Thursday, October 21, 2004

Round and round I go, but to the left

Who knew knitting in the round would be so fun? I sure didn't. I started knitting my Sinsation-yarn hat and I can't stop. I honestly have never knitted in the round and I've only knitted with my circular needles like you knit with straight ones. The circular needles are very convenient to use on the airplane - no accidental (well at least very minimal) bumping of your neighbor or worries about getting smacked by the beverage cart. The hat pattern is just a simple one that Fengari gave me when I bought the yarn. The Sinsation yarn is oh, so soft but at $11/ball, it wasn't in my novice knitting budget to make anything larger than a hat, which still takes two balls because there are only 38 yards per 50 gram ball. I just started on the second ball. A few more rows and I can begin to decrease. I'm going to need to refer to my books to see how to decrease properly. Do I just pick up two stitches and knit them together? I can't remember.

I've been reading Stitch 'N Bitch and discovered that I knit left-handed, English style. When I taught myself to knit in college, I used a book that had pictures for left-handed and right-handed knitting. Being left-handed, I naturally followed the left-handed pictures. In hindsight I wish I'd stuck with right-handed knitting, which is how my great aunt and grandmother taught me a long time ago. It'd be easier to follow patterns if I knitted right-handed. The author of Stitch 'N Bitch suggests lefties learn right-handed Continental style, where you work the right needle into the left but hold the yarn in your left hand. I've thought about trying to change but I'm afraid it's too late. Perhaps not too late, but I am just so much more comfortable working the left needle into the right.

There are many things I've learned to do "right-handed" but over the years I've switched to doing them left-handed and I am so much more comfortable. Here's the list of what I do right and left handed:
  • Using scissors: right-handed. When I was 5, my grandmother had ordered me left-handed scissors, but I couldn't wait and learned to cut right-handed. I still have the un-used left-handed scissors. Given my penchant for sewing scissors, it may (or may not!) be a good thing I learned right-handed.
  • Cutting with a knife: left-handed. I'm no chef, but chopping, slicing, and dicing are all easier with the knife in my left hand.
  • Writing: left-handed. Well that's an obvious one. I don't think one could write right-handed and call themselves a lefty! Once in 5th grade I injured my left hand and had to write right-handed. Not good.
  • Hand sewing: left-handed.
  • Tennis: started out right-handed but now play left-handed. Actually I once used a bizarre combination of the two. I used to switch hands to avoid using the backhand stroke. I served lefty though. I don't really play tennis. I've had a few parks and rec lessons and my husband and I messed around with it when we were dating.
  • Archery: my brother taught me right-handed but I switched to left-handed when I discovered my left eye is dominant. Yes, I can shoot a bow and arrow - and pretty darn well, thank you very much. My brother taught me (he tried to make me into the little brother he never had) but I also took it in college to fulfill a gym class requirement. I chose archery because I didn't have to run, which I hate. The class consisted mostly of local guys used to deer-hunting. They were surprised a girl could master a bow and arrow. And so was I, so I signed up for another non-running gym class...
  • Shooting: left-handed. In my gym class I shot a 22-rifle and made Marksman. In the Air Force I shot a 38 caliber handgun and missed earning my Expert badge by a smidgen. Yup, the left eye is definitely dominant.
  • Swinging a bat: right-handed. I blame my brother for teaching me that way, but at least I didn't "bat like a girl." In fact, the boys in the fifth grade were quite impressed that I knew how to swing a bat.
  • Throwing a ball (or anything else): left-handed.
  • Catching a ball: right-handed (i.e., in my left hand). I blame my brother and a lack of left-handed gloves. I'm a rotten fielder so it's a good thing I don't play softball. The rare times that I've played, I've had to take the glove off to throw the ball. I could probably catch left-handed, but since I always have to borrow someone's glove, it's almost always a right-handed glove.
  • Kicking a ball: left-footed. No, right-footed. Gosh, I can't remember. It's been a long time since I kicked a soccer ball or play ground ball, but I think I used to kick it with my right foot.
  • Ice skating: left-handed. Another gym class I took in college was ice skating. In that class I don't remember going much beyond front and back skating, but years later when I took classes again, I advanced to single jumps and spins and discovered quickly that I skate left-handed. My natural tendency is to turn clockwise while most right-handed people are more comfortable turning counter-clockwise. Sarah Hughes, Johnny Weir, Todd Eldredge, Rudy Galindo and the pairs team of Tiffany Scott and Phillip Dulebohn are all clockwise skaters.
  • Using a computer mouse: left, then right, now back to left. This is an odd one for me. For a while I used the mouse on the left but when my left shoulder started to ache, I switched to the right. I also found that getting used to using the mouse on the right was helpful when I needed to use someone else's computer. But at work I recently switched the mouse back to the left and I'm more comfortable with it there. At home, the mouse is still on the right. I have my own computer and my husband has his, so it's not a matter of having to compromise with my right-handed husband. The really odd thing is that when I use a laptop, I find myself using my right hand to control the cursor.

So there you have it. I imagine that most right-handers don't even give it a thought as to which hand or foot they use or which way they'd spin on the ice. But I guess when I look over the list, I'd say that I should probably stick with left-handed knitting.

And speaking of knitting, I'm really looking forward to starting those socks now. Round and round and round...


  1. Hi Lori,

    I hope everything goes well with your IF. I have a question.

    I am wanting to crochet my sisters a shawl but don't know where to begin looking for a pattern. Do you have any ideas? I have been crocheting my entire life but never knitted before so I need a crochet pattern and what would be the best yarn? They both want black shawls so that part will be easy.

    Thank you and good luck with everything.

  2. Julianna, I'm not much of crocheter but I'll bet you could find a pattern at Michael's or Walmart. I once spent a summer in rural Tennessee for work and roamed the Walmart aisles for entertainment (it was the most happening place in town). I bought some crochet hooks, thin cotton and patterns to make doilies - I was THAT bored. I must have been in my knitting low otherwise I would have knitted. I had brought some cross stitch to do and never did get to the doilies. Anyway, my guess is that Walmart would have some poncho patterns and they might just be the original vintage 70's style too!

  3. Thank you! Poncho search produces a whole lot more than a "shawl" search! I found some great patterns online. I will check out the two places you mentioned as well. Thank you and good luck with everything.