Continental drift

I’ve always been a “thrower” — that is, I knit English style, holding the yarn in my right hand and throwing it over the needle.

For years, I’ve wanted to switch to Continental (yarn in the left hand, right hand picking stitches). I really do think it’s a faster method, though there is much disagreement about this among knitters. If you think about it, your knitting is moving toward the left as you do it, so it’s more efficient to have the yarn in the left hand, already heading in the right direction. It’s also MUCH faster to do ribbing when you’re holding the yarn in your left hand.

But by the time the urge to switch hit me, I’d been knitting for 15 years. Those are some hard-to-break habits, folks. Every once in a while, I’d try out Continental, but after about 20 minutes I’d break down and switch back to my old way of doing things.  It just doesn’t feel right to have to concentrate that hard on stockinette.

And that’s when crochet entered my life. A couple of years ago, I taught myself to crochet. I did it, not even thinking about the effect it might have on my English/Continental issue. This week, I tried Continental again for the first time since I learned crochet, and discovered that it was incredibly easy for me to pick up this time. I think that crochet has taught my hands the motions that you need for Continental-style knitting. When I crochet, I hold the yarn in my left hand, and pick at the stitches with my right — just like Continental knitting.

So I’m now the merry convert. Recent converts are so annoying, aren’t they?

2 thoughts on “Continental drift

  1. I just posted a blog about this as well! 😀 Yours came up as a possible related post. I learned because my wrists hurt knitting the English way. I found out about continental a while after teaching myself to knit and I was always discouraged with it because I couldn’t continental knit as fast as I could with throwing. This past week I just sat myself down and made myself practice until I was up to speed and I’m not going back. lol

    I love crochet. I actually wish I had learned continental at first because I’ve been crocheting for much, much longer. It would’ve been an easier transition.

  2. Thank you for the cowboy jacket pattern. I have been looking for one for several years. I saw a pattern in Family Circle Knits several years ago but couldn’t find it. I think this will work for me.
    I have two great-nephews who live in Eagleville, CA on a working ranch. They love everything about animals and seemingly have no fear of the horses, cattle, chickens, calves etc. Austin will only wear western style shirts and stovepipe Levi’s; Casey hasn’t found a preference yet. The sweaters will be late Christmas gifts. It is quite cold where they live – high desert. Again, thank you for the pattern.

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