I am a self taught knitter. On February 13, 2004 I simply decided to learn to knit. I bought one of those kits with the fun fur to make a scarf. Fun fur and size 13 needles along with absolutely no idea how to knit do not and I repeat, do not go together. Long story abbreviated I learned to knit using the throwing method which I'm sure has another name that I cannot recall at this time. I hold my yarn in my right hand and "throw" it over my needles. I worked for me.
While learning to knit I tried the continental way of knitting which would be holding my yarn in my left hand. It felt very awkward at first but eventually I was able to knit this way. Purling was another story. I tried and tried and tried but alas I did not succeed. For awhile I would knit continental and purl by throw. It wasn't the best way but for large amounts of stockinette it was fastest.
This past week I've been listening to a lot of podcasts (see earlier post) and I heard Annie Modesitt on KnitCast talking about how she knits different. I caught myself thinking, "Well, how does she knit?" Fast forward to last night and I'm knitting away on a sweater and listening to Knitting News Cast when she starts talking about having the exact same problem I had. Not being able to Purl Continental. When she too mentioned Annie Modesitt I knew it was a sign and I had to investigate. I checked out Annie's website and in minutes I was knitting and purling not continental but by "Combined Knitting."
Now don't get me wrong, it took several rows to get somewhat comfortable and I'm still working on it so that it's second nature. It's basically a row of knit that is knit through the back so that when you purl the stitch is seated on the needle in such a way that the purl stitch is very easy to accomplish. I know my explanation leaves a lot to be decided but if you check out the link to Annie's site it has great animations along with clear pictures. My advice is to give it a try, you might like it, in fact you might love it! Also, thanks so much to Annie Modesitt for sharing! Knitters are so awesome!