Learn How to Knit Continental Style for Beginners

Learn How to Knit Continental Style for Beginners

Are you a beginner knitter looking to learn a new knitting technique? Look no further than Continental style knitting! This versatile and efficient method is widely used in Europe and is gaining popularity around the world. In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through the basics of Continental style knitting, from holding the yarn to creating different stitches. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced knitter looking to switch styles, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started with Continental knitting.

One of the main advantages of Continental style knitting is the ergonomic advantage it offers. By holding the yarn in your left hand and “picking” the stitches with your right needle, you can avoid repetitive strain injuries and knit for longer periods of time without discomfort. Additionally, this technique allows for faster knitting, as the movements are more efficient and require less energy.

In this guide, we will start with the very basics, including how to hold the yarn, how to cast on, and how to create the knit and purl stitches. We will then progress to more complex techniques such as increasing, decreasing, and knitting in the round. Each step will be accompanied by clear and detailed instructions, as well as helpful tips and tricks to improve your knitting skills.

Whether you want to knit a simple scarf, a cozy sweater, or intricate lace patterns, Continental style knitting is a valuable technique to have in your repertoire. Once you master this style, you will be able to tackle a wide variety of knitting projects with ease and confidence. So grab your needles and yarn, and let’s get started on your Continental knitting journey!

Benefits of Learning Continental Style Knitting

Continental style knitting, also known as German knitting or picking, is a popular technique that offers several benefits for both beginners and experienced knitters. Here are some advantages of learning Continental style knitting:

  • Efficiency: Continental knitting is known for its efficiency and speed. The technique involves keeping the yarn in the left hand, which allows for faster and smoother movements. Knitters who use Continental style can often complete their projects more quickly than those who use other knitting styles.
  • Less Strain: One of the major advantages of Continental knitting is that it reduces strain on the hands and wrists. By keeping the yarn in the left hand, knitters have more control and can use the fingers of the right hand for manipulating the needles. This can help prevent or alleviate hand and wrist pain that can occur with other knitting styles.
  • Easier Learning Curve: Many knitters find Continental style easier to learn, especially if they are already familiar with crochet. The technique uses similar movements to crochet, making the transition smoother for those with crochet experience. Additionally, the movements in Continental style are generally simpler and require less hand and finger coordination, making it easier for beginners to pick up.
  • Flexibility: Continental knitting offers more flexibility and versatility in the knitting process. The technique allows for easier switching between knitting and purling, making it ideal for projects that require frequent stitch changes. Additionally, Continental style knitting works well with colorwork and stranded knitting, as it allows for faster and smoother transitions between different colored yarns.
  • Consistency: Since Continental knitting involves holding the yarn in the left hand throughout the entire process, it promotes consistent tension and stitch size. This can result in more even and professional-looking knitted fabric, especially for complex stitch patterns or projects that require precise gauge.

Overall, learning Continental style knitting can be a valuable skill for both beginners and experienced knitters. It offers efficiency, reduces strain, has an easier learning curve, provides flexibility in knitting techniques, and promotes consistent stitchwork. Whether you’re looking to speed up your knitting or improve the quality of your projects, Continental style knitting is definitely worth giving a try.

Choosing the Right Needles for Continental Style Knitting

When learning how to knit in the continental style, it’s important to choose the right needles that will enhance your knitting experience. The right needles can make a significant difference in your comfort, speed, and overall knitting quality. Here are some factors to consider when selecting needles for continental style knitting:

  • Material: Needles come in various materials such as metal, wood, bamboo, and plastic. Each material has its own characteristics, so choose one that feels comfortable in your hands and provides the desired level of grip. Some knitters prefer the smoothness of metal needles, while others prefer the warmth and lightness of wooden or bamboo needles.
  • Size: Needle sizes are measured in millimeters or US sizes. The size you choose depends on the thickness of your yarn and the desired tension in your knitting. Thicker yarns generally require larger needles, while thinner yarns require smaller needles. Always check the yarn label for the recommended needle size.
  • Length: Needle lengths vary from short (around 9 inches) to long (up to 16 inches or more). The length you choose depends on the type of project you’re working on. Shorter needles are ideal for small projects, like hats and socks, while longer needles are better for large projects, like sweaters and blankets.
  • Tip shape: Needle tips can be either pointed or blunt. Pointed tips are great for intricate stitch patterns and lacework, while blunt tips are better for beginners or when working with thick yarns. Some knitters prefer interchangeable needle sets that allow them to switch needle tips depending on the project.
  • Circular vs. straight needles: Continental style knitting can be done with both circular and straight needles. Circular needles are more versatile and can be used for both flat and in-the-round knitting. They also distribute the weight of your project more evenly and reduce strain on your wrists. Straight needles are simpler and better suited for smaller projects.

Remember, the choice of needles is a personal preference, and what works for one knitter may not work for another. The best way to determine the right needles for you is to try different options and see what feels most comfortable and enjoyable to use. Happy knitting!

