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Readers Respond: Why Do You Prefer Your Knitting Style

Responses: 50


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? Share Your Reasons

I love knitting, but I'm clueless

I was taught to knit a few months ago, but I don't know what type it is. I have always wanted to learn to knit. Until I read this article I had no clue that there were different types.
—Guest Azure

Eastern European

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCvJ6Oqf1Ao This is how I knit.
—Guest Renata

English on the Continental side

I hold my yarn in my right hand, but never let go of either needle. I hold the yarn close to my left hand, and "swoop back" to grab it, same way you would with continental, even though I am holding it in my right hand. Its kind of a little fold and pivot that I do, I taught my self from a book that taught English style. I have adapted it to suit my hands and range of mobility. I do teach English style though, as I find that people new to yarn crafting (non-crocheters) find it easier.
—Guest Naudia

Continental versus English

Both styles have value to me. Continental for knitting and purling, seed stitch and ribbing. English for cables. I learned to knit in English style and have done much cable work. As I cable with a double pointed needle instead of a cable needle, I knit off the double point rather than removing stitch and replacing therefor saving quite a bit of time. Both styles are extremely valuable.
—Guest Josee31


Dear Blurgle1: I too learned to knit continental this way. I've just started teaching lessons and learned that I don't do it the way everyone else (on youtube, etc.) does it. I use my left index finger for tension (up in the air off of the needle) and make the knit stitches with my left middle finger. For a purl stitch I look the yarn with my left thumb. It is very fast. And as long as I know which way the stitches are facing (there are only 4 total: 2 for knit and 2 for purl), I can take care of them handily. I am glad to find that your whole family does it this way. I'm not wrong, just different . . . and faster! Cheers!

Knitting with Yarn in Right Hand

I learned to knit when I was very young from a book, it taught me English knitting. I am 75 years old and it is hard for me to do continental knitting.
—Guest maggie neil

Purling Problems

I knit and crochet. I taught myself how to knit from Youtube and I learned a version of continental I guess. I can comfortably knit in both ways, though I learned purl the English way and then was able to figure out how to purl continental. I was just curious if this is just a personal quirk.
—Guest jordan

Continental from the Start

Since I learned to crochet first it was natural to hold the yarn in my left hand..hence the Continental style. My knitting teacher, however, is bound and determined to break me of the habit :). She knits at light speed using the english style so speed between the two I guess is based more on experience.
—Guest Lynn


I was taught the English/American way by my grandmother when I was young and it's worked pretty well for me over the past few years. I'm pretty fast with it and the motions are just natural. Recently, my Swiss-born German teacher was trying to teach me the European way. I caught on to it, but I keep wanting to do too much with my hands. Plus, working within such a tight space is a tad bit difficult. I think both styles are important to learn, but the English version, to me, just seems so much more natural. Perhaps it's because I learned that first.
—Guest anja


Like many of you I have learned knitting with the English method, which is the one used in France (where I'm from). I have always loved knitting but I have always given up on it because my work would be tight and uneven and the moves were painful. When I moved to Finland, a friend of mine taught me the continental method that all Finns use... tadaaa! It was amazingly easy and nice to knit! I forgot all the passed frustration. Ever since, I knit and crochet every day. I'm totally addicted. I think it's mainly a question of feeling... just pick the method that suits you best!
—Guest Eloïse

Guess I'm backward

I learned how to knit as a small child watching Grandma and Mom. Now after taking a life break, I am getting back into the joys of yarn. Taking a class online I find that I learned how and knit backward! It looks the same when done but is done the exact opposite of how they teach it. Even English vs Continental! Backward suits me just fine.
—Guest Cat

Changed over the years

I think what people call the English method must have been changed over the years. I'm over 50 and I don't know anyone my age that actually takes their hands off the needles when passing the wool over the needle. So I looked up so very old knitting books published in the '50s and '60s and they call the American Method "the Swiss method" and the English method reads "keeping close to the needle, moving the forefinger only, pass the thread over the needle. Move the rest of the hand as little as possible as the speed is increased by the minimum of movement." So I don't know why or when people started taking their hand off the needle for every single stitch. It would certainly slow you down. I am surprised to see people teach knitting this way at all.
—Guest sue1960

English was too slow for me!

I was taught about 6 years ago the English "throwing" version of knitting. It was so much slower than crochet I was incredibly frustrated. I wound up giving up on knitting. Recently I found out about the continental method and decided to give it a try. Well, it's only been a week and I can already "knit" faster than my friends who have been doing the throwing method for years. I now understand why people enjoy knitting so much, and this method works well for me as I'm already accustomed to holding the yarn like this since I've crocheted as long as I can remember.
—Guest Chris

Continental is more efficient for me

I was initially taught the throwing method, it was slow, and tedious and I didn't enjoy knitting at all. Since I crochet and am very fast at that I decided that I just would not knit then as it took too long. Fast forward six years, I met a knitting woman who told me that as a crocheter I should try a different sort of knitting, continental. So, I spent about 30 minutes teaching myself online with videos on Youtube and other free knitting websites. Amazingly, within only a couple of hours I had it down! It is so much faster and way more efficient so I am really enjoying knitting now.
—Guest Christy

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

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