But I've been teaching classes on Continental knitting (yarn in left hand, like so) of late, and it's been making me think.
After all, learning to knit English style (that is, yarn in right hand) is actually pretty tricky, and not very efficient. I mean, you're holding both a needle AND yarn in your right hand, as below...
which is all well and good, until you have to wrap the yarn.
Beginner knitters tend to drop the yarn between stitches, and even knitters who have managed to figure out how to hang onto the yarn with their right hand (as in the pic above) struggle with the wrap. Most of them end up having to try to hold both needles in their left hand as they pick up the yarn and wrap it around the right needle.
And it's neither elegant nor particularly easy.... check out what I'm doing with my left thumb:
So for this group of beginners, I decided to go Continental. With the Continental knit stitch... that is, with yarn in left hand.
Using this method, you can keep a firm grip on the right needle as you "pick" the yarn and wrap it around the needle.
Little did my poor students know that I was conducting an experiment on them... I want to see if an average
collection of novices found it any easier to learn Continental than English.
After a fair bit of practice with a continental knit, once I had a sense they were comfortable, I suggested to some of the students that they might want to try wrapping the yarn with the right hand instead. I presented it casually, as an option for students who were more comfortable working with their right hands.
Of 7 in the class who tried both, 5 ended up keeping the yarn in the left hand, and 2 ended up with it in the right. Not scientific, by any means, but I though this was an interesting result that confirmed my suspicions.
The key, of course, is to ensure that no matter what students end up doing, that they are wrapping the yarn the correct way. And, perhaps more to the point, to help knitters understand that where and how they hold the yarn is a minor choice in how they knit, and it doesn't affect in the least the finished product or the instructions.
Any other teachers of beginner knitting classes tried the same thing? Which way do you prefer to teach newbies?