Saturday, November 8, 2008


Wow - looks like Norma sent a bunch of folks over this morning! The power of the Norma is mighty!
The topic under discussion is the Continental purl stitch.
I originally learned to knit English style, and knit that way for 20 years. Then I read about the Continental style in a library book (this was many many years before internet and YouTube...), and taught myself to do it. My knitting speed more than doubled overnight, and ribbing became a breeze to do instead of being an awful chore. I've been Continental ever since. (And knowing how to knit both ways has made colorwork a lot easier, too!)
Over the years, I've seen people complaining about how hard the Continental purl was. I just couldn't understand why anyone would have a problem - it's light years easier than throwing.
Until Norma asked me about it. I went looking for a good video for her, and was appalled that most of the links on the first 2 pages of a google search turned up the same video - which showed the most contorted, awful, scary knitting maneuver I had ever seen! Some one should warn people NOT to watch that video!! (I guess that would be me...)

So, here's my lame attempt to photograph my own hand demonstrating the Continental purl.

The yarn is over my left index finger, just like in Continental knitting. The working yarn is to the front. Insert right needle into the stitch, ducking under the working yarn.

The yarn is pushed down with the left index finger, over the top of the needle. This is the only motion required for the whole stitch: the left index finger moves down about an inch.

With the index finger still down, pull the yarn through the stitch, and the old stitch off the needle.

To me, this seems like the easiest thing in the world.

I hope this helps someone! Good luck and happy knitting!


Norma said...

Well,hell! That DOES look easy. Now, what I was finding when I was trying to do something that I thought approximated the purl stitch was that it was twisting the stitch. This doesn't, is what you're telling me? I shall have to go try it, though I am not sure I want to fiddle with it at this stage in my sweater, not wanting to change the gauge and all....

Ellen said...

I have a theory that people who learned to crochet FIRST (me, 40 years ago) then learn to knit (me, just 5 years ago) find the Continental style easiest. I tried to throw but it was incredibly awkward so just went with the Continental. I do still find purling (which I do as you showed) a bit difficult and slow. I am practice, practice, practicing!

adp54 said...

I agree with Ellen's crochet theory above. My mom says when I knit it looks more like I am crocheting.

Pat said...

I sure wish I had originally learned continental! I CAN do it, but it is slow and uneven...and I'm is a sin that I throw!