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Continental Knitting: A "Picking" Lesson and a Free Pattern

Dec 4, 2009

When I first learned to knit I was a "thrower" (or English-style knitter)—I held the yarn in my right hand and  wrapped it (or threw it) around the right-hand needle. Most of my friends were "pickers" (or Continental-style knitters)—they held the yarn in their left hands and used the right-hand needle to pick it through the loop to make a stitch—and they wanted me to switch methods so I would be a faster knitter.

I was perfectly happy with my throwing technique, though. It was fast enough for me and my tension was really even.

Then I started a seed stitch scarf. I did about three inches and quit the project. Seed stitch is a pretty pattern that adds a lot of texture to your knitting. 

For seed stitch, you do a row of K1, P1, and then you knit the purls and purl the knits from the previous row throughout the entire project. (This stitch lays flat—no stockinette curling on the edges—so it's really great for scarves, too.)

But for throwers, moving the yarn back and forth for each stitch can be too tedious and time-consuming.

My friend Molly teased me about abandoning the scarf, saying that if I switched to picking I'd be halfway done, and so forth. This planted a "seed" in my mind and I went to my LYS and asked the ladies there to teach me how to pick. They did, and at first I felt all-thumbs, it was so awkward! But I kept at it, knitting swatches just using the picking technique and the knit stitch.

I also practiced the knit stitch on garter stitch-dishcloths until I was comfortable—it only took a couple of cloths—and then I did the same dishcloth pattern just using the purl stitch. Purling is a bit harder to get even tension with, and to this day I sometimes throw purl rows. But like any skill, the more I practiced, the better I got. (And that seed stitch scarf was finally finished and given away as a birthday gift.)

Now I pick almost exclusively (except for the occasional purl row I mentioned!), but I do use a combo of picking and throwing when I do colorwork.

Here's a video tutorial I made for you to show you my picking technique and how I move the yarn back and forth to do seed stitch.



Below is the washcloth pattern I used for practice. It's widely available on the Internet, sometimes called Grandma's Favorite Washcloth. Use any cotton yarn, such as Tahki Cotton Classic, Lily Sugar & Cream, or Cascade Fixation, and size 8 or 9 needles.

WashclothsCast on 4 sts.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: K2, YO, K to end of row.
Repeat row 2 until you have 50 sts.
Decrease Row: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K to end of row.
Repeat Decrease Row until you have 4 sts left.
Cast off.

Practice your picking skills while making a bunch of these for stocking stuffers! You can also make spa cloths: just use a DK-weight linen or hemp yarn, size 6 or 7 needles, and repeat Row 2 until you have 40 stitches instead of 50 stitches.








 

Green Tea RaglanA Free Pattern!

The Green Tea Raglan has been one of my favorite sweaters since it debuted in the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. It's a casual piece, and I love how it looks with jeans. 

The design is so simple and classic, with the belt detail to add interest at the waist.
This pattern is made up of two identical pieces—a front and a back—done in seed stitch, and two stockinette sleeves. 

If you're a beginner, the Green Tea is the perfect first sweater. For such a simple garment, you'll practice lots of skills, too, such as casting on, knitting and purling in both seed stitch and stockinette stitch, simple ribbing, decreasing (k2tog), increasing (either make 1 or k1f&b), binding off purlwise, simple seams, weaving in loose ends, and blocking.

So
download the free pattern for the Green Tea Raglan, plus 5 more free easy knitting patterns!

And if you want a more in-depth lesson in Continental knitting, check out our video workshop, Continental Knitting with Biggan Ryd-Dups!

Cheers,


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Comments

FalseRiver wrote
on Oct 31, 2013 11:59 PM

I wonder whether MarqueII has learned that "index" is Latin for "pointer."

