Thursday, December 28, 2006

The English knit stitch

The English knit stitch differs from the continental knit stitch in only one detail--which hand supplies the yarn. In continental style knitting, the LEFT hand supplies the yarn, in English style knitting, the RIGHT hand supplies the yarn. The yarn, however, goes the same way around the needles, and the needles go the same way through the loop.

If you are having trouble wrapping the yarn correctly in English-style knitting, look at the three yarn wrapping errors illustrated for continental knitting (ignore the fingers, just look at the way the yarn lays on the needles) link 1, link 2, link 3. Each of those yarn-wrapping errors is a wrapping error in English-style knitting also.

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Step 1: The right needle is inserted FROM the FRONT, TO the BACK of the stitch at the tip of the left needle, as shown. The right hand supplies the yarn--the right forefinger carrying the yarn acts as a shuttle, tracing a path in the air shown by the dotted line, above. The standing yarn (green) takes the path shown by the solid red arrow, wrapping around the RIGHT needle.

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Step 2: Once the standing yarn (green) is wrapped around the right needle, the tip of the right needle draws the wrap "down and through" the stitch at the tip of the left needle as shown by the red arrow.

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If everything goes right, this is what you will see on your right needle--a new stitch (green) with the right arm forward.

Other posts in this series:
The continental knit stitch
The continental purl stitch
The English purl stitch


(You have been reading TECHknitting on: The English knit stitch.)


Holly Burnham said...

What a wonderfully helpful site you have developed. Thank you for sharing it.

Clair St. Michel said...

The English stitch is certainly complicated...I prefer the Continental. But this does explain the English stitch well. I will spread the word about your excellent illustrations.

susie lee said...

whoa...i HATE the english stitch...i always use continental. i always mess up the english...but maybe this time i won't.

amy said...

I'm confused about your instructions for step 1. You say to insert the left needle into the back of the stitch but the picture shows the needle inserted into the front. And the red line showing the path of the yarn looks like you should put the yarn between the two needles then around behind the right needle but the picture for step two shows the yarn had gone behind the right needle then between the two.

I just discovered your blog today and it's great! I'm a technical minded person and so find the ins and outs of how knitting works very interesting. Keep up the great work!

--TECHknitter said...

Amy--thanks very much for your feedback. I've corrected the text to read "The right needle is inserted FROM the FRONT, TO the BACK" instead of saying to insert into the back. These instructions will be much clearer now because of your comment.

As for the illustration, I've changed the text by capitalizing: "wrapping around the RIGHT needle," which I hope will explain the illustration a little better.

Again, thanks very much for the feedback.

Kim said...

I've been enjoying all of your posts. I just wanted to comment that in the first diagram, it looks like the red arrow goes between the needles and then around, rather than around the back and up between as the second picture shows. Is this what you intended?

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Kim--thanks for your comment. I intended to get the arrow around the right needle from the front to the back. If you click the picture to enlarge, do you see that, or is it still confusing? If confusing, I will try to re-draw this or re-caption this picture at some point. Let me know.


cathairinmyknitting said...

Hi Techknitter, I'm with Amy and Kim, I'm afraid, on the differences between Figure 1 and Figure 2. In Figure 1, the yarn path goes over (in front of) the right-hand needle, around, and then from behind the right-hand needle to over (in front of) the index finger of the right hand. But in Figure 2, the yarn is shown as coming from in front of the right-hand needle to over (in front of) the index finger. So, by my eyes, for Figure 2 to happen, the red arrows in Figure 1 would have to be flipped front-to-back. You show the yarn going clockwise, while all the other illustrations and videos I've found show it going counter-clockwise. Or am I just totally missing something? Nonetheless, I really like your blog, and have used a number of your articles to help a colleague learn some new tricks. And, this weekend, I'm taking your continental diagrams home to see if I can make that work, I'm sure I can with your excellent diagrams. Thanks!!!

myblog said...

I try to do this stitch and I can never keep the yarn taut enough to hook it around the needle...
Then I give up and go back to continental since it seems to take longer trying to do English stitch. Is it because I sometimes use too long of a needle? I've seen people do their sock knitting like this and it seems easier when it's a shorter needle.

Chris said...

Hi, I love your site! What a lot of work you've put into it, and what a lot I've learnt from it. Thank you!

However, I just encountered something that made me think that for more years than I want to remember, I've been wrapping the yarn for the knit stitch in the wrong direction. It sent me scuttling to Google to spend ages checking other knitting videos, which only helped convince me I AM doing it right.

Of course, I should have read the comments on your page first, because others have commented on the same problem as I saw... the diagram for step 1 shows the yarn being wrapped the wrong way. Its not that we can't see it, its simply going in the reverse direction than it should. Looking at step 2's diagram, the yarn was wrapped correctly, but that seems to be inconsistent with what diagram 1 shows.

clare said...

I love your website and often come here to look things up. I'm about to teach a friend to knit so came to find your diagrams for knit and purl stitches.

I'm afraid I'm with others who think figure 1 doesn't look right.

When I do a knit stitch, I pass the standing yarn down behind the righthand needle, round the tip and up in front of the needle. I'm convinced your figure 1 shows the standing yarn going down in front of the needle then up behind it. This wouldn't produce the stitch shown in figure 2.

Can you check this again and maybe ammend your diagram?



--TECHknitter said...

GOOD HEAVENS! I shall never, ever be sure of ANYTHING any more. For all those years, I had the yarn in Illustration 1 wrapped the wrong way. I am terribly, terribly sorry about that, and even more ashamed that I was too thick-headed to understand the comments alerting me to this problem.

However, I think it has now been made right--but if not, let me know again, OK?

Your in humble apology--TK

clare said...

Yay! That makes sense to me now. I'm amazed at how quickly you've been able to change it. Thank you.

When I first looked at fig 1, I had a sinking feeling I'd been knitting twisted all these years, until I read other comments so knew I wasn't the only one thinking so. You've not been thick-headed in the slightest. It's difficult to explain something like this in words rather than pictures so it wasn't necessarily clear what we meant. I had the advantage of reading the other comments so had to try to find a different way to explain it.

That's why the illustrations are one of the star features of your tutorials. They are so clear, it is obvious what you mean. So this was the first place I thought of coming to find illustrations and instructions. I've not taught someone to knit before so was looking for clear instructions I can work through with her and leave for her to refer to when I'm not at hand.


clare said...

Oh, I forgot to ask? Is it OK to print out for my friend to use. It's a one-off in the same way as I might print something for myself that I needed to refer to through the day without the computer handy. I'd make sure it is clear it is from your website and include the copyright line and URL in the footer.
Thanks again,

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Clare--as far as printing goes, under copyright law as I understand it, you have the right to copy off one copy for personal use. So, please feel free to print off one to take with you when you go and see your friend.

Thanks again for writing