Thursday, 14 April 2011

WIP: Simple Socks

In the pre-ravelry days, I knitted a pair of socks very similar to these. I still wear them regularly, and when at my friend Laura's house, she saw my socks and really wanted a pair of her own. Who am I to deny a close friend hand-knitted socks?
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These are just plain, cuff-down stockinette socks. I'm knitting these on a 2.5 mm 9-inch circular; it's my first time using a tiny circ. I actually really enjoy it. I find knitting on dpns sort of hard on my wrists sometimes, and the magic loop/two circs technique isn't my fave (I know, I'm sorry, I just feel like I spend as much time feeding needles through loops as I do actually knitting).

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Gatsby does love to get in on the knit blog action.  

I've been knitting these on the subway or in various cafes in the city. And as someone who frequently knits in public, I'm used to people asking what I'm knitting. But when an older lady slid over to get a better look at my knitting while on the subway, I was totally unprepared for her question.

Nice Older Lady:"You're left handed, aren't you?"
Me: ".....uum, yes. How can you tell?"
Nice Older Lady: "I'm teaching my granddaughter to knit, and she's left handed too. I'll have to tell her that left handed knitters can do just as well!"

So, are there any fellow southpaw knitters out there? Is there really a difference? I knit 'English style'  (I'm a thrower, not a picker). I never thought it mattered- for crochet, yes, because I hold my hook in my left hand, but for knitting... the only time I find it affects anything is when I do a long tail cast on, since it is technically backwards (I hold the needle in my left hand).

Fellow knitters, help me out- can you actually tell if someone is left handed when they are knitting?

46 comments:

Barbara Prime said...

A left-handed friend of mine taught herself to knit from videos, and ended up doing everything in a mirror-image to how one would normally knit. It was pretty amazing to watch her knit. In the end, though, another friend taught her how to knit right-handed, because nobody could help her with mistakes in her mirror-image method.

jen said...

For what it's worth, my lefty coworker and I (a righty) have almost identical knitting styles (both pickers). I've seen a million different knitting styles, and it never seems to relate to whether a person is right handed or left handed.

Also, I'm intrigued by your tiny circs. I feel exactly the same way you do about magic loop, though I've never been able to articulate it as clearly as you did. I'll do magic loop for picked-up sleeves, but I can't stand it for socks. I need to find myself some tiny circs.

fridica said...

I don't know if I'd be able to recognise it! This reminds me, though, that the first (quite old) knitting manual I used had detailed instructions with photos for both left- and right-handed people. I should take a look at that and try to figure out the difference...

Kate said...

I'm a lefty...but I knit they way people knit in all the knitting videos I see, which is I guess right handed?

I've never really paid attention or noticed anyone knitting left-handed before. Hmmmm.

Sara said...

I'm a lefty and self-taught. I don't know if I'm a thrower or a picker because I don't know what that means. I hold the yarn in my right hand; my friend holds hers in the left, which I assume is European, but IDK if it's throwing or picking!

CelticCastOn said...

ok I have to know are those pages from a book on your wall??

laceandsteam said...

My left handed sister does everything in the opposite hand while knitting, so it's very easy to tell she's left handed. She uses her left hand to throw the yarn around the left needle, which is the needle she's working onto. It just made more sense to her to do it that way. It's very obvious she's left handed when you watch her knit.

I knit right-handed and continental. She finds it odd that I control my yarn with my left hand, but I learned to crochet first, and that's the hand that knows what to do to tension yarn, so I didn't fight it to try to learn to knit English.

Ibunnysavetroy said...

I'm right handed but I'm a picker, so my left hand is doing the work when I knit. I think it gives me better control over my left hand too. When people say there's a difference, I tell them they're wrong...as far as I know there's no difference! maybe with crocheting though.

laceandsteam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mooncalf said...

I'm a lefty knitting with a tiny circ too.

I don't believe I have any unusual identifying marks...

Peppermint Mocha Mama said...

I can only tell a left handed knitter by English style since the yarn is thrown. If you watch me knit - I knit German - then you would think I was a lefty too. Even know that I've learned Norwegian purling, it would be a safe assumption to think I was a lefty.