crazy4cables wrote
on Feb 9, 2012 2:04 AM

Kathleen..it was as if i wrote your post..im an advanced newbie..ive been knitting for 5 months and im doing everything..right now im making an aran blanket that calls for a seed square..im also an english knitter..its taking so long..tonight i went to my very first knitters meetup group at panera bread..one lady just showed me how she does continental and that was it..i been practicing all evening..yes my thumb has a crap but im sure by the time im done with this square its gonna feel a lot more comfortable.i still cant believe what ive finished tonight..its taken me 4 nights to do maybe 12 rows..tonight alone i did 20 rows like lickidy split..nice vid..everytime i knit i grab the yarn as you did only on the first stitch..amazing how much faster..thank goodness cause im so impatient lol

carolyne

thanks again great video

carolyne

mrsteragram wrote
on Jan 7, 2010 7:00 AM

Thanks to English comments I think I now understand the difference !   I was so confused with the terms 'throwing' and 'picking' & so I was intrigued with this video, never having seen anyone 'pick' knit.   I am also English, and have knitted for (many) years, being taugt at my Grandmothers knee like so may others. I would love to see a video of how you 'throw', becuase I dont think that is how I was taught to knit either!  Thank you for this video - the  very clear and simple instructions should help lots of new knitters and  knit-a-holics to add to thier skills:)

Thanks!

Mary Brayton wrote
on Jan 5, 2010 7:35 AM

Dear Kathleen, I have been a continental knitter for over six years. Many viewers of this video discussed how the yarn is held in the left hand. My usual way of managing the yarn tension is weaving between my small finger, ring finger and middle finger with one wrap around my index finger. Since viewing your method, I decided to try the double wrap around my index finger because you mentioned it helps you manage your yarn tension better. Well, I cannot thank you enough. After using this method over the last month my tension is absolutely beautiful as evidenced by the perfect uniform stitches throughout and I even think I picked up some speed!

windrider wrote
on Jan 2, 2010 2:37 PM

I try to switch every now and then and haven't quite gotten there yet. I'm fairly proficient on the easy stuff, but one of my projects is an Aran style sweater--by Alice Starmore--with lots of cables and twists. Can you do these with the yarn carried on the left?

Shirleyq wrote
on Dec 24, 2009 2:29 PM

Thank you so much for this lesson.  I have been trying to knit continental style but only mastered the knit stitch.  My pearl stitch used to always be twisted forcing me to knit in the back of the stitch on the nex t row to un-twist it.  This is such a treat.  Again.  Thanks a skein

SelahIsrael wrote
on Dec 15, 2009 8:07 AM

I'm trying to get the hang of this method, but i find that my knitting is to tight, & I have a problem with YO & knitting 2 tog. How do I loosen up?

Razor wrote
on Dec 14, 2009 7:00 PM

My jaw is on the floor! How cool is that?? I'm going to try 'picking' ASAP. I just finished a seed stitch hat, groaning to myself how long it took (even though it's one of my favorite stitches).  I have a project I can practice on right now--it's a pattern that calls for  k2, p2 on the right side and p2, k2 on the wrong side--sort of like little squares.

Yowza! Thanks for the tutorial, Kathleen!

Jane@198 wrote
on Dec 9, 2009 9:22 PM

This came at the perfect time for me.  I learned to knit over 40 years ago when I was in high school  and have always knit English method and somehow thought English was better.... (frankly I didn't know there were other ways to knit until about ten years ago) I also hvae been crochetting for many years and several people told me I would be  natural to learn continental since I was already holding the yarn that way for crochet.  I resisted since my guage was always perfect.  But I got inspired  as part of a KAL about   month ago and taught myself to do it, also taught myself to knit two socks at a time on two circulars and am now proficient at continental by doing the socks.  You tube helped with both.  I am still working through the guage since it is not as even, but I am continuing.  I find myself switching back and forth simply to vary my hand position, but I do think continental is faster and smoother and less movement in hands and arms... So I am glad to hear other life long knitters are switching -  

Mary Ellen@4 wrote
on Dec 8, 2009 3:29 PM

I've wanted to learn the 'picker' method.  Thanks to the video, I feel comfortable giving it a try.  Thanks.

cjknits wrote
on Dec 8, 2009 1:00 PM

Watching this video has given me a different purl mechanics.  it is lots easier than using your thumb to push the yarn forward.  I think I may actually begin to enjoy purling while picking.

