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T O P I C    R E V I E W
terpsfan Posted - 03/11/2010 : 06:10:30 AM
I will never understood the fuss about "left-handed" knitting. Knitting is a two-handed operation. I'm right handed but knit "continental" style, which means my LEFT hand has the leading role.
The advantage is that I can use any pattern I want and not have to adapt any of them. Sure, I get funny looks from people who are used to the English style of knitting that prevails in the US, but who cares?
I strongly suggest that the lefties out there get someone to teach them to knit continental style or read Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears, which clearly illustrates --and advocates -- continental knitting.
BTW, if you want to knit Fair Isle pattern, you knit with BOTH left and right methods, holding one color in each hand.
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Wen Posted - 03/18/2010 : 6:43:45 PM
quote:
Originally posted by terpsfan

Instead of anxiety, maybe I should have said complications. Having to convert patterns can't be fun.
I would never advocate teaching a leftie to WRITE with his/her left hand, but learning to knit is another matter. A doctor once told me that it's great brain stimulus to practice doing one or two functions with your non-dominant hand. It opens up new neural pathways -- a big benefit for those of us who are getting older!



You really have no idea do you? It is so much easier and a lot more fun to convert a pattern than to effectively tie your dominant hand up to make it useless and do everything with your non dominant hand. That is the equivalent of enforcing writing with your right hand and is totally repugnant to most left handers. Not only that, forcing people to swap is known to cause mental stress and poor fine motor skills.

Swapping patterns is mentally stimulating. Swapping directions is stressful and totally unnecessary.

Before you start preaching to LH people again learn mirror knitting continental style. Your right hand has to hold the yarn tensioned. It won't be available for anything else. You have to then make the stitch solely with your left. Once you realise the stress you are putting yourself under you may have some small idea of what it is like for lefthanders having to live in a right handed world with people constantly telling you that you would be far better off doing it the right handed way.

Wen


http://www.flickr.com/photos/wen1965/sets/72157612251840708/show/ FO 2009
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/
http://wenswoolgathering.wordpress.com/
Cheerleader9 Posted - 03/18/2010 : 3:13:42 PM
quote:
Originally posted by maribelaprn

Converting patterns can be fun. I do it every day.

As for what your doctor told you, why don't you try knitting from left to right for a few years so you can stimulate your own brain. We're not talking about practicing one or two functions with a non-dominant hand here, are we? You seem to feel that we are all doing this wrong unnecessarily, although you have no concept of how difficult it is to reprogram our brains just so we don't have to convert patterns.



I have no problem converting patterns either. In fact I never think about which hand I'm using until someone comments on it. It's no big deal to us even if we are getting older and need more brain stimulation.

Now where did I leave my glasses?



Barb in AZ
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheerleader9
http://www.ravelry.com/people/Cheerleader9
maribelaprn Posted - 03/18/2010 : 09:22:58 AM
Converting patterns can be fun. I do it every day.

As for what your doctor told you, why don't you try knitting from left to right for a few years so you can stimulate your own brain. We're not talking about practicing one or two functions with a non-dominant hand here, are we? You seem to feel that we are all doing this wrong unnecessarily, although you have no concept of how difficult it is to reprogram our brains just so we don't have to convert patterns.
terpsfan Posted - 03/18/2010 : 09:13:39 AM
Instead of anxiety, maybe I should have said complications. Having to convert patterns can't be fun.
I would never advocate teaching a leftie to WRITE with his/her left hand, but learning to knit is another matter. A doctor once told me that it's great brain stimulus to practice doing one or two functions with your non-dominant hand. It opens up new neural pathways -- a big benefit for those of us who are getting older!
Luann Posted - 03/15/2010 : 07:19:16 AM
For GFTC:

Left-Handed U.S. Presidents
James A. Garfield
Herbert Hoover
Harry S. Truman
Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan (wrote right but used left for everything else)
George H.W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Knit and let knit!
http://www.luannocracy.blogspot.com
Jane Posted - 03/15/2010 : 03:26:46 AM
I just learned that I cast on left-handed and I never knew it! Thanks GFTC. I learned to knit by reading a Coats and Clarks booklet. I followed the instructions, mostly, and just worked at it until knitting was the result, on my own terms. I think that's what most left handed people do, take a problem or a skill and make it work. We're awfully smart that way! If knitting caused anxiety I wouldn't do it.

