Right-hander to teach a left-hander...suggestions?

Hey peeps!

I am a right-handed knitter and I have been asked by a left-hander to teach her how to knit. Everytime I have ever heard anyone talk about it, they say how hard it is. I have some questions before I attempt it.

Does a left-handed knitter knit left to right or right to left like a right-handed knitter? Are the hands, yarn or needles held a different way? [I am an English knitter]

I really want to be able to teach her and teach her correctly…any suggestions would be great!

Some left handers knit left to right, but I think a lot of them knit right to left. If she’s never done anything like knitting before, teach her to knit right handed - it probably won’t be any more awkward than if she taught herself left handed.

I agree. I’m left-handed, but I learned to knit right-handed. Knitting is going to feel awkward in the beginning no matter how you learn, so you might as well learn right-handed. Plus, learning left-handed means you have to learn to convert patterns and just makes everything harder. That’s my 2 cents worth anyway! :rollseyes:

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I taught a lefty to knit–English and righty. She eventually got herself to the point where she pretty much keeps the right needle jammed between her thighs and does the work with the left needle, but still keeps the yarn in her right hand. It works for her.:shrug:

I’m also a lefty who knits like a righty. My mom tried to teach me left handed, but I couldn’t get the hang of it. So she said “just do it this way” and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Robin is right, it’s going to feel awkward no matter what since it’s a new skill.

Picturing it. :rofling: She could make money doing that on the road.

sorry :oops: could.not.resist.

I vote for teaching her right handed if that works for her. I taught my left handed daughter to knit right handed. Many lefties are quite ambidextrous, having to live in a mostly right handed world. But I think some left handed people are [B]very[/B] left handed and find it more awkward than others would to work right handed. For those it may be worth it to learn truly left handed. I’ve heard something about working with them watching you in a mirror to learn to do it “backwards”. It would save her some grief when it comes to patterns, etc. to learn right handed though.

Another thing that may work for her is to learn to knit Continental. You use your left hand a lot in that technique. There are good videos of that technique here on this site, and you could still help her with your knowledge of knitting in general. You might learn to knit Continental while you’re at it. :thumbsup: A good thing to know even if you prefer English.

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I tell the kids in my Kids Knit group that you have to use both hands so it doesn’t matter which one does what. (I teach everyone right handed english) One of my boy lefty’s said, “Awesome, Mrs. Hall” like I had invented knitting just so he didn’t have to learn something a different way from everyone else.

I’m a lefty that is a self taught knitter and I knit right handed or English style. As for knitting left handed or Continental style LOL yeah that harder for me to even try. My only problem when i first started knitting was I twisted my stitches all the time.

Hey, I just learned from the knitting quizes someone has going that once you know how to do the actual knitting that there are no conversions that have to be made for patterns or anything. I always thought there were. Is this true?

That makes perfect sense to me. Knitters do use both hands! What a great teacher you must be. :cheering:

In relation to this topic, I use my mouse with my left hand and have done so since I began using a mouse because it made sense. I’m an accountant and prefer to keep my right hand available for the number keypad, especially as I’ve been using that keypad for over 30 years and computers for nearly that long. People routinely ask me if I’m left-handed because of my mouse usage. I tell them they’re cheating themselves of valuable time by constantly moving their right hands from keypad to mouse and back. God gave you two hands. Use 'em! :rofl:

You mean for right or left handed knitting? You can always convert - flat into round, round into flat, seamed for seamless - so I don’t understand that statement…

The woman who taught me how to knit essentially sat in front of me with her back sort of turned to me and i just mimicked her movements. I knit continental which is supposedly easier for lefties to learn but i am sure that is bullocks, considering everybody learns differently no matter left or right handed. It really is going to depend on how comfortable she is using her right hand. i basically use my right hand for everything except writing.

On the rare occasion I’ve tried left-handed mousing it looked as if I were on some really strong drug. That poor arrow just veered all over the place.:rofling: I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

Yes but it was probably that way when you first started using a mouse. I am very strongly lefthanded and I know about lefthandedness… I knit ‘normally’ with no problem. The only concession I would make to teaching a lefty is to mention that Continental is easier for certain lefthanders. If they knit in mirror image they will have problems with later patterns/stitches/knitting. There’s no advantage to teaching a lefty in mirror image IMO when there is conti for holding the yarn in the left hand. But conti is a more European way of knitting, and Europeans are not mostly lefthanded, this developed as the main way of knitting in a mostly dextrous group. I say definitely teach them to knit the usual way, left needle to right needle.
If you really must teach them mirror image try getting them to watch your hands in a mirror… easier than reversing it mentally for some.

You all ROCK!!! I knew you could tell me how to approach it!!! Thanks for all the wonderful advice!!

I taught her how to cross-stitch and she actually handled the needle with her right hand (without any prompting from me) so I think she would be ripe for teaching her right-handed.

I am able to knit in continental (I have a real brain to hand block on the purling) I can show her both and see what she likes best.

Once again…you all are absolutely fabulous

I taught a lefty who was convinced she couldn’t learn, how to knit left handed in one session. I sat in front of her and told her to mirror my moves… by the next class a week later she had finished her scarf and was starting on a hat lol She had tried and tried before and just couldn’t get it… her mom had been trying to make her knit right handed :roflhard:

Anyway, that worked for that student and has convinced me I need to learn to knit left handed to make it easier for them :slight_smile: It actually isn’t as hard as it sounds :cheering:

Pam it sounds like she might be weakly lefthanded like my sister, who writes with the left, but prefers the right for most other things: scissors, throwing a ball, etc.

Thank you Robin, I’m right handed and my daughter is left handed and wants to learn how to knit. Tonight I started to teach her how to cast on stitches when I remembered that she’s left handed which concerned me greatly. Thank you for your post.

Knitting isn’t a right or left handed kind of thing as it requires dexterity in both hands at once. Also, There is a surprisingly widespread misconception that somehow the hand in which the working yarn is held correlates to right- or left-handedness, but it really had nothing to do with that (i first learned to knit yarn in right hand and now prefer yarn in left and i have always been strongly right handed, for example). i rather believe learning to knit backwards as a lefthander isn’t any easier and just makes learning complex techniques and following patterns confusing later on (independent from the fact that some people do find learning to knit BOTH directions useful for special applications).