How I Knit – Right-Handed Continental?

I am incurably right-handed when it comes to knitting. I learned how to knit by throwing the yarn over the needle with my right hand, and that’s what I did for years. Mum learned continental at some point, and raved about how fast it was, especially when it came to switching between knitting and purling, so she tried to teach me. I learned to do the knit stitch okay with my left hand, which I use in fair isle. But when it came to the purl stitch, I just couldn’t do it comfortably. And it certainly saved me no time switching. So I stuck with throwing.

Then, one day, I got a commission to make leg warmers. You might remember them from a couple years back. They were cute, and simple – 15″ of 2×2 ribbing. In a large tube. And the lady has two legs. It was enough to make me want to eat the things, it was going so slowly with my technique. Then about halfway down the first leg, I noticed that my fingers figured out something different. And it was a lot faster. After some experimenting and acclimatizing myself to this new technique, I love it, and I think it’s at least as fast as continental, especially when it comes to switching between knit and purl.

Now, I usually do photo tutorials, because I think they are fun, and I find knitting videos exceptionally long and awkward. But there was just no way to show you this effectively using just pictures; it’s too specific. I tried to keep this one short, but there was nothing I could do about the awkwardness. I also apologize for the blurriness; my camera is old and cruddy and can’t focus that close. But I think you get the idea. Go go gadget embedding!

It has a lot in common with pit knitting in that the right hand does the same motion for knitting and purling, a down-up, sewing-machine-like motion. But it’s done with just the fingers instead of the whole hand. I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with this technique, but I’ve never seen anyone else do it, and I don’t think it’s technically throwing. Its not really picking either, so I can’t call it continental. So call it what you want.

Tomorrow – using this technique with both hands at the same time to do speedy two-handed fair isle knitting.

12 thoughts on “How I Knit – Right-Handed Continental?

  1. woo, cool. I may have to start knitting again after all…I mean I have the jinzu master herself in range!! Grasshopper could really learn something!!


  2. I learned the continental method of knitting after many years of “throwing.” It is definitely faster, but I’ve always hated purling in the continental method. I’ve watched several tutorials with a “better” way to purl but couldn’t get the hang of any of them – or couldn’t see any improvement. I will definitely try this. Thanks, Rebecca.


  3. Thanks for this video! I knit sort of like this, but not quite. I can’t wait to try this. This should help get me faster. I think I started adapting it after watching a Stephanie Pearl McPhee video.


  4. Thanks for the comments; so glad someone has found it helpful already! Alane, was it that pit-knitting video? I love that! I use it as much as I can, but I almost never knit anything flat anymore to use long straights.


  5. Thank you for this video. I have been watching it over and over and trying to mimic the motion. I do have a question. Do you have the yarn (coming off the ball) wrapped around your pinkie, or is it just left dangling? I am having a hard time getting the right tension on the yarn. I have found right amount of tension is crucial. Thank you.


  6. Watched the video many times on my smartphone and am now trying and liking it. Many thanks. I would love to see a video of separate rows of knitting and purling done slowly for one whole row then at your usual speed for another.The way you use your left fingers is different for me. I learn by watching. Again, thanks. I have arthritis.u


  7. Is there any way you can go even slower in the video while explaining the technique?

    I can not tell when you are bringing the yarn forward over the needle when knitting verses behind.

    Than you


  8. Like Penny, above, I cannot see how the working yarn is held near the pinkie. I understand the economy of motion and only moving the first two fingers but how do you get the tension in the first place?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s