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.
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?
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.
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!
(*) I use "her" and "she" here, but of course I'm inclusive of all male, transgendered, FTM, MTF and any other knitters out there!
I found an awesome pattern for a Bomber Hat over at Juli's blog. It was written for a righty knitter (knitting from the left needle to the right needle). Normally, this isn't a huge problem for me, but in this particular case, I wasn't sure if it mattered and in one spot, it sure made my head hurt trying to get all the stitches cast on!
So, with Juli's permission, I've re-written the pattern for Sinister Knitters (knitting from right needle to left needle). I've also "shortened" them by writing them for 2 circulars---so instead of having to write out a full round, I only write out one needle and you do it on both needles.
Tools: US 8 DPN and 16” Circular
Earflaps: With two DPNs, CO 11st
Row 1: k1, purl to last st, k1
Row 2: k1, kfb, knit to last two sts, kfb, k1
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until there are 23sts on the needle
Row 13: k1, purl to last st, k1
Row 14: knit across
Repeat Rows 13-14 until piece measures 3.5in from cast-on edge. Leaving earflap on needle, cut a 12 tail of yarn. Repeat for second earflap, but don’t cut yarn. Move this earflap to circular needle.
Hat: With one earflap on circular, CO 29sts, knit the 23sts of the 2nd earflap onto the circular. CO 29sts and then (without twisting!) knit the 23sts of the 1st earflap. Knit 15 more stitches, place marker. (104 sts)
Divide the stitches between the two needles, such that the marker would be between one needle and the next. To prevent losing the marker, you can put the marker in one stitch---this helps keep track of which needle ends a round.
Row 1: p1, k6, p1, k6, p2tog, k21, p2tog, k6, p1, k6 both needles (100sts)
Row 2: p1, k6, p1, k21, p1, k6, p1, k6, p1, k6 both needles
Repeat Row 2 until piece measures 7 inches from cast-on edge (10.5 inches from earflap base) or desired length. Begin decreases:
Dec row 1: p1, k2tog, k2, ssk, p1, k6, p1, ssk, k17, k2tog, p1, k6, p1, ssk, k2, k2tog both needles (88 sts)
Dec row 2: p1, k4, p1, k6, p1, k7, ssk, k1, k2tog, k7, p1, k6, p1, k4 both needles (84 sts)
Dec row 3: p1, k4, p1, k2tog, k2, ssk, p1, ssk, k13, k2tog, p1, ssk, k2, k2tog, p1, k4 both needles (72 sts)
Dec row 4: p1, k4, p1, k4, p1, k5, ssk, k1, k2tog, k5, p1, k4, p1, k4 both needles (68 sts)
Dec row 5: p1, k2tog, ssk, p1, k4, p1, ssk, k9, k2tog, p1, k4, p1, ssk, k2tog both needles (56 sts)
Dec row 6: p1, k2, p1, k4, p1, k3, ssk, k1, k2tog, k3, p1, k4, p1, k2 both needles (52 sts)
Dec row 7: p1, k2, p1, k2tog, ssk, p1, ssk, k5, k2tog, p1, ssk, k2tog, p1, k2 both needles (40 sts)
Dec row 8: p1, k2tog, p1, k2, p1, k1, ssk, k1, k2tog, k1, p1, k2, p1, ssk both needles (32 sts)
Dec row 9: cut yarn and pull through rem stitches. Draw up tightly to fasten. Weave in ends.
Make flaps: While holding hat upside down, pick up 29 sts along bottom edge between earflaps. Knitting first stitch of every row, knit in stockinette until flap measures desired length. BO knitwise on the WS. Weave in ends. Repeat for second flap.
I-Cords: Pick up middle three stitches on one earflap. Knit a 10 I-cord. BO loosely and weave in ends. Repeat for second earflap.