What knitting method and style did you choose when you learned to knit? Your answer will depend on who taught you to knit.
Everyone uses a different knitting method and style. After reading some of the comments in our blog post about combination knitting, it seems like a lot of knitters just knit their own way and don’t even think about purposely choosing the style or method. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned knitter who wants to try something new, choosing a method and style can actually go a long way to improving your knitting — and maybe even relieve some pain in your hands.
Style vs. method
First of all, let’s talk about the difference between style and method. A knitting method is the way you wrap your yarn when you knit your stitches. It’s also the way the stitch is mounted on the needle and which direction you slide your needle when you enter the stitch.
Knitting style, on the other hand, is how you hold your yarn in your hand. This includes the tension you use, whether you’re throwing the yarn or picking the yarn.
There are three knitting methods: Eastern, Western and combination knitting. The differences in these methods are not super obvious at first. In fact, I didn’t even realize what method I used until I started to research each one and really think about how I hold my needles and yarn.
Want to choose the method that feels right on your needles? Read about all three methods in our combination knitting post.
Continental or German style
Continental knitting, sometimes called German knitting, means you hold the yarn in your left hand and pick it. This type of knitting is said to put less stress on the wrists and help the yarn move more fluidly. In fact, many of the world’s fastest knitters use the continental style.
Are you ready for this one? Portuguese style knitters get super creative with the yarn by wrapping it around their necks. This style doesn’t require a lot of hand movement, making it ideal for knitters with arthritis or other health issues.
If you’re concerned about choking yourself with the yarn that’s wrapped around your neck (just kidding), you can also feed the yarn through a knitting pin that’s attached to your shoulder. It works the same way as wrapping the yarn around your neck.
English or American style
English knitting, also called American style, is when you throw the yarn as opposed to picking it. The yarn is held in the right hand.
Other interesting ways to knit
As if all these styles and methods aren’t overwhelming enough, there are many around-the-world techniques that use variations on each of these. Try some of these:
Do you knit left-handed? You’re not alone. Feel a little less isolated with our ode to left-handed knitters.
Have an aversion to purling? You can knit backwards and still achieve the same purl stitch!
All these styles might seem confusing to you. Want to see all the styles and methods in action?
Patty Lyons demonstrates each in her new Improve Your Knitting class. The class even comes with three exclusive patterns you can use to practice the different methods and styles. (Did you see the scarf pictured above? That’s one of the patterns!)