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?