Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Continental vs English

Or Picking vs Throwing.

What is it? It's two different styles of knitting. Picking involves wrapping the yarn in your left hand and 'picking' it through the stitches. There are several ways to do this, just google some youtube videos.

Throwing involves holding the yarn in your right hand and 'throwing' it around the working needle to make the stitch. You can also google youtube videos of this method.

So, which method is right for you? Only you can decide that. If you're a long-time crocheter who has wanted to learn to knit, I'd say try Continental. I learned to knit and crochet at roughly the same time, and the person who taught me to knit used the English, or throwing method, so that's what I did for over forty years. It was just a few days ago that I decided to give Continental a try. Again, actually. I usually gave up on it because purling Continental-style, is harder than knitting. It takes a bit of a different approach to pick a purl stitch, but this time I think I've got it, after a couple days of practicing on a partially-finished scarf someone gave me. Scarves are perfect projects to practice knitting techniques on since they don't require a gauge.

The only thing I had to do was figure out how to do the end pattern rows. I had to look at the front and back, and then I tried a swatch with some more needles and yarn and figured out that it was a two-row repeat of an odd ribbing pattern. It went on the right side like 1x1 rib, but on the back, you would purl across. This gave the rib a different and more decorative look.

Anyway, Continental style knitting lends itself well to doing ribbing, seed (moss) or moss (double moss) very well. The pattern goes much faster, once you master the two basic knit and purl stitches.

I even had a way to compare the two on the scarf. I did the first end pattern English style and am doing the second repeat Continental style. There is a definite gauge difference between the two. The Continental method makes the gauge a bit tighter and neater.

I'd say I would use Continental for a lot of my knitting now, but I would switch to English style for colorwork, unless I figure out how to knit with yarn held in both hands. Which would be quite a feat.

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