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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Snow Posted - 03/24/2008 : 4:13:47 PM
Hey y'all.

I am looking for some ideas as I'm going slightly insane with not being able to knit (ok, the kids/hubby play a huge part in that as well).

I have a serious issue with my right wrist and it has hindered my knitting to the point I can barely pick up the needles, specially if I am in the present brace (am looking for a new one). After 7.5 years, they (doctor's) have finally fig'red out what it is. Through physio, I am going to be able to get to a point of no brace wearing and be pain free....the catch, I won't be able to "use" it..not for writing, typing and specially knitting. Told the therapist he was off his rocker if he thought that was going to be good enough.
But in "looking into other options", as was his suggestion, I was wondering how hard it is to teach yourself to knit with the opposite hand, and if you're in the middle of a few projects, will the stitching look the same? (Oh, I have no clue what "style" of knitting I do)

I appreciate any and all ideas and thank you in advance.
14   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Noodles Posted - 03/25/2008 : 5:29:42 PM
I personally love to knit with both hands on different projects. It might have been easier for me because I am left handed but it wasn't to difficult for me to learn the right handed way. the only thing is i would not work on half done projects until you get perfect with your left hand because the knitting will look different if you haven't learned with the left hand how to control your tension in the same gauge you knit with the right. it took me 2 years to learn to knit the same gauge with both hands

KathyR Posted - 03/25/2008 : 3:16:38 PM
Just a thought here - I wonder if using one of those circs with a hook at one end would help? I'm thinking it would maybe mean less movement for your wrist if the hook helped to pick up the loop rather than manipulating a straight tip.


If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog (Roselea Fibres)
mlo2 Posted - 03/25/2008 : 12:54:00 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about your hand!

I started out knitting right-handed, and then decided to learn continental in order to do colorwork more easily. I had a copy of Barbara Walker's learn to knit afghan book, and decided to do the entire project in continental knitting (I never did finish, by the way). It was slow going at first, but I got the hang of it after a few squares.

A couple of years later I developed tendonitis in my right hand, and I've been knitting continental pretty exclusively ever since. I was really happy that I could knit both ways. So it is possible to switch when circumstances require it. Good luck!
Snow Posted - 03/25/2008 : 08:51:05 AM
Thanks everyone! I think I'm going to make a try of it...geez, 30 yrs knitting and back to a beginnger I go...LOL Oh well, my family has been bugging for dishcloths for the last two years so I guess those are good projects to start with. I'll keep everyone posted on it.

"There are levels to genius, but no levels to stupidity" Anonymous
Texas Granny Posted - 03/25/2008 : 08:33:29 AM
Oh, I feel your pain! I've had a brush with carpal tunnel syndrome and it sure isn't fun.

Yes, as 2totangle says, by all means, learn to pick instead of throwing. Hold your yarn in your left hand like you are crocheting. I've been doing it for 60 years and even though I am a rightie I knit mostly with my left hand. It will spare your right wrist all that extra motion. I even teach lefties to pick and it works out fine. All through the wrist problems I kept on knitting with no problems. Best of luck.

Texas Granny
Atavistic Posted - 03/24/2008 : 10:24:45 PM
When I try to write left-handed, I can do it really well...except everything is backwards.

Hand and foot when harmonized forms martialism/but Military and literary when harmonized is art and this brings/philosophy. (Lee, Chang Hoo)
fiddlerbird555 Posted - 03/24/2008 : 10:20:14 PM
Well, if you're really a lefty in disguise, you probably will find it not too difficult. You may want to divert to a new project or a practice swatch for a bit, though.


I can go loopy, or I can knit. Your choice.
Snow Posted - 03/24/2008 : 6:40:30 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I am ambidextrious (sp). I was born left handed, but it was broken when I was 5 and the teacher put the pencil in right hand and told me to write, so I did. But I still write almost perfectly with the left hand(and what I've been doing for the last few months to help the right side). I do most things left handed and it is the stronger hand. My Granny was a rightie, hence why I'm a rightie with knitting.

