Continental Knitting & Purling Tips & Exercises

Hello. My name is Jess, I just got out of
the shower, and I have allergies. And I am going to help you improve your
continental knitting, I hope. This is day two! Number two of a week of mini tutorials
every day. I didn’t intend to make two knitting tutorials in a row but KatyandJoemac commented on my video from yesterday about knitting and crocheting
saying that she only learned crochet so that she could learn continental
knitting, and she still hasn’t learned it. So I wanted to make a video trying to
help her out! I actually knit continental because I originally learned how to
crochet, or at least the way I hold the yarn for crochet is the same as
continental knitting. This video is not a tutorial for complete beginners, it
assumes you already know how to knit, like, the throwing method, the English
method. I assume you know how to cast on, I assume you know how to bind off, we’re
only talking knits and purls. Continental knitting is just a different way to hold
the yarn. You’re doing everything with your left hand. You got the yarn in your
left hand, you got your live stitches in your left hand, and your right hand is
just kind of moseying on…uh…this is how you do it, guys! Tutorial over. If you have
been struggling with continental knitting I just want to give some
troubleshooting tips. Things you can try, things you can practice. To begin with,
for me, 90% of continental knitting is in these fingers: My pinky and my pointer
finger. My pinky is controlling the tension of the yarn and my pointer
finger is guiding the yarn into the place it needs to be so that my right
hand needle can just grab it or push it or whatever it needs to do. So if you’re
struggling, I would recommend just practicing your tension. Tension is
probably the hardest part of knitting regardless of which method you choose
because it’s gonna affect how tight your stitches are or how loose your stitches
are. We’re gonna practice tension, but we’re also gonna embrace that it’s hard,
and it might suck at first. Here’s the suck…just embrace it. That’s my life
motto. Embrace the suck. So first thing’s first, I recommend just getting out your
needles and your yarn and working up some stitches in the method you
prefer, so you have something to work with. I hate working into cast on
stitches, I’m not gonna make you do that! Don’t work into cast on stitches when
you’re trying to learn continental. Give yourself a nice easy foundation to
work with. I’m gonna teach you how I hold the yarn, there are a couple of other
different ways to do it, I don’t know them! I’m teaching you what I know and
what works for me. And if you get into this and figure out a better method that
works for you, great! That’s perfect! So here’s your working yarn, right? You’re
gonna put your hand over it palm down. You’re gonna take your pinky finger, and you just…*eh*….over the yarn, and then pull up a loop. Palm. Pinky. Pull up a loop. Cool? So here
is your pinky loop. And what your pinky loop does: Squeezes the yarn and releases
it. So practice that! Practice just squeezing the yarn and releasing it on
your pinky in that loop. Tighten, release. Tighten, release. Tighten, release. So what you’re
doing here is you’re just kind of practicing letting go that pinky a
little bit just to give yourself that next smidge of yarn that you need to
make your next stitch. And you can just practice this while you’re watching TV.
Just practice your tension on your pinky. All right, now we’re gonna get the
pointer finger involved! Your pointer finger is going to be in charge of just
putting the yarn where it needs to go. It just kind of rocks back and forth and
guides the ship. So you got your pinky tension, your next step is to just slide
that pointer finger up under the yarn. Start out really close to your needle so
that you have a little bit of space to give. It’s much easier to start close and
kind of let the yarn go a little bit than it is to start way far away, and you’ll just have to re-grip. So now, just grab the stitches on your needle in
between your ring finger and thumb. And from there, kind of play around with
moving your pointer finger. You want the yarn to be laying between your two
knuckles. I would also, because we’re gonna do it when we purl, practice kind of scooping your finger down and pushing on it. Have
we practiced tension enough? Don’t just skip over that part. Actually practice
that. Take the time to practice it because the muscle memory you have from
the tension is going to be most of the movement while you’re knitting. My next
tip is to keep your work – your active stitches that you’re working – keep them
close to the tips of the needle. It’s gonna make it a lot easier to slide
those stitches from one needle to the next. If you’ve
got your stitches like way down on the needle and you’ve got to make a stitch
and then drag it all the way off the needle, it’s a pain in the butt! Use
your thumb and your middle finger to push the next stitch forward. I like to
