View Full Version : Teaching a leftie?

11-29-2007, 08:02 PM
:knitting: :knitting: :knitting: Hi my name is Sheryl and I live in Castle Rock CO. I love to knit and have a friend that is left handed that wants me to teach her how. Any suggestions for teaching a leftie?

11-29-2007, 09:17 PM
I'm a leftie and I knit just like everyone else. Everyone else that knits english, that is, lol. I say just teach her to knit like you do, whether that's english or continental.

11-29-2007, 09:44 PM
I taught a lefty to knit, and I taught her to knit the way I do, too. Eventually, she evolved to the point where she was holding the right needle pretty still and doing the work with her left, but still knitting English. It worked for her.

11-29-2007, 11:34 PM
You use both hands to knit so being left or right handed doesn't matter. Teach her the way you knit.

11-30-2007, 12:24 AM
I moved this so more people would see it.

11-30-2007, 12:28 AM
Lefty here, I learned to knit like everyone else. First I picked up ENglish and then eventually moved to Continental because it felt more comfortable to hold the yarn in my dominant hand. But I'm still knitting "righty", technically speaking...and I'd say it's better that wat way, no need to have to adjust and reverse every pattern I come across.

Go for just teaching her the way you do , she'll probably pick it up just fine. Many lefties develop comfortably ambidexterous abilities naturally since everything we encounter in the world is "righty" anyway. :thumbsup: Have fun!

Lisa R.
11-30-2007, 01:10 AM
I got the same advice from a leftie. My dd is a leftie and I was thinking she'd have to do it backwards, but was told not to bother, for the same reasons the others have mentioned.

She hasn't picked it up, due to low interest level, but what little she has done, has been fine the "regular" way.

11-30-2007, 01:16 AM
One suggestion I've often seen is have her sit in front of you, not next to you, so you are mirror images.

Try various and sundry ways and see what works.


11-30-2007, 03:15 AM
I am a lefty and I knit continental and learned from a right handed knitter. I do think you need to figure out HOW firm of a left handed person they are. Most lefties are ambidextrous i think out of necessity but there are still many who can't do much of anything with their right hand. It COULD be harder if your friend is that person but it doesn't have to be. I think there are good suggestions here. one thing about them learning to knit "left handed" is that they might have to figure out how to alter patterns if they start knitting backwards. also, it can be harder to find someone to help you if you are knitting left handed and they don't know how to do those alterations to a pattern.

That being said, I learned by sitting BEHIND my instructor and mimicing her movements. I think it is the best method because i was doing the same thing she was instead of mirroring her. There are all sorts of ways of teaching her. just find what works for y'all. :thumbsup:

I wouldn't get too hung up on the left handed thing though. i didn't learn earlier because i was sure that nobody could teach me since i am a lefty. pfft! ;)

11-30-2007, 06:46 AM
I'm righty but offeref my bff, who's a lefty how to knit. She hasn't taken me up on it but I hope she will so I'll know if there really is a difference. I use my left hand a lot more than my right with knitting and other things like playing pool (I have a really hard time holding the cue stick in my right hand - feels very strange).

Since there's both Continental and English styles I can't see that it would be that hard to learn. (I'll change that comment if I find out differently :teehee: )

I have tried teaching 10 yo boy, who's a lefty to crochet and showed him by holding the hook in first my right (didn't know he was a lefty yet) and then in my left. He said it felt better in his right hand, although like other kids had a problem with tension. I showed him in a van (no, I wasn't driving LOL), but I finally had to stop since it was killing my neck turning around so much.


11-30-2007, 06:52 AM
I was just talking to my SIL abot this subject this weekend. She is a lefty and learned to knit from her grandmother. Instead of sitting side by side to learn, her grandmother put her in a chair in front of her and taught her knee to knee. My SIL called it "mirror image" and said it was quite easy to pick up because she would do what her grandmother did with the hand directly in front of her hand (so she was doing with her left hand what her grandmother was doing with her right). .

11-30-2007, 07:54 AM
I'm a leftie and learnt to 'normal' way with no problem (I knit the English way). I think brendajos is right, you need to find out how ambidextrous she is before you decide how to teach her :)

11-30-2007, 08:04 AM
Ok, I've taught a few 'lefties' how to knit. I have taught them all how to knit 'right-handed' or the regular way.. I tell everyone that 'it's awkward' at first for EVERYONE no matter if they are right handed or left-handed.

It just takes practice. Both hands have to work- so, it's not biggie. I wouldn't want to even try to learn left handed.. (if I was left handed) because all the knitting illustrations that I've seen show 'how' right handed. I'd just hate to have to 'spend my knitting time' trying to figure out how to reverse things all the time.

11-30-2007, 02:36 PM
As a self taught lefty, I just followed the drawings in the book and learned to knit like a righty. I agree with others that trying to reverse things to accomodate her lefthandedness would make it more difficult to follow patterns. I think because you use both hands to knit that it won't be more difficult for her to learn than a righty. I do knit english, continental just feels awkward and I'm in to big a hurry to get projects done to take the time to practice.
I think that once she gets over the awkward feel of the needles and movements she'll be fine.

11-30-2007, 05:35 PM
personally I would tell you to teach her the same way you knit and do not tell her differently. I am left handed and learned right handed. I know no other way so to me it is normal. Its really easy just sit beside her and she will be fine. She will have to learn how to get strength in the hand she doesn't use as often but it is completely do able. I am a perfect example for that. Its to hard for people who learn left handed to have to find patterns and more. So why not just teach them the basics of knitting instead of finding directions that may end up confusing yourself more which doesn't help the "new student" ;) Anyway lolol however you do it, its nice to get another knitter in the world! Mary G.

