How to Hold Your Yarn for Knitting (Continental Style)

Everyone holds their yarn a little differently when knitting. Two main camps are divided between knitters who hold the yarn in their left hand (Continental Knitters or “Pickers”) and those who hold the yarn in their right hand (English Knitters or “Throwers.”) Even within those groups, there is much variation. The following notes and the video below show how I hold my yarn to knit Continental:

  • Wrap the yarn from the ball (the “working yarn”) around your left pinky finger, then across your palm and over your index finger with the yarn coming off the front of your index finger and to your work. Then wrap your left hand gently around the left needle. See Figure 1 below.
  • I like to hold my right need like I would a chef knife; some people hold it like a pencil.
  • Keep your two hands and the tips of the needles close together, like in Figure 2 below.
  • The left hand is in charge of the yarn, the right hand needle is the one moving around to do the work. If you’re using straight needles and working back and forth on a flat piece of work, you’ll work stitches on the left needle and move them to the right needle as you make each new stitch. At the end of the row, you put your right needle (with all the stitches) into your left hand and the now-empty needle into your right hand, and begin again. 
  • Note that your work will look the most even if you move the stitches down the right needle every 3-4 stitches, rather than letting them stay scrunched up near the tip of your needle.  
Figure 1
Figure 2

The following video shows how to wrap the yarn around your left hand step-by-step. The instructions are repeated several times so you can follow-along. I suggest you at least tie a slip knot onto your needle before starting the video.

You Might Also Like the Following:

How to Make a Continental Knit Stitch

How to Make a Continental Purl Stitch

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