Knitting Styles – Continental vs English

Which style of knitting do you use? Continental (holding yarn in your left hand and “picking” at it with the right needle) or English (holding the yarn in your right hand and “throwing” it around the right needle)? 

I’ve always been a “thrower”(English-style). Only recently, I adjusted my knitting style to wrap the yarn around my right ring finger. (Previously, I just held the yarn loose). This change resulted, for me, in a nicer knit stitch because of  a more constant tension. This particular change didn’t noticeably slow my knitting down and I was much happier with the way my knitting looked. 

Of course, knitting with friends and sharing knitting through social media made me very curious about the Continental-style of knitting. I’ve tried many times to get the hang of it.  It seemed very contrary to what I already knew. However, it does give my right hand and wrist a break from the throwing motion. Stockinette projects (in the round) have been the perfect time to practice – I’m not yet comfortable with this style when purling or knitting lace stitches.  My tension is also a little looser when knitting Continental-style. It took a while but I finally found a method to wrap the yarn around the back of my left hand and around to my left index finger.  As you can see, I knit at virtually the same speed now using either method. (“Lap 1” was English; “Lap 2” was Continental). 

 My preference will probably always be  the English-style of knitting – it’s more  comfortable and familiar and I feel more on autopilot – but it’s nice to be fairly familiar now with the Continental-style too. 

Which knitting method do you prefer? Have you learned both styles? Share here!

6 thoughts on “Knitting Styles – Continental vs English

  1. Continental for me. Being left handed it just feels most natural. I knew I purled different then my fiber friends and only recently (saw a youtube vid) found out that I purl the Russian way! Whatever works!

  2. I learned both seventy years ago, prefer English. continental is faster if working ss in the round, though. however, long purl rows is faster if worked left-handed continental. faster is not always better ,,. if I don’t pay attention, I tend to twist the sts when working continental.

  3. I knit Continental. Since I started with crochet, it felt very natural to tension the yarn in my left hand. Haven’t even been tempted to try English!

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