Knitting Question

PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
I am JUST learning how to knit. I have a scarf that was already started that I'm using to practice, just to get comfortable doing the stitches. I've had two different people show me what to do. One person showed me the "English" method, where you hold the yarn in your right hand and wrap it around as you do the stitch, and the other showed me what she calls the "German" method but my book calls it the "Continental" method, where she holds the yarn in her left hand and just weaves the needle through it, without having to wrap it around. I'm sure it's just personal preference, but I'd love to hear which method all of you use. Right now I'm more comfortable with the English (right hand) method, but the left-hand method SEEMS like it would be quicker/easier once I got used to it.

Thanks in advance for any replies!
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:


  • sariroosariroo Posts: 1,958Registered Users
    I like Continental. I think it is super fast. English confuses my brain so I would spend more time trying to think about how to do it than I would getting any knitting done.
  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users
    Definitely continental! I hold my yarn like the woman that does the videos, with it wrapped around the pinky of my left hand and then over my index finger. Super quick and easy, and the loop around the pinky helps keep the tension.
    *Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

    Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
  • misspammisspam Posts: 5,318Registered Users
    I prefer Continental, mainly because that was how I was taught when I was a little girl.

    I do not wrap the yarn around my pinky though. It feels too weird and I have no problems controlling the tension.

    I guess I'm a rebel that way. :wink:
  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I use the English method because my mom taught me and she's from England. :) I think you should use the method that the person who helps you most often uses, rather than trying to figure out which one is easier. Once you get going, either one will work for you. On that note, it sounds like the continental method is more common here (my mom says more people in this country use the continental method) so maybe that's a better one to go with anyway?
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

    Don Langrick
    Bonsai Culturist
  • anonnymouseanonnymouse Posts: 1,340Registered Users
    I use the English method. I taught myself from a book, and this is the method that made better sense to my brain. I don't think my left hand wanted to get involved in any of the complicated work.
  • curlee4lifecurlee4life Posts: 219Registered Users
    Started with English but switched to Continental 12 years ago. Continental is faster as there are less movements of the hands and it is more efficient than the English method.


    Germany Curly

    Last Relaxer(Texturizer): Aug. 2005
    BC: May 2006

  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    Continental is faster as there are less movements of the hands and it is more efficient than the English method.

    That's how it seems to me, but every time I try it I really struggle with it. I've been trying to alternate methods with each row, but each time I start with Continental I end up switching to English after just a few stitches. I'm going to keep trying both though.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    I use Continental, as that is what I was taught. In my experience, most people in the US use English. I try to do English every once in a while, just for the heck of it, and I usually end up cursing.

    I think if you naturally find English easier, just go with it. Once you are a decent knitter it will be easier to learn the other way, without worrying about whether your knitting is coming out right or if you are dropping stitches.

    One thing to be aware of is that your yarn tension, therefore your gauge, might be different with English and Continental, so if you mix them up in one garment, it might not have straight edges and be a little funky.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • Morgan_AdcockMorgan_Adcock Posts: 2,573Registered Users
    I've been knitting for, mmm, a lot of years.

    I was taught to knit by a Scottish woman who used a version of the British/American version which she was able to execute so blazingly fast that it was a blur. She taught me to use both hands, tucking the right needle under my arm, casting the yarn with my right index finger without letting go of the needle, and moving only the left needle to move the stitches onto the right needle. It's very efficient.

    Then I learned the Continental method, which essentially reverses the rolls of the hands. I park the yarn over my left index finger, right behind the left needle, then use the right needle to pick the yarn up and pull it through the stitches and onto the right needle. Again, very efficient, and fast.

    So which one do I use? Usually the Continental method. The reason is that it's better suited to circular needles, whereas the British/American version is better suited for straight needles, and I love knitting in the round. I try to keep my hand in with the other method, though, so I don't lose the skills. And sometimes I just switch back and forth a bit so that I put less strain on my hands. (If you do this, it really helps to be dead on gauge, but our Scottish babysitter taught me to knit to gauge.)

    Baby Fine 3B, low porosity, normal density and elasticity
    CGing since July 2008
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    I do English because that's how I learned to knit. I am the world's slowest knitter, though.
  • AG.AG. Posts: 1,519Registered Users
    I knit English. I'm much more efficient when knitting this way.

    Northern Colombia.
  • StarmieStarmie Posts: 6,682Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I've been knitting for about 25 years now and didn't even know there were different methods 'til I read about the continental one on here a while ago! I've never seen anyone knit that way, it looks really awkward to me. Obviously I use the English method.
    3b in South Australia.
  • M2LRM2LR Posts: 8,630Registered Users
    I knit English (right hand). My grandma knits Continental. She can't understand how I do it with my right hand, thinks it looks harder.

    It's just how I learned, and I learned by watching someone else.

    ITA with Geeky to use whatever method you are most comfortable with until you are more experienced, then branch out to different methods, projects, needles, etc.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    OK I'm going to stick with English for now. Once I get really comfortable and proficient with it, maybe I'll try Continental again.

    Thanks for all the replies!
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    Another question...

    I really wanted to be good at knitting and I really wanted to like it, but so far neither are true. I just feel that I can't get into a smooth rhythm and I'm constantly wrestling with the yarn. I'm pretty sure it's because the needles my mom gave me are not the good kind. They're plastic I think, and the yarn sticks to them. I have a really hard time sliding the stitches off the left needle, and sliding them down the right needle as I work. Both people who helped me said I needed better needles.

    My problem is, I don't want to go spend money on nicer needles if it turns out that knitting's just not for me. Should I give it a try though? Do you all think it will make a big difference?
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • PoPo Posts: 2,607Registered Users
    Try some new needles. I like bamboo and acrylic Unless I'm using acrylic yarn, then I like metal.

    If the needles you have are too rough, I'd try some metal ones (aluminum?). They're cheap and you can get them at Michael's or Wal-mart. Bamboo are great, too.
  • sariroosariroo Posts: 1,958Registered Users
    I would buy one pair of nicer needles using a Michaels, Joann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby coupon, if you can get one. I don't ever pay full price for knitting needles. My recommendation is bamboo. I knit better with bamboo needles. They are smooth but not too slick like metal. Metal and plastic don't work as well for me and I do think that having better needles will help you become a better knitter.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    Bamboo is what was recommended to me. I'll try to get a hold of a 40% off coupon for Joann's from yesterday's paper, and give it a try.

    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • SpunkyCurlsSpunkyCurls Posts: 1,523Registered Users
    Bamboo needles changed my life. Really.

    It's still frustrating at first because you want it to go faster... be patient. With practice, you will get faster and your stitches will be more even.

    <insert signature line here>
  • StarmieStarmie Posts: 6,682Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I felt almost clumsy when I first started knitting, it was really quite laboured, but you do get smoother and quicker as time goes on.
    3b in South Australia.