Hi. My name is Nikki, and I used to be a thrower.
Yes, I used to “throw” my yarn when knitting (and purling) but those days are long gone.
I’ve seen the error of my ways.
In all seriousness, I used to knit in the traditional style, where you “throw” your yarn (really just wrap it with your right hand around your needle…there’s not really any “throwing” involved), but after a few recommendations from yarn loving friends, I decided to give continental knitting a try…and I’ve never looked back.
Continental knitting is much faster. That right there was reason enough for me to make the switch, but I also liked that it helped me “loosen up a bit.” In traditional knitting, my stitches were tight…too tight. I often had to adjust my needle to size to get the correct gauge. With continental knitting that was never a problem.
The actual creating of the stitches is exactly the same in continental knitting, you just hold the yarn in your left hand, and by doing so, the entire action of knitting (or purling) is much smoother…and quicker.
I get a lot of questions though from people just starting out with continental knitting because obviously the first time you switch over the whole set up feels very weird in your hands…kind of like driving on the left side of the street. It takes practice, but honestly, not that much. Grab a ball of your favorite yarn (something smooth that will slide easily off your needles, and won’t split…make this practice easy on yourself!) and make a swatch. (Tip: Cast on about 15 to 20 stitches. Give yourself enough stitches to be able to get into a rhythm by the end of each row.) By the time you have about 4 or 5 inches, you’ll be loving continental knitting.
If you’re tried it and are struggling with tension:
Keeping the yarn at a consistent tension on your left hand, and keeping it from sliding around your fingers is the hardest part. Here’s where my “couldn’t be easier and looks cute, too” trick comes on…put a ring on it!
Yup! Grab your favorite chunky ring and slip it on your left ring finger. Make sure that when you wrap the yarn over your left hand, it falls between the ring and the base of your finger…just like in the picture at the top of this post. The ring will help keep it from sliding up too high on your finger, towards your knuckles. Couldn’t be easier, right?
If you’ve never tried it but want to knit faster than ever before:
Here’s a video I made a few years ago that walks you through step-by-step how to hold the yarn and the movement to create each stitch…both knits and purls. If you have any questions…you know where to find me! (If you can’t see the video below because you’re reading this in your email inbox, click here to watch it right on the Nikki, In Stitches site!)
Nikki, In Stitches
PS…Yes, that blanket in the picture at the top of this post is one of my patterns! It’s an Entrelac knit blanket that you can find here! Happy Continental Knitting!