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Teaching Left Handed Knitting – Tips?

kswolff | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

So, I learned to knit at about age 7 or 8 and have been knitting off and on ever since. One of my friends recently asked if I would teach her, so I dusted off some needles, cast on and knit a few rows on two sets, and we sat down to have our first lesson. She kept trying to do it backwards and it dawned on me that she is left handed! I didn’t think it was right to expect her to learn it my way, so I decided to learn it left handed myself and THEN try to teach her. So far I am doing well enough to show her but it is a real indication of how hard it is to do this contrary from what is natural.

I noticed that there is a very slight natural twist to the individual stitches on the needle that makes it tricky to knit into the front of the stitch, is there any reason one should not knit into the back of the stitch? That is just one thing I haven’t determined, I’m sure as I go there will be other things to work out.

I have yet to find anyone who knits left handed to give me any pointers so here I am at the fountain-head of all knowlege. If anyone has any suggestions or tips for knitting left handed, it would be greatly appreciated.




  1. SkiNsew | | #1

    I am a left handed knitter and was taught to knit by my right handed grandmother.  After the first few rows she noticed that I was always twisting the loops on the knit row so she just had me change the direction that needle entered the row so that the loop would not twist.  I have done it that way ever since. 

    Unlike some of my friends who learned to knit by taking lessons, I do not think there is ONE right way only to knit.  I believe that whatever gives good results is okay.


    1. ShannonG4d | | #2

      I agree.  The key is to be consistent in the way you make your stitch.

      Interweave Knits has a recent issue with several methods of making the actual knitting stitches.  I believe there were five or six, each given a specific "name" based on where they are more often used.  I recognized three of them from past instruction. 

      I had knitting lessons at age 10, where I learned the "American" method (hold working yarn in right hand, use finger to push needle tip through finished stitch as you twist).  Then I babysat for a friend who was European, and learned the "European" method (hold working yarn in left hand, use needle to slip the stitch off).  Knowing both of these methods is a great tool when doing intarsia!  You can move much more quickly if you use method A for one color and method E for the second.

      About teaching left handed knitters; I've encountered this problem, too.  The best solution I found was to put a mirror next to my hands when teaching.  Have the student watch the mirror, not your hands. 


  2. Jean | | #3

    If you want some graphics to print out, there are some on this page.


  3. User avater
    ehBeth | | #4

    I've found that left-handed knitters find the European style of knitting easier to learn. (and it's faster for most right- and left-handed knitters)

    1. kswolff | | #5

      Success! Thank you for the tips on using the European method from several of you, I just taught myself how to do it well enough so I could teach my friend and she picked it up so fast it was amazing. I think she is a natural and we will soon have another true knitter in the world.

      So now we begin the search for fabulous pattern!!!

      Thanks again to all of you.


      1. User avater
        ehBeth | | #6

        Kirsten, try to keep that European technique in the corner of your brain. It is so easy to teach that you can literally teach people to knit using two pencils and a broken elastic  (I've done that 3 or 4 times now).

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