11-30-2007, 08:49 PM
Another leftie here:happydance: . When I was taught to knit English, it was very easy since you hold it in your left hand......I have trouble with Continental, but I just need to retrain my brain......:teehee:

11-30-2007, 09:16 PM
I have taught both to knit and I tell everyone that when you learn to knit you feel like you have 2 left hands ( or 2 right hands for left handers). It takes practice to feel comfortable with any method. I just show them English, Continental (how I knit unless I have 2 colors) and combined. Then they can choose what works for them.

With children I first teach them to crochet, holding the yarn the way I do for continental knitting and holding the fabric in the left hand the way I hold the needle and keeping the index finger up with the yarn over it. This way they get used to controling the tension, which is one of the hardest parts, and learning to knit after that is much easier.

01-16-2008, 02:26 PM
Please allow lefties to learn to knit lefthanded. The myth that everything has to be reversed is perpetuated by people who do not knit left-handed and have no actual experience. I strongly recommend showing people a wide variety of ways to knit and I show lefties, LEFT handed first! It's arrogant to do anything else. to imply that a lefty needed to learn to write right handed wouldn't be tolerated today, why do (those of) you insist on right handed knitting? Yes, it's 2 handed, but there is a dominant hand. Please, just let people learn, the more happy knitters the better for all of us.
www.leftoutknitter.com for "how to knit left-handed"
and stop with the stereotypes!

Jan in CA
01-16-2008, 02:40 PM
Left Out Knitter - :???:

I'm not sure why are so upset. No one has a problem with knitters knitting left handed. The original poster was right handed so teaching left handed would be extremely difficult. If you are left handed it makes sense that you would teach left handed.

As you can see from reading this the lefties here learned right handed and they aren't having problems. Knitting is supposed to be enjoyable and it makes no difference how you do it.

01-16-2008, 02:53 PM
My complaint is that lefties can and should be taught to knit left handed. I'm left handed and taught myself to knit right handed to teach my SIL and niece. It wasn't fun for me, but it got 2 more knitters into the world. If I learned, why can't a right handed person do the same thing? To say that it's backwards, too hard etc is not accurate and if we force lefties to knit right handed we may be losing them because it will never flow easily. there ARE lefties who knit right-handed, but there are some who just didn't get it. They dropped an art that can be so incredibly nurturing because they weren't given the support they needed.

01-16-2008, 04:03 PM
I'm a self taught lefty and I don't feel the need to be militant about it. I have learned to do a lot of things the way rightys do. I shoot right handed and I don't think I would spend the money to buy a left handed rifle. I'm married to a lefty and he also has learned to work with right handed tools.
I would still recommend that a lefty learn to knit right handed just because of the ease of choosing patterns and learning new techniques. I don't see why it's any more difficult to knit right handed for a left handed person. I am extremely left handed and I did not find it more difficult to follow instructions in a book. To me it would be like learning the piano or other musical instrument. Handedness really doesn't come into it because you're using both hands.
There are also righties who give up knitting because they don't get it and get frustrated. I think you're looking for a problem that I don't see exists.:shrug:

01-16-2008, 04:30 PM
Nope, i'm responding to years of LYS and knitting teachers telling lefties they can't knit left handed, now it's forums. I'm happily left handed and knitting. I think lefties should get the same accomodations as anyone else, not be shoved into a mold. That remains my point. That a right handed person can teach a left handed person to knit either left OR right handed, but not always indoctrinate them with right handed rhetoric. Check a few other threads and see how adamant people are about teaching lefties right handed, nobody calls them militant, but I express a view strongly supporting the reality of happily knitting lefthanded and I'm labeled. hopefully more knitters will be open to learning and teaching different styles, be in combination or lefty or lefty combination. There is no "one" way to knit.

01-16-2008, 05:00 PM
When my mother was a child, (in the 30s), she was discouraged from using her left hand. In school, they would tie her left hand behind her back and make her write right-handed, or they would pop her with a ruler for using her left hand. I know there used to be a stigma associated with left-handedness. It was thought of as wrong-handed. She did grow up to be left-handed despite all the meanness she was shown, and bless her heart, had to teach 3 completely right-handed children how to write! :)
I don't think anyone here thinks of being left-handed as being wrong-handed, I think it comes down to ease of access. I've heard it said many times before. There really isn't a wrong way. If you are producing knitting and you are enjoying it, then you are doing everything right. It all comes down to personal choice.

Now, "can't we all just get along"? :hug:

01-16-2008, 05:17 PM
I have had a lefty come to me for lessons. I told her right off the bat that I am right handed. She was fine with it and learned very quickly. I taught her continental though since it's easier for lefties. But if a student was adamant about having a left handed knitting teacher, by all means they can go find one. I would never "force" a lefty to knit right handed. But I teach one way, and that's that.

I totally agree that there is no "one" way to knit, but I teach one way (or two if you count english and conti). Just as you shouldn't feel pressured to learn one specific way, I, as a knitting teacher, shouldn't feel pressured to teach a specific way either. You have the right to find a teacher of your choice, and I have the right to teach as I choose.

Jan in CA
01-16-2008, 09:04 PM
Left Out Knitter - I've been a member of KH for 2yrs and a mod for over a year and you are the first I've ever seen who has a problem with lefties being taught right handed. I agree that if they want to knit left handed then they should be able to, but I really don't think there is anyone here who feels they've been shortchanged. If there is then I suggest they find a lefty to teach them. I've also never heard of anyone saying they enjoy it any less or quit because of it either here or at my LYS where I go once or twice a week. When someone asks about knitting left handed I've found very few resources to help them hence the posts that suggest they learn right handed. I've bookmarked your link to share with those who ask about it. Thank you for that. I hope we can get along now and not have anymore finger pointing. :hug: