Continental Knitting vs English Knitting: Difference and Comparison

Both continental and English 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 in English knitting, it is throwing the yarn for knitting the action.

Key Takeaways

  1. Continental knitting holds the yarn in the left hand, while English knitting holds it in the right.
  2. Continental knitting involves picking the yarn with the needle, whereas English knitting requires throwing the yarn around the needle.
  3. Continental knitting tends to be faster and more efficient, while English knitting is more intuitive for beginners.

Continental Knitting vs English Knitting 

The 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 than English knitting and thus is considered more efficient due to its comparatively easy knitting technique.

Continental Knitting vs English Knitting

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 must be held in the right hand, then thrown over the needle to get a stitch. The name throwing or right-hand Knitting also knows as English knitting. The names do not relate to the handedness of the knitter.

Comparison Table

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 originated from continental Europe, mainly Germany.
It originated mainly from the English-speaking world.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.

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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 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.

continental knitting

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.

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The right needle is then inserted into the left side of the loop. The loop is then kept wide open with the needle, and the new stitch will be pulled through the loop.

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.

english knitting

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 the right hand is used for English knitting.
  3. Continental knitting originated from Continental Europe, mainly from Germany, while English knitting originated from the English-speaking world.
  4. The continental knitting technique is faster and easier than English and is thus 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.
Difference Between Continental Knitting and English Knitting

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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9 thoughts on “Continental Knitting vs English Knitting: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Continental knitting certainly offers more speed in the technique, being known for being more efficient compared to English knitting.

  2. Reading the explanations for the comparison table was very enlightening and made it easy to understand the differences between the two styles.

  3. The explanation about continental knitting as being easier for beginners, and more effective in general compared to English knitting, is very clear and helpful.

  4. I did not know that continental knitting was reintroduced and made popular in the U.S. after World War II, the history part was particularly interesting.

  5. It is interesting to read how continental knitting originates in Continental Europe and the links it has to the English-speaking world, I am curious to read the original sources.

  6. It is good to see a thorough explanation of both techniques with clear and concise language used throughout, making it perfect for beginners and those new to knitting.

  7. The information on the different styles for knit and purl stitches between Continental and English knitting is very comprehensive and useful.


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