In an answer to a question about knitting faster, there is a reference to knitting methods:

I have a couple suggestions. If you knit in the French Method, try the German Method. If you knit in the German Method, try the French Method.

  1. What is the German method?
  2. What is the French method?

As far as the common methods go in modern knitting with two standard sized needles, is that all or is there more? I don't know if standard is the right word but I mean neither small nor exorbitantly large independent needles.

  • My reply about finger position addresses this, notably its link (OMG Heart). Should I rewrite the reply here? Move it?
    – skg
    May 3, 2016 at 23:23
  • Do you mean 'just' knitting with two needles (or 4 or 5 when knitting in the round), or do you also want to include loom knitting as an answer?
    – Ji Ugug
    May 4, 2016 at 16:43
  • @JiUgug Would it be easier if I limit it to two needles? I honestly don't know. If it would be better to split this up I am unsure of the scope of the questions
    – Matt
    May 4, 2016 at 16:44
  • Well, it's probably nice to have an overview of many different ways to knit, including loom knitting, and an exotic way with very long needles (maybe even as large as the man who was knitting), but I don't know either if that makes this question too broad. It depends on the answers, I guess.
    – Ji Ugug
    May 4, 2016 at 16:59
  • I see this has manage to gather some close votes recently. I will try to narrow this down.
    – Matt
    May 13, 2016 at 19:58

3 Answers 3


The German method is also called Continental Knitting. It is a method of knitting with 2 needles, and a type of style of how you hold your yarn and needles. You would hold the yarn in your left hand and your right hand will be on your working needle.


Another style is called English Knitting, also known as right-hand knitting or throwing. The yarn is carried in your right hand instead.


So, the main difference between the two is the way the yarn is wrapped around the right needle before it’s pulled through to knit a stitch. The choice between them though is merely preference for the most part as they both create the same resulting fabric. But here is more detailed post explaining the differences:


As for French knitting, as far as I know it is a type of tubular knitting, not 2 needles, which requires a knitting spool instead.


So, others have mentioned the three most common styles on the English-speaking internet: Continental, also called German (picking; working yarn in left hand) and English/American (throwing; working yarn in right), and combination knitting.

As a commenter said, there is Portuguese knitting. If you have ever seen somebody knitting while tensioning their working yarn around their neck or from a special pin attached to their clothing, or both if using multiple yarns, this was probably Portuguese knitting. This may be the same as Andean knitting. At least, from the descriptions I read, I think they're the same. https://www.interweave.com/article/knitting/switch-to-portuguese-knitting/

There is Russian (https://www.craftsy.com/knitting/article/russian-knitting-technique/?_ct=rbew&_ctp=16072) and Norwegian (https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/05/norwegian-knitting-technique/), which seem similar to each other but not quite the same.

And then there's Lever knitting (also called Irish/Cottage knitting, though some say that's a bit different). I am fascinated by Lever knitting and want to learn to save my arm. I understand it is far more ergonomic. If you've seen someone knitting with one needle under the arm (and probably knitting very fast), this is probably what they're doing. There's supposed to be a way to do this holding circulars, too. I understand this is one of the fastest ways and thus used by a lot of people who knit for a living. For one thing, the knit and purl are supposedly equally easy and therefore tension tends to be better overall. I recommend looking for videos on Lever knitting, as they're as entertaining as they are impressive, but here's a nicely set up webpage with still photos and nice directions: http://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com/leverstyle.shtm

I suspect there are a dozen more ways as well. :-)


Let's not forget about Combo Knitting!.

In combo knitting, you wrap your purls the "other way", such that watching yourself purl in the mirror would be identical to the process of a knit stitch. It's kind of hard to conceptualize, but there are some excellent images/videos of combo knitting out there.

Recommended: Annie Modesitt's combo knitting tutorials

As Mary Thomas puts it, it's "the better way to work in Flat Knitting. The resulting fabric is more even and closer in construction." No more furrows when you do stockinette in flatwork!

  • And there's Portuguese knitting
    – SAM A
    Feb 10, 2018 at 6:05

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