knitting. handedness

Sinister am I!

Okay, prepare for a rant, y'all.

I've been knitting for... hmm, I honestly don't remember when I picked it up again. Was it 2003? Later? I don't remember. But let's use 2003 as a point to begin. So, that makes it seven years now. In that time, I've knit teddy bears, socks, shawls, blankets, a sweater, several dice bags... Seeing a problem here yet? Me neither.

Oh...wait. I know. I forgot to mention that I'm left-handed. Now, in order to keep the level of (c)rudeness on my blog to a minimum, let me preface with a simple statement: I do everything left-handed.

"What about...?"



Uh-huh, that too. And many other things you should be thanking me for not referencing or linking to information about! *wink*

I am left-handed.

That statement should have zero impact on me saying I knit. Yet among knitters who are right-handed, you would be surprised at how many incorrectly assume (yes, assume, meaning "without any actual data to support their ideas"!) that left-handers must learn to knit right-handed.

They have a couple often used excuses. So, let's take them one at a time and blow them to smithereens for once and for all, shall we?

Knitting is a two-handed task, so it shouldn't matter whether you're left or right handed.

Fair enough. So why don't you knit our way?

Knitting is two-handed. But, one hand does most of the work. A baseball player positions his hands on the bat and faces the pitcher from a specific side of home plate. A knitter approaches her(*) knitting in the same way. She usually puts the yarn in her dominant hand. I say usually because we're all different and some of us have been forced or taught in ways not necessarily natural to us. The dominant hand moves the needle into the stitch to knit. (Usually) the dominant hand wraps the yarn around the needle. The dominant hand then removes the needle (with the wrap of yarn) from the stitch being knit into.

If you knit "lefty", you'll have to make all kinds of edits to patterns.

There's been a lot of discussion about this one. I've met some lefty knitters who never once changed a single stitch. The only "oddity" (if you want to call it that) is that left is right and right is left. See my results on Soren's Baby Kimonothe original Baby Kimono. See what I mean?

I've learned in lace work to read the charts the way I knit: left to right. It is so much easier than trying to read them the way everyone else knits! Yes, I have run into some troubles for patterns which assume the direction of knitting. Perhaps if I were a little more accomplished, I might have still achieved the end result I want...just backwards. I'm still experimenting with my increases and decreases to see if it really matters whether I switch them around or not.

The key word in that sentence is "experimenting". Why are right-handed knitters so intimidated by us lefty knitters doing what works for us? Why the campaign to make us all march to their drum? Do we make you all uncomfortable? Do we invalidate your work when we make beautiful things with our left-handed ways?

The most frustrating thing about being a left-handed knitter is that my knitting can't just be picked up by any knitter and examined or fixed. I'm "backwards", so I've had to be my own best help. I've asked for clarifications about where a needle should go in to pick up a stitch, but in the end, I do what works for me.

So, to all you righties out there who think you are "helping" us when you tell us to knit your way: Shut the hell up and leave us to knit in peace. You don't know it all or you'd see that the Sinister way works for some of us quite well, thank you very much.

Yes, I feel very strongly about this. I've read too many stories about a right-handed person pushing a left-handed person to knit the "right way". Frankly, I think it's because it's too damn hard for most righties to handle the challenge. You just go back to your rocking chair and leave us Lefties to handle it. We can. We're used to working twice as hard to be accepted in a right-dominant world.

I'll close with two images of my proudest pieces of work. And, one last time, I'll remind the reader: I knit Sinister -- don't mess with me!


Spring Mystery shawl

(*) I use "her" and "she" here, but of course I'm inclusive of all male, transgendered, FTM, MTF and any other knitters out there!

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