When it comes to knitting mechanics, there are a few different ways that knitters will hold their needles to make their stitches. Every knitter finds a style that works for them. In this video, Jill Wright breaks down the Continental (or Picking) method of knitting. She demonstrates how to create tension in the yarn, as well as how to work the knit and purl stitches.
In Continental knitting, the yarn is held in the left hand. Jill explains how she tensions the yarn in this style of knitting. She wraps the yarn around the pinky finger and brings the yarn up and over her forefinger. This yarn configuration allows her to pick the yarn up onto the needle as she works the stitch.
To create a knit stitch, Jill follows these steps:
- With yarn in back, insert the right needle from front to back through the stitch on the left needle.
- Scoop yarn around right needle and pull through the stitch on the left needle, making a new stitch on the right needle
- Drop stitch off the left needle
- New stitch has been created on the right needle
To create a purl stitch, Jill follows these steps:
- With yarn in front, insert right needle from right to left into the first stitch on the left needle
- Scoop yarn around the right needle counterclockwise
- Bring right needle through the loop on the left needle, making a new stitch on the right needle
- Drop stitch off the left needle
- New purl stitch has been created on the right needle
I was born and brought up in France. My mother, who was Polish, taught me to knit. I learned new techniques at school. No one I knew ever knitted this way. So, what ‘continent’ are we talking about here? Lol.
Learned to knit Continental Style: went to a knitting class & was told, “that isn’t knitting, I don’t know what your doing, but that isn’t knitting!”
I was embarrassed. But, kept knitting but always felt my work was somewhat inferior.
Check out Norwegian knitting. It’s so much easier!
Hello- I am just learning to knit. Being a crocheter, I find the Continental style more comfortable. However, when I try to do things other than knit and purl, I have trouble. Can you do everything Continental style? Like increasing, binding off, etc. Or do you recommend switching to English style to perform more complex tasks? Thank you for the excellent tutorial.
Hello Liz. It’s really personal preference. Some people will switch between English and Continental methods for different tasks, but most people tend to stick with one or the other for everything.
If you need a little more help with Continental Knitting, our sister site, Craftsy, has a great class on it: https://www.craftsy.com/class/knit-faster-with-continental-knitting/
The Knitting Circle
There are easier ways to tension the yarn with your left hand. Also, usually worked on circular needles? I don’t think so.
Here is what our expert had to say:
What’s cool about knitting is everyone can decide what is the best way to tension the yarn for their individual knitting style. Same goes for knitting needles – use the needles that are best for you and your knitting style!
Let us know if any other questions come up!
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That is not how I was taught continental knitting. I wrap the needle around the wool nel by my upraised left index finger. Much easier. I was taught that way seventy years ago in Europe