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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am a long time English knitter and have recently learned the Continental style. However, even though I know the techniques I am having great difficulty keeping the tension with my left hand. I am having to stop and readjust every 2-3 stitches which slows my knitting progress. Thanks for any help. Pat
 

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((((( Welcome to the forum!!

I've switched, too back 19 months ago after English throwing since 1970! LOL!

As you watch videos, notice their tutorials, too on tensioning yarn. Some folks have more difficulty tensioning when purling long rows.

Remember, it will take you some practice, probably lots of it, to settle in on your tension. I didn't make much in the beginning but a retro belt over 9 stitches and in garter stitch then I triple-knot fringed it, used Baby Bee's 50-50% cotton/acrylic yarn then sent it to our daughter who also wears it as a skinny scarf.

I then worked on the purl stitch and didn't like the continental purl due to the ratcheting of the index finger to shuttle the yarn down, so I settled in on the Regular Russian purl then knit in the back of the stitch on the return.

Combined continental method is what this is and uses a fast, non-ratcheting purl method requiring a knit in the back of it on the return. The knit pro on the Knit and Crochet Now TV show (Create Channel) uses it, so I am, too! LOL!!

Here's a video of it:


I studied all the methods, even the eastern continental, Russian, Norweigian, Portuguese, Peruvian, Geek and Weird before setting in on the combined method.

I tension the yarn now just between the pinkie and ring finger the over the index finger.

If the tension is too lose, I have another method, too but some peope double wrap around the pinkie then over the index finger. I can't get the yarn to feed well (too tight and drags), so I developed another one - think I saw it in a video.

Good luck!!

Donna Rae
p.s....if you'd like to visit with me further about this, send me a private message via forum.

tcm223 said:
Hi, I am a long time English knitter and have recently learned the Continental style. However, even though I know the techniques I am having great difficulty keeping the tension with my left hand. I am having to stop and readjust every 2-3 stitches which slows my knitting progress. Thanks for any help. Pat
 

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I knit Eastern European style...aka Russian..but it is a version of Continental. The pinkie wrap used to be very popular but often causes tension to be too "tight" and some people complain it "strangles" their finger.

Take your left hand and make a "make believe" gun. if your working yarn comes up from between your thumb and pointer finger, over the pointer and then down where it can be lightly "grasped" and guided by your three bent fingers, you may find this works a little better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Donna Rae, I didn't expect a reply so soon. I am trying a combination style-Eastern knit with a Norwegian purl. Your suggestions were very helpful particularly practice, practice. The video was very helpful too. I have tried the tension style without a lot of success-my yarn is just floppy. I am watching and rewatching the video. I hope I can eventually knit with such ease and speed.
 

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I hold the yarn in my left hand, but I bend my index finger over the yarn and hold it that way. My grandma crocheted and held the yarn that way, so when I taught myself to knit that is the way I held the yarn.
I knit really fast and don't have to watch, I can feel the yarn and have better control of it it than if it was wound around my index finger.
 

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Hi Pat,
I have been knitting for 50 years, and when I first learned, my mom had me wrap the yarn around my little finger, and I ended up, like you, having to stop every couple stitches to loosen up the yarn. I now just hold it against the needle with my ring and little finger. I use the combined Continental like the woman on YouTube that Donna Rae gave a link to and I highly recommend it. Besides being faster and allowing you to keep a more even tension, it makes it easier to follow most patterns. Since the purl and knit stitches look different, when you're doing something which requires you to work a knit stitch on top of a purl, and vice versa (as most simple patterns do), this allows you to know immediately which one you should be doing just by which leg of the stitch is closest to the end of the needle.

Another hint: I keep a fairly tight tension, and have found that if I knit for a long time, and especially if the yarn is at all coarse, I get a groove on the top of my index finger from the yarn moving across it. I keep a roll of plastic bandage tape with my knitting project and I wrap a piece of that around my finger between the first and second knuckle. It definitely saves discomfort, but I also think that it allows the yarn to move more smoothly and makes the stitches more even. When I'm working on a project, I end up with pieces of tape on the edges of counters and tables all over the house as I remove them when I set aside my knitting, but it's worth it.

Hope this helps.

Jan
 

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I have no idea what "style" I knit! Someone told me I knit left handed (I'm a righty but I do a lot of things with either hand). I don't wrap the yarn around any fingers. I guess as long as it works for me I it's OK.
 

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I have been knitting a very long time. I find that a combined Continental just as in the video. It is fast & really easy to purl. I can double wrap around my index finger or single & just let it glide thru, I have good control of the tension - my index finger is crooked over the project. I treid holding it closer to the needles but did not have as great a control of the tension. Just takes practice & then use WHATEVER is comfortable for you. As someone else said in this forum "There are no knitting police" Loved that line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Mickey, Thanks for your input. I am still struggling to maintain an even tension. I'll try the double wrap around my index finger. I have tried all sorts of wrap arounds only to either have a tight tension or a loose one where I am finishing a stitch with my middle finger or a my thumb. I like your quote. I sit here kniting thinking if someone saw me they'd say "you're doing it all wrong". Guess I just haven't found what works for me yet. I do want to learn the continental style because it seems like it will be faster and with less fatigue. But these old right hands aren't cooperating. Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Jan, Thanks for your encouragement. I too have been knitting for 50+ years. That may be why I am having difficulty switching. I am really practicing and have the technique down but my tension is all over the place. I start with my index finger near the needle and soon it is sticking out 1-2 inches. I have to readjust and work the stitches with my middle finger and thumb. The video is very helpful--I keep watching and watching it. It looks so easy and simple and I am "all thumbs"-go figure. I like your suggestion with the tape I will remember it when I start on my project. I have my yarn and pattern for a sweater-jacket and am eager to get started, which is why I am wanting to get this style mastered. Pat
 

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Pat
I knit combined continental & hold my finger about an inch (sometimes more) away from the needle. I tried to hold it close but it did not work for me. Your hands need to be comfortable in order to get as much knitting done as you want. I knit about 3 or more hours in the evening and sometimes during the afternoon. My hands do not get tired if I hold my finger where it wants to be!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you for your suggestions. The picture was very helpful. I have tried your "gun" style. I haven't been fully successful with any of the styles offered. I have tension for a while, then my yarn goes all loose. I think I may have to work with one until I can keep my tension. Right now I am switching back and forth. My left hand just doesn't want to do what I want it to. I have knitted a long time with the "throw" method and I am right handed. My knitting samples look more even so I think my knitting will look better if I switch. I am slowed with my poor tension but I am hanging in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Kathy, Thanks for your input. You sound like you keep your tension well. I am not sure what you mean when you say your have your index finger over the yarn. Does the yarn come over your finger from the top or the bottom. Maybe I should ask does it go over your finger from the front or the back? I am still working to maintain an even tension. I am either tight or loose, then I can't do a stitch without the help of my middle finger or thumb. Pat
 
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