Rebecca said...

I'm going to be following this. My daughter (who is only 5 btw) has been BEGGING me to teach her how to knit. She is left handed though and I don't know how to teach her because I am right handed.

Emma said...

I'm right handed, but was taught to knit by my lef handed Mum. I'm pretty sure that we knit in exactly the same way, and it's the same as anyone else I've seen knit English style.

Kasia said...

Hello Julie, I'm a right handed continental knitter (a picker) but my partner is left handed and he knits English way (like you) and I must admit that all his creations are way more perfect than mine. He knits occasionally (a scarf for me or a hat for our daughter every now and then). His knitting is more even and tidy. He taught himself from videos and you wouldn't say he's left handed watching him knitting (that's what I think at least..)

Have a great day,
Kasia

Sara said...

I'm a lefty who knits English style, too. More and more it seems to me that "handedness" doesn't matter much in knitting. I'm using both hands all the time anyway. What I think matters more is micro-muscle memory that gets established as you practice. BTW, I totally agree with you about magic loop; it seems like I'm doing 30% knitting, 70% tugging stitches around whenever I try it. Maybe I'm doing it wrong...

Roxie said...

When I teach lefties to knit, I prop a mirror against my chest and have them do what they see in the mirror. Most southpaws knit with the yarn in their right hand, when they pick, in the left hand when they throw. So if you knit continental and your yarn is in your left hand, you are knitting right-handed.

Tanis said...

I love lefties! Chris is a lefty, and 3 of the 6 people in my family are all left handed, (3 of the 5 people in Chris' family are lefties!) Since I'm a righty and I taught Chris to knit I I taught him to do exactly what I do. However, now that you mention it, there are some little things (like picking up dropped stitches) that Chris struggles awkwardly with and I wonder if it's because I'm showing him how to do it from the point of view of a righty. Very interesting... Tell us more about that awesome papered wall!

Jewleigh said...

I'm a lefty who throws with the right hand. When I taught myself, I did not want to have to reverse patterns or anything, so I just went with the right hand.

I think anyone can do either with enough practice. After a few years, I don't know think I have any obvious signs that I'm left-handed.

Miss √Člise said...

I am a left-handed English knitter, but I can do almost anything right-handed. There's some things I can only do with my right hand, like using scissors. So learning to knit was easy for me as both hands are equally developed. I guess they call that being ambidextrous.

I guess I got so used to this that when people ask me if I'm left-handed I get confused. Sometimes I forget there's a difference between the two. (It makes me HORRIBLE at giving directions in a car.)

Jules said...

Hmm, maybe lefties are better at regulating the tension if they knit holding the yarn in the left hand and picking. This article in Knitty (below) says cables can be a problem for lefties. I like those small circs! Agree on you with the magic loop method--I prefer dpns.

http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter03/FEATmirror.html

Kaitlin said...

I'm a leftie! I learned to crochet first then regular throwing for knitting. Didn't realize I had to reverse a crochet cardi pattern due to the left-handness- thus it's a forever UFO. For long tail I do the gun in the my left hand since I've had righties teach me. :)

Jacey said...

I'm a lefty, too. I'm not sure if you can tell, really, but when I was traching a friend to knit, things felt a little backwards for her, so maybe there's more of a difference than I'm aware of.

acornarts said...

I'm a lefty. I knit from right to left & hold the yarn in my right hand. I've discovered that I knit in some modified, left-handed version of Eastern Continental style of Anne Modisett. I find it annoying people saying that lefties should knit righty because both hands are working. Yes, but one hand is still dominant. You tie your shoes with both hands, but one still takes the lead, right? Why not learn to knit with your naturally dominant hand? As far as directions for knitting patterns go, there are very few modifications. You switch your decreases, ssk for k2tog, knit the right side of the sweater when the instructions are for the left, etc. The only "hiccups" I ever have is on some cables, left leaning vs. right leaning, then its just a little bit of experimentation, but it all shakes out in the end! There's my lefty rant! I'm a little passionate about lefties getting fair treatment.

Epenthetical said...

