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Ashley’s Adventures in Knitting: My (Inter)Continental Hopedale Scarf

As much as I love knitting now, the pain and frustration of learning to knit (3 or 4 separate times, mind you) is still fresh in my mind. I’ve been wanting to try Continental knitting for a while, but dreaded the learning curve. I made it my New Year’s resolution for 2015, and just a few weeks ago, I came up with the perfect project.

Hopedale by Brenda York
Hopedale by Brenda York

Hopedale is a beautiful colorwork blanket that Brenda (our tech editor) designed for booklet #367 Berroco Home. It had been a near-add to my queue several times this summer, since I’m hosting a knit-along for this collection in our Ravelry group. I knew I wouldn’t have time to knit the whole blanket, along with the other projects I’d already picked out, but I was inspired by a fellow knitter’s swatch to make one of the blanket strips into a scarf. What better project would there be to learn a new knitting style?

To start, I watched our how-to videos several times.

Knit Stitch:

Purl Stitch:

I also decided on a few other modifications:

  • knit as a stockinette tube
  • changed stripe measurements from 12, 9 & 1.5 inches to 10, 6 & 2 inches (a total of 50 inches instead of 60)

**I love my scarf, but If I made it again, I would probably stick with the suggested measurements and would knit it flat (because it’s wide enough to easily double).

It was slow going to start, and as I was knitting once or twice at night, I found I had inadvertently switched back to English knitting (which is why I started calling my scarf “intercontinental”). But after 30 or so inches, I really had the hang of it. My biggest issue was how to hold the project/control my yarn in a natural way. I went back to our how-to library and watched an older video in which Cirilia demonstrates how to wrap the yarn around your pinky and middle finger to create tension.

The part that helped me starts approximately 3 minutes in:

This really did the trick in terms of improving my flow. My mom saw me knitting towards the end and was so impressed that she decided she wanted to learn Continental knitting, too!

I still have a long way to go (the Continental purl stitch is not my favorite), but I’m really excited to have finished my first (inter)Continental project.

Have you successfully switched from one knitting style to another? What helped you?

5 thoughts on “Ashley’s Adventures in Knitting: My (Inter)Continental Hopedale Scarf

  1. I learned continental on a project that I felted. All the uneven stitches disappeared in the felting. My stitches were smoother by the next project!

  2. I taught myself continental too, and have been knitting continental for a few years now. I also started with a felting project, a water bottle holder, knit in the round so I didn’t need to purl. My second project was one of those big shrugs thats a big rectangle that gets folded in half and joined together using bulky yarn and a size 11 needle in stockinette, so knitting and purling, just miles and miles of stockinette, was really good practice. The Patty Lyons Craftsy class, Improve Your Knitting really helped me, and I also learned how to use both styles together for stranded colorwork from that class. I highly recommend it.

  3. I only knit continental b3cqus3 that was how I learned to crochet years ago. I find it faster and less confusing than English.
    I found a video by Arne & Carlos that shows an easier purl method so the tension is tighter than i had previously. It took a little practice but it is much faster and the stitches look more even.
    I have found that the purl twist stitch works a little easier when you have the working yarn in front of your left needle (I knit fairly tight). This gives a little more room to twist.

  4. I took a class on Portuguese knitting and now that is the the method I prefer as opposed to English style. I can go so much faster and my stitches are much more uniform.

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