The 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 18

Day 18: Do you knit English or Continental?

English. It’s how I learned when I was a kid. A friend of mine in college knit Continental. When I saw how fast her knitting went, I switched. It took me a while to get the hang of it and to build up some speed, but I got pretty good with it for a bit. Then school and life happened for a while and I had a knitting dry spell. When I picked the needles up again, my muscle memory kicked in and it was back to English.

I’ve thought about trying to switch again, but have decided against it (at least for now). I do tension one of the yarns in my left hand when I do stranded colorwork but, let’s be honest, I don’t do a ton of stranded colorwork. I’ve stuck with my current style because if I switch I will have a long period when my tension is irregular and my knitting speed drops way down. Although I know I would regain both consistency and speed, the idea sounds really irritating. I rely on knitting a lot at the moment: for pain relief, for emotional solace, for providing a sense of self-worth and accomplishment. If I pulled the rug out from under that I don’t know where I’d be! So for now, I will stick with what’s working. That said, I’m getting to be a pretty quick knitter…for a thrower.

Of note, there are many more styles of knitting than just English and Continental, and there are different variations of both of those styles. Other styles that come to mind are Portuguese knitting, where the knitter tensions the yarn by running it behind her (or his) neck, sometimes guiding it through a specially designed pin worn on the chest. Purling is typically much faster with this style. Also, there’s Irish Cottage or Lever knitting, which is just something else entirely. You can watch the Yarn Harlot churning out knitting on straight needles here and on dpns here. The second video is actually slowed down for a bit and analyzed so that you can actually see what’s happening. It’s just a little crazy. If I were really concerned about speed, I would try to learn that method! As it is, what I’m doing now brings me comfort.

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Bonus sock progress pic!

What’s your knitting style?

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.



  1. 1marylou · June 18, 2016

    I knit English, but tried Continental. I also reverted back to what I first learned. I don’t do stranded work, but enjoy slip stitch knitting and self-patterning yarn too. It’s not about speed, it’s about your own process and what you enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • alexand knits · June 18, 2016

      Yeah, that’s the conclusion I came to, as well. Believe me, it would be awesome to be closer to being able to knit All The Things, but it’s really more about the process for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stefanie · June 18, 2016

    I learned Continental since day one. I use English when I’m stranding. Fun project bag. Funky yarn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paula @ Spin a Yarn · June 18, 2016

    I tried Continental; however couldn’t get used to purling that way. Now, I’m a thrower, just like you. I do have the pin to try to learn Portugese style but that’s going to have to wait awhile. I need the comfort of doing things like I always have for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · June 18, 2016

      One thing I do like about Continental is that it’s easier to get the yarn from back to front and vice versa when you’re changing back and forth between knitting and purling. At this point, though, I’m with you–what I do now brings me a lot of comfort, and I need that for now!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol · June 18, 2016

    I knit English as well. Knitting Continental causes different muscle strain for me than English does, and I don’t feel that I have the control over the yarn that I have with English knitting. I know I’m a slow knitter, and I don’t mind! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bonnyknits · June 20, 2016

    I’m Continental; that’s how my SIL taught me and it feels comfortable enough that I’m not interested in switching. Also: I watched the DPNs video and when she slowed it down and the Harlot’s voice became all slow and deep like a monster, it cracked me up!!

    Liked by 1 person

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