AimeeD@2 wrote
on Dec 8, 2009 7:45 AM

I learned how to crochet when I was 7 or so, but I didn't figure out how to knit until I was 25, because it looked too hard.  Maybe it  was because I taught myself, maybe because it felt 'awkward'.  I tried continental knitting a few months ago (again, out of a book) because it looked like it should have been easier for a crocheter, but I was wrong.  I wish I had learned it first.  Hopefully this video will help.  I did make the 'Monks Travel Satchel'  this summer, and yes, seed stitch is tedious, but not enough to stop me!

kdlong wrote
on Dec 7, 2009 6:59 PM

I'm a leftie crocheter.  So the yarn being guided by my right hand feels like second nature.  But that means I'm a natural "thrower".  After watching the tutorial I thought I'd give it a try whilst knitting a sampler blanket (funny the tutorial came out the morning after finishing the square of seed stitch)  I have to say it fell all kinds of weird the first time trying to pick.  I am going to keep trying every night for at least 10 minutes till it feels more normal.  If there are any lefties that are comfortable "pickers" please comment on how long it took you to "take to picking"/

: )

GerdaP wrote
on Dec 7, 2009 9:20 AM

Hi Kathleen,

When I pick I do not wrap my yarn around my finger at all and the yarn just feeds through my fingers like fishing line. I also keep my finger in contact with the needle at all times and my right needle does all the work of picking the yarn. If you ever want to video my technique I would be happy to. My purl technique is hard for people to get but once they have it, it is super quick!

See ya,

Gerda

on Dec 6, 2009 9:29 PM

Going to make the washclothes so that I will get the continental way down   I am  have several projects that have taken so long because I "throw" the yarn.  I am excited about learning the new way.  Thanks for the video!

Kathy1962 wrote
on Dec 6, 2009 8:02 AM

I'm a "pickin and a grinin" now!    I have a beautiful sweater wrap pattern that I'be been wanting to start, but the thought of "throwing" it was overwhelming.   Not anymore!   Thanks for the video.   There will be many friends gettting dish clothes for Christmas this year as I practice.   Kat

MaryS@3 wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 6:11 PM

When I was a young girl, my mom taught me how to pick, only there was a "twist" to her technique.  Later, my LYS "corrected" this way of knitting and I became a thrower.  I was very happy with the look of my knitting and my tension was beautiful.  But I had a hard time leaving my old way of picking and taught myself again to pick correctly, without the twist.  Then I developed carpal tunnel and had to go back to throwing.  Then I yearned for speed again after my hand healed and have gone back to picking.  To make a long story a tad shorter, I guess I am "bi" and find it useful knowing both ways.  For instance, I find it easer to do socks using the throwing technique.  So there are definite advantages to knowing both ways, especially when you do a norwegian!

FrancesW wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 6:05 PM

Thanks for a simple illustration and instructions. I am now a convert. For those years long breaks from knitting, I would need this video to remind me of how it is done..fj

JoSchwartz wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 6:03 PM

Thank you for posting this "lesson" !!  It arrived at exactly the time I needed it.  I spent all day trying to get the hang of it - and I believe I have it now! My stitches are not uniform in tension, I guess that will come with more practice. I was speeding along and ended up knitting the vest longer than the pattern called. (oh well :D)

DorothyLWM wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 4:57 PM

Ah, that's the way I purl, also, Petra.  With my index finger, I just pull the yarn down, and catch it with my needle.

And I don't actually put the yarn behind the needle when I knit.  I lay the yarn on the needle, behind (to the right of) my work, so the needle point holds the yarn for me to quickly pick up, without having to reach behind the needle and wrap it to pick it up.

Knitting and purling in that way seems to make the fewest movements for me, traveling the smallest distance, making it work very quickly, and it lays nice and flat, but I've never seen another knitter keep their yarn on their needle in this way, and have wondered why.   My mother taught me this years ago.

Laurie@2 wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 11:16 AM

Kathleen, thanks so much for the video and KD for the free patterns - I've been looking at that green tea sweater and it's high time I made my first one (scarves, hats, gloves, socks, but no sweater yet).

I've been picking for a while now, and find that seed stitch is actually fun this way!  

Just picked up the crochet hook again (hadn't since childhood), and found I was carrying the yarn in my left hand without thinking about it, and the crocheting was going pretty fast and, happily, much more even than I expected, for not having crocheted in so long.

PetraB - this part might be of interest to you: The picking I've been using I think is not strictly continental, but called Combination (Annie Modesitt has some information on it), and as PetraB describes, the purl stitches are not wrapped before picking.  

When I was a thrower, I also didn't wrap the purl stitches, but my teacher pointed out that the fabric is different depending on whether the purl stitch is wrapped or not (and assuming the knit stitch is not wrapped in either case).  

