Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Doing it Continetal Style

Knitting is such a great hobby. It has so many great steps involved. First and foremost is the fiber. The texture and colors fascinate me. The skein above is from Woolen Rabbit. It is a called Opulence. The fiber is a Merino/Silk yarn. Rhubarb is the color. It feels like butter.
My knitting can be improved. I am striving to better my workmanship. I will have to admit that I am a thrower. I knit English style. That's how I learned to knit. I feel very comfortable in my style of knitting. But I know there is more out in knitland. Sometimes I get aches in my hands. I also tend to strain my neck and shoulders. I am perpetually trying to find that perfect spot I can sit in. I am aware that there are other styles of knitting. In the video below Lorilee describes needing to know how to have more than one style in your knitting repertoire. It's a good idea not to do the same movements over and over.

I really want to master the continental style of knitting. It looks so easy. I started to daydream about all of the stockinette stitch that could been knit lightening speed fast. Then I started to think of all the other projects that I would like to make. How about the yarn? I would need to get more in my stash for all of the beautiful sweaters I want to knit. Hmmmm. The wheels were turning. After watching the video I knew I could do it. I pulled out some cotton yarn and a set of bamboo straight needles size 6. I have to say that it is harder than it looks. The tension feels awkward in my left hand. My middle finger is clumsy. It feels so foreign. The first thing that I noticed was how loose I was knitting. Normally I knit pretty tight. I mentally have to tell myself to loosen up when I knit.

This is what my swatch looked like after 4 row of doing it Continental style. To me it seems loose. If you look close you can see some mistakes too!

Then I switched over and knit English style and see what the difference would be. I knit 4 more rows. The only deviance is how tight the stitches are on the needle.

I am wondering how many of you knit Continental style? If you do how long did it take you to feel comfortable. Also what do you think the benefits are? If you have any hints please share them!


Renna said...

I look forward to reading the comments on this post. I want to learn to knit continental too, because it looks so fast!

I have watched that video before, and I have tried continental knitting. I really think if I could force myself to stick with it, it would probably become second nature in time, but I always give up in a fit of frustration.

I do okay with the knitting part, but my purls are AWFUL. I am a loose knitter, and my knitting becomes SO loose when I try continental. I really should force myself to learn it, though.

Debbie said...

I just taught myself to knit continental from the video too! I knit a huge white mohair shawl, and I really really wanted to quit at the beginning because it felt like trying to write with my left hand..awkward! By the end of the shawl it was really easy though, and now I can do both. English still feels like knitting to me though, continental feels like I'm doing some other craft.
Good luck! It is fun to learn!

whitestone said...

I learned to knit in high school. Initially I used the throwing method but a teacher's wife showed me how to do the continental method. She made the most beautiful multi-colored ski sweaters. Once I learned the continental I never went back to the throwing method. I find it such a waste of motion to use the right hand to 'throw' the yarn around the needle during every stitch. I would never go back to that method.

Jennifer said...

Good for you! I only use Continental when I do fair isle because I'm so speedy with my method that I can't be bothered to slow down for Continental style (which is in direct opposition to what everyone else says about the speed you get with Continental). Thanks for the link.

whitestone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wool Winder said...

I'm a thrower and am very happy with that method. I noticed I don't hold my yarn for throwing like the instructor in the video does. She actually has to move her entire hand to throw the yarn. The way I do it, the yarn is tensioned through my fingers in such a way that I can loop the yarn over the needle with my index finger--very little movement.

I use continental style when knitting with two colors of yarn on the same row. To get good tension, I have to wrap the yarn around my entire left hand.

I think knitting style is just a matter of preference. Use whichever style suits you best. If you want to knit continental, keep practicing. You can do it!

Quiltersal said...

I knit English style. While Continental style is more efficient and is less strain on the hands, I have never been able to master purl stitches in Continental style. It just feels awkward to me. My grandmother was able to throw the yarn with her index finger without ever having her hand leave the needles...can't quite do that myself. I'm happy with my throwing method and it gets the job done.

Jennifer said...

I knit English style. That is they way I learned. I, too wanted to learn continental and I found what you did. I can do it but my guage changes tons. It is very loose. Now, when I knit fair isle I use both hands, one color english and one color contentintal. It works really well for me and I am super productive. I decided to stick with what I am comfortable with and not make waves in my knitting. :)

Jenny Girl said...

Suzy girl and I were just discussing today that we should learn continental as well. I have heard it is easier when doing colorwork.
Can't wait to read about Wicked.