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Difference Between Continental Knitting and English Knitting

Continental Knitting vs English Knitting

Continental knitting (also called German knitting, European knitting, or left-hand knitting) involves knitting using one’s left hand. The motion of bringing the yarn forward with a needle held in the other hand is otherwise known as picking. It is mostly favored by professional knitters because it is more efficient as a method and requires the least number of specific hand movements.

English knitting (also known as right-hand knitting or throwing) involves a process by which one uses one’s right hand to hold the yarn, instead of the left.

Continental knitting originated in continental Europe, specifically in Germany, but is also found to a significant degree in the English-speaking world. English knitting, on the other hand, is more common in the English-speaking world compared to continental knitting.

The names left-hand knitting and right-hand knitting may suggest otherwise, but determining the style used has little to do with the use of the hands of the knitter. Many right-handed individuals use the knitting style involving one’s left hand, and in the same way, many left-handed individuals use the knitting style for left-handed. The style used is typically determined by the style of knitting popular in the area wherein the knitter lives; the resources available such as the “teacher” or the mentor, the books, magazines, websites, video demonstrations, and other knitting reading materials used by the knitter to learn also counts.

Continental knitting is easier to learn for people who have crocheting experience, because the yarn is held using one’s left hand, as in the crocheting. Meanwhile, right hand movement is also similar to crochet. One difference between continental knitting and crochet, however, is how the needle is held. In crochet the needle is held more like a pencil, while in continental knitting it is held under the palm of the hand.

Continental knitters scoop or sometimes get the yarn using the needle. The style has the reputation for being the best ever knitting technique, due to the effectiveness of movement in purl stitches and knit stitches. There are also less precise movements in English knitting. The knitter need not grab the yarn as precise as possible to create a stitch.

In this method, you just need to bind the needle prior to pulling through the stitch. It is also more fluid to try to throw it by holding onto the needle. It requires holding the yarn close to one’s index finger, so the finger can have the yarn slip without much ado around the body of the needle. It is recommended when being taught to children, or older people, as they have limited coordination compared to young adults and mid-life adults.

The tension of the yarn in continental knitting is largely controlled by threading the yarn through the fingers of the left hand. The yarn is typically looped around the little finger and over the index finger, although some techniques vary from knitter to knitter.

In English knitting, the yarn is wrapped around right hand for tension. The tail of the yarn is wrapped around the little finger for tension and over the index finger for control, much like in continental knitting, but on the right hand this time.

There are no recommendations with regards to style of knitting that is best for people, but it is highly recommended to try both styles, and find the one which best suits you. Success in knitting largely depends on your comfort level in whatever method you choose, and which one you can master efficiently without sacrificing the quality of the resulting product.


· Continental knitting involves holding the yarn in the left hand; English knitting involves holding the yarn in the right hand.

· English knitting is more prevalent in the English-speaking world, while Continental knitting is prevalent mostly in Europe.

· Continental knitting is deemed as the faster and more efficient type of knitting.

· English knitting is known as the less severe type, and recommended for people with limited coordination.

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