Continental Knitting Video

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
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Oh yeeeeaaaaah! Here’s a handy video for those folks who haven’t yet drunk the continental kool-aid! I’ve found that the continental method is a lot more variable from person to person than the english method, so even if you already continentalize, it’s interesting to see how other people do it. I’m still working on my technique, and lately I haven’t really liked the way the yarn catches on my left hand sometimes and falls out of my hand other times. It’s really messing up my tension. Continentalists: how do you hold the yarn in your left hand? What do you do to maintain tension?

[kml_flashembed movie="" height="350" width="425" /]

For those who don’t want to watch the whole thing, here are some highlights:

  • One bonus I didn’t realize about knowing two methods is that by changing up the way you knit, you can avoid repetitive stress injuries. Very important for those folks who knit far too much (I’m looking at you! Yes, all of you!). This is even more important for those folks who are totally pro-crochet or totally pro-knitting. I tried crochet for a day and it really hurt my hands, and I’ve heard from other crochet blogs that they have the same experience sometimes. Being able to create fabrics in many different ways will allow you to strengthen various muscles in your hand and avoid over-stressing certain combinations of muscles that are involved in a particular task. Very “handy” indeed.
  • The woman in the video holds the yarn in her left hand in the same way as the woman from Wrapped once (or twice) around the pinky, then bent over the index finger. For thinner yarns, you can maintain your tension by wrapping the yarn twice around your left pinky. I’ve been having trouble with slippage recently, so I’ll have to try that out.
  • I’ve tried to knit as tightly as I did with the English method, but continental really loosens up the way you knit. I should be jumping down a few needle sizes and not worry so much about keeping the stitches as tight as they used to be.
  • The woman in the video purls by moving her index finger down over the needle. I purl by pushing the yarn down over the needle with my middle finger. I’ve found that the movement of my index finger is too extreme the way she does it (2πr remember, the arc gets 6 times longer the further out your finger is), so I can save time by slipping a closer finger down over the yarn. I think I’ll stick to that for now.

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8 Comments to “Continental Knitting Video”

  1. Um, I’m a continental knitter, I hold the yarn in left hand, it goes over the index finger, under it and I keep the tension with the three fingers in my palm . In the video, she keeps left index finger really far, I keep it closer (much closer) to the needle, I have justa bout 0,5 cm between the finger and needle, and I give the stitch a little tug. Purling – I raise the yarn in front of the work and it stays tehre on my left index finger, I do not change the way I hold the yarn. I move my right hand much more than my left, left is almost completely still, unless I’m tugging. Mybe I can upload a video tomorrow.

    Comment by
    February 20, 2007 @ 12:00 pm
  2. I hold my yarn over my index finger, under middle, over ring finger. When I first started I just held it in my hand after going over my index finger but my gauge was so off (had to go down over 3 needle sizes than the norm) I added the other wrap and now only usually have to go down 1 or 2.

    Comment by Melinda
    February 20, 2007 @ 12:33 pm
  3. I do it more like she shows in the quick aside. With my index finger against the needle. That works great for knitting, but I’m going to try her (and Ing’s) was to purl. I don’t wrap the extra yarn at all, for kniting the tension is kept between my first and second finger, and for purling I’m pinching between my index finger and thumb. In both cases it’s the rest of the fingers that are holding the needles.

    Comment by Sarah
    February 20, 2007 @ 1:16 pm
  4. I knit continental but I do it completely differently than the way she does it in the video! The weight of the yarn determines how I wrap it around my fingers, but since I most frequently knit with lace and sock yarn I’ll say that usually I do this: I wrap the yarn the WRONG WAY around my pinkie first (ie, in the opposite direction to the way the yarn is “travelling” across my hand towards the needles – this gives me more tension since I can’t create tension by simply closing 2 fingers close together), then I weave the yarn over my ring finger, under my middle finger, and over my pointer. (With thicker yarn I modify this to do fewer wraps around the fingers.)

    I actually use my middle finger to make both the knit and purl stitches. My index finger is very far from the needles (like in the video) but in my case *it doesn’t move*. For the knit stitch I use my middle finger to “loop” the yarn around the needle – it is a very tiny movement, certainly smaller than how much she moves her right hand in making the knit stitch! When I make the purl stitch I have to alter the angle the needles are at to each other (they go from being a very tight angle to a wider angle)and I use the middle finger to “push the yarn down and around the needle. I don’t have to twist my whole hand to make the purl stitch like in the video, its jsut a small little push down. I find I can knit very quickly this way, even ribbing! My right hand stays very quiet for both stitches, except for the change in angle between the two (which I accomplish by moving my right hand almost exclusively). This is beneficial to me because I work on a computer all day and already have fatigue from manipulating a mouse all day long!

    This is a very interesting topic, thank you!

    Comment by carrie
    February 20, 2007 @ 6:24 pm
  5. Ineteresting! I knit and crochet-this relieves tension, but never thought to learn the English method too. Thanks!

    Comment by Carol
    February 21, 2007 @ 7:35 am
  6. I’ve tried the continental way and I practice some. I think have experimented with the tension issues, too. Still don’t know which one works best, though =) I guess it’s different for different yarns. I do the thing with my finger against the needle, too, it helps me pick the yarn thru better. But I think the index finger is up and it’s my middle finger that’s against the needle pinning the yarn between. (It’s been a while since I did that – memory!)

    Comment by April
    February 21, 2007 @ 11:15 am
  7. I also knit continental, and hold the yarn as if I were crocheting. I find it faster, but my left wrist will sometimes ache.

    Comment by Kimberly
    February 21, 2007 @ 12:52 pm
  8. That is excellent. I have been knitting continental for a few years now, but I taught myself, and I’ve NEVER been able to purl “properly”. Most nobody even understood why I had a problem. But watching that video cleared it right up for me. I was holding the yarn like I crochet (yarn wrapped around my first finger), and not over the back of my fingers.

    thanks for posting this!

    Comment by whichy
    February 21, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

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