Continental adventures

I've started one of my New Year's resolutions early. Continental knitting is tricky, but I feel like I'm picking it up much faster than the English style I learnt when I first started knitting. I've knitted about 50cm of garter and stocking stitch, just trying to get used to the motion, and keeping the tension right.

At first there were some serious tension issues. And quite a few holes.

Things started to improve after 20 rows, when I figured out that my left index finger had to do some work.

But purling is a completely different matter. I've tried several variations - the standard continental, with the yarn held in front, and that awkward motion you have to do to loop the yarn around the working needle. I also tried the cheaty method, which is easier but then I have to knit all of my stitches through the back loop on the knit rows. I don't know how that would affect certain patterns - what if I have a specific instruction to "knit through back loop" and I'm already doing that? So complex!
Then I tried the Norwegian purl, which I figured out on the first stitch but couldn't do again. Every other time I seemed to get about five different loops of yarn on the right needle, instead of e inone. I think once I figure out a comfortable way to do it, I should be fine, but trying to find a suitable technique is proving difficult. 

I'd like to be able to do colour work with two colours in my left hand - I find two strands on the right very awkward because I don't tension the yarn like any normal English style knitter, and find myself dropping one colour, picking up the next and so on. Too slow and time consuming.

Does anyone have any tricks or styles for continental purl that I should have a look at? I'd be really keen to master this soon before I start on any big stranded projects!


  1. I haven't been able to work out Continental Purl unfortunately; so I do colourwork in 2 hands and make sure to do any purling with my right hand and the usual throwing method. My tension is much better than it was when I first started and I will keep looking at the purl thing too.

  2. Sounds exactly like the trials and tribulations I went through to learn Continental knitting! I'm a lefty myself, and I don't tension the yarn in the right hand when knitting English either. Try the Finnish purl (Google it, and you'll find a video tutorial on YouTube) - I found it a good stepping stone to getting the hang of Norwegian. Keep at it!


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