Friday January 18th 2019

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Continental knitting, Austrian style

I knit by the English or throwing method. I can knit with two colors using both hands. But knitting straight-forward Continental has always eluded me. I knit fairly slowly (although I’m informed that I’m not as slow as I think), and would like to speed things up a bit so I can get projects done more quickly, and of course Continental streamlines up the knitting movement process, which means knitting faster.

Peggy Stuart of Park City, Utah, learned to knit in Austria in the 1960′s. “Some friends were buying ski sweaters, and I saw the woman knitting this way. I asked her to teach me, bought yarn and needles, and I was off! I think it’s faster. I know it is for ribbing and other patterns where you have to move the yarn to the front or the back to take the next stitch, because that happens in a continuation of the movement made to take the stitch. It also comes in handy when working with two colors…”

Peggy put up a continental tutorial on her Flickr account for some friends, and has now graciously allowed me to put them all onto one page for you.

I’m hoping that this method of knitting Continental is going to do it for me. When I next have a simple project like a scarf to work with, I’ll give it a go.

Click on the photos below if you’d like a larger version.

Set up to begin working Continental style. The little finger and ring finger will close over the yarn to provide tension.
If needed, pull on the end of the yarn to tighten. You can get the index finger a little closer to the needle if needed. The finger should be slightly bent, with the yarn passing over it at the base of the fingernail.
For the knit stitch, put the right needle through the front of the first stitch on the left needle and grab the yarn, using the tension on the yarn to keep it on the needle.
Pull the stitch off the left needle.
To purl, move the yarn to the front using only wrist movements. (Right hand moves towards you, left hand moves away.)
Put the needle in the stitch from front to back, bring it up and in front of the yarn.
Grab the yarn with the right needle, using the tension on the yarn to keep it on the needle.
Bring the yarn down and out through the stitch on the left needle.
Finished purl st. For ribbing, use only the wrists to move the yarn from front to back for a knit st or back to front for a purl.

If you have a chance, check out Peggy’s blog at KnitPicks! And thanks very much to Peggy for letting me use her tutorial!

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8 Responses to “Continental knitting, Austrian style”

  1. Robynn says:

    I’ve been working diligently to master Continental, and while I still don’t like it as much as English, I think it is faster, and it’s coming more naturally now. I don’t like Continental purling at all though; I’ve learnt Norwegian purling, which seems to work better for me, but not in cotton or other inelastic fibres! Still struggling to get my tension even with any kind of Continental purling. I’m going to take a close look at this tut and see if it helps, thanks.

    • Zina says:

      I know what you mean, Robynn — English is just so comfy to me now, but I’m trying to look at it as learning another use of tools, so I don’t just give up in frustration. Tension is fine in colorwork, sucky in straight knitting, here…must keep trying…

      • Alle says:

        i was in the middle of coentnmimg here this morning, and well, you know.I was gonna say the skirt looks so perfectly swingy! I have several vintage knitting books etc etc, but have felt kinda lost when it comes to knitted boy things. and why is it that the goodwill has so many more girl clothes than boys? not fair. For all of the crafty-goodness to be made, I can’t help but hope for a girl next.

  2. I learned English for colorwork. I have been Continental since my first stitch.
    Now I need to go find out about Norwegian Purling.
    And I have wanted to learn Peruvian
    and Portuguese

    • Zina says:

      I started learning Portuguese, and then realized, wait a second, kiddo, maybe you ought to get knitting the way you already know down first before getting into these others…which is part of the reason why I only learned Continental for the left hand colorwork! But I do have that on the backburner, because all of those knitting ways look really interesting to me.

      • The more ways I can learn to knit, the more I can knit during a given day. (Different project, different styles, to preserve gauge) Any change helps my hands go for longer :-}

        • Zina says:

          My main focus right now is on speed without trashing the fabric quality…I’ve got soooo many projects in line, and only so much time to go around!

  3. buy csgo says:

    Lovely Website, Continue the very good work. thnx!.

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