Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm a left handed knitter.

I'm not a really prolific knitter, and all I really make is dishcloths and, occasionally, socks. A friend of mine was knitting up a dishcloth using this pattern and I had her email me the link for the pattern. She recommended that I use a knitted cast on, and since I only knew one cast on method, I googled it and in my search, kept finding statements something like this: Since knitting is an activity that uses both hands, we recommend that left-handers learn to knit right handed. I've also been told this exact thing by a yarn shop owner/teacher. Not exactly helpful. In knitting, one hand does most of the work, and for me, that really needs to be my left hand.

From what I read on Knitty, some left handed people are ok learning to knit righty, but for some it is just not possible. Here's how knitting works for me: I hold the working needle in my left hand, and knit stitches from the left to the right. Finished stitches are on the left needle.

This doesn't cause problems for me while reading patterns; if I ever knit a sweater with two different fronts I might end up with a left front after knitting the right front instructions. But then I would end up with a right front from the left front instructions. And, with cables, I have to twist them the opposite way in order to get correct results. But knitting left handed isn't really a problem, at least with the simple projects I make. I follow patterns as they are written and things generally come out looking the same as if a right handed person made them.

I did get really frustrated at not being able to find left handed instructions for the knitted cast-on. I'm sure I need to dig a little deeper and maybe it's out there. At any rate, it wasn't that difficult to read the directions I found and transpose them to using the left hand for the working needle. Here's how I did it: make a slip knot, place on right needle. Insert left needle into the yarn as if it's a knit stitch, pull up a loop. Place this loop on the right needle. Repeat until you have the desired number of stitches.

I'm going to keep looking for good left handed casting on and other knitting instructions and if I don't find them I just might make my own photo tutorials for the ones I know so far.


Kathy said...

Could you learn to knit Continental style? The work is split pretty evenly between both hands, not dominantly in either one. The problem with knitting the opposite way is that charts and patterns aren't going to make sense and you'll have a lot more work to do. All of the lefty knitters I know still end up with stitches on the right needle, though many of them prefer Continental since it doesn't involve the right hand so much.

Vicki said...

I do. It works well because I hold the yarn in my right hand, the same way I learned to hold yarn with tension when I learned to crochet when I was 6.

I think I may have used a chart once. But I think there shouldn't be problems, I would just read it my left to right way and a righty would read it right to left, right? I may have to revisit learning some new techniques if I get into more advanced knitting. But patterns do work out for me, at least on socks and hats, if I knit as written.

So... do the left handed knitters you know use their right hand as their dominant knitting hand, then?

Anonymous said...

theres a group for lefties - if your interested they can help you

regards Alison