I'm not sure; I knit continental-style because I learned from a left-handed friend and that's how she does it, and learning from a fellow leftie seemed like a good idea. I find picking easier than throwing, which I have tried. It just seems so much slower to me. But I don't know if that's because I'm left-handed or because I'm impatient. People might look at me and assume I'm left-handed, but I know a number of right-handed peopel who knit continental.

Crochet was a much bigger struggle for me, in part because I'm left-handed. My left-handed crochet looks just a little bit different than right-handed crochet (I think my stitches are twisted because of the direction I wrap the yarn around the hook). But I'm okay with how it looks. I still don't find it as intuitive as knitting, and I think part of that is because knitting uses both hands--it feels more balanced.

The Sweatshop of Love said...

I always get left handed students coming to me with terrible stories about how they had been turned away from other classes because the instructor didn't know how to teach left handed knitting! It always shocks me because I teach lefties and righties exactly the same. No one has ever had a problem! I have a left handed student that I taught both ways and she chose continental as her preferred method, but that was only because she got a better tension.

kessainstitches said...

I'm right-handed and learnt to knit on my right hand, but always found it rather tedious. After a couple of years of rather inactive knitting, I learnt to knit continental style. Never looked back since. :)

So I guess its not exactly accurate to use knitting style to tell if someone is left/right-handed.

Those tiny circs looks very interesting... No magic loop involved? It looks really handy!

Helen said...

My left-handed mother taught me as a child. She was forcibly taught how to write with her right hand but her brain does everything else left-handed. She taught me continental style. The only thing she noted recently is that I make my stitches different but they come out the right way. :)
I personally can't tell if someone is knitting lefty but I have a hard time following someone who is a thrower.

Raime said...

I'm an ambidextrous knitter and I have a lefty friend. You can tell handedness by the direction the stitches travel (left to right or right to left). Though I'm naturally right-handed, I tend to knit left when knitting-in-the-round. I started as a thrower then learned to pick and I can do it on both hands. I never knew ambidexterity in knitting was weird until I joined a knitting group and got a lot of stares.

Cakewalk Yarns said...

I knit continental - which some people insist is "left-handed". I don't get that association at all. I barely move my left-hand when I knit - its really just propping up the yarn for my right hand to swipe with every stitch.

Sandra said...

I'm a lefty and I knit the way most people do - from right to left. I'm also a picker, if that makes a difference. My Mom originally taught me to knit, and she';s a righty, but I never found it difficult to figure out. I've always thought of knitting as a two handed thing - both hands are fully engaged, so I never thought of it in terms of right or left. I also crochet with my left hand, so I know that throws off crocheters (I've been told I'm doin git wrong - I say different isn't wrong...)
Now I"m very left (right brained), except I bat right and I golf left... and my right handed brother golfs left. IS there a PhD looking for a topic? We've got one right here!

sweet jane. said...

Interesting! My boyfriend was interrogating me about knitting left-handed just the other day. (why, I don't know, haha.) I'm not a lefty so I didn't have any answers for him. I tried to explain continental vs. English vs. other styles. It seems like everyone has their own style preference, and you're using both hands in any of them, so I don't know why left/right handedness makes much difference in the process ...

Susan said...

I'm left-handed and knit just as you stated, English and throw the yarn. My stitches are uniform, but I always have to go down one needle size to get gauge.

Retha said...

I think it depends on how they knit. Recently I attended a new stitch n bitch group and I couldn't take my eyes off the hands of the girl I sat by. I was mesmerized by the way she knit. Finally, it occurred to me and I asked her if she was left-handed to which she replied yes. Older members proceeded to comment that they never noticed how she knitted or that she was a leftie. LOL.

karen alho said...

I always thought I could tell. As A right hand knitter I move my stitches from the left needle ( my left ) to the right needle. The lefties I know do just the oposite. I've taught lefties to knit by sitting them in front of me, rather than next to me. I would purl and tell them to do exactly what the All they had to do was copy *exactly what they saw me doing*. For them it would be a knit stitch. Perhaps it helps that I'm not completely left brained by a long shot. It's easy for me to conceptualize what they need to know.

Jenn said...

