I’ve been looking to switch up my knitting style for awhile. Try some different hand positions for speed and to avoid The Carps. e.g., Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I’ve found my knitting style has evolved over the years, naturally getting more efficient. However, the other day in class, I saw a lady knitting so fast her hands blurred! So I decided to take a closer look at the various ways a knitter can step up their knitting game! I trolled the internet, watched a bunch of videos. Here’s what I found.
Continental vs. American/English Knitting Styles
Here is another video also demonstrating Continental vs. English.
There are many knitting styles depending on who taught you and where you’re from! To begin, here’s a couple of the more popular ones, mainly in North America, to consider:
English – I’m a “righty” and an American Style or English Style Knitter. So I hold the the yarn coming from the yarn ball or “working yarn” in my Right Hand and throw the yarn over the needle. This motion is known as Throwing. These two characteristics together, Right Hand Yarn and Throwing, define English Style Knitting. Depending on your hand/yarn position and needle position, the throwing action required in American/English Style Knitting can be more or less efficient in turn affecting the knitting speed.
Continental – In Continental Style or European Style or German Style Knitting the working yarn is held in the Left Hand, the same side as the needle where all the stitches are hanging from or the “live stitches”. The action here resembles more of the hooking motion in Crochet and is called Picking. These two characteristics together, Left Hand Yarn and Picking, define Continental Style Knitting. Since these hand positions and the motion are naturally closer together with less wasted movement it is, in general, where the efficiency comes from.
There are infinite variations that can happen on top of the knitting styles shown above which can also contribute to your personal style and/or knitting speed! I broke them down into two groups which I call:
Primary Variations or Stance – The style in which you can hold the needles, hold the working yarn, and wrap the yarn on your fingers which affect both tension and throwing position.
Secondary Variations or Swing – Your motions while knitting like hand motion, finger motion, and needle positions in motion.
All combine to make your personal style of knitting and/or ideally the most effective style of knitting to achieve speed! Among these 2 major groups lies the 4 major factors that are the key. Let’s take a closer look!