Learn how to knit continental style

Learn how to knit continental style

If you’ve ever wondered how to knit using the Continental method, you’ve come to the right place. Continental knitting is a popular technique that involves holding the yarn in your left hand and using the right-hand needle to move the stitches. This method can be quicker and more efficient than traditional knitting where the yarn is held in the right hand.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of Continental knitting, from how to hold the yarn and needles to creating your first stitches. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter looking to try something new, this guide will help you master the Continental technique.

Continental knitting is known for its smooth and even tension, making it ideal for projects that require a consistent gauge. Many knitters also find it more ergonomic and less tiring on the hands and wrists compared to other knitting styles. Whether you want to knit sweaters, socks, or accessories, learning Continental knitting will expand your skills and open up a whole new world of possibilities.

“Continental knitting is a technique that can be easily learned with practice and patience. Once you get the hang of it, you may find yourself knitting faster and with greater ease.”

So, grab your yarn and needles, and let’s get started on your Continental knitting journey!

The Basics of Continental Knitting

Continental knitting is a popular style of knitting that is commonly used in Europe and Latin America. It involves holding the yarn in the left hand and using the right-hand needle to create the stitches. This technique can be more efficient and faster compared to the traditional English style of knitting, where the yarn is held in the right hand.

Benefits of Continental Knitting:

  • It can be faster once you become proficient.
  • The yarn tension is often more consistent.
  • It can be easier on the hands and wrists.

Getting Started:

To get started with continental knitting, you will need:

  1. A pair of knitting needles
  2. Yarn

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Hold the knitting needle with the cast-on stitches in your right hand.

2. Position the working yarn between your thumb and index finger of your left hand.

3. Use your right-hand needle to insert it into the first stitch on the left-hand needle from left to right.

4. With your left hand, wrap the working yarn around the right-hand needle counterclockwise.

5. Gently pull the right-hand needle through the loop, creating a new stitch on the right-hand needle.

6. Slide the newly created stitch onto the right-hand needle, and let the old stitch slip off the left-hand needle.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 to continue knitting across the row.

Practice Tips:

  • Start with a simple pattern or practice using scrap yarn before moving on to more complex projects.
  • Focus on maintaining a relaxed grip on the yarn and needles to prevent hand fatigue.
  • Watch tutorial videos or take a beginner’s class to see the technique in action.

In Conclusion:

Continental knitting is a useful technique to learn, especially if you want to improve your speed and efficiency while knitting. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to master this style and create beautiful knitted projects with ease.

Gathering the Right Tools and Materials

Before you can start learning continental knitting, you will need to gather a few essential tools and materials. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • A pair of knitting needles: Continental knitting is typically done with straight or circular knitting needles. It is recommended to start with a pair of medium-sized needles (around size 8 or 9) made of bamboo or wood for easier grip.
  • Yarn: Choose a smooth and medium-weight yarn to practice continental knitting. Avoid using yarns with a lot of texture or fuzziness, as they can make it harder to manipulate the stitches.
  • Scissors: You will need a pair of scissors to cut the yarn when needed.
  • Tapestry needle: This needle is used for weaving in loose ends and finishing your knitting projects.
  • Stitch markers: Stitch markers are helpful for marking specific stitches or sections in your knitting.
  • Row counter: A row counter can be useful for keeping track of your progress, especially if you are working on a pattern that requires a specific number of rows.
  • Knitting gauge: A knitting gauge tool is used to measure your gauge, which is the number of stitches and rows per inch. This can be helpful to ensure that your finished project matches the desired dimensions in your knitting pattern.

Once you have gathered all the necessary tools and materials, you are ready to start learning continental knitting. Make sure you have a quiet and comfortable space to practice, and remember to be patient with yourself as you learn this new technique.

Casting On: Starting Your Project

Before you can begin knitting, you must cast on to your knitting needles. Casting on is the process of creating the foundation row of stitches that you will work with throughout your project. Here are the steps to cast on using the continental knitting method:

  1. Hold the knitting needle with your right hand, and use your left hand to hold the end of the yarn.
  2. Make a slipknot by wrapping the yarn around your pointer and middle fingers, and then pulling the end of the yarn through the loop.
  3. Slide the slipknot onto the knitting needle, and tighten it by pulling on the yarn end.
  4. Hold the knitting needle with the slipknot in your right hand, and use your left hand to hold the working yarn.
  5. Insert the tip of the right-hand needle into the slipknot from left to right, going under the left-hand needle.
  6. Using your left hand, bring the working yarn behind the right-hand needle, and use your right-hand needle to catch the yarn and pull it through the slipknot.
  7. Gently tighten the stitch on the right-hand needle.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 to cast on the desired number of stitches for your project.