hang on to the stitch I’m about to work with my ring finger and hold back the
stitches I don’t want to fall off the needle with my thumb. So let’s knit a
dang stitch. Now you’re gonna take your right hand needle and poke the tip
through the front of the stitch. And then, you’re just gonna kind of open the
stitch up like a window. It’s just a little window and now you can peer
through the stitch and you can actually see your working yarn. And if you are
holding it properly, it should just be laying right diagonally across the
stitch. So you open up your stitch, there’s the window, and there is your
yarn right there, just waiting for you to grab it with your right hand needle. So
all you’re gonna do is scoop your right hand needle down. Keep that window open
wide and just grab that need…*laughs*… grab that yarn and pull it through. You shouldn’t
have to do much more than that. So make a window, behind the yarn, grab it
pull it through. Window, there’s your yarn, grab it, pull it through. Window, yarn, grab
it, pull it through. Now you’ll note again I’m working on the tips of my needles.
I’m able to make my window nice and wide doing it this way. If I put my yarn down
towards the back of my needles on the fat part, you’ll note when I go to make
my window there’s a lot of the stitch that’s still hanging out on the needle
kind of getting in the way. And it makes it a lot harder to just pop the yarn
through. I kind of have to maneuver it a lot more, mush it down. The window just
isn’t as wide. So by working on the tips of the needle, you can just open that
window, grab that sucker. And that’s your knit stitch. Easy friggin’ peasy, right? *exaggerated laughter* The more you do it, the easier it’ll be. You’ll get the feel for it and you won’t
have to pull the stitch open quite as wide. Your window will just sort of naturally create itself, your yarn will fall where it
needs to fall, but it’s just gonna take practice. And now we gonna purl! Don’t
freak out, purling is just what we just did but backwards. It’s easy as that! Just do it backwards! Look at this. Look at how easy it is to bring the yarn from back to
front when you’re continental knitting. You don’t have to do anything but just
swing your right needle back and forth. It’s in the back, it’s knitting! It’s in
the front, it’s purling! Back, knitting, front, purling, wooooow!!! Purling, we’re gonna go in the back of
the stitch this time. Back of the stitch and open up dat window. You can tip your
left hand back so the yarn kind of rolls itself over the point of the needle, and
you’re just gonna push that pointer finger down like we practiced in the
tension exercises. Push that pointer finger down. And now your window is open
all you have to do is swing your needle back. Swing it straight back. Straight
back through your open window, and that is your purl stitch. Back of the stitch,
open up a window, tip your hand a little bit back so it scoops over the needle
and then just push your pointer finger down…you got that tension on the yarn
really nice and tight. Not too tight! You don’t want to make it impossible to get
into your stitches. And then swing that needle back, swing it straight back through your
window, straight back through your window, boom! You just purled. Guys, that’s it!
That’s all there is to it! Now you are a perfect continental knitter, right?
Seriously though, a lot of it is just practice doing it over and over and over
again. But, if you have no interest in learning continental knitting? If it just
looks awful and terrible and you don’t want to do it? Don’t do it! Don’t let
anyone tell you that you have to learn continental knitting because it’s faster.
It’s faster for me because I’ve practiced it a bunch, but I guarantee you
that if we were throwing together some of you guys could throw me under the
table because I suck at it! Because I never do it! There’s nothing you can do
with continental knitting that you can’t do throwing. Either way, you’re gonna
create the same Tom Baker scarf. That’s it. I’m doing a tutorial a day for a week,
this was number two, if you have any suggestions of what I should do for the
rest of the week, please leave it in the comments, it doesn’t have to be knitting
related. It can be Etsy related, YouTube related, hoop related even. Thank you very
much for watching, if you have any questions at all leave them in the
comments. My name is Jess, I hope you are having a beautiful day and I will see
you the next time I make a video. Goodbye!

2 thoughts on “Continental Knitting & Purling Tips & Exercises

  • Thanks for the laughs! It's so much easier to learn while I'm chortling away. You may have allergies, but you've also got comedy style.
    Gonna subscribe. You made me do it.

  • This is brilliant! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been struggling sooooooooo much! I think I'm finally getting it!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!

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