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Topic: ambidextrous knitting?  (Read 1993 times)
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aijay
« on: April 19, 2006 02:36:51 AM »

Is anybody out there an ambidextrous knitter?  I'm curious.  I've heard of people who, because they can knit both-handed, just knit back and forth on their needles without ever having the wrong side of the work facing them (i.e.  in stockinette they never purl).

I'm a lefty in general but I learned knitting years and years ago right-handedly, and so I've always knitted right-handed.  I'm thinking about investing the time to learn to knit left-handedly too, so that I can go back and forth, but I'm wondering if it's really worth it.  (I imagine it's going to take a LOT of time and practice to get the "new" hand to knit at the same tension as the "experienced" hand.)  I know that lots of lefties end up doing many tasks right-handedly just because tools and instructions kind of force them into it (scissors, etc), so I'm assuming that lefties knitting righty is probably a common phenomenon. 

Anyway, does anybody knit using both hands?  Do you have any advice?  Is it worth the time commitment to learn?
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munchie
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006 02:43:39 AM »

I can do this. When I learnt to knit when I was kid  it annoyed me that only one arm did all the work and would hurt while the other was fine. So I just started knitting back and forth. Didn't even find out I was doing anything different until a year ago. Its handy since you don't have to purl, and I hate purling! if I ever do need to purl thats when i turn my work. But then again I'm also ambidextrous so maybe thats why it was so easy for me to do.
And I recall someone saying its called backwards knitting.
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006 04:17:41 AM »

My granny-in-law can knit like this, according to my husband (who thought I was doing it wrong, cos I couldn't)  Roll Eyes

I'm a leftie who knits righthandedly too, in fact 4 out of 6 of us in my evening knitting group are too!!  Shocked

Would love to be able to knit back and forth, but think it could be quite tricky!!  Huh
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Fozziebear54
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2006 08:09:50 AM »

I taught myself to do it once while fooling around with yarn on a bus ride. Even though I can do it, I don't actually knit like that ever, since I don't find purling to be that much of a pain. However, if I ever try entrelac, you had better believe that I'm going to be knitting backwards!
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nongshim
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2006 08:20:53 AM »

I taught myself how to knit backwards from the big Vogue Knitting book. Because I am a nerd who thinks people care, I posted how to do it on my blog: http://www.yarnabuse.com/journal/2006/2/7/how-to-knit-bass-ackwards.html
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grrrlartist
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2006 09:43:21 AM »

i'm a righty knitter and i'd like to learn this too - i kind of started to learn when i did my first two-color knitting project and i liked it but at the time didn't have the time to devote to making sure my tension was the same in both directions.  (it was a felting project so i wasn't really worried about it)

i have a friend who does this simply because she doesn't want to purl.  she is a very even knitter in both directions, and a relatively new knitter to boot!

i think it would definitely be worth the time to learn.
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Thesingingllamas
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2006 04:54:57 PM »

Doesn't it twist the stitches or something? And if your left handed, by "right handed knitting" do you mean english? I taught myself both english and continental, but I teach people continental.
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cnp71201
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2006 10:17:14 PM »

I learned this using this tutorial:
http://oma57.tripod.com/ktbk.html
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aijay
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2006 02:19:40 AM »

tutorials with pictures!  thank you nongshim and cnp71201!  looks like this is definitely going on the summer vacation activities list.

Thesingingllamas, when I said "righty" I meant to indicate that the stitches move from the left hand needle to the right hand needle, whether you're picking or throwing, English or Continental.  So when someone knits really lefty (or backwards), they're knitting the whole thing mirror opposite, stitches moving from right to left (It can be a pain when reading a pattern).  The stitches won't twist unless you wrap the yarn the wrong way, regardless of the direction you're going.  I know lefties have better luck with Continental knitting in general, because it utilizes that hand more -- I myself knit with a weird mix of the two styles, having learned both.

I actually have a problem with my purl tension being much looser than my knitting tension, despite the many tweaks I've tried to correct the problem.  Maybe learning to knit back and forth might actually solve it....  such a nice, hopeful thought!
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Chimera
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2006 08:23:22 AM »

I am right handed, but knit left handed. I taught myself to knit and it just seemed the logical way. I was not aware that I was knitting 'wrong' until someone said something to me at my knitting group. Oh well, I guess I'm just backwards.  Cheesy
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grrrlartist
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2006 09:41:49 AM »

oh, i don't think there's a wrong way to knit, as long as you get the results you want.   Wink

i also have a problem with my purling being looser than my knitting, seems like no matter what i do ... maybe this will help me too!


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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2006 10:18:39 AM »

I can do this!!!!! When I first learned how to purl I was soooooo slow that i thought there had to be another way to do it. One day I was playing around and then I just figured it out.....I kinda miss the "celebratory turn" at the end of the row though. It is so much faster for me that I guess it is worth it. I am right handed if that makes a difference.
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rhiandmoi
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2006 01:14:00 PM »

I can do it, and sometimes it is handy, but it is pretty important to learn to purl with good tension because sooner or later you are going to want to do pattern stitches that have a lot of purl stitches.