Once you have cast on all your stitches, you are ready to begin knitting your project. Make sure to keep the tension even as you work each stitch. Happy knitting!

Knitting Stitch Patterns

Knitting stitch patterns are what make your knitting projects interesting and unique. They add texture and design elements to your knitted fabric. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, learning different stitch patterns can open up a world of creative possibilities.

Here are a few popular knitting stitch patterns to get you started:

  • Garter Stitch: One of the simplest stitch patterns, garter stitch is made by knitting every row. It creates a bumpy texture and is often used for scarves and blankets.
  • Stockinette Stitch: Also known as stocking stitch, this pattern is created by alternating knit rows with purl rows. It produces a smooth fabric with V-shaped knit stitches on the right side and purl stitches on the wrong side.
  • Ribbing: Ribbing is created by alternating knit and purl stitches in a repeating pattern. It is commonly used for cuffs, hems, and edges of garments to add elasticity and structure.
  • Seed Stitch: This pattern is created by alternating knit and purl stitches within the same row and across rows. It produces a textured fabric with scattered bumps that resemble seeds.
  • Cable Stitch: Cable stitches involve crossing stitches over each other to create twists and braids. They add a three-dimensional element to your knitting and are often used for sweaters and accessories.

These are just a few examples of knitting stitch patterns, but there are countless variations and combinations you can explore. Experimenting with different stitch patterns can help you develop your knitting skills and create beautiful, unique projects.

Purling: Adding Texture to Your Project

Purling is an essential technique in knitting that adds texture and variety to your project. It is the reverse of a knit stitch and creates a raised bump on the front side of the fabric. By combining knit and purl stitches, you can create beautiful patterns, ribbing, and intricate designs.

To purl, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the needle with the stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
  2. Insert the right needle from right to left under the first stitch on the left needle.
  3. Bring the yarn to the front of the work.
  4. With the right needle, wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the right needle.
  5. Using the right needle, pull the new loop of yarn through the old stitch.
  6. Slide the old stitch off the left needle.
  7. Repeat these steps for each stitch on the left needle.

Purling can be used on its own to create a fabric with a different texture, or it can be combined with other stitches to create various patterns. Some common stitch patterns that incorporate purling include ribbing, seed stitch, moss stitch, and basketweave stitch.

When purling, it’s important to maintain an even tension to ensure a consistent appearance in your knitting. Take your time and practice to achieve the desired results. As with any new knitting technique, it may feel awkward at first, but with practice, it will become second nature.

Tips for Purling
1. Relax your hands Keeping your hands relaxed and loose will make it easier to manipulate the needles and yarn.
2. Pay attention to your tension Ensure that your tension is not too loose or too tight. Experiment with different tensions to find what works best for you.
3. Practice makes perfect Don’t get discouraged if your first attempts at purling are not perfect. Keep practicing, and you will improve over time.
4. Use stitch markers If you are working on a pattern that requires specific stitch counts, use stitch markers to easily keep track of your stitches.
5. Have fun experimenting Once you master the basic purl stitch, feel free to experiment with different stitch patterns and textures to create unique and stunning projects.

Now that you have learned the purl stitch, you can incorporate it into your knitting projects to add texture and create stunning designs. Keep practicing, and soon you will be able to tackle more complex knit patterns with confidence.

Increasing and Decreasing Stitches

When knitting, it’s important to know how to increase or decrease stitches to shape your project or create decorative patterns. Here are some common methods for increasing and decreasing stitches using the Continental knitting technique:

Increasing Stitches

  1. Knit Front and Back (KFB): Insert the right needle into the front of the next stitch, knit it as usual, but don’t slip it off the left needle. Instead, insert the right needle into the back of the same stitch and knit it again. Finally, slip the stitch off the left needle.
  2. Make One (M1): Insert the left needle from front to back under the horizontal strand between the current stitch and the next stitch on the left needle. Knit this new stitch through the back loop to twist it and prevent a hole from forming.
  3. Knit into the stitch below: Insert the right needle into the stitch below the next stitch on the left needle. Knit this stitch, then knit the next stitch as usual.

