Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The continental knit stitch

Today's post is about the continental knit stitch. It is the first in a four-part series, which includes the continental purl stitch, the English knit stitch and the English purl stitch.

There are many fabulous web sites devoted to teaching knitting. Several have videos, even. I don't have a lot to add to all that, but here's my little contribution towards illuminating the knit stitch, continental style:
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continental knit stitch, step 1The right needle inserts into the stitch at the tip of the left needle, and catches the standing yarn (green) "up from under." The tip then travels out of the loop along the path of the red arrow carrying the snagged standing yarn, which enlarges and becomes a new loop on the right needle.

If you think about it, a lot of things have to happen "just right" for a stitch to be created and lie correctly on your needle--the stitch you're knitting into had to be made correctly, you have to position the standing yarn in the right place, the tip of the right needle has to be correctly inserted into the stitch and the right needle has to correctly snag the standing yarn. Something can go wrong with each of these steps, and generally does when you're first learning.

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standing yarn in front of loopYou won't get too far with this mistake--it's too hard to catch the standing yarn if you've held it in front of the left loop while trying to snag it from the back with your right needle. That doesn't mean you won't drive yourself nuts trying, though.

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twisted stitchThere are two ways to create this problem: Either the stitch was already sitting twisted on your left needle when you got there (because you inserted the tip of the right needle wrong when you made the stitch on the row below), OR you inserted the right needle wrong on this row (the correct way to insert the right needle into the left stitch is from the front, over the right arm in a left-to-right "hooking" motion .Either way you got there, though, if you see something happening like the illustration above, you've got a problem. Take it out and do it again.

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standing yarn caught wrongThis, too, is a very popular error, especially when you first learn to knit, what with learning to control the needles, the yarn and your non-dominant hand (all at once). It's easy to make the mistake of catching the standing yarn "over the top" instead of the way it should be: "up from under." If you see this, take it out and do it again.

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the final stage continental knit stitchIf you got everything just right, this is what the stitch should look like when you're done.

Next post: the continental purl stitch



Anonymous said...

Hey! These illustrations are really helping me out. Please keep it up.

Thank you for all your effort.

Patricia said...

What a fabulous site. Thank you for the clear illustrations. I will help spread the word.

Yolanda said...

Well, this clears up about a year's worth of confusion. Thanks!

Rachel said...

Wow...this is really knitting, isn't it? I mean, you've got all of knitting, right there in just a few easy-to-get illustrations. Wow. I will be coming here more!

Sada said...

Wow, these are great instructions/illustrations! I'm a long-time crocheter but I've never found knitting to be easy (or enjoyable). I've read in several places that "continental" style knitting is easier for crocheters to learn, but haven't ever been able to wrap my brain around the directions...this is exactly what I've been needing! I'm holding the first strip of knitting I've ever done that wasn't a major struggle to accomplish...THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous. I'm going to be teaching children and needed good images. I love the illustrations of right AND wrong way.

Anonymous said...

Wow. So impressed. I teach myself to do all sorts of craft things by watching YouTube videos, etc., but I've never been able to fully grasp continental knitting by this method. These illustrations are EXCELLENT! I am super impressed and grateful! Thank you so much.

Geekz Galore.. said...

I have been trying to knit continental by wrapping the yarn "the wrong side" and maneuvering it to correct itself before pulling the stitch. I succeeded, but found out after reading this post why the heck can I not knit continental.. phenomenal work!

Anonymous said...

There was a major confusion between the european and continental method!!! These instructions were really helpful! Thank you!

Roza said...

Please do note, however, that twisted stitches are used sometimes as design features. I very much like the look of them when used intentionally!

brista said...

I figurd out continental style knit stitch but I am having a lot of trouble with getting the yarn tension right. Either it's too tight and won't pull easily when I move to the next stitch or it's too loose. :-(

TECHknitter said...

Hi Brista. Variable tension usually results from flaws with yarn feed. When the feed is too loose (giant stitches) try wrapping the yarn being fed to the needle around a finger an extra time, when its too tight, try unwrapping the feed-yarn from your finger, or feeding it in a straighter line through your hand to the needle. Eventually, your fingers and yarn feed configuration will stabilize, and the tension will stop varying as it now does.

George Marks said...

You are so amazing! Thank you so much for your time and trouble. I'm trying to learn continental knitting after 40 years of doing english and now I have got the technique down. So easy when you can actually see what is happening and have clear, simple and easy instructions. Thanks again. Now back to my fumbling, bumbling fingers trying to smoothly work the continental way

donna said...

So glad to see this in print. Years ago before internet someone showed me how to use the continental is so much easier using the left hand and not the right. Even though I am right handed, that right finger never was any good at doing the gymnastics to flip the yarn around. Mom, a lefty, tried to teach me when I was young but that didn't work too well...

Carmen H. said...

Thank you! This has helped me to understand continental knitting! I kept wrapping the standing yarn around my right needle instead of just picking it up with my right needle. Makes it easier. I can do the middle of my row continental but I have trouble starting and ending my row continental. Am I missing something?

Deb said...

This is the best, Better than watching Youtube videos, at least for me. Great pics and tips!