Guide to Knitting for Left Handed Beginners

Guide to Knitting for Left Handed Beginners

Knitting is a popular craft that can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels and backgrounds. However, for left-handed individuals, learning to knit can sometimes be a bit more challenging. Left-handed knitting requires a slightly different approach, as the traditional right-handed techniques may not feel natural. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the basics of knitting for left-handed beginners, providing you with the knowledge and skills needed to create beautiful knitted projects.

One of the first things to consider when learning to knit left-handed is finding the most comfortable way to hold your needles and yarn. Left-handed knitters often find it easier to knit continental style, which involves holding the yarn in the left hand and using the right needle to pick up stitches. This technique allows for a more fluid and efficient knitting motion for left-handed individuals.

Another important aspect of left-handed knitting is understanding how to read and follow knitting patterns. Many patterns are written for right-handed knitters, so it’s important to make the necessary adjustments. For example, when a pattern instructs you to knit, you will purl, and vice versa. It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with left-handed knitting terminology, such as “left-leaning” and “right-leaning,” to ensure you are following the pattern correctly.

As a left-handed beginner, it’s important to have patience and practice regularly. Like any skill, knitting requires time and dedication to master. Start with simple projects, such as scarves or dishcloths, to practice your stitches and techniques. Don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes – they are part of the learning process. With time and practice, you will gain confidence and develop your own unique style of left-handed knitting.

So, whether you’re a left-handed individual looking to learn a new skill or a right-handed knitter looking to expand your horizons, this step-by-step guide will provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to master the art of left-handed knitting. Get ready to unleash your creativity and create beautiful, handmade knitted items that you can cherish and share with others.

Choosing the Right Knitting Needles

When starting out with knitting, one of the first decisions to make is what type of knitting needles to use. Choosing the right knitting needles is essential for both comfort and ease of use.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting knitting needles:

  1. Material: Knitting needles can be made from various materials, such as wood, metal, or plastic. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Wood needles are lightweight and warm to the touch, making them a good choice for sensitive hands. Metal needles are durable and slick, allowing the yarn to slide easily. Plastic needles are affordable and often come in bright colors, making them popular for beginners.
  2. Size: Knitting needles come in different sizes, indicated by numbers or letters. The size of the needles determines the gauge of your knitted fabric. Thicker needles create larger stitches, while thinner needles create smaller stitches. The size of the needle you choose will depend on the project you are working on and the desired outcome.
  3. Type: There are two main types of knitting needles: straight needles and circular needles. Straight needles are used for flat knitting, such as scarves and blankets. Circular needles, on the other hand, can be used for both flat and circular knitting, such as hats and sweaters. They are more versatile and can hold a larger number of stitches.
  4. Length: The length of knitting needles varies, and the choice depends on personal preference and the size of the project. For example, shorter needles are suitable for smaller projects, while longer needles are better for larger projects that require more stitches.

It may take some experimentation to find the knitting needles that work best for you. And remember, knitting is a personal and creative craft, so don’t be afraid to try different types and sizes of needles to find your own knitting style!

Understanding Basic Knitting Symbols

When starting out with knitting, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basic knitting symbols commonly used in knitting patterns. These symbols are used to instruct you on the different stitches and techniques required to complete a knitting project.

Here are some of the most commonly used knitting symbols and what they represent:

Symbol Description
K Knit stitch
P Purl stitch
YO Yarn over
SSK Slip, slip, knit decrease
K2TOG Knit two stitches together decrease
P2TOG Purl two stitches together decrease
PM Place marker

These symbols are usually listed in the instructions along with the corresponding row number and any variations needed for left-handed knitters. It is important to carefully read and understand the symbols before starting a pattern, as they will guide you through each step of the knitting process.

Additionally, knitting patterns may also include other symbols for more complex stitches or techniques. It is recommended to keep a knitting symbol chart or guide handy for reference when encountering new symbols.

With a good understanding of basic knitting symbols, you’ll be able to confidently tackle a variety of knitting projects and follow along with knitting patterns.

Casting On: Getting Started with Your First Stitch

Before you can start knitting, you need to cast on your stitches. Casting on is the process of creating the foundation row of stitches on your knitting needle. Here’s how to get started with your first stitch as a left-handed beginner.

  1. Hold the knitting needle with your left hand. Grasp the end of the yarn with your right hand and create a slipknot by making a loop. Place the loop on the needle and tighten it gently.
  2. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your left hand. Use your right hand to hold the working yarn, which is the yarn attached to the ball or skein.
  3. Insert the needle into the loop of the slipknot from the front. Hold the needle between your left thumb and index finger, gripping it firmly.
  4. Bring the working yarn over the needle and insert it through the slipknot loop from above. This creates a new loop on the needle.
  5. Pull the working yarn gently to tighten the new loop on the needle. Be careful not to pull too tight, as you’ll need to be able to work with the stitches later.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches. It’s common to start with around 20 stitches for practice.
  7. Now you’re ready to start knitting your first row!