Jane

Betty needs a warm hat: Support KR
Blog: Not Plain Jane
Photos: My Flickr Album
Wen Posted - 03/15/2010 : 01:23:47 AM
The one thing in this topic I really want explained is the "needless anxiety". Who's anxiety is this? It's not ours, we knit we are happy. Does watching a mirror knitter make some people anxious?

Wen


http://www.flickr.com/photos/wen1965/sets/72157612251840708/show/ FO 2009
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/
http://wenswoolgathering.wordpress.com/
Wen Posted - 03/15/2010 : 01:22:01 AM
GFTC maybe you should video your long tail cast on. I need to learn to cast on left handed and you could provide the resource to do it! There are a lot of lefties saying there are no books or videos that do things their way. Of course reversing something in my head is fairly easy anyway I can watch a right hand video and just do it lefthanded.

Yes Obama is a leftie.

Wen


http://www.flickr.com/photos/wen1965/sets/72157612251840708/show/ FO 2009
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/
http://wenswoolgathering.wordpress.com/
GFTC Posted - 03/14/2010 : 10:15:01 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Luann
For those who think we are just being stubborn, I invite you to try to reverse each and every operation that you do as you knit and I think you'll find it's not as easy as you think.



I'm right handed but apparently I was taught Long Tail caston in the reverse, maybe by a leftie. I hold the yarn on my right hand and the needle in my left hand. My first row comes out as the right side (many knitters consider the first row of Long Tail the WS) but the stitches are mounted backwards so by knitting into the back just on that first row I am good to go.

When I realized, very recently, that most righthanded knitters have the yarn on the left hand and maneuver the needle using the right hand I tried to change. Luann is right - it was very hard to change to the other hand. I suppose I could force myself but I see no need.

Two of my favorite lefties are Bill Clinton and Jerry Seinfeld. I think Obama might be a leftie, too. I don't think any of them knit, though.

GFTC of NYC
my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
Cheerleader9 Posted - 03/14/2010 : 8:36:53 PM
quote:
Originally posted by maribelaprn


I'm always less than amused by right handed knitters who think that left handed are somehow "handicapped" and really should learn how to knit in some manner that suits right handed knitters. Continental style or not, I knit in the opposite direction (off of the right needle) from a right handed knitter (who knits off the left needle). How many times have I heard people advise left handed people to learn to do something right handed? Thousands. Sorry, my brain just isn't wired to do something counter intuitive. To me, I could hold the yarn in my toes and my brain would still insist I knit from left to right.

As for "needless anxiety", I think there would be a lot less anxiety if right handed knitters would just accept that left handed knitters can knit "backwards" and get superb results. I've been knitting over 50 years and have won many awards and accolades for my knitting, even with my "needless anxiety" (which I don't have) and obvious handicap.



I've been waiting for someone to take issue with this topic.

The first time I was told I "needed" to learn how to do something right-handed was in kindergarten when a teacher tried to make me write with the other hand! My Mother took a strong stand for which I'm glad. I've never had anyone say that I was backwards nor handicapped with any form of needlework. The only folks I know who are making a fuss are the right-handers. Everyone knows left hand people are very creative and talented.

Luann said it best: "For those who think we are just being stubborn, I invite you to try to reverse each and every operation that you do as you knit and I think you'll find it's not as easy as you think."


Barb in AZ
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheerleader9
http://www.ravelry.com/people/Cheerleader9
Luann Posted - 03/14/2010 : 6:16:58 PM
Obviously, we lefties have strong opinions about this! Living in a right-handed world can do that to a person. I was taught to knit by my MIL, who was left-handed but knit right-handed because that was how she had been forced to learn. She had a great learn-to-knit booklet that had instructions for both ways. Two sets of illustrations for each new operation. It was from the early seventies, a time of "live and let live" I suppose. I still have that booklet and treasure it.

FWIW I tried to learn Continental because someone said it would be easier for me as a lefty to learn. It wasn't. But just the other day I was reading Maggie Righetti's Knitting in Plain English and was for the first time able to understand how picking actually worked. I am practicing it right now on my newest project (all garter stitch) and am glad to add a new skill to my tool kit.

For those who think we are just being stubborn, I invite you to try to reverse each and every operation that you do as you knit and I think you'll find it's not as easy as you think.