Wrapped purls were producing columns of stitches that looked like stacks of symmetrical "V"s.  Not wrapped purls were producing columns of stitches that looked like stacks of asymmetrical Vs or checkmarks, and a small ridge running up one side of the column.  This made the fabric look like it had tiny ribs, and it had to do with the purled stitches effectively being twisted during the next knit row.  It seemed to show off the sheen of the yarn a bit more and I liked that for that particular yarn.  But the fabric was also a little stiffer for about the same gauge.

The wrapped purls made smoother fabric, but the little ridges might have their uses in some projects - I've seen some patterns for twisted stitch out there - maybe Kathleen can highlight one (hint-hint :) ).  

judybee wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 1:08 AM

I've tried "picking" but I can't seem to do it! The yarn just slips off the needle before I can get it through the stitch. I found that I have to hold the yarn against the right needle, as you did on the first stitch, for every stitch. I feel like I need to use a crochet hook in my right hand instead of a knitting needle! Any suggestions?.

PetraB wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 12:34 AM

I am german, and only do the continental knitting, but I have an even faster way for the purl stich.

I just bring my yarn to the front, and go into the stich like you from the front, but instead of wrapping the yarn around the needle, I just put the yarn below my stich and Pull it through, without wrapping around...

there you have it, an even faster way.

Brownsheep wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:58 PM

Kathleen, lovely video. You are a good teacher, as many have said. I think the way you showed the Continental purling method was excellent, as was the suggestion to make garter stitch dishcloths to practice.

You go right on saying "pointer finger", there's nothing wrong with a colloquial term.

I learned to knit Continental for Fairisle and it's really great to be able to work two colors with two hands. Never purled Continental. I'm a really fast thrower, I wager as fast as any picker! My trick is that I hold my right needle pencil style instead of knife style and make really minimal movements of my index finger. My knit and purl gauges are dead even. I suppose I should make a Youtube video...speaking of which, off to look for Norwegian purling.

Thanks for the great tutorial!

Breiertjie wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:45 PM

I am currently knitting a seed stitch scarf for my husband, carrying the yarn in my right hand as I always do. I guess I'm not a "thrower" since I never let go of the right hand needle, but just move my right index finger back and forth to bring the yarn forward or backwards. It kinda bugs me when right handed knitters and told to switch to the left hand because it's faster - I think changing the way you hold the yarn in your right hand, and learning how to do it without having to let go of your needle when you wrap the yarn is faster.

As a little girl I was taught to let go, wrap, pick it up again. Over time you just adjust to something more efficient. I am much much slower knitting left handed than I am knitting right handed. My tension of knits and purls vary wildly, and I find it uncomfortable. Good thing that there are two hands you could hold the yarn in so we're all happy!

JudyL@27 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:16 PM

Help! I clicked on the video but it would not run.

RenataB wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 8:58 PM

I am forever grateful to a friend from  Germany teaching me the continental method years ago. My knitting became looser( my tension was so tight I could hardly knit) and much faster!

VickiA@8 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 7:01 PM

I have changed my method of knitting constantly over the last couple of years.  I'm a nurse and arthritic and fear repetitive movement injury.  Also, since I am aging, as all of us tend to do, I think it is good practice to shake things up now and then and learning something new is very good for the aging brain.  That said, I get cramps in my left hand if I hold my index finger up and swing it back and forth as in your tutorial if I knit for very long so I learned and use the norwegian purl stitch and for both knitting and purling I keep my left index finger relaxed and just behind the left needle point.  I am still working on evening the tension between the knit and purl stitches but I am happiest with that method...for the moment.  I knit a lot of socks, with fine yarn so there are always a lot of stitches.

JeanK wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 6:28 PM

Thanks for the slow, clear, instructions for "picking"; very easy to follow.

on Dec 4, 2009 4:12 PM

MARQUEII: Sorry to irritate you with "pointer." I've always called it that! And to you and Rachel, you can hold your yarn any way that feels comfortable to you and works with getting your tension the way you want it. I need a lot of tension in the yarn to be happy with my finished product, but I know some knitters who just put the yarn between their ring finger and their little finger and then drape it over their pointer finger.

All: Check out YouTube—look up Continental Knitting or Picking—and you'll see different ways to tension the yarn. I'll put that in the hopper for a KD topic, too.

And I know YouTube has some videos the show Norwegian purling, so look at those, too. I haven't done that, but it sounds interesting!

Have a good weekend, folks!

