Why should you learn to knit left-handed — or right-handed if you’re left-handed?

A few years ago, I had the responsibility of caring for an elderly relative.

One who had undergone surgery, immobilizing his left hand and wrist.  After a couple of days, he became increasingly frustrated and irritated.

You see, he was forced to use his right hand to do everyday tasks.  Even simple tasks like drinking from a glass or eating became a major chore.


Because he’s left-hand dominant, and his left hand was immobilized.

So suddenly he was forced to do everything right-handed!

When I called his surgeon, he assured me they had always had good results with this procedure.  While it was relatively new, he said the left hand is immobilized because right-handed patients don’t have a problem.

Then I informed him this patient is left-handed.

There was an audible, uncomfortable silence.

Apparently the surgeon didn’t know that.

You know, some knitting teachers are a lot like that surgeon.  They just think everyone knits the same — or should.

About the same  time, I watched a knitting teacher on television.

She insisted her students knit “the only way to knit.”

My reaction to only one way to knit?  I laughed — long and hard!

She taught the “throw” method or English or American method.  Which is perfectly fine if you like it.  I actually felt sorry for her students because they seemed to be knitting very slooowly.

Does it matter?



Left-handed knitting

Left-handed stockinette stitch

Not really.  Knitting looks the same no matter which method you use.  You might even invent your own method, which is perfectly acceptable. 😉

stockinette stitch

Right-handed stockinette stitch

Okay, maybe not every knitter agrees.  You’re here at The Knitting Yarn: a stress-free knitting zone.  Where the only right way to knit is your way.


If you find one way more comfortable than another, go for it!  Knitting should be relaxing, a stress-reliever.  And when you get into the rhythm of knitting or the zone — whatever works for you is best.

It takes a while to learn to hold the yarn and needles.  It’s not all that easy the first few times you knit.  No matter what method you use.

When you find your method though, you can often knit without looking.  And maybe even while concentrating on something else.  Like a magazine, a television show, or even a conversation.

Of course, there are limits.  Knitting while driving is not a good idea! :roll:

So if you prefer to knit the left-handed method, sometimes called mirror knitting, that’s also fine.  Even if you don’t consider yourself left-handed!

You see, many of the so-called “rules” of knitting are well, made to be broken.  They aren’t laws or even statutes.  Often passed down from one generation to another.

And if you want to knit the way your great-grandmother knit because your grandmother taught you that way, by all means go for it!

If not, that’s okay too.

You might even want to learn more than one method.

Why would you want to learn more than one knitting method?

  • Some knitters find it helpful to switch methods to help prevent repetitive stress injuries.  You know, like carpal tunnel.
  • If a knitter injures one of her hands, arms or shoulders, sometimes switching to another method is helpful: especially if one needle is held still or “propped.”
  • Once you learn more than one method, it often seems easy to pick up more methods.  And why not learn more than one method before you have to?

Why is it easier to learn more methods?  Probably because you’re learning more than how to make the knit or purl stitch.  You’re actually watching how the yarn wraps to form the stitches, and then the fabric.  How the yarn loops around the needle (left side yarn forward or back for example) is determined by your method of knitting.

As long as you’re consistent, the finished fabric should look identical.  No matter what method you use.

Which is why the argument about whether or not left-handed knitters should knit left-handed or not seems silly.

If it’s easier for someone to start with a particular method, and that method gets them knitting: GREAT!

Oh, and by the way many knitters do knit left-handed or a variant of left-handed.

When?  Why when they knit backwards, such as for short rows in entrelac or sock heels!

One of the fastest ways to begin left-knitting is from a one-on-one expert knitting instructor.  So take advantage of the left-handed technique and experience success.  Here’s how . . .

You can have your own personal knitting instructor, Norma Jean, take you step by step through the process.  Watch her instruction at your convenience—as often as you want!  Buy now through Amazon: Beginning Knitting for Left-Handed Knitters.

Keep knitting to your heart’s delight — or someone else’s,


The Knitting Yarn


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