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Knitting ambidextrous rather than knit-purl

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK, please try to stifle your laughter after you read my message, if you can.

I went to a yarn group gathering with my local moms' group a couple of months ago and learned how to cast-on and knit. Until this week, I didn't have any knitting books (my mom just loaned me two) and I didn't actively ask for help from anyone in the yarn group. I practiced casting on and knitting at home for a while but wasn't happy with the bumps on both sides of the fabric swatch I created, so I decided to knit both left-handed *and* right-handed to see if that fixed the problem. I wasn't aware of the purl stitch at that time. I figured out how to knit with both hands, so that gave me a nice flat swatch with all Vs on one side. I knitted my DD a couple of play soakers for her baby doll, some swatches, washcloths, etc. using this technique.

Now that I'm reading Stitch n Bitch and talking to my mom (who's in town visiting from the midwest), I was getting confused about the purl stitch and stockinette. I was thinking, why do stockinette if I already have all the Vs on one side and the bumps on the other? So I asked my mom for clarification and told her what I'd been doing. She laughed. I showed her the results I got from knitting both left-handed and right-handed and she was sort of dumb-founded. She'd never heard of someone doing that in her limited experience. She suggested I get with the program and learn to knit like the rest of the world.

I told her I just had to post a message on MDC's yarn board and ask if others have knitted both right-handed and left-handed instead of knitting-purling and creating stockinette. Is there a problem with how I've been knitting? Should I give up the ambidextrous knitting and do it like everyone else?

post #2 of 16
I do it all the time when I'm working on small pieces that I don't want to have to keep turning over. I learned it from an article Meg Swansen wrote a bagillion years ago in Vogue Knitting. She called it "backwards knitting" I think.

I'm impressed that you taught yourself how to do it just as you were learning to knit! I think its a fabulous way to learn how to "read" your stitches and really know what is going on in your work. Good on you (and ignore your mom, you can work that way just fine!)
post #3 of 16
I did that when I was learning as a kid. I would knit one way and then knit back the other way without turning. Confused the heck out of my mom and grandma. They couldn't figure out how I had knit several inches of stockinette without knowing how to purl.

I was amused last year to see an article on that technique in knitty.

Is that what you're doing? I've never figured out what the difference is between knitting "right-handed" and "left-handed".
post #4 of 16
I knit ambidextorously. I thought of it as an advanced and useful skill when I learned it from this video http://youtube.com/watch?v=1jhCV4ZTLrA
post #5 of 16
I might have to learn that, my purl stitches are tighter than my knit stitches, and it screws up my gauge sometimes, unless I'm working in the round and don't have to purl to make stockinette.
post #6 of 16
My mother used to do this when she was younger. She too just figured it out, mainly because she was left handed and so knitting back the other way was easier.

Of course, someone at some stage 'cured' her of this terrible habit

Annie Modesett says who cares how you make the stitches, if the fabric looks right, you're right.

There are lots of variations on how to knit. I love Turkish knitting, where you throw the yarn around your neck and keep tension with your thumb.
post #7 of 16
It is great to be able to knit this way if you ever want to do an intarsia project!

It is also good if you become a somewheat compulsive knitter - it is easier on your hands so you can knit for longer stretches of time.
post #8 of 16
My right hand goes numb while kinitting sometimes. I think I wil give this a try Kudos to you for figuring that out from the get go.
post #9 of 16
My theory is - who cares how you do it if it looks good, right?! Its funny how being self-taught you can invent new things LOL. When the lady at the LYS saw me knit one time she said "well, I've never seen it done that way before." Wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing, but the end result looks good and thats all I care about!
post #10 of 16
I taught myself to knit as a little kid and was not aware of purling either- so I just knit back and forth. Purling is a convention for people who must turn their work- if you don't need to and can manage reading or decoding patters which were designed for people who do turn their work- then by all means- keep doing it the way you are. I think everyone does need to know how to purl- for stuff like ribbing and cables... but you don't need to purl to make stockinette.

That's my video on youtube!
post #11 of 16
Just curious here. Are any of you dyslexic? I'm dyslexic and have no trouble reading backwards. Also I was ambidextorous till the great american school system finally forced me to stop switching back and forth writting hands when they started to cramp.
post #12 of 16
nope... but I am a Lefty.
post #13 of 16
Wow, I am so impressed. I'm struggling with knitting back, so for me, that you figured it out yourself, that's just... wow.
post #14 of 16
That's how I started knitting. There are names for it, which means you are not a freak, nor have you invented some new freaky way of knitting. I do flip my work when working stockenet (all smooth on one side, all bumps on the other) or garter (knitting both sides) because it keeps my stitches' tension identical. However, when I work cables, or fair isle, or turn the heel of a sock I prefer to mirror knit so that I can look at the front of the work at all times.
post #15 of 16
I agree with what theresa said -- but it might trip you up if you try to read a standard pattern. I would consider it a tool in your knitting toolbox, and then continue to learn other ways of doing everything!
post #16 of 16
When I was actively knitting last year, I figured out how to knit "backwards" too.

I think that being lefthanded helps that process.
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