As for healing, unfortunately, this isn't a problem that will "heal" in the traditional sense of the word. The wrist was shattered over 22 years ago and a chip out of the corner, in the ulna bone where your hand bends at the wrist. Apparently, there was a small fracture along that bone extending from the chip, down the bone, and it grows's about 1/2" long now. It will never heal. I've been in casts for it a couple times in the last 7 years. Complicating the matter is a ganglia that is growing on the ulna nerve. They can take it off, but it will grow back, and the more they take it out, the more it grows, and chances increase to it turning cancerous, so removal is not an option at this point. Due to both these, and all the crafting and my jobs (a lot of typing/writing), it has put tremendous strain on the muscles/tendons/joint on the opposite side of the wrist.
Guess I'm off to practicing with my left eh! LOL
Thanks again for all the advice!!

"There are levels to genius, but no levels to stupidity" Anonymous
MindyO Posted - 03/24/2008 : 6:38:30 PM
Well, I had to teach myself to crochet left because a friend is left handed and wanted to learn. Yeah I know I'm a great and loving person blah blah blah And the same friend actually had wrist issues, not like yours, but had to wear a brace for a bit, she was still able to knit (right handed), slowly by doing the full on throwing with the whole arm. Took longer, but she could do it. She had one of those braces that's stiff all the way up the thumb and tight at the wrist.

IF you can teach yourself to hold the needle in your right with little to no movement, and knit with the left, I would think you could switch mid project if you do a practice swatch first. You will be going left to right rather than right to left, but all the movements and motions should be the same. I barely move my left hand as i am a right handed knitter, so I think you could do it. I can try it if you want! lol

PS I REALLY suck with my left hand, can't even feed myself with it, but I DID learn to crochet with it, so it must not be completely useless afterall.
lella Posted - 03/24/2008 : 6:00:43 PM
I"m sorry that you have had this happen. But listen to the advice and heal up first. Then you can switch to ease up on the dominant hand because you will use it more for other things but give it a rest by knitting left handed. About the switch being obvious, Amie is spot on. It will look a little different in on going projects but.. it won't be so bad. Good Luck!

watcher Posted - 03/24/2008 : 5:52:16 PM
I was bored in high school and so started writing left-handed (what got me interested was the day I picked the chalk to sign out from homeroom - left handed - I was writing legibly until I realized what I was doing!) - which I still do a bit of today. Comes in handy when I'm having trouble with tendonitis in my right wrist, or when I've picked up the dog in my right arm so the FexEx guy can be heard (no barking when I pick up the dog, he thinks he's in trouble!).

It's definitely do-able, just have patience while your muscles and nerves adjust and learn. It takes time to develop the fine motor control. Do try to keep things aligned to reduce the stress on your muscles and skeleton (i.e. no curving your arm around in a hook shape while writing - turn your paper instead...)
RoseByAny Posted - 03/24/2008 : 5:51:16 PM
Chances are switching mid-project will be obvious.

But yes, it's absolutely possible.

"The web of our life is a Mingled Yarn, good and ill together."
All's Well That Ends Well, IV, iii
fiddlerbird555 Posted - 03/24/2008 : 5:39:07 PM
People have taught themselves to be complete lefties (sometimes upon losing the right hand or its use.) Different folk have more or less difficulty about it, though it is a relearning process in any case.

Me, I got about 75% functionality right away trying to use chopsicks in my left hand (once, when I had a very demanding kid in my lap, and I could only reach the food with my left)


I can go loopy, or I can knit. Your choice.
2totangle Posted - 03/24/2008 : 4:41:27 PM
Yipes. I'm so sorry you're in pain and can't knit. My situation wasn't as serious, but I did have to give up knitting for a few months last year due to severe right hand and elbow pain. The thing that finally turned it around for me (besides complete non-use -- no knitting, no gardening, no scrubbing with that hand, etc.) was acupuncture, and it took a few months and was expensive. I also took fish oil and Celebrex and did finger yoga. I still have to be careful not to overdo it, and I may have to go in for more acupuncture from time to time.

You can teach yourself to knit with the other hand. I started out doing American-style throwing, and converted to Continental picking along the way. I wouldn't expect the stitches to look the same right away, so once your wrist is healed, I'd suggest starting a scarf or something else small and go slowly. But do wait until you've really healed, or you knock yourself back to square one. Ask me how I know. [**] You can use online videos to help teach yourself, or maybe get some personal help at your LYS.

Good luck, and speedy healing!


A few pics:

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