Knitting with Needles

Knitting Left Handed in a Right Handed World by Roberk

There are many knitters out there just like me - you are left handed knitters! Many of the knitting books give a simple suggestion to those of us who are left-handed. That is this: Learn to knit right-handed! Being a left-handed knitter, I refused to take that advice. I have been knitting left handed for over 20 years and have learned to overcome some of the obstacles that left handed knitting presents. If you are a left-handed knitting novice, some of my tips might prove to be beneficial so you can embrace your newfound hobby of knitting.

You can learn some of the basic stitches from an experienced knitter who just happens not to be a left-handed knitter. My mentor was not a left-handed knitter and I loved to watch her sit and knit all of the intricate patterns to create her beautiful sweaters and other knitted work. When I finally expressed a desire to learn how to knit, she gladly told me she would show me how.

The first thing she told me to do was to go buy a pair of size 8 straight knitting needles and a ball of yarn (wool). When I returned, to my surprise...she told me to sit on the floor facing her, while she sat in her chair. I did this, but thought that the logical thing would be to sit beside her while she taught me. However, this was not the way for a left handed knitter to learn from one who uses the other hand dominantly. By sitting opposite of her, I did everything in reverse of what she was doing. If she used her right hand to do something, I used my left hand...and vice versa. Before I knew it, I had a grasp of casting on and was knitting and purling in no time. Then came the time I felt comfortable enough to try actually making something I could keep and reading a pattern to do it.

Now, if any of you are left handed knitters and have attempted to read a knitting pattern that was written by and for knitters of the opposite hand, you have probably felt intimidated and frustrated your first time, just like me. It can be a struggle to logically make sense of the pattern, because us lefty knitters go from left to right when we knit or purl. That makes the pattern backward to us and in the beginning, it can be hard to train yourself which way the decreases or increases should go or slant. In our left-handed knitting mind, we might be working the straight side edge, but in the knitting pattern, they are referring to the inside edge, such as a center front. Left-handed knitting can present problems when reading a pattern.

The best way to tackle left-handed knitting is to take a good look at the pattern before you start it. Many times, we have to compensate for our increases or decreases by adjusting the way we do them. If the pattern says, for instance, "knit two together", in order to make the decrease slant in the right direction, we left handed knitters might have to do a "knit one, slip one, pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch" or in the knitting vernacular "K1, S1, PSSO".

I hope this article will inspire all of you who happen to be left handed knitters and have been frustrated by trying to learn how to knit or want to try more intricate patterns. Knitting can be one of the most enjoyable hobbies you can ever learn and give you hours of pleasure. I hope to write more knitting tips for all of us left handed knitters and also for those who may be of the other "handed persuasion". In the meantime, I hope you all visit this very interesting blog, "Craftola". It gives tips, tricks and is very insightful on all types of arts and crafts. Happy knitting to all of you left handed knitters!


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