Edit to Add:

I just remembered the last time I used this and a situation where I found it really handy: Turning a short row heel on a sock. I was not comprehending how to pick up wraps on the purl side so I just knit back and forth.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2006 02:30:48 PM by rhiandmoi » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Chimera
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2006 03:18:22 PM »

oh, i don't think there's a wrong way to knit, as long as you get the results you want.   Wink

i also have a problem with my purling being looser than my knitting, seems like no matter what i do ... maybe this will help me too!

Yeah, I know, but someone just wanted to point out that their way was better, I guess. My knitting does always turn out exactly the way it should, so I really could care less.

On the loose purling -try pulling the stitch tight after you have inserted your needle -this works for me.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2006 03:21:05 PM by Chimera » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2006 03:32:24 PM »

I knit right and left handed and I love it. Mostly I use it when I work lace or stockinette, but I can knit most stitches left handed in a pinch.
It's merits tend to be most prominent in a few cases, namely, rows with very few stitches and color work. In both cases, having to turn the work is a disatadvantage.

Is it worth learning? Probably and being a left, it should be easier for you than most. Start with something that you won't be sad if it's a little wonky, like a dish cloth, and then work up to just doing a row out of every 10 backwards, to get yourself acustomed to it.
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aijay
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2006 01:50:11 AM »

thanks for the advice, Marnie.  my mom will be getting a new batch of wonky dishcloths this summer as a dubious present, I'm sure.

rhiandmoi, yes, shortrows!  i think if i learn how to do this it'll be easier for me to imagine them in my head, and my small-toy-knitting freestyle is going to improve tremendously.

as for the loose tension on purl stitches, it only becomes an issue when i combine knitting in the round with flat knitting, and my gauge between the two is different.  otherwise, it's hard to tell it's happening when i look at the finished project.  but it still bothers me that i can't figure out why it's going on.  i've tried multiple angles of holding the needles, different ways of holding the yarn, etc etc etc.  it remains a mystery. 

i should take my knitting to the LYS that has an instructor on weekends to deal with this purl issue, but i got in a big fight with them on my last visit over whether or not babies should wear black knitwear (i was pro, he was con) that devolved into shouting (on his part) and i haven't gone back.  that was our second shouting match actually -- the first one was over acrylic yarns (i thought they would be appropriate for babies in warm climates, and he told me why don't i just wrap a plastic bag around its head).  it's kind of funny now that i think about it.  shopping in Athens often seems to be an adventure in misplaced aggression. Wink
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2006 07:54:16 AM »

Geeze, it sounds like your LYS guy is pretty opinionated.
I'm fine with babies in black and acrylic...heck, why not black acrylic? I don't think I would go back to a place where someone yelled over something so benign.

If your purls are at all wonky, you may want to check out Annie Modesitt's site. She knits combined which is the same way I knit.
http://www.anniemodesitt.com/purl.html
I think it's much easier to get an even tension, though it does throw some interesting curve balls at you if you aren't used to it. I won't belabor the topic if it doesn't interest you, but if you are feeling interested, you can always PM me Smiley
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diosaperdida
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2006 08:10:36 AM »

I do knit back and forth without turning. I'm a left hander but have no problems just using my right hand to knit back the otherway. I hadnt done it in years and had forgotten about it, until I strated trying to learn entrelac.
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2006 08:12:41 AM »

Doesn't it twist the stitches or something? And if your left handed, by "right handed knitting" do you mean english? I taught myself both english and continental, but I teach people continental.


I hope I did the quote correctly. But no...it doesnt twist the stitches.
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2006 10:29:40 PM »

My chemistry teacher's nephew does this.  (Haha, what a funny relation.  I didn't realize it would sound so funny until I typed it out here.)  He's dyslexic, so while watching his sister knit and purl he sort of picked it up halfway and figured out the other half for himself.
I've tried purling like this before, but, being far from ambidextrous myself (I can't even knit Continental because my left hand sucks so bad) it was too slow to be worth anything.
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supersiren1
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2014 11:35:44 AM »

However, if I ever try entrelac, you had better believe that I'm going to be knitting backwards!

THAT is exactly why I did. I was using Lion Brand Hometown USA and it was getting HEAVY. after a couple of blocks, it was like second nature. I'm a lefty knitting left handed... that seems to be rare these days!
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Alexus1325
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2014 08:50:14 AM »

Apparently I'm not that odd, then! I'm a right handed continental knitter (it seemed a natural move from how I hold the yarn for crochet). On my first entrelac project, all the turning drove me insane, so I tried doing left handed English knitting to keep the yarn on the same hand and it worked! Now I just throw leftie if I've got short back and forth sections like sock heels and slipper tops, but still turn if it's a long stretch.
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chirel
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2014 01:08:13 AM »

Wow, I always fought that ambidextrous knitting would be really hard to learn, but it only took me about an hour to get the same speed knitting from left to right as when purling. I expect to be a much faster knitter in the future!
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