Knitting with 9 fingers--help please?

my dd’s grandmother is facing surgery to remove an infected portion of bone (infection from a cat bite…long story).

i’ve wanted to teach her how to knit, but hesitated b/c she was doing tons of antibiotics and waiting for her finger to heal. since it seems she may lose all or most of her index finger, i’m wondering if anyone here has a similar condition, but still knits.

i tried doing it without my index finger and actually had pretty good luck. i’m thinking since she will be learning WITHOUT the finger, it might not be too hard for her.

any advice on how to teach her?

btw, she is a crocheter from waaaaaaaaaaay back, so i know she loves to craft and work with fibers.

and of course, any good mojo/strength/vibes/prayers you can spare would be most appreciated. she is a dear lady.

thank you so much!

Which index finger is she going to be working without? If it is the right, I think a great choice would be to teach her to knit Continental. That way all she has to do with the right hand is hold the needle, and since she is a crocheter she should be able to catch on to that method easily.

If it is her left index finger, I would go for English knitting. I guess some people run the yarn over the right index finger and get the yarn around the needle with that finger, but you don’t have to “throw” it any special way to get it to work. It doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to teach her pretty much like anyone.

Learning new skills can take a little more time as we get older, but just go slow and be patient. We older dogs can learn new tricks. :slight_smile:

This is kind of an unusual challenge, if you don’t mind me saying so. It’s wonderful that you are going to teach her to knit.

I believe you are correct in thinking that since she doesn’t know how to knit to begin with, she will just learn to knit from the beginning in the best way for her situation. I think her biggest hurdle will be to “forget about” her crochet habits and start new knitting ones.

It would be harder for her if she already knew how to knit and had to re-learn another way.

She will also be learning to live without her finger in general, and will be getting used to doing lots of things a little differently.

Good luck!

thank you both for your replies. her right index finger will be affected, and she is right-handed. i am a conti knitter and i tried a few stitches, while holding my right index finger out of the way. my middle finger definitely needed to work a little more, but it really felt doable.

i’m hoping that encouraging her with this new skill will help her over this new hurdle in her life. she loves LOVES LOVES LOVES crafting of all sorts, so i think this may help give her something quiet to do and something POSITIVE to remind herself that she’s only been set back, not shut down as far as crafting. kwim?

Losing the right index finger shouldn’t cause any big problems for knitting, especially Continental. I’d only add, try to avoid saying ‘normally it’s done this way but because of your finger let’s try it this way’. Instead just let her watch you make the motion, and let her move the wool or needle in the same way, accomplishing the same action, without telling her how to do it with her hand. Let her figure out the best way for her to make the loop or whatever, showing her which way the wool goes around but let her decide for herself what is the easiest way.
How about buying her a ball or two of something cashmerino-like or beautifully soft in her favourite color to start off with after she’s got the knit stitch down? Remember not to treat her too much like she’s odd… the right pointer finger is pretty much irrelevant IMO for continental knitting.

I knit combined, continental-style and I don’t use my right index finger much at all. In fact, I think I just hold it up and use my other fingers to move the stitches along the needle. I think it’s certainly doable and I think it’s sweet of you to take the time to teach her. I’d definitely vote for continental, especially since she’s a crocheter. I’ll definitely keep her in my prayers as well. I hope the surgery goes well and there are no complications.

I have no advice, rather I wanted to mention that learning to knit may improve her dexterity in dealing with the loss of a digit. Sounds like a good plan!

It looks like you have gotten some other good encouragement here!! That’s great. Since it is the right index finger and shes a crocheter, I’d definately give Continental a try.

Losing a part of your body can be a trama mentally, that’s for sure. My mother, when she was only 58 lost both of her feet, they were afraid she would lose a hand too, but they saved that. She did great though, could drive, march in parades (she was a clown), garden and dance (not quite a good as she used to though. lol). Attititude is everything and learning a new skill may be a real blessing to this lady. I’m sending up a prayer too. Merigold