all hail elizabeth zimmerman!!!

elizabeth zimmerman is right! (isn’t she always?????) continental knitting is much less work than english style knitting.

yes i’m a lefty and continental is much “easier” for a lefty. or this is what i’m always hearing. yes, the working yarn is held in the left hand but that about as “easier” as it gets. and if you are a lefty, you’ve been living in a right handed whole a long time and you are used to right handed things!

but continental is not just for lefties! wanna knit more efficiently? more quickly? more evenly? if you convert i’m pretty sure you will do all these things. the stitch is the same. it looks the same. it sits on the needle the same. and purling really isn’t that difficult! (but who loves to purl anyway!)

most people think i learned to knit continental to begin with. i started later in life so i would have just taught myself that way, right?

nope! i actually learned english first. the book i picked up at michael’s in ’04… it explained the difference between english style knitting and continental style knitting. and i remember it clearly stating that continental style knitting was easier/better for left handed knitters. but for some reason, i decided to learn english style.

so i did and was quite successful at it until i began to explore complicated patterns. then things got…well…complicated. somehow i taught myself to knit english style but backwards! so if a patterns refers to the right needle, i would need to know that it meant the left needle for me. with cables and other complex stitch patterns, my knitting became a mess.

at a library book sale, i stumbled across a paperback old copy elizabeth zimmerman’s knitting without tears. she said (maybe demanded) that everyone learn continental. she made her argument and like any good informercial, i was convinced. and like most good informercials, it really worked. i knitted more efficiently! more quickly! more evenly!

but wait there’s more!!!!

how did i switch you might ask? well i knitted a garter stitch sweater for will (he was an infant at the time). it’s the vintage baby sweater by  kristin spunkland. because it was all garter stitch, i just concentrated on doing the knit stitch the continental way and after a whole baby sweater, i was converted! purling came with the next project but it wasn’t hard once my hands were used to knitting continental.

now i teach all my new students continental. some end up english style because their grandmother taught them and well… knitting is like riding a bike…

but many have thanked me for teaching them the quicker, more efficient, and more even way to knit… you might want to try it too!

happy knitting!



  1. I learned English when I first started to knit, but I switched to Continental pretty quickly. It made more sense to me since I learned to crochet before I tried knitting.


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