In continental style knitting, a knitter holds yarn in the left hand like a crocheter. In combination knitting, Annie Modesitt teaches us how to make purls like knits in reverse, which gives them a different stitch mount. I use continental combination knitting. Here are my pros and cons.
What’s Good About Continental Combination Knitting?
Continental style knitting is fast for me. My yarn is right there ready to scoop into a new stitch, just like when I crochet. English knitting has yarn in the right hand and you throw it over the needle for each stitch. I first learned English, but switched to continental for greater speed.
Combination knitting seems odd at first with knit and purl stitches mounted differently on your needle, but it has five distinct advantages–the last one something I just discovered.
- A purl stitch is made just as quick and easy as a knit stitch–like a mirror image of a knit. No extra motions.
- A purl stitch has the exact same amount of yarn as a knit stitch, not an extra long loop for the regular stitch mount.
- Because a purl stitch has the same amount of yarn as a knit stitch, knitting back and forth produces no “row out” which happens when purl rows are a looser tension than knit rows.
- When ribbing, the different stitch mounts prevent mistakes.
- When doing cables, there’s no excess looseness between the last cable stitch and the next stitch.
While knitting an Aran sweater I read two comments about how to deal with the problem of looseness at the left of each cable. I studied my knitting, watched for looseness as I worked–and there was none. I credit combination knitting.
What’s Bad About Continental Combination Knitting?
At first the different stitch mount for purl stitches feels a bit strange. What feels even more strange is how stitch mount changes again when you purl back. Knit and purl stitches get remounted so when you work the right side again, they’re not sitting on the needle as before. This can take some getting used to.
It’s wonderful when you do ribbing in the round, because if you try to knit a purl by accident, or purl a knit, it won’t work at first. The needle doesn’t go in, you look down, realize you’re trying to mess up, then put the needle in the correct way. No mistakes. It speeds knitting twelve inches of ribbing for Socks for Soldiers.
These are my thoughts on continental combination knitting. It’s great for faster knitting with fewer mistakes. If you want to learn more, check out free tutorials on annie modesitt dot com.