Friday, March 9, 2012

Crafting left handed is not a crime

Just to warn you, I'm about to get a bit ranty here.

Recently it has been brought to the attention of a left handed knitters/crocheters group that the Craft Yarn Council is implying that left handed people should knit right handed Scroll down to the section labeled "left handed crocheters and knitters". Now the CYC is a great resource for crafters and I often use their downloads as reference pages.

I sent them a reply. Of course I have received no answer but it's the thought that counts, right?

This is the message I sent them.

I just followed a link to your 911 page from a group for left handed knitters and crocheters (of which I am both). We have used and refereed others to this site quite a few times and we are quite saddened to find that you are helping to feed a belief that for some reason left handed knitting and crocheting should be avoided because it is hard. It is not hard. However many people have abandoned either craft due to a frustration that they have been told that they need to do it right handed and in their efforts to do the crafts right handed found it to hard to do and gave up all together. We don’t want people to give up, we want them to love their craft and to do it in the way that is most comfortable and enjoyable for them!

There is a huge misconception that left handed crafters cannot follow patterns and will have a hard time with all patterns. Yes, there are a few slight things that we change but in general we follow patterns as written without any problems at all.

Also you comment that left handed knitters often find it easier to learn continental style. It would seem as though the yarn council, of all places, would know that continental is a style of knitting that can be done either left or right handed. I knit left handed continental (holding my yarn in my right hand, working my stitches onto my left needle) and it is quite flustering when I have people argue with me that it is not continental because they read things like this and take them for truth when infact they are not.

I am self taught in both knitting and crochet. I have also helped many knitters and crocheters with their projects and teaching them how to knit or crochet. Just because I am left handed does not mean I teach a right handed person how to knit/crochet left handed. I teach them and help them in the style they use. We left handed crafters would appreciate the same respect from right handed crafters. We try to spread the view that left handed crafting, though maybe not as common, is not inferior to right handed and there is no reason not to do it if the person finds it easier to do.

Now this really bothers me when I hear people throwing this information out there. I try to promote the idea that we should all pursue our love for yarn in the way that is most comfortable for the individual. I have NOTHING against anyone who is left handed and knits or crochets right handed, everyone needs to discover their own style and as long as you are doing what you love and you are happy with the end result than that's what counts.

But what works for one doesn't work for everyone. With this blog I try to create another safe place for people who knit and crochet left handed to come to if they wan't direction. Of course my patterns are just as easy to follow for right handed people as it is for left handed people. So we lefty crafters have no harder a time following a "right handed" pattern than any right handed person does who follows my patterns.

So in a world of grown adults why does everyone think, of their own conclusion, that it must be hard for me to do what I do. And if I try to say it's not hard, they argue with me that just because it works for me doesn't mean I should teach others to knit the way I do. Yes, I have had this happen to me, I have been told I should not teach people to knit the way I do as though there is something wrong with the way I knit. I've actually been told "Well, that's fine for you, but she needs to know it will be harder to follow patterns if she chooses to knit your way"

This really bothers me. I love knitting, and I love helping people with their projects. I can also help right handed knitters just as well. I can knit left and right handed in both throwing and continental styles. Sure it's extremely awkward for me to knit right handed but if I'm showing someone how to do something and they are right handed it doesn't help them much to show them how to do it left handed.

I've had people ask my why I knit left handed. And honestly, I am left handed so it never crossed my mind to learn right handed because I'm not right handed. People say that knitting is a "2 handed sport" and you use both hands equally. Yes, both hands hold a needle but one hand, your dominate hand, is the one that has to do the more precision work of going into the stitches and knitting multiple stitches together which I find very difficult to do with my right hand because it just doesn't have the coordination to do such fine tasks.

So lets all just enjoy the crafts we love and not discourage people from doing things in a way that is most comfortable for them. I hate to hear of people who gave up on knitting and crocheting entirely because they were taught by someone who insisted that they learn right handed because it's "easier". And likewise let's try not to imply that how a left handed person knits is inferior and should not be promoted. I'm not some sort of freak and there is nothing wrong with me.


Gill Devon said...

Go Girl! Totally Agree. I'm left-handed. Use a knife and fork right-handed but spoon and fork left-handed.Knit right-handed, crochet and tat left-handed. I do just what feels comfortable. Who Cares! Only the Craft police. Actually I'm Crossed lateral which means that although my left hand is dominant my right eye is dominant - no wonder I can't draw a straight line

Gill Devon said...

A further thought , having discussed it with my right-handed daughter and husband over dinner - perhaps the right-handed craft police feel threatened by us lefties because we CAN do it left-handed, and are therefore more adaptable. After all Ginger Rogers said that Fred Astaire was great but she did everything he did but backwards and in heels!

Kahli6 said...

I am in total agreement with you. I knit left-handed, mirror-style. I've taught myself to knit and purl right-handed just enough to be able to help the right-handed knitter newbies that I know. I can do basic stitches right-handed, both continental and english style but it will never be intuitive and I wouldn't be able to do the fine work right-handed. I mention this because if I, NOT a professional knitting teacher, can learn to do basic stitches using my "wrong" hand, it seems that a professional teacher could learn to knit/purl left-handed to help the lefties, rather than tell them "it's two-handed so do it MY way". After all- they are the ones saying it is two-handed! So they shouldn't have a problem learning it left-handed, to help potential left-handed knitters. :)

Charters said...

Interesting views, I'm left-handed - self taught knitter, and more recently Bead crocheter. About to teach myself crochet and have linked up with Learn Crochet group on revelry.

I don't want to be taught to be right-handed and agree that a left-hander will find their own way and make a good job of whatever craft they do.

Look forward to reading any replies from the crochet guild.