Purl Continental Method

When you purl using the Continental method, you not only hold the yarn and control tension with your left hand, but you also hold the yarn in front of the needles, as for the English method.

The Continental method makes it easier to move the yarn from the front of the needles to the back of the needles in the same row. As a result, when you work ribbing or seed stitch using the Continental method, you really feel the difference.

1 Hold the needle with the cast-on stitches on it in your left hand, and hold both the empty needle and the working yarn wound around the fingers of your left hand.

2 Holding the yarn in front of both needles, insert the right needle from back to front (that is, from right to left) into the first stitch on the left needle.

Your needles will form an X, with the right needle in front of the left needle.

3 Use your left forefinger to wrap the yarn around the right needle from front to back, between the needles, and back to the front of the right needle.

Note: This is a small, quick motion that involves flicking your left forefinger down, bringing the yarn between the needles and then back up, and creating a loop on the right needle.

4 Pull the right needle toward the back, bringing the new loop of yarn that you just wrapped around it through the cast-on stitch (a); then slip the cast-on stitch off the left needle (b).

You now have 1 stitch on the right needle.

Note: You may want to use your right forefinger to keep the wrapped strand from slipping off the tip of the needle at step 4a.

5 Repeat steps 2-4 for each remaining cast-on stitch, until all of the new stitches are on the right needle.

You have now completed 1 row of purling.

6 Switch the needle with stitches on it back to your left hand and repeat steps 2-5 for each row.

Getting uneven tension with the continental method?

Some knitters find that their stockinette stitch looks uneven when they knit Continental style. For some reason, the purl rows are looser, and look slightly raised on the knit side. If you are having the same problem, you can use a needle one size smaller for all of the purl rows to compensate.

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