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Left Handed Knitting

jjk466's picture

Maybe this has been answered a million times already...I am a right handed knitter taught by my Norwegian grandmother (I hold the working yarn over my left index finger). My left handed sister-in-law wants me to teach her how to knit. My question is, do left handed knitters knit just like right handed knitters or is there a reverse process somehow? Any advice?

sewphaedra's picture

(post #29210, reply #1 of 5)

Golly, if you are already knitting Continental (holding yarn in left hand and picking it up with the needle) then you *are* knitting left handed. That's the way I've always been told lefties knit best. I knit right handed, holding the yarn in right hand and "throwing it over" the needle.

Last week I was working on a two-color fair-isle style hat and tried two-handed knitting. I held one color in the left hand and one in the right and it was so speedy! I didn't have to keep putting down the yarn and picking up the next color, and the threads didn't get tangled. I have to work on loosening up, but I would highly recommend that technique for two-color fair isle knitting.

jjk466's picture

(post #29210, reply #2 of 5)

Thanks for the reply!! As long as I know there is no definite difference in style when a right handed person knits vs a left handed person I will plow ahead.

Joress's picture

(post #29210, reply #3 of 5)

As a teacher by training and a lefty, I have a different perspective. I am left-handed for some things, right-handed for others. I write and eat and hand-sew with the left, throw and bat and use a computer mouse with the right. My right-side large muscles are actually stronger for sports--I was the only "brother" my right-handed older brother had growing up, so I learned what I saw. Because it's mostly a right-handed world, most lefties learn many right-handed skills. My two younger left-handed sisters are also right-handed for some things. IMHO, when learning any skill for the first time, unless you are very strongly one-handed, you can learn it any way you want. You are teaching your muscles a new skill and can learn with either hand--with practice, of course. For instance, when teaching, I usually recommend that a mouse be used with the right hand when first learning, even if you are left-handed. (Remember, I am left-handed.) That way, when you sit at someone else's computer in the office, you won't have trouble using their system. My left-handed students usually do just fine learning with their right hand. So, in short, you might want to teach someone to do it exactly the way you do it. It would be less confusing when they watch and mimic. If you are teaching with the opposite hand, I've heard that sitting in front of the teacher is the best way to visualize what to do--you then become a mirror image of the action, which is also less confusing than when sitting side by side. I hope this helps.

jjk466's picture

(post #29210, reply #4 of 5)

This is  the first time I have sought technical expertise on Gatherings and I must admit I am blown away by people's willingness to take the time and explain something to an unknown person. Thank you. My mother always claimed she would have been left handed had she not grown up at a time when left handed people were forced to do everything right handed. Therefore your perspective was very interesting. Hopefully when I am in the role of "knitting teacher" all goes well., with a whole "forum" behind me, how can it not!!

ehBeth's picture

(post #29210, reply #5 of 5)

I'm a right-handed, continental knitter, taught by a leftie - so i'll be watching to see how things go. I've got a couple of ideas that might help if things get tricky, but i think it's best if you go ahead and start with teaching your current technique - it will probably work very well for 'your' leftie.

If you can't play a sport, be one.

If you can't play a sport, be one.