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The Truth About Left-Handed Knitting

The Truth About Left-Handed Knitting

I am intimately familiar with the challenges left-handers face. For approximately 10% of the population, simple tasks like using scissors, writing on a whiteboard, or even using powered hand-tools requires more care and attention than it should.

When it comes to yarn crafts, lefties are challenged as soon as a crochet hook is lifted for the first time. Yes, you can hold the hook in your left hand, but it’s customary for the hook to be held in the right hand (like either a pencil or a knife) and most instruction tutorials and patterns are designed for righties. How frustrating!

Because of how handedness is dealt with in crochet, many lefties are unnecessarily led astray when they are taught to knit. Right-handed instructors may try to teach a left-hander how to do everything in reverse, starting with knitting from left-to-right rather than the standard right-to-left.

I could start listing all the problems that can arise if reverse knitting, working from left-to-right, is your primary knitting style, but I’d rather focus on good news. Knitting is sort of like riding a bike. Both hands are used relatively equally, so and handedness doesn't need to be a consideration when you are teaching or learning the skill.

Lefty or righty, handedness doesn't matter in knitting!

When you knit, whether you’re a lefty or righty, you’ll be holding one knitting needle in each hand, so handedness doesn’t matter. One hand will control your yarn, but you can choose which hand naturally feels more comfortable, so handedness doesn’t matter.

Surprisingly, the hand you use to manage your yarn may or may not be your dominant hand. According to All Free Knitting's Survey of about 300 knitters, over 60% of knitters control their yarn with their right hand and knit English, or American style. About 30% manage their yarn with their left hand and knit continental style. But if neither of those feel comfortable, you could completely bypass holding the yarn in your hand and tension it around the back of your neck or through a knitting pin and knit Portuguese style. There are lots of options.

So whether you’re learning how to knit, or teaching someone else to knit relax and remember that handedness doesn’t matter in knitting!

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