Which Knitting Style Is For You? English vs. Continental

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Close-up of a person's hand knitting a bright pink yarn and a text overlay which says "Which Knitting Style Is For You? English vs. Continental , learnknittingonline.com, " followed by the LKO lettermarkLearning how to knit is already difficult as it is. But then you have to think about which knitting style is right for you. So, should you go for English or Continental style?

The truth is, there is no right or wrong knitting style. You may find it beneficial to learn both styles. Don’t let others intimidate you, or make you think one style is better than the other. Whatever works for you in knitting is what is right and it is all a learning curve.

English Knitting Style

In some cases, this is called American, or throwing knitting. It is widely popular in England, Europe, and elsewhere. To use this style of knitting, you need to hold the yarn in your right hand and then throw it over the needle, which forms the stitch.

Continental Knitting Style

Also called German knitting or picking. This style of knitting is common in Northern and Eastern Europe, and all areas of the world. The yarn in this method is held in the left hand. With a subtle movement, the left finger helps the needles to pick up the yard, which forms a new stitch.

English vs. Continental Knitting Styles

So, which one is for you? Many believe that continental knitting is quicker than the English style. But if you master either, you can knit very quickly. Many knitters prefer the continental method, because it requires less movement to make a stitch.

Still, not everything is about finishing a project quickly. You can think of the English knitting style if you want to practice your skills and get better at the hand movements that knitting requires.

You can alternate between the two styles on different projects, since it can give your hands a much-needed break. It is also helpful to know how to knit with both styles and more so if you use two yarn colors. You could use one knit color in one hand and another in your other hand. This creates a beautiful pattern without having to make a twisted mess.

What other things should I consider?

There are many things to think about before you choose between the English and continental styles. Here are some to consider before you make your decision on your preferred knitting style:

  • Pain: do you have joint or hand pain? If so, you may want to learn both these styles, because having the ability to switch between knitting styles can relieve some of the tension in your wrists and fingers.

With that said, remember that the English style requires a throwing of the hand, or a hand and wrist action, that the continental style doesn’t. Still, you can try both styles at different moments, which also gives your hands a break when they need it.

  • Switch styles to switch gauge: when using continental styles, many people yield a larger stitch than the English style. For some people, this happens because the English style is wrapped more tightly, which yields a smaller gauge.

However, if you feel that you are having a hard time achieving the gauge you need, you can switch between these two styles. This will ultimately bump up or reduce the size of stitches.

  • Understand knitting better: if you are just learning how to knit, no better way to do so than by learning both styles. For some, the English knitting style is mechanical and requires repetition to learn. In other cases, the continental style clicks faster and is less elaborate.

This is not always the case, though, as some people go back and forth between styles depending on the project, tools, or yarn you use. When you learn both styles, you also learn how to analyze the way you knit, how to correct mistakes, and repair what should be a purl instead of a knit, or vice versa.

  • Practice with swatches: finally, if you are daring to learn both styles of knitting, what better way than doing it using swatches? You certainly won’t want to commit to large or difficult projects before you master either of these knitting styles.

Use your swatches to knit with the continental style over and over again, practicing purl stitches until you have mastered them. The same can be done with the English style of knitting, but without wasting yarn or materials.

Don’t stop here!

As you may know already, there is more than just one style of knitting. Start with the English and continental styles, but why stop there? Try other styles, like Russian knitting, Portuguese knitting, or even lever knitting.

You now know what it takes for you to master each style, but it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Try each one at your own pace, but make sure you give yourself the time to master it and practice enough. Time to get knitting!

If you enjoyed reading this article then be sure to check out this other excellent article about: Fixing Knitting Mistakes: Do You Tink or Do You Frog?

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