The difference between continental and British style
By Anna Prasad (www.annatestadoro.com)
As knitting seems to have become more popular, with avid knitters taking their projects on ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ it’s also becoming apparent that there are two distinct knitting styles: Continental (or German) knitting and English knitting.
Continental Knitting © http://craftsmumship.com/
English Knitting © http://craftsmumship.com/
I was taught continental knitting by my aunt and in school when growing up in Germany. Only when I came to England in 1996 did I notice the English knitting style, which immediately struck me as being much more complicated and taking longer to complete projects. I always believed that the way I knit (continental) was much faster and much more time efficient. And in fact, it actually is. Not only according to Wikipedia which states that: “Continental knitting can be done at a greater rate than English knitting, as the stitches are formed closer to the needle points and the yarn has a shorter travel.” But also according to STV Scotland which interviewed Hazel Tindall, who won an international knitting competition to become the World’s Fastest Knitter. She completed 262 stitches in 3 minutes!
Continental knitting/German knitting or picking as it’s sometimes also called is mostly used in Northern and Eastern Europe. The yarn is held in the left hand and a movement of the left index finger (or other fingers) helps the needle to pick up the yarn and form a new stitch. Important to remember with this style of knitting is the position of the yarn, it always needs to end up behind the needles after any stitch has been completed. The yarn is held over the forefinger of the left hand, achieving tension of the yarn in many different ways. Either by wrapping the yarn around the little finger, wrapping it around the forefinger or holding the yarn against the left hand needle with the middle finger to keep it as taut as needed.