Learning the Basic Continental Style Knitting Techniques

Knitting is a popular craft that allows you to create beautiful and functional items using yarn and needles. Continental style knitting is one of the two main knitting styles, and it is known for its efficiency and speed. If you are new to knitting or want to switch to the Continental style, here are the basic techniques you need to learn.

1. Holding the yarn:

In Continental knitting, the yarn is held in the left hand, while the right hand manipulates the needles. To hold the yarn, loop it around your left index finger, and then use your other fingers to control the tension. Experiment with different ways of holding the yarn until you find a grip that feels comfortable and allows for smooth knitting.

2. Making a slipknot:

To begin a project, you need to make a slipknot. Start by making a loop with the yarn, leaving a short tail. Insert the needle through the loop and pull the tail to tighten the knot. Place the loop on one of the needles, and you’re ready to start knitting.

3. Casting on:

There are several methods for casting on in Continental knitting, but the knit cast on is commonly used. To do this, hold the needle with the slipknot in your left hand. Insert the right needle into the slipknot from left to right, wrap the working yarn around the right needle, and pull it through the slipknot to create a new stitch. Repeat this process until you have the desired number of cast on stitches.

4. Knit stitch:

The knit stitch is the foundation of Continental knitting. To knit a stitch, insert the right needle from left to right into the first stitch on the left needle. Wrap the working yarn around the right needle counterclockwise, and pull it through the stitch, slipping the original stitch off the left needle. Make sure to keep the tension of the stitch even to avoid loose or tight stitches.

  • 4.1 English knitting style comparison:
  • In the English knitting style, the yarn is held in the right hand, and the stitch is worked by wrapping the yarn around the right needle clockwise. Continental knitting is often preferred by those who find it more efficient, as you don’t have to move the right hand as much.

5. Purl stitch:

The purl stitch creates a different texture and is used in patterns to create ribbing, stockinette stitch, and garter stitch. In Continental knitting, the purl stitch is worked by inserting the right needle from right to left into the first stitch on the left needle, wrapping the working yarn counterclockwise around the right needle, and pulling it through the stitch. This time, however, the original stitch stays on the left needle.

6. Binding off:

When you finish your project, you need to bind off the stitches to secure them. To bind off in Continental knitting, knit the first two stitches as usual. Then, using the left needle, lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right needle to bind it off. Repeat this process until you have one stitch remaining, and then cut the yarn, leaving a tail to weave in later.

These are the basic techniques of Continental style knitting that you need to learn as a beginner. Practice these techniques and experiment with different patterns to expand your knitting skills and create beautiful projects. Happy knitting!

Knitting Continental Style – Common Mistakes to Avoid

Knitting Continental Style - Common Mistakes to Avoid

When learning to knit continental style, it’s common to make a few mistakes along the way. However, by being aware of these common mistakes, you can avoid them and improve your knitting technique. Here are some mistakes to look out for:

  1. Tension too tight or too loose: One of the most common mistakes beginners make is having inconsistent tension. If your stitches are too tight, it’ll be difficult to knit and you’ll end up with a stiff and dense fabric. On the other hand, if your stitches are too loose, the fabric will be floppy and have holes. Practice maintaining an even tension by working on small projects and paying attention to how you hold the yarn.
  2. Incorrect yarn placement: In continental knitting, the yarn is held in the left hand and “picked” with the needle. It’s important to position the yarn correctly to create smooth and even stitches. Make sure the yarn is always positioned above the needle and not caught behind it. This will prevent your stitches from twisting or appearing uneven.
  3. Skipping or adding stitches: Another common mistake is accidentally skipping or adding stitches while knitting continental style. This can lead to an uneven fabric or a project that doesn’t come out as intended. To avoid this, count your stitches regularly and check that the stitch count is consistent with the pattern.
  4. Confusion between knit and purl stitches: It’s easy to get confused between knit and purl stitches when you’re starting out. Pay close attention to the pattern instructions and practice identifying the differences between the two stitches. Knit stitches have a smooth “v” shape, while purl stitches have a bump or purl bump.
  5. Not practicing regularly: Like any new skill, knitting continental style requires practice to get comfortable and proficient. Make sure to set aside regular time for knitting and keep practicing your technique to build muscle memory and improve your knitting speed.

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you become a better knitter and enjoy the process of knitting continental style even more. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep at it and don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek out tutorials to further improve your skills.

Continental Style Knitting – Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Continental style knitting is a popular technique that can be faster and more efficient than other knitting styles. If you’re a beginner looking to learn how to knit in the continental style, here are some tips and tricks to get you started:

1. Hold the Yarn in Your Left Hand

In continental style knitting, the yarn is held in the left hand. This allows for a smooth and fluid motion as you work your stitches. To hold the yarn, wrap it around your pinky finger and weave it between your other fingers. Experiment with different finger placements to find what feels most comfortable for you.

2. Practice Tension Control

Tension control is important in any knitting style, but it can be especially crucial in continental knitting. Make sure your stitches are neither too tight nor too loose. Practice maintaining a consistent tension by knitting a swatch and adjusting your finger placement and grip if necessary.

