October 14, 2017

How Do I Knit If I'm Left-Handed?

Anybody who is left-handed has probably noticed very quickly that all knitting instructions and tutorials are written from a right-handed perspective. For the lefties who want to get started with knitting (click here), there is just one question: can you knit left-handed? 

Left or Right?
For a non-knitter, the entire problem may seem odd. Knitting is done with 2 needles, one in each hand. How is this a left/right handed issue? For standard knitting, the yarn is fed through the right hand into new stitches, and the work is done with the right needle. The left needle is mainly the base on which you work. Stitches then move from the left-hand needle over to the right as the row is completed. So knitting is definitely a directional technique. What's a leftie to do?

Learn the Continental Method
The easiest way to knit left-handed is to use a method intended for the left hand in the first place. Though its not common, the "continental style" of knitting is just that. Because this method of knitting has the yarn held in the left hand, it's a much easier approach for a left-handed person. Tutorials and instructions can be followed as they are without having to make changes as you go. It's a great way to start. 

Simply Knit Right-Handed
It may not be the best approach for most people, and it can depend just how dominant your one hand is over the other. But with practice, it is very possible to master the movements and techniques of standard right-handed knitting even if it feels awkward at first. Over time, you may improve your dexterity in your right hand which certainly couldn't hurt. 

Reverse Everything
This is the most common approach, and the one that usually leads to the most frustration in novice knitters. Basically, you just have to follow the instructions for a right-handed stitch or pattern but reversing everything in your head to make it left-handed. 

How well this works can depend on how well you visualize things, and if your brain can really "reverse" the movements accurately. Doing your knitting in a mirror can help you see the reversals but it can be awkward as a long-term learning solution. 

Alternatively, you can find videos or instructions that do the reversing for you. As the hobby gets more and more popular, and people are learning from online sources rather than in-person from a family member, the need for left-handed tutorials is growing. With a little research, you can usually find a good set of instructions for a certain stitch or pattern that includes how to do the work with a left-handed perspective. 

If you are fairly tech-savvy, you can also take existing photos and use a graphics app to reverse them (usually called mirror) which would give you a better look at the reverse version rather than trying to simply visualize it in your head.

Regardless of which approach you use, you can expect to put in a lot of practice as you master left-handed knitting. That's just part of the process, no matter which direction you're going. In the end, it's worth the effort.  

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