Many people are confused about continental knitting and English knitting styles. If you are just starting to learn how to knit you may not even know what the two terms mean. For beginner knitters it you should try both and see what you are most comfortable with. For left handed people the continental style is most likely going to be your best bet.
Let us compare the two styles of knitting.
Continental – picking
– Yarn is held in the left hand
– The right needle picks up the yarn
– Hand movements are slight
– Once mastered, you may be able to knit faster
English – throwing
– More traditional and most popular style for European and North American knitters
– Yarn is held in right hand
– Wool is wrapped around needle or “thrown” with right hand
– More instruction and videos are available for this style
As you can see there are definite advantages and disadvantages of both methods. I generally advise beginners to explore both styles but most importantly look to see what resources are more readily available to you for instruction.
If most of the people you know use the English method they will not be able to help you as easily if you are a Continental knitter. In North America you will find that most of the experienced knitters are English knitters. Your mother, aunts and grandmothers all likely learned traditional knitting skills so if you are depending on them to help you advance your skills then you should learn to knit in the same style. If you are dead set on learning a different skill then you should go to any of the popular video websites to see if there are any good videos that you can learn from.
One of the best investments a beginner knitter can make is a good knitting instruction book. Search sites like Amazon and Barns & Noble to see if you can find a suitable book that will give good instructions in the style of knitting you choose. That may influence your decision.