3. Utilize Your Index Finger

One of the main advantages of continental knitting is the ability to use your index finger to control the tension of the yarn. Use your index finger to guide the yarn smoothly and evenly as you work each stitch. This will help maintain an even tension throughout your project.

4. Learn the Continental Purl Stitch

The purl stitch can be a bit tricky in continental style knitting, as it involves maneuvering the yarn to the front of the work. Practice the continental purl stitch by sliding your right-hand needle into the next stitch from right to left, wrapping the yarn counterclockwise around the needle, and pulling it through to create a new stitch.

5. Use Ergonomic Needles

Invest in a good pair of ergonomic knitting needles that feel comfortable in your hands. This will reduce strain and make the knitting process more enjoyable. Look for needles with a smooth surface and a shape that fits well in your hands.

6. Take Breaks and Stretch

Knitting for extended periods can cause strain in your hands, wrists, and shoulders. Remember to take regular breaks and stretch your fingers, hands, and arms to prevent any discomfort. This will help you maintain a good knitting posture and avoid unnecessary tension.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any new skill, becoming proficient in continental style knitting takes practice. Set aside time each day to work on your skills and gradually increase the complexity of your projects. With time and patience, you’ll become more comfortable and confident in your continental knitting abilities.

Remember, everyone learns at their own pace, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately master continental style knitting. Keep practicing and experimenting with different techniques until you find what works best for you. Happy knitting!

Advancing Your Skills in Continental Style Knitting

Once you have mastered the basics of continental style knitting, there are several techniques and skills you can learn to enhance your knitting repertoire. These advanced techniques will allow you to tackle more complex patterns and create intricate designs.

1. Lace knitting: Lace knitting involves creating delicate and intricate patterns using a combination of yarn overs and decreases. It adds a beautiful and airy texture to your knitting projects. You can find various lace knitting patterns and tutorials online to practice and improve your skills.

2. Cables: Cable knitting is another technique that adds texture and interest to your projects. It involves crossing stitches to create a twisted cable effect. There are different types of cables, such as simple cables, traveling cables, and complex cable patterns. Learning cable knitting will open up a wide range of design possibilities.

3. Colorwork: Colorwork refers to knitting with multiple colors to create patterns and designs. Fair Isle and intarsia are two popular colorwork techniques. Fair Isle involves using two or more colors in a pattern, while intarsia involves working with separate bobbins of yarn to create blocks of color. Mastering colorwork will allow you to create beautiful motifs and images in your knitting.

4. Entrelac: Entrelac knitting creates a woven or basketweave-like effect by knitting small squares or rectangles and attaching them together as you go. It may seem complex at first, but with practice, you can create stunning entrelac designs.

5. Knitting in the round: Knitting in the round allows you to create seamless projects, such as hats, socks, and sweaters, without the need for seams. You can use circular needles or double-pointed needles to knit in the round. It’s a useful skill to have and opens up a whole new world of knitting possibilities.

6. Chart reading: Many knitting patterns use charts to represent stitch patterns and instructions. Learning to read these charts will make it easier for you to follow patterns and understand complex stitch patterns. Take the time to familiarize yourself with different chart symbols and practice reading knitting charts.

7. Advanced shaping techniques: As you advance in your knitting skills, you can learn advanced shaping techniques such as short rows, increases, and decreases. These techniques allow you to create shaping and add curves to your projects. Understanding how to shape your knitting will elevate your skills and enable you to create more tailored and fitted garments.

Remember, advancing your knitting skills takes time, practice, and patience. Take on one technique at a time and practice regularly to improve your knitting abilities. Happy knitting!


What is the continental knitting style?

The continental knitting style is a method of knitting where the yarn is held in the left hand, and the stitches are formed by picking the yarn with the right-hand needle.

Is it difficult to learn continental knitting?

Learning the continental knitting style may be challenging at first if you are used to another knitting style, but with practice, it can become just as natural and efficient as any other style.

Why should I learn continental knitting?

There are several advantages to learning the continental knitting style. It can help increase your knitting speed, reduce hand fatigue, and create a more even tension in your stitches.

Are there any tips for learning continental knitting?

Yes, here are a few tips for learning continental knitting: start with a small project to practice the technique, watch video tutorials to see the technique in action, and practice regularly to build muscle memory.

Does continental knitting require different knitting needles?

No, you can use the same knitting needles for continental knitting as you would for any other style. The technique is in how you hold and manipulate the yarn, not in the type of needles you use.

Can I switch from another knitting style to continental knitting?

Yes, it is possible to switch from another knitting style to continental knitting. However, it may take some time and practice to adjust to the new technique and become comfortable with it.

Where can I find more resources to learn continental knitting?

There are many resources available online to help you learn continental knitting. You can find video tutorials on websites like YouTube, join knitting forums and communities for tips and advice, and purchase instructional books or DVDs.


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