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfectly. With some practice, you’ll soon get the hang of casting on and be ready to move on to the next steps in knitting.

Knitting Stitches for Left-Handers

When it comes to knitting as a left-hander, it’s important to have a good understanding of the basic stitches. Once you have mastered these stitches, you will be able to create a wide variety of beautiful knitting projects. Here are some key stitches for left-handed knitters:

  1. Knit Stitch: The knit stitch is the most basic stitch in knitting. To perform the knit stitch as a left-hander, hold the working yarn in your right hand and insert the right needle into the first stitch from left to right, passing it behind the left needle. Wrap the yarn around the right needle from back to front, and pull it through the stitch to create a new loop on the right needle. Drop the old stitch from the left needle.
  2. Purl Stitch: The purl stitch creates a bumpy texture on the fabric. To purl as a left-hander, hold the working yarn in your right hand and insert the right needle into the first stitch from right to left, passing it in front of the left needle. Wrap the yarn around the right needle from front to back, and pull it through the stitch to create a new loop on the right needle. Drop the old stitch from the left needle.
  3. Stockinette Stitch: The stockinette stitch is created by alternating rows of knit and purl stitches. When working stockinette stitch as a left-hander, remember to alternate between knitting and purling on each row to achieve the desired pattern.
  4. Garter Stitch: The garter stitch is created by knitting every row. To work garter stitch as a left-hander, simply knit every stitch on every row. This stitch pattern creates a fabric with ridges.

Remember to take your time and practice these stitches to become comfortable with them. With consistent practice, you will soon become adept at knitting as a left-hander and be able to tackle more complex knitting projects.

Following a Knitting Pattern

Once you have mastered the basic knitting techniques, it’s time to start following knitting patterns. Knitting patterns are like a set of instructions that guide you through the steps needed to create a specific item.

Here are some tips to help you successfully follow a knitting pattern:

  • Read the pattern carefully: Before you begin, make sure to read through the entire pattern to understand the instructions and the stitches used. Look for any special stitches or techniques that you may need to learn.
  • Check your gauge: Gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch in your knitting. It is important to match the gauge specified in the pattern to ensure that your finished item will be the correct size.
  • Use stitch markers: Stitch markers can be helpful in keeping track of your progress and identifying important sections or stitches in the pattern.
  • Take notes: It can be useful to write down any modifications or changes you make while following the pattern. This will help you remember what you did if you need to make the item again.
  • Keep track of rows: Use a row counter or make tally marks on a piece of paper to keep track of the number of rows you have completed. This will help you stay organized and avoid mistakes.
  • Ask for help: If you encounter any difficulties or have questions about the pattern, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can reach out to experienced knitters or join online knitting communities for guidance.

Remember, practice makes perfect! The more you practice following knitting patterns, the easier it will become. Don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes along the way – they are all part of the learning process. Happy knitting!

Increasing and Decreasing Stitches

Increasing and decreasing stitches are essential techniques in knitting as they allow you to shape your project and achieve different patterns and designs. Whether you are a left-handed beginner or an experienced knitter, understanding how to increase and decrease stitches will greatly enhance your skills and enable you to create more intricate and interesting projects.

Increasing Stitches

There are several methods to increase stitches, but one of the most common is the yarn over (YO) technique. To yarn over, follow these steps:

  1. Bring the working yarn to the front of your work.
  2. Take the working yarn over the right-hand needle from back to front.
  3. Continue knitting the next stitch as usual.

This creates a new stitch on your needle. Yarn overs are often used in lace patterns and to create eyelet designs.

Another common method of increasing stitches is the knit front and back (kfb) technique. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Knit into the front of the next stitch as normal, but do not slip it off the left-hand needle.
  2. Without removing the stitch from the left-hand needle, insert the right-hand needle into the back of the same stitch.
  3. Wrap the working yarn around the right-hand needle and knit into the back of the stitch.
  4. Slip both stitches off the left-hand needle.

This method creates two stitches from one, and it’s commonly used to shape garments and increase stitch count.

Decreasing Stitches

Decreasing stitches is just as important as increasing, and it allows you to shape your project and create various patterns. One of the most commonly used decrease techniques is the knit two together (k2tog). To knit two stitches together, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the right-hand needle into the next two stitches as if to knit.
  2. Wrap the working yarn around the right-hand needle and knit through both stitches at the same time.

This decreases one stitch, and it’s commonly used in shaping sleeves, necklines, and other parts of a project.

