This is the second part of the mini-course that covers the basics of the Continental knitting style. Last week we discussed ways to hold the yarn and adjust yarn tension, and in this tutorial, we’ll take a look at knitting, purling and binding off stitches – all done with the working yarn in the left hand.
The way a knit stitch is created in the Continental knitting is very similar to the way it is done in the English way of knitting.
Both these knitting styles are considered to be “classic” (unlike the Russian knitting, for example). It is impossible to say by the look of the fabric whether it was made using English or Continental styles because the stitches created by both ways look identical.
But because we hold the yarn in the left hand when we use the Continental way, we do need to wrap the needle slightly differently than we do when we knit a stitch using the English way (and holding the yarn in the right hand).
Here’s how it works:
If you are a visual learner, you can watch every step in this video tutorial.
1. Take the working yarn and the needle with stitches in your left hand. If you need a reminder of how to hold the working yarn in your left hand, click here.
Take the empty needle in your right hand.
2. Bring the working yarn to the back of the work, and insert the right needle from left to right into the first stitch on the left needle.
3. Pick the yarn from right to left with the tip of the right needle.
4. Pull the yarn wrap through the stitch.
If you feel that the yarn wrap is about to slip from the tip of the right needle while you pull it through the stitch, hold the wrap with your right index finger. Here’s how.
5. Slip the original stitch off the left needle.
Repeat steps 2 – 5 to knit other stitches.
Just as is the case with different ways how we can hold the working yarn, there are several variations of how we can purl a stitch in the Continental knitting. Over the years, knitters in different geographic areas developed slightly different ways of purling.
I’ll show you the way I use, but of course, I do not claim it to be the only right way to purl a stitch. More than that, I don’t think there is “the only right way” to do anything in knitting. As long as you get the result you want (in this case, a purl stitch), and you feel comfortable doing it, that’s a good enough way to do it.
Here’s how I purl a stitch using the Continental way of knitting:
1. Take the working yarn and the needle with stitches in your left hand. Take the empty needle in your right hand.
2. Bring the yarn to the front of the work, and insert the right needle from right to left into the first stitch on the left needle so that the yarn stays on the right needle, not underneath it.
Move the tip of the right needle a bit to prevent the yarn from slipping off.
3. Move your left index finger down to hold the wrap (watch how to do it).
In this case, the index finger acts like a hook holding the wrap down to prevent it from slipping off the tip of the right needle.
4. Move the tip of the right needle down and to the back to pull the wrap through the stitch.
5. Slip the original stitch off the left needle.
Repeat steps 2 – 5 to purl other stitches.
HOW TO BIND OFF STITCHES
The only difference between binding off stitches using Continental and English knitting styles is that you use the Continental way (described above) to knit or purl stitches before pulling one stitch through the other. Otherwise, the way to bind off stitch is absolutely the same.
That’s it. Now you know the basics of the Continental knitting.
Give yourself some time to practice these new skills, and when you feel confident enough, use the Continental way whenever you want to give your right hand some rest (it definitely deserves it 🙂
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Here are a few more things you might like:
- Learn Russian knitting style to knit faster and more efficient with minimal strain to your wrists.
- Make lots of colourful projects using patchwork knitting technique and 36 patterns for blankets and pillows.
- Knit simple socks and top-down hats in any size with any yarn.
- Download 23 tutorials published in 2017, 42 tutorials published in 2018 and 53 tutorials published in 2019.
- Join the All Tutorials Club 2020 and don’t miss a single tutorial published in 2020.
- Make a flattering Sideways Sweater, a super easy Facile Sweater, or a simple and versatile Everyday Tee.
- Or, knit a reversible beanie and cowl duo and comfortable Sneaker Socks for everyone in your family.
Happy knitting 🙂