Continental and English knitting styles

There are two basic ways to knit—the Continental method and the English method. These two common methods create the same exact end product, but appear quite different, the most obvious difference between the methods is that the yarn is held in the left hand for Continental and the right hand for English.

The Knit and Purl pages have the description of them in both methods.

. English Method
English knitting, sometimes also called American knitting or throwing, is the most popular method in England, parts of Europe, South America and elsewhere. It involves holding the yarn in your right hand and "throwing" it over the needle to form the stitch.
This method is considered a bit easier to learn, as it is the most popular choice among beginning knitters. Once comfortable with it however, a knitter can increase her speed by switching to Continental. Give it a try.

See Holding Needles and Yarn for the English Method

. Continental Method

Continental knitting is also known as German knitting or picking and is popular in northern and eastern Europe. When you knit Continental, you don’t wrap the yarn like you do in English knitting. Instead, you have to pick up the yarn and pull it through the old stitch. To do that, you execute a little swivel movement with your right hand needle. The Continental method of knitting necessitates that the working yarn be held with the left hand. This method is preferred by professional hand-knitters, requiring the shortest number of specific hand-motions per stitch and the right hand never has to leave its needle.

See Holding Needles and Yarn for the Continental Method

. Combined Knitting
Combination knitting is a style that combines elements of Eastern-style knitting with the Western techniques. By wrapping the yarn the opposite way while purling, the knitter changes the orientation of the resulting loops; then the next row's knit stitches can be formed by inserting the needle from the right (as in Eastern knitting), rather than from the left. The needle is always inserted from the right, whether knitting or purling. This technique is suitable for all knitted fabrics from the basic Stockinette stitch, to any other style, such as Fair Isle, circular knitting, or lace knitting.

. Which Method Should You Choose?
Some people find it easier to learn English knitting, while others think continental is simpler. Try both styles to see which one is more comfortable and natural for you. The best method is simply the one you feel most easy with, the method you most enjoy.

Even if you've been blissfully knitting in one method for a long time, it's worth it to learn the other method. You can alternate knitting when you're working with two colors of yarn in the same row. You can knit with one color in your right hand (english method) and one in your left hand (continental method).
You'll find it quite handy to know both English and Continental knit stitches.

Why Do You Prefer Your Knitting Style? Share Your Reasons!

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