LindaG@36 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 4:10 PM

I am so thankful that this was posted. I learned to knit from Maggie Righetti's book 'Knitting in Plain English' and have been a continental knitter for 20 some years. I use my middle finger to lower the yarn into place when purling with the yarn in front. I saw Kasoli's comment about the Norwegian purl and was curious, so I googled it and found many good tutorials. While practicing it, I accidentally let the yarn slip to the front, but used the same motion with the right needle to pick up the yarn. I think I've found my new favorite method of purling! My left index finger stays in one place, and the right needle does all the work. I'd love to hear if this works for anyone else.

Thanks, Kathleen, for a great tutorial!

TammyT wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 2:48 PM

I always enjoy seeing how others knit!  Thanks for the video.  I won't be changing my own method, though.  ha  As other English knitters have said, if you know how to do it, English knitting is fast, well tensioned and easy on the hands.  As another commenter said, watching you with your finger up in the air like that makes my wrists hurt!  While my yarn IS in my right hand, I do NOT throw.  It is a very small movement of my right index finger with almost no wrist rotation.  I tension my yarn as a previous English knitter described; wrapped around my right middle finger.  Purling is much faster using this method and I get almost no difference between purl rows and knit rows.  I can knit the German way (which is slightly different from the way you demonstrate) and use this method when doing colorwork.  I think it's useful to know both techniques.

woof wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 2:46 PM

Thank you, I intend to practice picking stiches, much easier.

DorothyLWM wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 1:51 PM

Kasoli, I'm also interested in how the Norwegian purl stitch is done, please.

Marqueii,  why is it worse to say "pointer" finger instead of "index" finger than it is to speak to someone that way?  And why did it make so much difference to you?

laclay7 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 1:47 PM

Thanks for showing so clearly how you tension the yarn. I have the knit and purl down, but tensioning has always been a bear. My regular way of knitting, throwing without throwing because I tension the yarn, makes for a really consistent medium tight fabric -- not too tight, not too loose. But when I've tried different ways to tension when I continental knit it's always too tight. Part of the problem is that the yarn catches on my wedding rings but your way hopefully will change that. I'm going to give it another go because my thumb joints, the bottom ones, really ache so I thought changing up might help with that as well.

EnaS wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 1:46 PM

What a great teacher you are! Thank you! I'm going to learn that purl stitch. I can do the continental stitch already. Thanks again!

Radioexplode wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 1:24 PM

Oh wow. I took a 2 hour class on continental knitting and it didn't make anywhere near as much sense as your three minute video!

MARQUEII wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 1:22 PM

Please It's your INDEX finger. Sorry that just makes me nuts! Anyhow, could you demonstrate a continental method that does not require holding your INDEX finger up in the air. Watching you do that made mine hurt, I know it will probably be more difficult but is there a method that allows you to keep your finger down and pick off the side of it? I can do that fairly well but the arched finger just hurts too much. I don't usually wrap the yarn around my fingers at all,because I tend to knit tightly. The video was done well(except for the "pointer")and helpful, the purl is the method that is the most difficult to do,so I generally just throw my purls. I have large knots one my index fingers on both hands and am loosing a lot of joint stability,due to advancing Psoriatic arthritis (which eats the joints). I'm asking you because you have access to so many more knowledgeable resources. Thank you!

Peggy wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 1:18 PM

I've use continental knitting for fairisle, but I've always avoided "doing the continental" when I purl. After viewing your video, I'm going to practice - the allure of faster knitting is so desireable just before Christmas!  Thanks.

on Dec 4, 2009 1:17 PM

oh ho ho - it is so nice to see someone who holds the yarn nearly the same way I do ... you have no idea the funny looks I get when I wrap my yarn all around my fingers to knit the same way I do when I crochet!  And then the funnier looks when I work my knitting in the back leg instead of front to back - just so long as it gets the work done, right? ;-D

CarolP wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:51 PM

Holy Smokes!  I've been doing Continental and "picking" my entire life!  I tried doing the right hand way once when an expert said, "you're doin' it wrong".  That is sooo slow!  Now if you add the Norwegian purl to seed stitching, you will never have to move your yarn forward!  I guess I'm either the expert or I just never listened to what the other experts said and did it my way!....:)

CarolJ wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:34 PM

Growing up in England, I learned to knit the "throwing" way, although I didn't really throw it.  The stitches were always at the very end of the needles, and I would just move my index finger forward around the needle.  The right hand needle was tucked under my right arm and was fairly stationary.  I taught myself the continental way when I got a job in my LYS and taught knitting.  I'm faster and my tension is more even doing it the way i did growing up, but as I'm working on a project thats got lots of moss stiitch, I might just give the continental way a try.

