For many years, English knitting was the only style of knitting most North Americans knitters used. It is how I learned to knit and I still enjoy this style for a wide variety of knitting projects.
With the popularity of how-to videos on YouTube in recent years, other styles of knitting have become popular. Most people now have heard of Continental style of knitting but not many know about a third style of knitting called Portuguese style.
Each style of knitting has it’s merits. If you take the time to learn all three styles of knitting, you can then match the style to your current knitting project. This will allow you to knit more efficiently and complete your projects faster.
English Knitting or Throwing
This is the traditional style of knitting where the yarn is held in the right hand and all of the work is done with the right hand. The left hand just holds the work. Although this is considered a slower method of knitting, many people can zip right along by changing the way they hold the yarn and the needles.
You can see a video here of English knitting.
Continental knitting is a style of knitting where the yarn is held in the left hand and the left hand does the majority of the work. It is believed that this is a faster method of knitting because the amount of movement of the hands is reduced. Personally, I do find the knitting to be a bit faster than English style (although I am a pretty fast knitter anyway) but I do find the continental style purl stitch to be extremely awkward.
You can see a video demonstration of Continental knitting here.
Portuguese or Arabic Knitting
Although this is a very new style to many North Americans, it is one of the oldest knitting styles originating in Arabia. Originally, the yarn was passed behind the neck to create tension but in recent times, people use knitting pins or pendants rather than their neck for a more comfortable knitting experience.
Like continental knitting, there is very little hand movement in Portuguese knitting but the biggest advantage is the ease with which you can perform the purl stitch. Purling in Portuguese style is actually faster than knit. This style of knitting has become a personal favorite of mine. Another advantage of this style of knitting is that you get perfect and consistent tension on all your stitches.
You can see a video demonstration of Portuguese knitting here.
I find that I fall back to my old English style knitting when doing intricate knitting. Continental knitting is perfect for garter stitch or knitting in the round. You can blaze right along using this style. Portuguese knitting is the best method for doing stocking stitch or any pattern that requires you to do knit and purl rows.
I find that by using all three styles of knitting I am able to complete many more garments in a shorter amount of time. I hope that you will give them all a try too. Please leave a comment on how you are getting along with the three knitting styles.