contintental knitting: posture of the left hand

Since I am in the awkward position to try to teach knitting in England without being able to actually knit the English way properly (and on top of that being convinced that MY way is the right way ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), I have put together a couple of amazing pictures (never ask your husband to take pictures of your hand 5 min before the start of an incredibly important football match) to illustrate how I hold the yarn to get the right tension.

So, before we get started, you will have to practise, what I (as a new ballet mum) call: Position 1 ๐Ÿ™‚


Your index finger goes straight up, as if you were telling someone off. Tips of the remaining fingers and the thumb touch each other.

Once you have mastered this position, you are allowed to try with a needle ๐Ÿ™‚

The index finger is still up, the thumb and remaining fingers hold now the needle.IMG_2486

And this is how it would look with your knitting on the needle: IMG_2515
It is really crucial to keep that index finger up as you need a certain tension in the yarn between needle and index finger to be able to just grab and pull it through rather than wrapping it around.

So now lets see how to wrap the yarn around those fingers to get a nice tension but flow at the same time.

1. Open your left hand and and spread your fingers.







2. Pull the tail end of your yarn (or the knitting on your needle) through the gap between the ring finger and the little finger – coming from the back of your hand to the palm. Soย  the ball end will be on the back of your hand, the tail end on the inside.


3. Pull it now back between index finger and middle finger. The bit of yarn going over the inside of your ring and middle finger will actually be the place where you will automatically adjust the tension while knitting (by opening and closing your hand slightly), so it is crucial that this is on the inside of your hand and not at the back.




4. Wrap the yarn twice around your index finger.IMG_2492

5. Keep your index finger up, either start casting on…IMG_2493

… or put the needle with your knitting in your left hand, making sure that you have a nice tension between needle and index finger. IMG_2516If that bit of yarn is loose, pull on the ball end to get it right. Don’t just wrap it around your index finger 50 times as it will stop the flow. And if you leave it loose you will have to wrap the yarn around your needle rather than just grab and pull it through which is the big advantage of continental knitting IMHO.

I guess, to properly show the advantages of continental knitting I should actually upload a video but for now that is all you’ll get. (Well, I have already some pictures of the long tail cast on, taken 3 min before the start of the famous football game so another post with amazing pictures will soon follow ๐Ÿ™‚ )



first impressions

knitted mouse

knitted mouse

As I will be giving my third knitting class tomorrow it certainly is time for an update here since I had gotten a few comments and wishesย  after my last post, and this little mouse might actually be a good final project for the class as it involves almost everything we are going to learn, but isn’t too time consuming.

So, I am teaching a mixed group, some of my students have learned how to knit in the past, for others it really is the first time. Some of them have learned it the English way, others the continental…. which is particularly interesting as I am actually knitting the continental way but teaching in England. As there were many new students joining in week 2, we had to start all over again, but I am really hoping that tomorrow everyone will be feeling really confident about the knit stitch, no matter which hand holds the yarn or which way you get it around that needle.

Those who have learned it the English way tried my way at first but after starting a new row, the yarn naturally changed hand and they were back to English knitting.

I was particularly intrigued by an American lady who has never knitted before and therefore just did what she has been shown…. only to wrap the yarn around English style but with the Continental hand. She swears she has never ever knitted before so I suppose it must be genetic… or she has just seen it too often. Anyway, she was determined to do it Continental style even though I told her to do it as it feels natural for her so I am really curious to see which style she has finally adopted.

Some of my students are really ambitious and they show me their work whenever we meet (and some of them cross my way daily). So I am actually expecting some small half finished projects, like a phone case or a pretty bow tomorrow.

Well, that’s about it, I have a few half finished projects myself, nothing really to talk about. But I do hope that I will find some time soon to get some of them finished to show them off here. So hopefully soon more.