How to Continental Knit

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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Last Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our very own Laura (Jimmy) stars in this knitting instructional video about how to knit continental style. There is a second part of this video on how to continential purl (check the article list for this video). We hope you enjoy it!

How to make a knit stitch Continental style

Laura shares how she learned to knit then demonstrates how she tensions her yarn and makes a knit stitch continental style.

There are many ways to hold and manipulate the yarn while knitting. Continental is one of the more common styles. Continental is sometimes referred to as "picking" while another popular style called English is sometimes referred to as "throwing".

Tensioning Your Yarn

There are many, many ways to tension your yarn. Tensioning is one of the more awkward things to learn and over time you will find a way that works best and makes sense to you.

Laura tensions her yarn by:

  • wrapping it over the back of her pinky
  • under her two middle fingers
  • over the top of her index finger
  • then wraps it once around her index finger
  • She then grasps the needle with the stitches to be knit with her thumb and middle fingers, leaving about 1 to 2 inches of yarn held taut between her index finger and the needle.

Now you're ready to make a knit stitch!

  1. Hold the empty needle in your right hand.
  2. Locate the first stitch on the left hand needle
  3. Insert the tip of the needle from left to right under the front loop of the stitch making sure that the tip of the right needle goes behind the left needle
  4. Next, Laura wraps the yarn around the tip of the right-hand needle from left to right or in other words, counter-clockwise and draws the yarn back through the stitch on the left needle in the reverse of how she inserted it. Then slid the old stitch off the left needle.

It's a four step process:

  1. through the stitch on the left needle
  2. wrap yarn around needle
  3. draw yarn back through
  4. slid old stitch off left needle

(Alternatively, you can also "pick" the yarn instead of wrapping. To pick, use the tip of the right needle reach over the top of the taut yarn, grab it and draw it through the stitch on the left needle. Slid the old stitch off the left needle.)


  • When the tension on the yarn in your left hand loosens rewrap around your fingers to tighten it up.
  • Be patient, don't get discouraged. It takes time to learn. Just keep at it!
  • Be especially patient if you've been knitting English style. It will take time to re-learn to knit continental.

The yarn Laura is using in this video is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and the needles are US 9 Lantern Moon Ebony single points.

Thanks for watching!

We hope you enjoy this article! This article and the associated photos are only for personal non-commercial use and are not for resale. All rights reserved. Permission granted by Jimmy Beans Wool and to copy and share this article for non-commercial personal use. Users do not have permission to display on any retail or wholesale website other than and without express permission from Jimmy Beans Wool.
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