Another popular decrease method is the slip, slip, knit (ssk) technique. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Slip the next stitch onto the right-hand needle as if to knit.
  2. Slip the following stitch onto the right-hand needle as if to purl.
  3. Insert the left-hand needle into the fronts of both slipped stitches and knit them together.

This decrease creates a left-leaning decrease and is often used in lace patterns and to shape the top of hats or the tips of mittens.

By mastering the art of increasing and decreasing stitches, you’ll have a wide range of possibilities when it comes to creating beautiful and unique knitting projects. Practice these techniques and explore different patterns to enhance your skills and unleash your creativity.

Binding Off: Finishing Your Knitting Project

Binding Off: Finishing Your Knitting Project

After spending hours knitting your project, it’s important to finish it off properly. Binding off is the process of securing the stitches and creating a neat edge.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to binding off your knitting project:

  1. Start by knitting the first two stitches of your row.
  2. Insert the left needle into the first stitch on the right needle.
  3. Lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right needle. The second stitch should now be on the right needle.
  4. Knit the next stitch on the left needle.
  5. Lift the second stitch over the third stitch and off the right needle.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have one stitch remaining on the right needle.
  7. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail that is long enough to weave in later.
  8. Thread the tail through the last stitch and pull tight to secure.

Once you have bound off all the stitches, you can remove your knitting from the needles. Take a moment to admire your finished project!

Binding off creates a finished edge that prevents your knitting from unraveling. It’s an essential skill for every knitter to learn. With practice, you’ll be binding off your projects with ease.

Common Knitting Abbreviations:
Abbreviation Description
K Knit
P Purl
St Stitch
Psso Pass slipped stitch over

Now that you know how to bind off, you can confidently finish your knitting projects and start showing off your creations!

Troubleshooting Common Knitting Mistakes

As a left-handed beginner, you may encounter some common knitting mistakes. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you overcome them:

  1. Tangled Yarn: If you find your yarn getting tangled, try using a yarn bowl or a yarn holder to keep it organized and prevent it from knotting.
  2. Dropped Stitch: If you’ve dropped a stitch, don’t panic! Take a deep breath and carefully examine your work. Use a crochet hook or a smaller knitting needle to pick up the dropped stitch and work it back into place.
  3. Inconsistent Tension: If your tension is inconsistent, it can result in uneven stitches. Practice knitting at a steady pace and pay attention to how you hold your yarn. Experiment with different tension techniques until you find what works best for you.
  4. Holes or Gaps: Holes or gaps in your knitting can be caused by accidental yarn overs or missed stitches. Double-check your pattern instructions and count your stitches regularly to ensure accuracy.
  5. Twisted Stitches: Twisted stitches can happen when you insert the needle incorrectly. Make sure to insert the needle from the front to the back of the stitch, not the other way around.
  6. Uneven Edges: If you’re struggling with uneven edges, try using stitch markers or knitting in the round to create a cleaner edge. Practice your tension and pay attention to your knitting technique.
  7. Misread Pattern: Misreading a pattern can lead to mistakes in your knitting. Take your time to carefully read and understand the instructions before starting a new section. Use a highlighter or sticky notes to mark important sections or repeats.

Remember, knitting is a skill that improves with practice. Don’t get discouraged by mistakes, but instead see them as an opportunity to learn and grow as a knitter. Happy knitting!


Is knitting different for left-handed people?

Yes, knitting can be different for left-handed people. They may need to reverse the instructions and hold the knitting needles and yarn in a different way.

Is it difficult for left-handed beginners to learn knitting?

Learning knitting as a left-handed beginner might be a bit challenging at first, but with patience and practice, it can be mastered. Following step-by-step instructions and watching video tutorials specifically for left-handed knitters can be helpful.

What are some tips for left-handed beginners?

Some tips for left-handed beginners in knitting are to reverse the instructions, find left-handed knitting tutorials, join local knitting groups or classes, and practice regularly. It’s also important to be patient and not get discouraged.

Can left-handed people knit using their dominant hand?

Yes, left-handed people can knit using their dominant hand. In fact, most left-handed knitters prefer to hold the knitting needles in their left hand. The knitting process can be adapted to suit their hand dominance.

Are there any specific knitting techniques for left-handed beginners?

Yes, there are specific knitting techniques for left-handed beginners. Some of these techniques include the left-handed knit stitch, purl stitch, casting on, and binding off. These techniques can be easily learned by following left-handed knitting tutorials.

Where can left-handed beginners find resources for learning knitting?

Left-handed beginners can find resources for learning knitting in various places. There are many online platforms, such as websites, blogs, and YouTube channels, that provide tutorials specifically for left-handed knitters. Local knitting stores and libraries may also have books and guides for left-handed knitting.


How to Knit – Garter Stitch for Complete Beginners | Lesson 1 (Left Handed)

How to knit for beginners – the continental way (+ slow motion)

How To Knit Left Handed – The Basics

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