I was teaching myself to knit…

Continental. var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);pageTracker._trackPageview();

I thought since the Emily Dickinson shawl is garter stitch that it’d be a good time to learn to knit Continental. The fastest knitters are usually knitting Continental style. Like Mariam Tegels, she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. 
I’m a Thrower, not a Picker – which is what Continental knitters are called. Instead of having my ball of yarn on my right side and throwing the yarn around the right hand needle with my right hand each stitch, a Picker keeps the yarn on her left side and using her right needle deftly scoops or picks up the working yarn as it is wrapped and held in her left hand. If this is confusing the best place to see what I mean is here
In my present state I can’t explain it. 
I don’t want to explain it. 
I want to stop doing it and not think about it. 
My gauge is all shot to hell. The stitches won’t slide on the needle. I just can’t continue. But first I have to fix a dropped stitch that happened while I was trying to be slick and cool and fast with Cont… you know – that other type of knitting. 
The only thing that’s saving my sanity is remembering the cow this photo that I took on a nearby dirt road earlier today. It’s hot and sticky here in Oklahoma and apparently the cows are pretending they’re water buffalo to keep their sanity. When you’re in a state of panic – like I am – anything can be funny. 

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11 thoughts on “I was teaching myself to knit…

  1. Well, Denise, as a thrower myself, I sort of feel that the only reason why I want to knit Continental is when I have to do colorwork (which I really want to do). I know I am slower and maybe I look awkward but my stitches come out OK and my projects eventually get done. Slow is meditative(or at least I tell myself). Love the cow picture. Janine

  2. I have to laugh because I saw myself knitting Continental style, then going back to English. I can do both, but always go back to English since that's what I learned at about age 7. I am glad I can do both when intarsia knitting, though.

    Smart cow. 😉

  3. I switch. I am basically still a right-handed knitter who throws with her whole hand like the child I was when I learned. My fingers are short, so throwing over with a finger does not work for me. However, that whole arm mortion tends to get very tiring. I have worked on learning to pick, and I can now knit continental with consistent tension that is almost as good as I can do with my right hand. However, I cannot find a method of purling continental that suits me. I also find that on anything as small as sock yarn, I have a tendency to drop more stitches with picking. Give me a stockinette sweater in the round, though, and I'm good to go! I do find that switching cuts down on fatigue. I suspect that starting with laceweight may not be the way to go.

  4. I find it's weird, I learned to crochet as a child (holding the yarn in my left hand) and the person who taught me to knit (although not to purl, I had to learn that myself) also held her yarn in the left hand. It wasn't until I'd been knitting for several months, almost a year that I heard about this mythical “English” style.

    Then I'm sitting at knit night at a friend's one night and I realized out of the five knitters, I'm the only one knitting continental. I felt so left out.

  5. i've tried to self teach continental also, it;s hard to say the least.

    Call that dropped stitch a button hole… just an idea.

  6. oh p.s. I am one of the strangest knitters you have ever seen. I sit cross legged, holding the right needle in the inside fold of my knee, and slide the left needle up and down the right one, throwing with my right hand… it works, but is harder to purl that way.

    whatever works!

  7. I was taught Continental by my mother, who was taught to knit by the Eastern European ladies on the street in the Bronx. Literally, if I try to throw, I get so confused that I don't know what I'm doing at all! I think there's a version of purling called Portugese that doesn't involve bringing the yarn around to the front, but since purling isn't a problem for me, I never learned it…

    No one I know at work except one Ukrainian woman knits as I do. She was thrilled the first time she saw me knit! I guess she'd been feeling a little left out!

  8. These vids are GREAT. Never occurred to me there was a World's Fastest Knitter, which shows how unenlightened I am. Fun.

    I watched the Continental one and thought, that's what I learned!

    Then I watched the English one and thought, THAT'S what I learned.

    Now I'm perplexed. I think I'd just have to do it and see where muscle memory takes me.

  9. I cannot throw. I never could throw. My mother (a thrower) tried to teach me to knit for about ten years without success because of the throwing thing. When I finally sat down by myself and tried to figure it all out, the yarn automatically went to my left hand…and I began knitting like I'd done it my entire life. I was born to pick. LOL!

    I'm trying to learn to throw so I can maybe begin teaching…but it still makes no sense and my body rebels.

    And yes, I can knit a lot faster than people who throw. But I have to be very careful of certain things that will thrown my gauge off that throwers don't have to worry about so it seems.

  10. Awesome cow shot.

    A cow being a water buffalo like a thrower being a picker.

    I'm a picker but that's mostly because I'm lazy. Throwing seems like so much work. 'Specially if you've learned from the beginning to pick. I also only cast on in one way – that being the way I learned the first time.

    Good for you for branching out.

  11. I knit Continental, and I just learned about English when I bought my amazing Fair Isle book. It takes SO much longer! I don't know exactly what's going on with your gauge, but I always give my needles a good bit of space in between stitches, sometimes even a “tug” depending on what project I'm doing and what type of yarn I'm using. It is easy for me to end up with my stitches too tight, and it never occurred to me till now, but that may just be a characteristic of Continental knitting.

    Also, and this may also be Continental related, or just my own personal quirk, I like using metal round needles better, even for lace, because the stitches slide better, while wood is better for straights or DPNs because I'm not having to fight the gravity pulling my stitches away from my needles. Again, I have no clue if this is the result of being a Continental knitter or not.

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