19 Dec 2010

Crocheter's way to do Continental Knitting

So I am a crocheter at heart and I learned how to knit in English style, but that was time consuming and hard on my wrists that tend to get cists in them. So I tried to learn how to do Continental Knitting. Well, any crocheter will tell you placing the yarn over your top 3 fingers and under your pinky just feels plain wrong. Sure you can do a purl stitch with a flick of a finger but to an avid crocheter it is highly uncomfortable. I know why you put the yarn that way but it makes no sense to my brain and I fumbled around for about 30min and finally I figured out a solution. I am probably by no means the first person to figure this out but eh I needed to do a tutorial.

So let's start by how you hold the yarn. If you crochet you hold it your "normal way." For me this is over the pinky under the ring and middle finger and over the index finger of my left hand. Now in the normal continental having the yarn under the middle finger causes all kinds of trouble when you try to do a purl stitch. Fear not! See how I get around the yarn slipping off the index finger when I purl.

PART 1: The Purl Stitch

You will notice that the yarn is in in my normal crochet position (see above for description).
1. The working yarn must be in front of the needle
2. The right needle goes behind the working yarn and up through the stitch like a normal purl

3. Here is the magic: use your middle finger to move the working yarn, this is normally what the index finger does in "normal" continental

4. Move the needle through the stitch, catching the yarn you moved down. As instinct I hold the working yarn between my thumb and forefinger like I do in crochet.

Close up of Step 4

Wide shot so you can see my index finger is still held high like in crochet

5. Move the right needle behind the left, completing the purl stitch

6. Pull off stitch. For another purl make sure the working yarn stays in front. For a knit stitch make sure the working yarn goes behind the left needle (See below).

PART 2: The Knit Stitch

When using my yarn holding technique the knit stitch is unaffected. I feel it actually makes it easier (for me) to keep my hands positioned correctly.
1. Make sure the Working yarn is behind the left needle

2. Knit from front to back. Notice the working yarn, right needle, and loop are RESTING ON my middle finger.

3. Now we are going to do a VERY CROCHET type move here. We take the needle and "hook" under the working yarn from right to left.

Here is a wider view of that.
Notice to keep tension I have my index finger stretched away from the work.

4. Push needle up through the hooked yarn and there you go a knit stitch.

5. Pull off the stitch.

So there you go! Hope that helps those who are like me, clumsy at doing Continental Knitting the normal way. I picked up this technique within a matter of stitches and have used it since. It allows me to go pretty fast and I never feel awkward with the yarn placed in my hands as if I was crocheting.

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