Knitting for lefties

My daughter, age 32, wants me to show her how to knit. I’d not contemplated teaching her before when I was a very basic knitter myself. With lessons I’ve improved :smiley:

The problem is that she is left handed. I have read about the mirror on the lap method, and facing one another.

Has anyone got tips or hints on how best to manage the leftie thing. I will also be looking for a lefties instruction book if there is any such thing. Is there a book for learning how to knit when being left handed? Thanks in advance.


it seems like i’ve heard that lefties can learn to knit continental w/o too many problems, but i have no clue.

i’ve wondered myself sine my SIL shows interest in knitting, but she’s also a lefty

I’m left-handed and I’ve never had any problems knitting English style. In fact, it’s currently the only way I can knit. I don’t think it really has a lot to do with favouring one hand over the other, only what is comfortable for the individual. I always think it’s weird that other people see being left-handed as a disadvantage when it comes to knitting, but maybe I just have more coordination in my right hand than normal?

Actually, I wrap the yarn with my right hand, but my left needle moves a lot more than the right. I pull the loop over the stitch rather than “pulling it through” the loop. …does that make sense?

Being left-handed is not a disadvantage. Knitting is a two-handed activity, whatever your “handedness.” Would you try to teach your daughter left-handed typing? Left-handed piano playing?

Left-handed knitters can knit either English or Continental style perfectly well without special techniques or contortions. Continental might be a bit more comfortable for some lefties, but not necessarily. Combined knitting may be even more comfortable, especially when purling. As Elfhelm’s experience shows, most knitters find their own way of getting the stitches made correctly.

When people talk about knitting “left-handed,” they’re often talking about knitting stitches off the right needle instead of the left – in other words, knitting backward. Here lies madness if the knitter intends to use a pattern since every direction must be turned around.

The reason most left-handed knitters feel awkward at first is the same reason everybody does: a new skill takes practice. Just teach your daughter the basics of making stitches – insert needle, wrap yarn, pull a loop through, slip the new stitch off. Don’t worry about her handedness, and don’t burden her with feeling different. She’ll be fine.

Knitasha, I was going to make the same post until I read yours! That advice is also the same advice Elizabeth Zimmerman ( :notworthy: ) gives in her books. Knitting is awkward for everyone at first–lefties and righties alike. I’m right handed but use my left hand in knitting far more than my right (I knit Continental).

Thank you. I’ve never treated her differently and as you can see she has reached age 32…is a well adjusted happy leftie who manages her own family life as well attending to her 6 month old infant.

We just want to know the best technique for her to follow to knit. I’d love to know the name of a suitable book that will help. What is the title of the Elizabeth Zimmerman book if you don’t mind me asking. I appreciate being informed of the continental technique and I am sure she will give it a try. She will visit from interstate in three weeks time and I will let you know if we’ve made any leftie knitting progress.

Thanks for your input,

I’m left handed and knit left handed in continental. I watched many of the video’s on this site and then either 1. very ,very slowly did it right handed (english style) until I understood it and then switched it to left handed (working off the right needle instead of the left) or I could just figure it out in my head and do it left handed.

I have had to reverse patterns and sometimes will do a sample, again very slowly right handed until I understand how to swtich it, I did a small sample of a sock and messed up the heel part because I didn’t reverse it, but I learned from it and it was just practice, it taught me a lot. So sometimes you have to think about what your doing. I usually re-write the pattern or just pay attention to my right side and wrong side. I have noticed having been taught the initial knit stitch by a right handed person on circular needles that straight needs sometimes help me keep my right side/wrong side straight.

For me it was easier to watch the video’s here and just switch it in my head then to look at book with pictures or even on the internet. The video’s here are the best!!!

Good Luck, I’m 32 also and have only since March after finding this site realized I could knit way more then just a straight knit afghan and boy have I been having fun! Everyone here is awesome!

April in SC

April, you are an inspiration. It takes patience and willpower to achieve what you did, and I’m impressed.

