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Intro to Knitting: English Style vs. Continental Style


Intro to Knitting:  English Style vs. Continental Style


There are two main styles of knitting:  English or American style, and Continental style.

English style involves using your dominant hand to work both the stitch and wrap the yarn around the needle.  After the stitch is worked, the needle is then momentarily transferred to the other hand (two needles are held in the other hand) while you use your dominant hand to wrap the yarn. Continental (European) style involves using the dominant hand to work the stitch, and the non-dominant hand to wrap the yarn, without switching hands.  Some people think of Continental knitting as more appropriate for left-handers because it uses the left hand more.  But consider- it is only truly left-handed knitting if the left hand is used to work the stitch and the right hand is used to work the yarn.  The hand that works the stitch is the hand that is used the most, therefore, in order for Continental knitting to be considered left-handed knitting, the left hand would need to work the stitch.  It is true that many left-handers find Continental knitting to be more to their liking, or more natural feeling.  Also, many people feel that it is faster to knit Continental style, because you do not have to switch back and forth.  All in all, this is a personal decision, and you should decide for yourself which way to knit.  Get a hold of a book or two, or look online for information on how to knit both ways.  There are also videos you can buy. Then try both styles out, and see which one works best for you.

Learn to Knit (Greer, SC: Coats and Clark, 2000).  Includes both left and right-handed knitting, but only shows English style.

I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting! (Little Rock, AR: Leisure Arts,1997).  Includes both English and Continental style, but only right-handed.  There is also a more recent version of this title.

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A Brief History of Knitting

A Brief History of Knitting

Knitting is an ancient art that people still enjoy today.  It is both artistic and relaxing, and helps relieve stress.  Knitting develops concentration, manual dexterity, and arithmetic skills.  It is good for stress relief, and your projects can be as simple or involved as you want.  Everyone can enjoy knitting, regardless of age or gender. Knitting first started over a thousand years ago around the Arabian peninsula.  Some of the earliest knitted remnants were found in Egypt.  Many different cultures have used knitting in various ways, employing a wide variety of techniques.  In medieval Europe, knitting guilds were comprised of men.  In order to become a member of a guild, a person had to serve as an apprentice for three years.  Since many people could not read or write well, many knitting patterns were not written down.  Instead they were taught from one person to the other by explaining and demonstrating.  Nowadays knitting books and patterns are extremely commonplace, employing many different techniques, both traditional and modern.

Reference:  Shirley McNulty, Barbara Brabec, Knitting for Fun and Profit, (Rocklin,CA: Prima Publishing, 1999), pgs. vi-vii.

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