Decreasing Stitches

  • Knit Two Together (K2tog): Insert the right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit them together. Knit these two stitches together, then slip the resulting stitch off the left needle.
  • Purl Two Together (P2tog): Insert the right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to purl them together. Purl these two stitches together, then slip the resulting stitch off the left needle.
  • Slip, Slip, Knit (SSK): Slip the next stitch from the left needle to the right needle as if to knit. Repeat this process with the following stitch. Insert the left needle into the front loops of these two slipped stitches from left to right and knit them together.

These are just a few of the many methods for increasing and decreasing stitches. Experiment with different techniques to achieve the desired results in your knitting projects. Happy knitting!

Binding Off: Finishing Your Project

Once you have completed your knitting project, it’s time to bind off or finish your work. This final step in the knitting process ensures that your stitches are secured and the edges of your project are neat and clean.

To bind off, you will need one knitting needle and a pair of scissors. Follow these simple steps to bind off your project:

  1. Start by knitting two stitches onto your right-hand needle.
  2. Using your left-hand needle, lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right-hand needle.
  3. Knit one more stitch onto your right-hand needle and repeat step 2.
  4. Continue this process until you have one stitch remaining on your right-hand needle.
  5. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail that is long enough to weave in later.
  6. Pull the tail through the final stitch and gently tighten it to secure the bind off.

Once you have bound off all your stitches, you can now weave in the loose ends of the yarn. Use a yarn needle to thread the tail through the stitches on the back of your work. This will help secure the ends and prevent any unraveling.

If you prefer a more decorative finish, you can also try a stretchy bind off or a picot bind off. These techniques create a decorative edge and allow for more flexibility in your finished project.

With your project now bound off and the loose ends woven in, you can proudly enjoy your finished piece of knitting.

Troubleshooting and Tips for Success

Learning a new knitting technique can sometimes be challenging, but with a little practice and patience, you can become a pro at continental knitting. Here are some troubleshooting tips and helpful suggestions to ensure your success:


  • Tension Issues: If you find that your stitches are too loose or too tight, try adjusting the tension of your yarn. Experiment with different hand positions and yarn wrapping techniques to find the right tension for you.
  • Inconsistent Gauge: Inconsistent gauge can result in uneven stitches. Make sure to practice maintaining a consistent tension throughout your work. Blocking your finished projects can also help even out any minor gauge inconsistencies.
  • Dropped Stitches: Dropped stitches can be frustrating, but it happens to the best of us. When you notice a dropped stitch, stop and fix it immediately to prevent further unraveling. Use a crochet hook or a knitting needle to carefully pick up the dropped stitch and work it back up to the correct row.
  • Twisted Stitches: Twisted stitches can occur when the needle is inserted into the stitch incorrectly. Pay close attention to how you insert your needle into the stitches to avoid twisting them. If you notice a twisted stitch, you can use a crochet hook or a knitting needle to correct it.

Tips for Success

  • Practice Regularly: Like any skill, practice makes perfect. Set aside dedicated time to practice continental knitting regularly. The more you practice, the more comfortable and efficient you will become.
  • Take Breaks: If you find yourself becoming frustrated or fatigued, take a break. Knitting should be enjoyable, so give yourself time to rest and come back to it when you feel refreshed.
  • Start with Simple Projects: As a beginner, it’s best to start with simple projects such as scarves or dishcloths. This will allow you to focus on mastering the continental knitting technique without getting overwhelmed by complex patterns.
  • Join a Knitting Community: Joining a knitting community or taking a class can provide valuable support and guidance. Interacting with other knitters can help you troubleshoot any issues and inspire you to continue improving your skills.
  • Have Fun: Finally, remember to have fun! Knitting is a creative and relaxing hobby. Enjoy the process and take pride in each project you complete, no matter how simple or complex.

By following these troubleshooting tips and suggestions for success, you’ll be well on your way to mastering continental knitting. Happy knitting!


What is Continental knitting?

Continental knitting is a knitting technique where the yarn is held in the left hand (for right-handed knitters) and the stitches are formed by picking the yarn with the needle. This method is also known as “picking” or “German” knitting.

How is Continental knitting different from English knitting?

Continental knitting differs from English knitting in the way the yarn is held and the stitches are made. In Continental knitting, the yarn is held in the left hand and the stitches are formed by picking the yarn with the needle. In English knitting, the yarn is held in the right hand and the stitches are formed by throwing the yarn over the needle.

What are the advantages of Continental knitting?

There are several advantages to Continental knitting. One advantage is that it can be faster than English knitting because the motions are more efficient. Another advantage is that it can be easier on the hands and wrists because there is less movement involved. Additionally, many knitters find that Continental knitting is more conducive to working with multiple colors or doing complex stitch patterns.


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