There is more than one way to knit. There’s even more than two, but today we’re focusing on the 2 most common knitting styles: continental and throwing. Like many knitting skills, these each are known by other names. Continental style knitting is also known as German, Picking, and occasionally even European style knitting. Throwing is also known as English style knitting (less often: right-handed or American style). Whatever you call it, these techniques both result in a knit stitch.
Throwing or English Style Knitting
If you’re reading this in America, odds are, this IS your grandmother’s style of knitting.
This is throwing style knitting. With this technique, knitters hold or tension the yarn with their right hand. Also with the right hand, the working yarn is wrapped around the needle to create each new stitch. Throwing style knitting is also called English style knitting, and you often find this technique in America and England, as a first technique taught to many budding knitters.
In throwing, I personally wind the yarn around my right pinky, and over and under my ring, middle, and index finger. Others prefer a loop around their pointer finger. For me, that resulted in stitches that were too tight, but for you it might be perfect. It’s just a matter of personal preference and what feels right in your hands.
Continental or Picking Style Knitting
The style that can help you knit faster. (If you’re a prolific thrower, however, you may not find that this is faster. Depends on the knitter.)
To knit a stitch continental style, you insert the right hand needle into the first stitch on your left hand needle. Then the working yarn is wrapped with the left hand before drawing up a loop with the right hand needle. The action is so small compared to throwing style knitting, which is part of why continental style has a reputation for being faster than throwing. (Just Google “how to knit faster” and dozens of blog posts will appear teaching you how to knit Continental style. Pro tip: if you’re curious to compare how different knitters tension their yarn for picking, read through a few of them. 👍🏻 )
Continental vs. Throwing Styles Video
Since I find video to be particularly helpful when comparing knitting techniques like this, here’s a 3-minute overview comparing the two styles.
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