There’s been a lot of chatter lately on these here internets about continental and english knitting. I’ll admit that there’s even been some over here, behind the scenes of course. I learned to knit in the old (or really new) English*, Throw, American*, Right handed or whatever you want to call it method. I have no control of my left hand, so it only seemed natural to pick this method. I was led to believe if you were right handed, then you knit with your yarn to the right of you. I blame this biatch for this:

She can't believe it!

Look at her, gloating with all that knitting around her, she can’t even believe it! She’s drowning in it, she can’t stop, and I don’t even think her eyes are tracking to tell you the truth. She was the Debbie Stoller of my time. Ok not really, I just happened to learn to knit right before the whole ‘knitting is so sexy and hip it hurts’ wave and this little pamphlet was what I was given when dragged to some craft store. I’m digressing, anyway the crazy woman told me to knit with the yarn in my right hand and that’s what I was did. Who’s going to mess with her?

Months later I finally figured out that nope, it has nothing to do with what hand you write with, but rather just whatever method you preferred at the time of learning. I still thought nothing of it really, why would I when I was always getting gauge and nice even knitting throwing**, oh, and I wasn’t pissing the crazy woman off. Blogging changes everything though, you get to peak into people’s lives and see how many projects they get done and how quickly. I thought I was pretty fast until I realized I wasn’t cranking out two sweaters a month or a shawl a week. All these people must be continental knitters for sure, that’s the only way I can explain it (after weeding out the big needle knitters and the stay at home and knit all day knitters). Never one to be out-done, I researched this ‘other way’ (continental, german*, picking, left-handed, what have you) and read all about how great, fast, and superior it was. I love efficiency and if this was going to make me a speed-knitter I had to make a change.

I’ve been sneaking in the continental method in my knitting here and there. The Jaywalker sock has some in there, the <BMCas well, and that kid hat was all done continentally. With the crap-o-tee I’ve been knitting and purling by picking (I wasn’t purling in the other projects) and to be honest I’m not that impressed. Have the continentalists been lying this whole time about how great they are? I don’t know, I’m just one person damnit, but my answer is a maybe. Is either method superior to the other? I doubt it. Continental knitting looks prettier since there are less movements, but I tend to get a tighter gauge, while with English I always get gauge on my first try**. Purling sucks ass either way, but I found that purling was/is just really messy with picking. I rather throw than pick since I’m a faster thrower (by two seconds per stitch). I also heard that continental is better to avoid carpal-tunnel-syndrome, but my right wrist hurts so much more while picking than by throwing. Am I going to switch? Well, the boyfriend all of a sudden thinks that I’m knitting correctly, since to him I’m “kniting without moving”. He swears that I’ve been wrong for the last three years and now he’s actually impressed. Why do I knit if not to impress, so I’ll stick with the picking for knits and throwing for purls (unless I don’t get gauge, then I’ll throw!).

*I find it interesting that the methods are divided by who fought the WW’s. If you are a patriot, then knit with your right hand damnit!

**Purly and I seem to have the same gift from god. I believe that this is a Highlander situation where there can only be one and why we must sadly live on different coasts (or else one would have to decapitate the other, can you tell the bf has made me watch crap movies?).

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  • eunny November 12, 2005 at 10:28 pm

    Oh, hadn’t you heard? They changed it from “German knitting” to “Freedom knitting.”Seriously, whatever works for you. I suck, suck SUCK at throwing – watching me do two-handed fair isle is a painful thing. I really think it’s just what you were taught with.Heh, your whole post sounded kind of vexed.

  • yahaira November 12, 2005 at 11:09 pm

    I think the whole debate vexes me, as does that crazy women on the cover!

  • sylv November 13, 2005 at 9:49 am

    And now you’ve picked (?!) my curiosity. I’ve never seen somebody knit other than “english” (ie throwing)around me, but sometimes I do wonder about all the “moving” involved. So I’m going to do some research now..!! I’ll let you know. 😉

  • yahaira November 13, 2005 at 9:54 am

    maybe everyone should knit in the other style this month just to try it out

  • tabbytuxedo November 13, 2005 at 10:19 am

    I’m a thrower too. I like it. It feels comfortable to me. I think I’m going to noodle around in the continental style for a bit since, I agree, there is a lot of stuff and nonsense about it out in the blogland now. I don’t think its’ going to take though.

  • Gracie November 13, 2005 at 10:29 am

    I’ve toyed with switching to the other side as well, but I just can’t seem to make myself. I think it is because I know I will be slower at first.

  • Angela November 13, 2005 at 11:20 am

    I’ve seen that book. She looks like she’s high!

  • heatherfeather November 13, 2005 at 12:59 pm

    i don’t remember learning how to knit, really. i just know that i’ve always knit continental. and i never knitted around others until this summer when i met a thrower. and i tried it and it made me feel like i had stumps for hands and no arms at all… so i went back to picking…i think that the terrorists have won if we feel inadequate for knitting the way we’ve learned.can’t have that, now can we?

  • baast November 14, 2005 at 6:41 am

    It could have been worse, your bf could have made you watch a Highlander movie marathon.I think I am going to remain a thrower. At least until I meet Eunny and am saddened by my lack of speed.*wanders off singing old Queen songs*

  • Purly Whites November 14, 2005 at 11:36 pm

    I can’t believe Tom thinks that now you are knitting correctly. Ass hole.I still think the pickers have been lying to us and I’m getting more resistant to even trying it. Bitter I am.I think we can each have the gift from god without living on different coasts.

  • Purly Whites November 14, 2005 at 11:37 pm

    Oh, and that woman in the photo scares the shit out of me.

  • carrie November 15, 2005 at 12:42 am

    debbie stoller, she ain’t! next post, i’ll include a pic of the pamphlet that i learned from. it’s nast-tay!

  • newb November 15, 2005 at 1:55 pm

    I knit continental. I think it comes from years and years of crochet where you hold the yarn in your left hand. I just can’t get in to the groove when I try to knit english.