Luann, who has her sig line for a reason

Knit and let knit!
http://www.luannocracy.blogspot.com
Wen Posted - 03/14/2010 : 4:15:23 PM
I couldn't disagree more. Holding the yarn in the left hand does not mean the left hand is taking the lead. I am left handed and I CANNOT knit right handed continental. That requires me to manoeuvre my right hand to make the stitch which I cannot do. My left hand has to dominate and if it is holding the yarn still it is not able to be used to make the stitch.

I knit English RH however my left hand takes the lead and makes the stitch, the only thing the right hand does is hold the yarn and flick it around the needle. I can also knit left handed continental holding the yarn in my right hand and making the stitch with my left.

Reading patterns is easy. If it is written instructions just sub left for right. ie you are making the right front when following the instructions for the left and vice versa. A k2tog will lean in the correct direction when followed in written instructions. When following graphs you just have to remember they are WYSIWYG so start on the left for right side rows. / for a leftie is the opposite to for a rightie. That makes sense as you are going from the opposite direction.

There are some minor exceptions but most knitting is symmetrical so it doesn't matter which side you start from.

We are all different and some people are more ambidextrous than others. We need to all be aware that everyone knits differently and just because a righty can knit continental does not make them left hand dominant the same way a lefty knitting RH english doesn't necessarily mean their right hand is taking the lead.

EZ may have been right on a lot of things but I know for a fact she was wrong about this. I was denied the ability to knit left handed until I read about mirror knitting on this forum a few years ago. I was forced by my LH mother to knit right handed as that was the only way she knew how. This has made me more ambidextrous than I would be otherwise but it also means I knit a lot slower than the average knitter. I am currently learning mirror knitting and it is a lot easier and more natural for me.

It is far easier to change a pattern than to work backwards which is what I was doing for 40 years.


Wen


http://www.flickr.com/photos/wen1965/sets/72157612251840708/show/ FO 2009
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/
http://wenswoolgathering.wordpress.com/
maribelaprn Posted - 03/14/2010 : 4:08:01 PM
I'm always less than amused by right handed knitters who think that left handed are somehow "handicapped" and really should learn how to knit in some manner that suits right handed knitters. Continental style or not, I knit in the opposite direction (off of the right needle) from a right handed knitter (who knits off the left needle). How many times have I heard people advise left handed people to learn to do something right handed? Thousands. Sorry, my brain just isn't wired to do something counter intuitive. To me, I could hold the yarn in my toes and my brain would still insist I knit from left to right.

As for "needless anxiety", I think there would be a lot less anxiety if right handed knitters would just accept that left handed knitters can knit "backwards" and get superb results. I've been knitting over 50 years and have won many awards and accolades for my knitting, even with my "needless anxiety" (which I don't have) and obvious handicap.
Jane Posted - 03/14/2010 : 12:09:15 PM
I'm a left-handed person who happens to be able to knit the regular way (and strangely, I just can't knit Continental to save my life!), but there are plenty of people who can't. I used to feel the same way as both of you, but I've learned that it's not always that simple.

Knitting is indeed a two-handed operation, but we knit with our brains first. Every person is different, and there's no right or wrong way. There are several knitters here on KR, and many more in the rest of the world, who need to knit differently, and reverse or translate patterns and instructions -- and I admire anyone who can use both sides of their brain so completely.

I learned to knit after I learned to crochet, which I do left-handed or "backwards." I guess I worked it out after being confused at first, because I've been knitting for more than 30 years! I love to watch people knit at gatherings, because everyone does it a little bit (or a lot) differently, and what we all have in common are hands that can do incredible things with yarn!

Jane

Betty needs a warm hat: Support KR
Blog: Not Plain Jane
Photos: My Flickr Album
aprilshowers Posted - 03/14/2010 : 08:35:45 AM
I agree with you 100%. I taught myself to knit from a book, which had different directions for left and right-handed knitting. I'm a leftie so I followed the left-handed instructions which I know now were English style. But I soon tired of having to convert patterns since I was knitting them from the opposite side. Buttonholes and other items were always on the wrong side. Decreases/increases leaned the wrong way. I began reading about Continental knitting and, since I was already holding the yarn in my left hand, it was a very easy transition to teach myself Continental knitting. And I've been thrilled with that choice since it's actually a lot faster to knit that way (for me anyway)!

________________________________________________
Photos: http://flickr.com/photos/7419094@N02/sets/72157600168327475/
Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/aprilshowers

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