Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
Knitters often learn to hold their yarn one of two ways when they first learn to knit. There is the English method, or yarn in right hand way of making knit and purl stitches. There is also the Continental method, or yarn in left hand way of making knit and purl stitches. Each method has its own advantages.
If you are brand new to knitting, you may find the Continental method easier to learn as it requires fewer movements than the English method. If you are an experienced knitter who is comfortable with the English method, learning how to knit Continental Style can open up more possibilities for your knitting, as some specialized Fair Isle techniques have the knitter holding different colors of yarn in each hand while knitting.
If your hands become tired with one method, you may find you can knit a little longer by using the other method. Be sure to careful watch your gauge for consistency when you are mixing continental and English style knitting in the same piece.
The knit stitch is often the first stitch learned in knitting, Once you have casted on, the knit stitch will produce a fabric vertically from each cast on stitch. If you knit each row, you will make garter ridge which is a nicely textured, dense and flat fabric. Once you learn to purl after turning, you can produce a solid knit fabric, as it will appear to be all knit stitches when viewed from the front.
Step 1 Begin by holding your knitting as shown in the picture. The yarn goes over the left index finger, and is woven through the other fingers to maintain gauge. The left hand second finger and thumb grasp the left knitting needle. The right hand holds the right needle, with the thumb and right second finger holding the needle. The right index finger is extended parallel to the right needle, in order to stabilize the knitting. Notice the yarn you are about to use is behind the needles.
Step 2 Insert the tip of the right needle in to the first stitch from the front as shown. Take the tip of the right needle and grabbing the yarn from behind, as the arrow is showing.
Step 3 At the beginning of this step, your needles should look just like the picture. You are now ready to pull the yarn through the stitch that is on both needles, pulling the yarn through. This creates the new knit stitch.
Step 4 Now you need to get the new stitch over to the right needle. Tip the right needle up slightly so the stitch slides onto the right needle while gently removing the left needle from the stitch.
The new stitch is now on the right hand needle. You have made a knit stitch continental style! You are ready for the next stitch!
With a little practice, this will become second nature. It is common for new knitters to have really tight tension with the stitches gripping the needles and being difficult to move on the needles. If you are experiencing this, see if an experienced knitter can knit a row for you so you have looser stitches to work with. Keep practicing as your tension will loosen and knitting will become more relaxed with some practice.