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I’m left handed.

Like all left-handed people, I have learned to cope with a world where everything is designed for right-handed people, from scissors to ice cream scoops, to shift stick cars to computers’ mice. For the most part, truthfully, it’s no biggie, and it has make me less dependent on my dominant hand–closer to ambidextrous, you may say.

However, there are certain activities for which nothing but my left hand will do, most of them related to crafting. I cannot hold a sewing needle with my right hand unless it’s to thread it–for sewing, it’s all about my left hand. For knitting, I use both hands but I recently discovered that not only do I knit completely left-handedly (is that a word?) but that there is a bias towards right-handedness in knitting.

Apparently, most left handed knitters knit the same way right handed knitters do, up to and including knitting from right to left.

I don’t–I knit as I write and read, from left to right. This is, once again, no big deal, right?

Well, not quite… apparently there is a right and a wrong way of knitting from left to right, particularly with things like cables, so that the twist in the cable goes from right to left instead of (insert expression of horror here) “backwards” (aka, how I do it).

Huh.

Honestly, does anyone really cares whether the cable twists ‘right’ (image on left) or ‘backwards’ (image on right)

(first image, detail from Lion Brand’s free pattern for Mixed Messages Scarf–second image, extreme close up of one of my hand knit scarves)

9 Comments »

  • I’m a lefty too. I don’t knit but it took me forever to learn to crochet half way decent!

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  • katieM
    December 21
    9:05 pm

    I’m a righty, but I learned to crochet sitting across from my right handed grandmother. When I started reading patterns, it was awful, I had to relearn everything. I learned to knit sitting across from my left handed mother who knitted right handed. I can read and knit from patterns, but it is more of a chore than crochet. I think that’s because I don’t like knitting but I do like crochet.
    Oddly enough, my left handed mother could not teach my left handed brother to tie his shoes because they sat across from each other. I could teach him because I sat right across from him.

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  • LVLMLeah
    December 21
    9:54 pm

    Heh, when I look at those two pictures, the right one looks more normal to me. But then again, I’m left-handed as well. Maybe we see things differently as well. 🙂

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  • The only downside I can think of from knitting cables “backwards” is that you may not win any blue ribbons at the fair for your work because judges tend to be … well, very judgmental. 😉

    Otherwise, who cares? The stitches are even and tight and the overall look is beautiful!

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  • Right handed to left handed interactions are always interesting, aren’t they? I’m the only left-handed in my family, and while all the adults tried to teach me things side by side (from braiding hair to tying shoelaces) as they did with my four older siblings, I could only learn by mirroring, as katieM mentions.

    LVLMLeah, that’s interesting–in all honesty, I had never even though about the direction of the twists in knitting. I mean, I’m aware of the need for standardization when it comes to screws and even cables of the ‘steel’ variety (you really don’t want one of those to unravel at the wrong time in a boat), but for knitting?

    Christine, you are a sweetheart! And frankly, I’d rather what I knit is practical, pretty and well finished, than ‘right’ by some weird societal standards. (In a funny coincidence, it made me think of Eve Dallas’s ponderings on who decides the rules of social niceties, etc.–who decided what’s right or backwards for knitting, after all?)

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  • Kimberly Anne
    December 22
    12:21 pm

    My lefty mother taught me to crochet a few years ago, and I was so happy to not have to learn something by mirroring – I’m left-handed too. I have tried to teach myself to knit, but could not do it the right-handed way. I guess I’m just too left-handed. Maybe I’ll try mirroring my sister-in-law this Christmas.

    When I was in elementary school, a teacher told me that I was a biological impossibility because two left-handed parents cannot have a left-handed child. Some people are so weird about handedness.

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  • I recently found out that when I was knitting what I thought was stocking stitch, it was actually in fact twisted stocking stitch.

    I had always (ever since I was a little girl) taken the yarn from the front to the back when knitting. Which gives you a kind of overlapping V instead of a straight V. (Possibly that should be the other way round – yarn back to front). Whichever, I now do it the opposite way.

    I think, as long as it looks alright when finished, it’s not a problem.

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  • LizA
    December 26
    6:28 pm

    My mother is lefthanded, but I think she must knit the right handed…. I myself am just in awe of anyone who can knit at all!
    Life is definitly easier for right handed people but I have to mention that shift stick cars are not on purpose designed for right handed people, for it is on the left side in many countries, including the UK, Ireland, Cyprus…. when I rented a car in England, I had a real problem shifting gear and would often end up in the wrong one!
    At least they do not forcefully convert people to right handedness any more, at least here where I am. My mother was forced to write with her right hand in primary school. She is now retired but she still says that it was a violation of the worst kind that negatively impacted many things in her life, including her creativity. It is beyond horrible to do that to people!

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  • Kimberly Anne, people can be really weird about handedness! One of my elementary school teachers would never call me to the blackboard because she couldn’t bear to see me write ‘wrong’ (didn’t help that I was the only leftie in the class)

    LeslieW, I know just what you mean! When I first started knitting in earnest, a few years ago, I was told that ‘all’ lefties did this when knitting stockinette. Of course I have to prove that wisdom wrong, so now I knit without the twist–but still left to right!

    LizA, we lefties do have it much easier these days, though not that long ago (well, it’s all relative–what’s three decades plus between friends?) that same elementary teacher made some noises about teaching me to write properly. When my left handed father, who didn’t live with us, heard about it he pitched a fit that shook the roof 😀 Totally made my year too. Then again, he himself had been forced to learn to write right-handed by his father, with rather sad results in many areas of his life.

    And thank you for pointing out the car thing–it didn’t cross my mind, but it’s absolutely true.

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