Difference Between Continental Knitting and English Knitting (With table)

Both continental and English are styles of Knitting, but the main difference lies in the way the yarn is wrapped around the needle on the right before it is pulled to knit a stitch. In continental Knitting, knitting the action is picking the yarn, but that in English knitting, it is throwing the yarn for knitting the action.

Continental Knitting vs English Knitting 

The main difference between Continental knitting and English Knitting lies in the technique of wrapping the yarn around the needle to get a stitch. Continental knitting is much faster compared to English knitting and thus is considered to be more efficient due to its comparatively easy knitting technique.

In continental Knitting, the yarn has to be held in the left hand, and the strings are picked up by the needle using smooth movements of the index finger. It is alternatively known as German Knitting, European Knitting, or left-hand Knitting.

In English knitting, the yarn has to be held in the right hand, and then it is thrown over the needle to get a stitch. English knitting is also known by the name throwing or right-hand Knitting. The names do not relate to the handedness of the knitter.

Comparison Table Between Continental Knitting And English Knitting

Parameters Of ComparisonContinental KnittingEnglish Knitting
Another name
Some of the alternative names of Continental knitting are German knitting, European knitting, or left-hand knitting.
The alternative name of English knitting is right-hand knitting or throwing.
Hand used for holding the yarn
The left hand is dominantly used in Continental Knitting.
The right hand is dominant in English Knitting
It has originated from continental Europe, mainly Germany.
It has originated mainly from the English-speaking world.
It is more effective and easy compared to the English knitting technique.

Difficult compared to Continental knitting technique
SpeedContinental knitting is faster than English knitting.English knitting is slower than Continental knitting.

What is Continental Knitting?

When the Knitting is done with the yarn in the left hand, it is known as Continental knitting. It is also referred to as German Knitting, European Knitting, or left-hand Knitting. This particular style was initiated in continental Europe, with Germany being recognized most as the originating nation. However, it is also significantly found in other English-speaking countries. 

After World War II, this method was disregarded in several places due to its relation with Germany. However, The United States saw a reintroduction of this method of Knitting, thanks to Elizabeth Zimmerman. Professional hand knitters prefer this method since it requires the least amount of hand motions per stitch, thus making this method really efficient and effective.

The method involves of the right needle by the right wrist into the loop of the stitch, which is being knitted. This is then followed by hooking the yarn onto the right needle. The left-hand controls the tension of yarn by threading it through the fingers. The yarn is then looped around the little finger and over the index finger. People with crocheting experience find this method easier to learn.

What is English Knitting?

English Knitting, which is also known as throwing, is a style of Knitting. Although it is popular as right-hand knitting, it has no relation to the handedness of the knitter. In this technique, the yarn has to be wrapped around the right hand for tension, and it holds the needle along with the most recent stitches, whereas the left hand only holds the other needle. 

There are two types of English knitting- The knit stitch- In this method, the yarn sits in front of the right needle, and first, it has to be moved between the needles at the back. One knit stitch into the first loop into the left needle is made. The right needle is then inserted into the left side of the loop. The loop is then kept wide open with the needle, and through the loop, the new stitch is will be pulled. Counter-clockwise wrapping of the yarn around the right needle is done, and the new loop is pulled with the right needle using the old one.

The purl stitch is similar to that of the knit stitch, with the only difference being that the new loop is pulled backward instead of forward through the old loop.

Main Differences Between Continental Knitting And English Knitting

  1. Continental knitting is also popular by the names European Knitting, German Knitting, or left-hand Knitting, while English knitting is also known as right-hand knitting or throwing.
  2. In continental Knitting, the left hand is used to hold the yarn, whereas for English knitting the right hand is used.
  3. Continental knitting has originated from Continental Europe, mainly from Germany, while English knitting has originated from the English speaking world.
  4. Continental knitting technique is faster and easier compared to English knitting technique and thus termed more effective.
  5. In English knitting, the yarn has to be held in the right hand, and then it is thrown over the needle to form a stitch but in Continental knitting, the yarn is held in the left hand, and then it is picked up using the needle by some soft movements of the index finger to form a stitch.


Although Continental and English, both are the methods of Knitting, the techniques of both the methods are different from each other. Continental has originated from the Continental European countries especially Germany and thus known as German Knitting while English knitting has originated from the English-speaking world. In Continental knitting, the yarn has to be held in the left hand and then by using movements of the index finger, it has to be picked up to get a stitch. In English knitting, the yarn has to be in the right hand and then it is thrown over to get the stitch. Both methods of knitting have their own pros and cons. Continental knitting is preferred by most people as claimed it is faster and more efficient than the English knitting technique, but many people can stitch at equal rates using both methods. 


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1360859221000759
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00405167308688975?journalCode=ttpr20
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