I’m not sure if my daughter has enough time due to baby demands but maybe she can sit at her computer while feeding. let it sink in before she gets around to a practical try. I’d forgotten about the videos but have since checked them out and I do think the continental method “looks” easier than english.

Congratulations on your achievement! It’s only recent that I progressed from straightforward knit/purl and am so pleased with myself for taking the leap of faith. I’ve just completed two wonderful baby sweaters. It feels great :smiley:


Hi Grace,

I am a self taught lefty knitter and it was difficult for me in the beginning as it probably is for all knitters. But, I knit the “regular” way. I am sure your daughter can do it because she is a lefty (we can do anything). I have always had to learn how to manage because everything is geared towards righties and I have found it better to adjust because as someone stated earlier almost all patterns are written in right hand format and I think it will be more cumbersome to her to try and do the mirror thing or anything else that others suggest.

It really didn’t take me long to learn, because I learned it the “regular” way, I knit English and I can do continental as well, but perfer English.

Believe me, she definitely can do it, she is doing the most important AND hardest thing right now raising a child :cheering:

Because you are right handed and showing her she will definitely pick up. She will be frustrated in the beginning, but I think that is normal for everyone in the beginning and this site is very helpful. I also learned from a kids book because it was very specific and they had poems to follow.

Sorry it is a little long winded, but from one lefty knitter to a soon to be knitting lefty, I figured i should add my two cents.

I too am a 32, left handed knitter. Hey, maybe we should start a group!!!

Just kidding. :roflhard:

Sorry for the late response! The EZ book is Knitting Without Tears. It’s wonderful!

I’m also a lefty and it took me a bit to get the hang of knitting. The videos were so backward to me and I finally figured out that it WAS my lefthandedness that made me feel that way.

I would say since you are right and she is left have her face you and have her mirror what you do. Once she gets the hang of it she will find her groove. Took me awhile but I found it. :thumbsup:

I’m a lefty too. Purling is the hardest for me as I tried to do it the way the video and my instructor showed me - but I ended up with twisted yarn. Now I know I have to come in from the back of the stitch over the top of the front of the stitch, throw counterclockwise & slip it off. Say that three times!!!

I knit english (I think) everything from right to left & I throw with my left. I tried combined, but I cannot throw with my right now matter how hard I try!

I keep watching the video on increasing, but again, doing it “my way” is twisting the yarn. :wall: Any ideas lefties?

Do you mean that your stitches are twisted, Janie?

If they are, just purl or knit into the right leg - The right leg is always the right leg, whether it’s in front (As in an untwisted stitch) or in the back (As in a twisted stitch) You can remember because each leg of a stitch forms the V in stockinette. If you took your stitch and placed it the way it would be in stockinette, you can easily imagine/see which leg is the right leg.

I’m a lefty too (although I’m not 32… lol) and I knit fine in both English and Continental. I prefer Continental now, but only because its the faster method for me. When I started knitting I was afraid I’d have to do it a different way, but I actually didnt understand ANY of the videos/articles for left handed knitters when I looked it up, so I just stuck w/ “right handed” knitting. Like most here have said, knitting is just like anything else you do with both hands. I’m sure that if she learns the “normal” way it’ll save her trouble in the future, but of course, its about where SHE feels comfortable.

Aiden, now that makes sense! I never looked at it that way. Still a learning process :).

As a southpaw myself, and a newbie on this forum, I’ll just weigh in with a couple of observations: first, until just this very minute, reading this topic, it never entered my mind that I knit backwards. But apparently I do–I knit stitches from the right needle onto the left needle.

And secondly, I’ve taught righties to knit, so I must not be that odd. We just sit across from each other and mirror. I guess they knit frontwards and I knit backwards, huh?

(Paul McCartney plays guitar left-handed and it looks really weird! That’s a better analogy for knitting, probably, than piano or typing.)

I adapt patterns all the time, and have never once ended up with a backward garment. As to videos–kind of a new thing for me–I can look at them in a mirror.

Grace how is it coming with teaching your daughter?