Knitting with one hand?

I work in an after school program. A young girl there wants to learn how to knit, but wears a prosthetic hand. (I think it's the left.) Does anyone know how I can teach her to knit?

Michael Cook's picture

There is a tradition in certain areas (particularly the Yorkshire Dales), of using a "knitting sheath" - a wooden or metal piece which tucks into the belt or under the arm to hold one needle still while the other one works. Looking at examples on Ebay and other sites (just google "knitting sheath") it looks like it would be easy to mock one up. I've heard that there are some specific techniques that are used to work this way, but I haven't seen a manual that explains it. It's supposed to be great for speed. It seems to me that it would be more similar to a Continental style, but maybe that's just because I have trouble visualizing in English style.

The folks we saw knitting in Peru, carried their yarn around their necks for tension rather than wrapping it through the fingers. That might be another helpful adaptation - the left hand carries the tension in Continental. If you're used to working English, then of course it'll go in the right hand, but it seems like with the right hand carrying yarn, throwing, and manipulating stitches, it might be too much going on at once.

YarnGuy716's picture

One of the guys who comes to classes at my LYS knits that way. He runs the yarn around his neck for tension. He was tuaght to knit that way by his grandmother. He gets quite a few odd looks the first time people see him knit that way.

I have a good friend who knits, and she has only one hand. She holds the left needle under her armpit and knits. That may be an option for the person you are teaching. Get her a set of long Brittany's (cause they are light), and get her addicted. :)

YarnGuy716's picture

I've heard of both methods where the knitter, using long needles, holds the left needle under their arm. Also heard of knitter who use knitting sheaths or belts.

I googled one-handed knitting and in a quick look found a specialized clamp made specifically for persons who are one-handed. The product was recomended for knitting and other such needle/hand crafts. You might want to check that out, as well as gogling the other topics suggested.

Eikon's picture

I don't actually wrap yarn around my fingers at all, it just sort of drapes, so ostensibly if she has a sheathe as mentioned above she could knit fine. Mind you my gauge is rather loose but aside from that I have no problems. Though I do knit continental having discovered the joys of two needles after first learning to crochet.

grandcarriage's picture

Have her throw with the right hand, and hold the left needle under her arm, or in a sheath. The left needle will act like a stationary pin, and the right hand will act like a bobbin. It's one of the fastest methods, once you get the hang of it. Also, this way, she can keep the tension with the right hand. Too bad you aren't close, I'd be happy to teach her.

Bon Chance,