How to Knit If You're Left-Handed

Try these three practical tips when learning how to do it in a way that works for you.

woman hands knitting
Photo: Esra Karakose/EyeEm/Getty

Learning to knit when you're left-handed may feel like a challenge when so many tutorials are designed for right-handed knitters. Even though you use both hands for knitting—holding a knitting needle and yarn in one hand while controlling the second needle with the other—it can still take time to create new muscle memory in your non-dominant hand. But there are lots of ways that you can learn to make it work for you.

Here, we suggest three ways to knit left-handed will get you started as you learn to train not only your brain in a new skill, but also your hands as you grip, wrap, slide, and slip your yarn into a handmade heirloom.

Learn from a Left-Handed Knitter

Usually, the best way to learn anything is to go directly to the source or, in this case, someone who is left-handed and knits themselves. This is especially helpful if you can get one-on-one assistance because they'll be able to coach you in how you're holding the needles and working with the yarn. Your local yarn shop is likely a great resource for help. You can also look for video tutorials that are specific to lefties because seeing things in motion may be exactly what you need.

Work as a Right-Handed Knitter

Some people who are left-handed don't try to change the knitting method; instead, they learn to knit right-handed. In this way of knitting, the stitches start on the left needle, and as you work them they move to the right needle. This is often easier if you learn how to knit German/Continental style, which involves maneuvering the needle in your right hand while tensioning and wrapping the yarn with your left index finger; the movements are fairly balanced between both hands. Learning to knit English style is trickier because most of the action—inserting the needle, wrapping the yarn, and then forming the stitches—happens with your right hand. With some practice, you may find that you can still learn this way.

Use a Mirror as You Learn

To knit in a way that is tailored to left-handedness while using the same movements as right-handed knitting, you actually need to flip everything. That means starting with stitches on the right needle and moving them to the left needle as you work. Patterns will still come out exactly the same—you'll just be doing everything mirrored. If you have videos, photos, or illustrations, you can set them up next to a mirror and follow what you see in the reflection. This takes all the actions of a right-handed knitter and presents them so you can learn left-handed. And it works for both English and German/Continental styles of knitting, as well as any other technique to go along with this needle craft.

Remember that whether you knit left-handed or right-handed, German/Continental or English, everyone has a unique way to hold the needles and work with the yarn. Try different methods until you find what feels good as you, then practice until the knitting forms a rhythm because knitting left-handed doesn't need to slow you down.

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