I wrote this post a few years ago for a blog called Craft Candy (which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore). So, I thought why shouldn’t I share it on here?
As knitting seems to have become more popular, with avid knitters taking their projects on ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ it’s also becoming apparent that there are two distinct knitting styles: Continental (or German) knitting and English knitting.
Continental Knitting British Knitting – © http://craftsmumship.com/
I was taught continental knitting by my aunt and in school when growing up in Germany. Only when I came to England in 1996 did I notice the English knitting style, which immediately struck me as being much more complicated and taking longer to complete projects.
I always believed that the way I knit (continental) was much faster and much more time efficient. And in fact, it actually is. Not only according to Wikipedia which states that: “Continental knitting can be done at a greater rate than English knitting, as the stitches are formed closer to the needle points and the yarn has a shorter travel.” But also according to STV Scotland, which interviewed Hazel Tindall, who won an international knitting competition to become the World’s Fastest Knitter. She completed 262 stitches in 3 minutes!
Continental knitting/German knitting or picking as it’s sometimes also called is mostly used in Northern and Eastern Europe. The yarn is held in the left hand and a movement of the left index finger (or other fingers) helps the needle to pick up the yarn and form a new stitch.
Important to remember with this style of knitting is the position of the yarn, it always needs to end up behind the needles after any stitch has been completed. The yarn is held over the forefinger of the left hand, achieving tension of the yarn in many different ways. Either by wrapping the yarn around the little finger, wrapping it around the forefinger or holding the yarn against the left hand needle with the middle finger to keep it as taut as needed.
People that have previously crochet find learning the continental style of knitting easier as the yarn is held in a similar way, in the left hand, and the right hand motion is pretty much the same for both knitting and crocheting.
English knitting, which is also sometimes referred to as American knitting or throwing, is mostly used in England and America, according to About.com Knitting. It involves holding the yarn in your right hand and ‘throwing’ it over the needle to form a stitch.
Making a knit stitch the right needle is inserted into the left side of the first loop on the left needle. The yarn is then wrapped counter-clockwise around the right needle, and this new loop is pulled with the right needle through the old one.