Carol J.

IlMagliaio wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:32 PM

I think it was either ribbing or seed stitch that prompted me to switch from English to Continental style.  I never seemed to be able to go back and forth between knits and purls in English without ending up with a yarn over or two.  When I switched, the problem went away and I haven't looked back since (well, except for stranded colour work).

I'm with Kasoli about the Norwegian Purl.  It would make doing seed stitch even easier, once you've learned the purl.  I use it almost all the time with the exception of doing a p2togtbl.  I hate purling and if anything, this method of purling makes it more "interesting."

AlisonW wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:19 PM

Kasoli, what is Norwegian purling?  I've always felt awkward when purling in the Continental style - I do the finger moving thing, like Kathleen, but I guess I've not done it enough to get really comfortable with it.  

Kasoli wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:03 PM

When I have to switch between knit and purl stitches a lot, I like to use Norwegian purling since it keeps the yarn on the back. When I was knitting mittens for my mother, I found this made the ribbed cuffs go much faster.

juanita@19 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:03 PM

Thank you, Kathleen, for this tutorial! I'm a thrower, too, but have long wanted to try continental or "picking." I'm going to do this washcloth pattern and try picking today. Hope it doesn't mess me up!

DorothyLWM wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:03 PM

Hi Calder,

It's up to you, but I would just practice the continental (picking) method and let the other method go, if it were me.  I've not done a lot of knitting over the last 45 years, but have picked it up again recently when everyone was making the fuzzy scarves a couple years ago. At that time, new again to knitting, I was making those scarves, side by side, with an accomplished English knitter, who had been consistently knitting all those years, and I was doing almost two scarves to her one.  That's the difference in the speed and efficiency.  : )    

-1965518138 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 12:00 PM

Thank you for posting this! Suddenly, it all makes sense...

SophieB wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 11:39 AM

Thank you!  I've been a "thrower" for more years than I can count but am anxious to try this in my home and then surprise our knitting group!  Thanks so much (and I  love your free patterns!)

SophieB

calder wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 11:36 AM

Thank you for your how-to video on the continental style and your beginner, raglan sweater pattern; both are much appreciated. I have just been knitting for about 8 months when I saw the 'picking' method on a you-tube video and fell in love. However, I am just starting to get comfortable with knitting and I don't know if I should switch now or wait until I am more experienced with knitting in the first place. But I'll practice the new method with the help of your video and see if someone at my wool store can give me some hands-on help. I'm very excited to be able to knit faster. I've only made scarves up till now (about 10) and I want to try some new stitches and branch out to simple projects to get more familiar with the whole spectrum of techniques and skills- besides my friends and family are sick of scarves as gifts.

Thank you again; you've made my day!

Sincerely,

Rachel

Leiahc wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 11:28 AM

LOVE this! Have wanted to Pick for a long time - this is one of the best videos ever. I actually started doing it right away. Not quickly, or well, but I get the concept! :-)))

riverrocks wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 11:23 AM

I hold the yarn in my left hand the same way I did for crochet, which is similar to the way you do it, without the second twist around the index finger.   I have much less fine motor control of my left hand than my right, and stuck solely with crochet for decades because I found knitting English style next to impossible.  Last fall, I learned the continental method and over the last year I have become an avid knitter (though I still return to crochet for the occasional afghan).  

DorothyLWM wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 11:19 AM

Hi.   I do my purl stitch exactly as you are doing in this video, but I always wonder why, when doing a knit stitch, other knitters actually put their yarn behind (under) the needle, which means they have to pick up the yarn against their finger, or in open space, when it's so much easier to rest the yarn on the tip of the needle, behind the stitch to be knit, and let the needle hold the yarn for you while you pick up your stitch.  It accomplishes the same thing, with your yarn behind your stitch, but it's half the finger movement, so it's quicker, and my finger doesn't get tired or tender from the needle rub for every knit stitch.  

Is there something I'm missing here?  My knitting comes out nice and evenly.  Let me know what you think about this, please.

