Continental or American? Pick or Throw?

No, this isn’t a history lesson (although I have nothing against history). This is a knitting lesson. Due to the fact that I have been knitting like crazy lately (there is no such thing as knitting too much, just too crazy), my right arm has decided to protest by aching. My right hand has joined in the protest and they think that they can rally together to somehow stop me from holding the needle. Wrong.

I usually knit using the American method, also know as the “throw” method. This means that I hold the yarn loosely with my right hand and “throw” it around the needle to knit. It’s a more common technique and a bit easier–a bit more modern. The other technique, Continental or “pick,” means that you hold the yarn wrapped around your fingers in your left hand and you “pick” the yarn with the needle. This method is more traditional (also I think more European/Canadian, but don’t quote me on that). Granted, everyone knits differently, but it is usually a variation of one or the other.

The Continental method is actually more like the way that I hold the yarn to crochet, so it’s surprising that I didn’t use this method from the beginning. No. I have to be different. So for two years, I have been a “throw” knitter. Today I became a “pick” knitter. To counterprotest against my arm’s protest, I switched to the Continental method. In fact, I think I am going to knit this way from now on. I have been working on Nina, and I found that using the “pick” made my stitches much smoother and more even. I also relieved the stress on my right arm and fell into a good rhythm since it is so much closer to the way I crochet.


One thought on “Continental or American? Pick or Throw?

  1. The new technique sounds interesting. I like both knitting and crotcheting too – I am better at knitting though. Have you heard of Elizabeth Zimmerman and her knitting books?


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