Left Handed Knitting Tutorial for Beginners + Video

Southpaws Unite! Left Handed Knitting Tutorial for Beginners

Hey fellow southpaws!

Have you been wanting to learn to knit but don’t know where to start?

Did someone teach you to knit right handed and things aren’t going well?

Does it feel like you struggle to hold the needles and yarn while trying to knit right handed?

Are you trying to teach a left handed child how to knit?

I’m a Left Handed Knitter

I struggled for years with knitting until I learned to knit left handed. As I struggled to knit right handed, holding my needles was a challenge. I’d either stick a needle under my arm to steady it or hold it like a stake against my leg.

Let’s not even talk about how slowly I knitted right handed. Everything was a challenge.

I was also very embarrassed for others to see how I knitted.

I got so frustrated, I was ready to quit. But, I didn’t want to give up knitting. I found being able to make something with my own two hands very rewarding.

How I Learned to Knit Left Handed

So, I decided to re-learn knitting left handed. I set a mirror next to my computer and watched knitting videos through the mirror.

It was a life changing moment. Before I knew it, I was soaring along. My hands were doing what they were supposed to do, and I was no longer holding needles under my arm or like a stake.

I have to admit, when I’m at knitting conventions with fellow yarn shop owners and knitting experts, I still get a strange side-eye…and questions about how I’m knitting. But rather than being embarrassed, I just explain that I’m a leftie knitting mirror image of a right handed person.

I now have knitting confidence and I’m a much better knitter as a leftie than I could ever be doing it right handed.

If you are a leftie who is struggling and knitting right handed isn’t working, you’ll want to watch the video tutorial below.

In this blog post, I’ll cover how to do all of these things left handed:

  • thumb method cast on

  • knit stitch

  • purl stitch

  • cast off

  • continental style knitting (knitting, purling, and how to switch between both across the row)

Materials Needed to Learn to Knit

You only need a few items to get started knitting. Here’s the list.

Side note: if you like the cowl I’m wearing in the video, it’s the Sea Glass Cowl Free Knitting Pattern and a good next step project after you’ve mastered knitting and purling!

How is Left Handed Knitting Different than Right Handed Knitting?

Left handed knitting is simply a mirror image of right handed knitting.

Everything is done in reverse.

Rather than knitting stitches from the left needle to the right needle, lefties knit from the right needle to the left needle.

When making knit and purl stitches, lefties wrap the yarn CLOCKWISE around the needle rather than counter-clockwise as righties do.

If I’m reading pattern instructions and it says specifically states what needles to use, I just use the opposite one. For example, a SSK (slip slip knit) decrease states, “Slip two stitches individually knitwise. Insert tip of left needle into from of these two slipped stitches and use right needle to knit them together through their back loops.” Here’s what I do, “Slip two stitches individually knitwise. Insert tip of right needle into from of these two slipped stitches and use left needle to knit them together through their back loops.”

As a leftie, those are the only changes I make when knitting. I don’t reverse my cables or my increase/decreases. I just knit them as the patterns instruct. I have noticed on several cable hats I’ve created that my cables go the opposite direction of a right handed knitter, but I’m ok with that!

If you want to be able to reverse everything so that it exactly matches a right handed completed project, you’ll want to keep reading.

For additional techniques such as reading charts, cabling, increasing, and decreasing, I found a really helpful left handed knitting blog by Karen Lynn. She has lots of detailed explanations along with photos and shows you how to match everything to a righty project.

I hope you found this blog post and video tutorial helpful. Don’t let being a leftie hold you back from this rewarding hobby!

If you would like to see other left handed knitting videos or blog posts, let me know in the comments below.