Yes, you can knit if you are left-handed. Like left-handed crochet is a mirror image of right-handed crochet, left-handed knitting is a mirror image of right-handed knit. Though that may sound complicated, it’s not meant to be.
Knitting Uses Both Hands
It doesn’t matter which hand is your dominant. Both hands are used in knitting. Why is that? Because knitting uses two needles. The stitches are cast on and then worked back and forth from needle to needle.
Some left-handed people find it easier to learn Continental knitting. With the continental method, the yarn is held in and manipulated by the left hand. However, you can learn the English knitting method as a leftie.
Practice both methods to find out which style is right for you. Then, continue practicing to become proficient.
Learn Left-Handed Knitting
Many lefties find it best to learn from other lefties. This is because they started right where you are now and can give great advice.
If you don’t know a lefty personally that knit, online resources can help. The Left-Handed Knitter is a great place to learn about left-handed knitting. Karen Lynn runs it. She has a blog and many archived articles that can help with the basics up to advanced topics.
Another option is to take an online class. You can search for the best courses for you. For example, one class is called Left-Handed Knitting, taught by Rick Mondragon, who is both a lefty and a professional knitter with Forty years of experience. This is a work at your own pace class, so you can spend as much or as little time as you need with the lessons. You can find his courses on Craftsy.
There are differences in left-handed knitting compared to Right-handed knitting, but two rules to keep in mind as you learn are:
- Reverse any shaping in the pattern.
- Read charts from right to left (left to right is taught to right-handers).
Remember, if you want to knit, you can, no matter what hand you use. Set your mind to it, and you can do it. As with everything, you are bound to feel awkward at first.
In knitting, you use two basic stitches to make most items: the knit stitch and the purl stitch. I’ve always considered the knit stitch the front stitch and purl the back stitch. However, that can change depending on what your pattern calls for. Sometimes both stitches show on the front of your work.
Other stitches are more than the knit stitch or purl stitch. They are made in the way you use the knit and purl stitches. For example, the stockinette stitch is worked with knit and purl stitches alternated. So, you’d knit one stitch, then purl one stitch, and so on until you get to the end of your work. Then, you make the first stitch on the way back opposite the one you ended on. So, if you end on a knit, you’ll purl. If you end on a purl, you will knit. The garter stitch is worked with the knit stitch only.
As you learn more about knitting, you’ll find that numerous stitches make up beautiful patterns in your work. They are made with a combination of the knit stitch, purl stitch, increases (adding a stitch), and decreases (knitting stitches together to take away stitches)
The most confusing part of this is the usage of stitch in knitting. Not only does stitch mean the one single yarn loop you’ve worked on your needle, but also the collection of stitches you’ve made to get the look you need for your pattern. Don’t let this get you down. Once you’ve knitted for a while, this will be natural.
How To Knit Left-Handed
The first thing you should learn in knitting is to cast on. This will make the base of your project and allow you to continue with knit or purl stitches, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Reading a Pattern for Left-handers
Keep in mind that charts are easier to read than written patterns. Charts allow you to see what your work should look like, making it easier to see any errors you may have made. In left-handed knit, you’ll work from left to right. The chart will be made up of symbols. Most charts will have a key to tell you what the symbols mean. If not, you can find resources online to help you define them.
The biggest thing to remember in a written pattern is that any shapes such as sleeves and armholes should be done opposite to how a right-handed knitter would make them unless you have a left-hand specific design.
So, there we have it. We now know that lefties can learn to knit. Could you learn to knit left-handed, or would you prefer to learn right-handed? I’ve knitted before, but right off hand. I don’t remember if I cast on left-handed and continued to knit left-handed or if I cast on right-handed. What about you all? Do you have any left-handed knitting stories or advice for fellow left-handers? Let us know below. We’d love to hear from you.