I'm so thankful for this post...and comment thread. I'm a righty and knit with the working needle in my right hand (I too am a thrower, not a picker)...but in order to teach a left handed friend how to knit I taught myself to knit with the left needle being the working needle not really knowing there was a difference when it came working patterns. Well all worked fine and dandy when she knit flat projects, but then she wanted to make socks and we had a terrible time translating my right handedness to her left handedness in the round. It doesn't help that we live 7 hrs apart and so when she runs into snags I'm not there to visually see what she is doing. I am so sending her this post!

Tee said...

I'm left handed and knit typical English style, the same as right handed knitters, but my friend who is left handed knits totally left handed, with the left needle being the working needle, and basically knits backwards.....left to right. Somehow it works out ok for her, although maybe she is reversing the directions in her mind as she goes.

Kristen said...

I knit left handed, and I start with all of the stitches on my right needle. My working needle is my left needle, and I hold the yarn in my left hand to throw or my right hand to pick. If I am learning a new stitch, sometimes I will cast on a few stitches and knit right-handed to figure it out, then I will translate it to a left-handed stitch. Sometimes you have to reverse flat patterns if they have a special border, but mostly, I knit the way the pattern says. My cables spin in the opposite direction because I don't feel like reversing them. In the round, I knit counter-clockwise instead of clockwise, but I don't ever have to alter the pattern to account for my handedness. Another example of my work turning out "backwards" is the cedar leaf shawlette that I am making from never not knitting. My leaves will run in the opposite direction as in the pattern.

Maryse said...

I have to say that I've always assumed that right-handed and left-handed knitted the same way! It's really interesting! The socks are lovely!

adriene said...

I must say, I have never heard of tiny circs before, but if such things exist, I must find some! Those might make a sock-knitter out of me, yet!

tentenknits said...

girl, my hands hurt just thinking about your tiny circs!!

I am no help when it comes to lefties - I don't notice a thing and I'm prone to say that the English and Continental way of knitting are pretty ambidextrous but I feel like a whole slew of lefties may come after me with their US 0s!! ;-)

CanarySanctuary said...

I must admit, I've never noticed. I'd like to learn to knit English - I've heard it's very useful when doing colourwork to know both throwing and picking!

elizabethraine said...

I'm a lefty, and constantly get comments on how weird/interesting my knitting style looks. To be honest, I have no idea if I pick or throw- I mostly taught myself after a short tutorial from my mom, so I have no idea what the difference really is.

It did occur to me awhile ago that it does mean I have to sometimes interpret patterns backwards- or at least, understand that I'm going the "wrong" way when I read charts. Overall, though,not a problem for me.

Patchie said...

Left-hand knitters that have been taught my right-hand knitters tend to knit like a right-handed knitter, I've found. I've had no problem teaching leftys to knit, but trying to teach a lefty to crochet? Almost impossible. Haha!

Rainy Daisy said...

Hm. I'm a righty and self-taught, so I'm a thrower too. I've tried picking and I hate it, but I imagine that lefties would like it better. Not true?

Cheers!
Daisy

vernice said...

Hi Julie,
I've been reading your blog like a novel every since I saw your Stockholm scarf on Pinterest. You just answered so many questions for me. I just started knitting this summer from watching youtube videos so I'm trying to master skill and speed. At the turn around rate at which you produce your garments I imagined that you were a picker. I love your posts! Your blog has been the bridge that catapults me from a beginning knitter to aspire to be experienced knitter. You help answer questions about fit, yarn choices, pattern combinations, and swatching. Thanks for your love of yarn works and sharing.

Lynn said...

My wonderful grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 8 years old by having me sit in front of her because I am a lefty. When I was a teenager I asked her to teach me to knit. She gave me a basic right hand knitting book that I think is probably an antique now because I am! And told me to teach myself but she tried to answer questions when I hit a snag. Took my first knitting socks class this month and I know now how discrimination feels. Anytime the instructor helps me she takes my work and just does the procedure for me. Then my work becomes so discombobulated that I can't take it back and continue as a left handed throw knitter! She says that the only answer is to learn to knit right handed! What if I had told my left handed students that they must learn right handed? I am still knitting but am sad there are shops who believe this way!