View Full Version : Left-Handed Knitting
12-11-2008, 03:20 PM
I am extremely left-handed, so all my knitting is backwards to everybody else's. I taught myself from books by reversing the instructions; e.g., when the instructions mention RH needle, I substitute LH needle, etc. I have worked very hard and have managed to produce a decent stockinette stitch that isn't twisted.
I went to two yarns shops for help yesterday. The owner of the first one blew me off as if I were from another planet, and the second one offered me private lessons to help me learn to knit right-handed. I was told that I could not progress to more difficult patterns as long as I am approaching from the wrong direction. I'll admit many books say left-handed knitters should learn to knit right-handed or learn the Continental method, but this defies logic to me. Left-handed people are people too!
Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions to help us poor lefties?
12-11-2008, 03:44 PM
Well, I kind of look at knitting as ambidextrous. Sure, you can hold the yarn in either your left hand (continental knitting), or your right (english knitting), but the basic motion of the needles remains the same, to some extent. People knit in all kinds of ways, really.
I'm left handed too, but never had any trouble picking up knitting. Crochet is a different matter altogether. I hold the crochet hook in my left hand, which totally messes me up for things like sweaters. At least I think it does. I just can't wrap my head around that one. With crochet, I know all the basic stitches, and can write my own simple patterns, but have difficulty with "reading" more advanced patterns written by other people. Go figure.
I think you'll probably run into trouble in doing more advanced knitting, things like lace and such.
It really would be worth it to have lessons by a very patient person (someone left handed maybe?).
In any case, it was rude of that lady at the yarn store to blow you off, and I'm sorry that happened.
I guess I'm not really any help to you, because I knit the regular way. Maybe someone else will chime in. :hug:
12-11-2008, 03:46 PM
I believe there's a lefthanded knitters website, you might also check Youtube for videos. The problem they told you about patterns may crop up when you have one with shaping. You can reverse the pattern instructions, but it's a lot of work. Knitting is somewhat of a both handed technique, so that's why it can be just as easy to learn the `right handed' way, that is - knitting stitches from the left needle to the the empty right needle. The yarn can be held in either hand.
Jan in CA
12-11-2008, 03:57 PM
Most left handers do knit right handed, but they may feel more comfortable knitting continental (working yarn in left hand). There are some who actually do knit true left handed where everything is reversed. There is one woman at my LYS who knits that way. The woman who blew you off is unprofessional and needs some lessons in manners and how to run business.
I have this bookmarked.
I did a Google search and came up with all kinds of links that might help as well as what you might get here.
12-12-2008, 11:29 AM
As with most things, lefties cope with knitting in various manners.
Some actually reverse everything;
some knit "english" but throwing with the left hand.
Some knit Continental style with the yarn in the right hand.
Some just knit right handed; either continental or english.
And some work in in various combinations of reversal; such as the person I ran into whose "right side" faces AWAY from the knitter....
But that's okay - on the average we lefties are more intelligent, so we *CAN* cope.
12-12-2008, 04:19 PM
I taught myself to knit and crochet years ago. As a lefty I crocheted left handed (holding yarn in my right, hook in left). It actually made it easier to follow diagrams in books when learning to knit. I knit english style with yarn in right hand.
As others have said and posted links to, there are some who really like knitting left handed, but I don't like to work any harder than I have to to follow a pattern.
The internet has made it so easy to learn any technique or style you want.
Best of luck on your knitting journey.
12-12-2008, 04:58 PM
I too knit left handed. I can write with both hands but do everything else left handed. When I learned to write there were no leftys to teach me so I learned right handed. When I broke my wrist I wrote left handed. My mother had tried to teach me to knit but shes totally right handed and knits in the English method. This way was really awkward for me. Others have tried to teach me, but they too were right handed and held the yarn in the right hand. I just could not grasp the concept. I crochet right handed but its awkward, slow, and my tension is way off. I followed the videos for Continental knitting and picked it up easily. The yarn is held in my left hand and feels correct. This also does not hurt my hands they way crochet does. I would watch the various videos and see which one is right for you. I have been having fun learning to knit the more complicated patterns as wash cloths and afghans are boring to me. I have completed my first pair of socks and am now on to a hat with small ribs and cables.
12-12-2008, 05:19 PM
A girl at my work told me she couldn't help me learn to knit because she knits left-handed. I guess all her patterns come out inside out or something? She didn't get much more detailed than that though.
12-12-2008, 08:56 PM
1. Don't go back to either yarn shop, ever. (With that lousy attitude, they'll close soon anyway.) It really frosts me when people act as if there's something wrong with lefties. My son is a lefthanded golfer and, while his pro is highly supportive, runs into that kind of garbage every once in a while...usually from someone who can't play. When someone says "You can't do that with your left hand" they really mean "I don't have a clue how to do it with MY left hand."
2. It's possible to do anything lefthanded that you can do right. If nothing else, you can watch videos in a mirror. Like a lot of lefties, I knit with the yarn in my left hand, picking up stitches onto the right needle. Maybe it's combined, maybe it's variant Continental, maybe there's a new name for it this week, but it works for me. If it doesn't work for you, enjoy whatever way does. As long as one loop of yarn goes through another and looks right when the piece is done, how it got there is immaterial.
3. If you find a righthanded person who wants to teach you, sit across from him/her rather than beside and mirror the hand motions. Son's golf pro is a righty and all Gabe has to do is mirror his swing. It doesn't really cause any problems.
12-13-2008, 02:21 AM
I had to chime in. I am a left handed knitter, and I knit Hermione's Cable and Bobble mitts, and the only thing I noticed is a) my cables went the 'wrong' way, and b) when I followed the directions for the right hand, I knit a left hand mitt, so had to be careful to follow the LEFT hand directions for the other mitt so that I woul come out with a right hand mitt (got all the way to the thumb before I realised that I would have two left hand mitts and had to take it out-ouch!)
Also, there are plenty of us out there. I learned to continental knit with the yarn in my right hand and picking with the left--the only part I could not get was the purl, and wouldn't you know it, I come on here and someone posts on their blog with pics and everything showing how to purl continental as a lefty.
Please don't give up, and feel free to pm me!
12-14-2008, 12:57 AM
I write with my left hand but do sports (very badly) with my right hand. I started out knitting English style and it was kind of awkward and slow for me. Then I decided to try out Continental and I like it much better. It took a looong time to learn how to purl correctly - for a few months I was sort of throwing the yarn, but with my left hand. Someone posted a youtube video on here that helped me figure out how to do it faster though (it was some link about Continental knitting in general, but I really liked her purling technique). Anyways, I feel like Continental knitting is a mostly left handed technique, all the right hand does is scoop in to grab the yarn. You get to use your left hand to guide the yarn into place and move back and forth from knitting and purling.
Anyways, it seems like it might be worth it to experiment with Continental knittng to see if it works for you? It would probably save some time in the long run since you wouldn't have to reverse patterns.