Sunday, 6 February 2011

Simple Knitting And Crochet (Or Not)

Having spent my spare time lately, not paper-crafting, but busily having a personal knitting and crocheting revival, (I've just finished another scarf, the pattern in this month's 'Inside Crochet' ) I thought I'd tell how I first came to learn these crafts and am taking part in From High In The Sky Storytelling Sunday.
I used to watch fascinated as my Grandmother knitted in her armchair, and must have been about 7 when I asked her to teach me how to knit. With the occasional input from my Mother, she willingly tried to teach me the age-old craft that she felt every young girl should know. It wasn’t long before major problems surfaced! Not with my aptitude or keenness to learn you understand. No, the problem was my left-handedness - or cack-handedness as my Mother always called it. 
However hard they tried neither woman could teach me to knit left-handedly. They couldn’t work out how I should hold the needles or which way to wind the yarn around. It was probably quite amusing to watch but I became very frustrated at the lack of teaching going on! Eventually I decided that in order to learn something that I really wanted to do, I would have to learn it their way. And so I held the needles as they did and learned to knit exactly as they did. In no time at all I was knitting and purling happily.

Next came my desire to learn to crochet, but neither my Grandmother nor Mother could face teaching me. I had to wait for my Great Aunt Hilda to pay us a visit from London. Although she had been primed in advance about my left-handedness, she was totally unable to show me how to crochet with the hook in my left hand. Having already learned that compromise was required on my part to learn new things I watched and learned how to crochet ‘her way’.

I remember being told that in my Grandfather’s day it was not permitted to be left-handed and he was forced to sit on his left hand at school. Although we are not so strict these days, the majority of people are right-handed and it’s still difficult to find teaching materials or tools specifically for people like me, although the Internet is a valuable new tool for left-handers. Over the years right-handed tasks have become easier for me and I could probably call myself ambidextrous in some things, but I doubt that even I could teach someone left-handed knitting or crochet if I were asked! This raises some questions for me; are left-handed people more easily able to adapt to this right-handed world than right-handed people are to a left-handed world? Or do we left-handers all give in and use our right hands? 
Scientists know that the brains in left-handed and right-handed people are different. Perhaps there was a genuine scientific explanation for my female relatives' difficulties teaching me simple knitting and crochet.


  1. A fascinating story.....I wonder how many left handed people have not learned to knit because of this problem......would it work sitting opposite the 'teacher'....and so 'mirroring' what they were doing,I wonder.

  2. What a lovely, thought provoking story! It really resonated with me because I've been doing more knitting and sewing than scrapbooking lately - and I always think about my Grandma teaching me too.

    I wonder, maybe left handers are more adaptable? I'm right handed myself, but all the arty people on both sides of my family are left handed - and my mum always says that if you watch carefully on tv most actors are left handed too. Interesting!

    Ann, thanks so much for joining Storytelling Sunday today :)

  3. Great yarn about your story (sorry, couldn't resist the pun). I've always admired those who mastered the craft of knitting and crocheting, as my grandmother was a wiz at these tow tasks, among other handicrafts. You should be proud that, despite your left-handedness, you have overcome and conquered! Well done!

  4. Loved this post ...made me think of my late one was sure which handed she was as she was born with a problem arm which made using her right hand difficult. As a result she tended to use her left hand to do most things ...until she went to school where she HAD to write with her bad right hand....or she would be caned. She managed, in her own way, but when at home wrote with her left.... basically she became ambidextrous. Her mirror writing was a thing to behold ....the envey of all my friends, as a child.
    Knitting was something else ...she knitting with very long needles, tucked under her armpits, from whence it seemed the movement eminated as the needles clinked together....I am sure it was her right hand that jerked the the wool to create the stitch ...but I know that they were held so tight under her arms that they took a curvred shape from her body.

    Oops I didnt mean this to be so long lol ..xx



Blog Widget by LinkWithin