When I first moved here I used to knit in my lunch break at work and everyone who saw me used to comment on how I was knitting. I'd never realised that there were different ways of knitting. I thought everyone knitted like me. Turns out there are lots of ways of knitting but our knitted fabric all looks the same.
I've been teaching Continental Knitting for 8-9 years now and it's one of my most popular workshops. It's suitable for any experience level. I've had knitters in my workshops who've knitted for a couple of months and some who've knitted for around 70 years. Age ranges from 20s to 80s. So you're never too old or too young, too experienced or too inexperienced to learn how to knit the continental way.
So why would you want to learn to knit the continental way? The advantage of continental knitting is how we hold the yarn. By holding the yarn in our left hand, the movement we make to knit each stitch is very small, especially when working knit stitches.
There are different ways of purling. Most continental knitters do continental purl. The yarn is still in the left hand but is held in front of the needle (just like in English style knitting). I knit a way called Norwegian purl and we hold the yarn at the back for purl stitches as well as knit stitches. It does take slightly longer to learn but it does mean that when you knit combined knit/purl stitch patterns like rib or moss stitch, you can knit faster as you're not moving the yarn all the time. I teach Norwegian purl in my classes but if you struggle with that or you just fancy learning the regular continental way of purling, I will teach you that too.
The average continental knitter is quicker than the average English style knitter. It's also useful to know a couple of different ways of knitting, so that you can adjust our style of knitting to your project. Knitting in the round, for example, is very quick if you knit the continental way. If you like doing stranded colour work (fair isle knitting), you will find it quicker to hold one colour in each hand. And if you suffer from repetitive strain injury (or worry about getting it), learning a different way of knitting may help you as you'll use different muscles.
So do you fancy learning how to knit the continental way? I'm teaching my Continental Knitting workshop at The Slipped Stitch in Sherborne, Dorset on Saturday 11 January and at Spin A Yarn in Bovey Tracey, Devon on 28 February. Contact the shops to book if you're interested. All my Continental Knitting workshops in yarn shops also include my Online Continental Knitting workshop as an added freebee.