Dorothy

on Dec 4, 2009 10:54 AM

THANK YOU! Thank you so much for inspiring me to learn continental knitting. I just finished a cape for my daughter with a seed stitch border, and wanted to make a matching one for her doll with my left over yarn. But I couldn't even bring myself to get started since I was dreading that tedious seed stitch border! Now I feel like I could finish it tonight after she goes to bed!

ConnieD wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 10:35 AM

While I am sure there are knitters who will be encouraged to change their style of knitting - I will not.  I can do both but I learned the English method and am most comfortable with it.  I knit at a comfortable speed - even with seed stitich.  Since knitting is like comfort food I see no reason to learn a different method just to "go faster".  The whole idea is to be at peace with your project.  Even with fair isle which I love I do not use two hands to move yarn and I have made numberous items that way.  I teach knitting and do not encourage one method over the other and as many pros have said - whichever way suits you - go for it.  

CarolynM wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 10:24 AM

Thanks so much for the tutorial!  I learned as a thrower decades ago, then was taught to pick about 10 years ago and pretty much haven't looked back.  What was interesting to me was how you hold your working yarn.  I'm definitely going to try that, since I usually have a tension difference between my "pick knitting" and "pick pearling, and I'd like to improve that.

rene658 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 10:02 AM

I love seed stitch, but primarily use for borders as it really slows me down.  Recently learned pick method for knit stitch, but couldn't get the hange of purling.  Other examples of it I tried seemed more complicated and awkward than just sticking with the throw-style.   Now I see the key to this is how you hold the working yarn, and pivoting your left pointer finger back & forth.  Can't wait to try it--thx so much!   Great tutorial :)

on Dec 4, 2009 9:57 AM

As someone who was born in England and did my first twenty years of knitting there, I have to comment that if you were not able to switch easily from knit to purl, you must not have been shown the easiest technique.   I have the yarn tensioned around my right little finger, then over the index finger and the index finger moves the yarn from front to back.  The right hand never lets go of the yarn.   The index finger does not have to be held up in the air, which I find rather tiring when knitting carrying the yarn in my left hand.   (I can do both)   I prefer to refer to the different techniques as "carrying the yarn in the right or left hand"  as "English" and "Continental" seem to cover a multitude of knitting habits.   Also in England - at least when I learned which admittedly is many years ago - we wrapped our yarn - we never threw it.

maren wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:33 AM

Its hard for me to describe my technique - I ´just do it. Being german i knit continental only. I saw in your picture, that you wrap the thread around your left finger twice.

If you wrap it only once and hold it softly it can just run along endlessly, or until the yarn gets stuck in the bale. Beginners should watch their tension though.

I hope you get what I mean. :-)

Yeah, purl stitches are nobodys favorite. For that reason I try to knit as much in the round as possible!  

Maren

EllyN wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:27 AM

as time marches on my picking technique perfects itself.  I'v noticed that I hold my finger in close to the needle and this does away with the need to lower my finger for the pearl stitch, the yarn is just simply in the right place to pick and pull through.

Picking is certainly something to learn especialy as we age and the wrist become a tad bit complaining.

Marskanovich wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:23 AM

I would love to see a similar video of right hand throwing technique.  I've never been able to master throwing the yarn without letting go of the needle.  I'm comfortable with continental style knitting, but I would like to do some colorwork and I can see that being able to throw would be useful.

maren wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:15 AM

the green tea sweater should also work wonderfully top down in the round! and no blocking! no seams!

Greetings

Maren

CindyK@32 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:14 AM

I have a girlfriend who is a "picker" and I could never get it right.  After watching this video, I think I can be a "picker" too.  It's looks fast and fairly simple.  I guess practice will be the name of the game.  I love the seed stitch, but stay away from it, since it is tedious, back and forth with the yarn.  Drives me crazy.  Thanks for the video, I can't wait to get home to "pick" a few rows.  

arwex wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:14 AM

Hmm.. that does looks faster than English-style! A very sweet Danish lady once tried to teach me Continental, but I couldn't get the hang of it.

Thanks for your video!

Carla@7 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:11 AM

i love the seed stitch. it is so simple and pretty! as for knitting style, when i first started knitting i was taught to throw my yarn, but as soon as i learned to pick continental style, i've never gone back to english style! so much more efficient! thanks for the free pattern!

swtliljibr wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:07 AM

Growing up Crocheting I had a hard time learning to knit until using the Continential method. But there is not stopping my fingers now since i have learned it....