.
—Guest ritsub

Not All English Knitters Drop the Needle

Why do people assume you let the needle go when knitting the English style? You just keep your thumb tucked under the needle. No need to drop the needle. I find it gives better tension than the Continental style, which is always too tight for me.
—Guest appurches

Comfortable with English

As with the majority, I learned the English method. It's easier and I am more comfortable with it.
—Guest mmorris

English

I taught myself how to knit from a book that taught English knitting. So this is what I am familiar with. I have a nice speed and excellent control of the yarn and needles. But, I am trying to learn Continental Knitting to see which style if not both fits me. And I think it's great to know both.
—Guest Rose

English but do not throw

My mother taught me the England method but like that other gal I do not let go of the needle; I find that the fastest way for me. In all my years of knitting I have never met anyone that does it like I do.
—Guest Ro

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