… and so can my knitting!
For a while now I’ve toyed with the idea of learing how to knit Continental-style. I’ve heard that it’s faster/easier/better, that it decreases wrist strain, that it’s a must even for regularly-English-style knitters for stranded colour work… there are apparently all sorts of reasons why it’s good to knit with the yarn in the left hand. And yet to me, that all sounded, frankly, backwards! I am right-hand dominant, and the idea of manipulating the yarn with the left seemed practically impossible. I mean, I’d done a bit of yarn-to-the-left with the Endpaper Mitts, and occasionally played around with similar “techniques” afterwards, for plain knitting, but that’s not the same, right?
Well, for a while now my right wrist has been not-entirely-happy (though I mostly blame the crappy workstation and daily mouse-scrolling). I figured it was high time to learn this Continental thing for real. So I popped on to the internet, convinced that it was going to take a long time before I could learn to knit mirrror-imaged… (Yep, this is where you get to laugh at my folly).
Continental Myth #1, that the knitting is done completely mirror to English-style, was quickly debunked. “Oooooh,” I said to myself, “That’s why they don’t have to convert the patterns in their head for instructions like ‘with right needle in front…'” Yeah, I’m a bright one: yarn may be held in the left hand, but the knitting still ‘travels’ from the left to the right as I’m accUstomed! Myth #2, that I’d hold the yarn the same as in my right hand but mirroreder, was also debunked right-fast: now I’m weaving my yarn over and under all four fingers of my left hand, though I’ve read there are other techniques as weel for keeping tension. Myth #3, that this would be brand new for me, was perhaps the most startling revelation of all: barring holding the yarn pinched between thumb and first finger for purls (now I weave, see above), I’ve been knitting Continental-style off-and-on for more than a month!
So now I’m feeling silly and smart at the same time. I’ve figured out this continental thing, (even before I knew I’d done it!) and can henceforth pick-and-choose which way I want to knit as I feel like it. Yay me!
Here’s a Wiki article on the basics of Continental if you want to play around with it too, or there are loads of how-to videos available online as well if your learn by watching things in motion. Have fun!