One-handed Knitting Tutorial – The Knit Stitch

I’m a recent convert to the world of knitting and crochet and although it was challenging at first, I’ve found ways around so that I can do it too.

I want to share my method and help any beginner one-handed knitters out there or those keen to give it a go but don’t think they can. Without further ado, below is my one-handed knit stitch tutorial – I hope it’s helpful!

Essentially my technique is to wrap the yarn around my elbow/amputee arm to hold it tight and keeping my right needle stationary under my armpit. The hardest bit is getting tension and finding a system that allows you to pull tight but keep a flow.

I’ll post a video soon on playing around with the yarn and tension as this video mostly focusses on how to do the knit stitch one handed.

Please let me know if you have any questions, this in’t the best view for learning, I just wanted to show it could be done and how.

If you’re missing your left hand, I would place the left needle under your arm and using the left handed (this seems contradictory but most knitting is ‘right-handed’ and I’m missing right hand) tutorial below you can follow my process but in reverse.

There are some useful links below, & a link to my casting on tutorial if you’re interested. Thanks for watching!

Beginner Knitting Tutorial:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONVQCK_-rKc&index=2

Left handed knitting:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b21msW3cS34&index=9

My One-handed Casting On Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6OyU0SM5rs

Yarn: Patons Big Fab – Green – John Lewis
Needles: 9mm Plastic

My blog: https://elisabethward04.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElisabethWard04
Instagram: Lis_Ward

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Crochet Addict: Who Needs Two Hands Anyway?

Since I entered into the world of knitting, my life has transformed. To say I’m addicted is a slight understatement. I’ve been taken in by the endless exciting things that I can create, from hats and ties to shawls and slippers. I can hold something in my hand and say “I made this” I didn’t buy it, I spent hours and days creating it. It’s a real pleasure to see others wearing the things that I’ve made- they’re bespoke, hand-made with love.

My pride and joy so far (below) is a knitted tie. It came out beautifully and I sent it as a birthday gift to someone who it suited perfectly -it made me so happy that I was able to give a gift that was not ‘run of the mill’ to someone who would take pleasure from that.

Knitted tie
Knitted Tie

Anyway, knitting has become a passion. This is not only because I enjoy it so much and can’t wait to get home to carry on a project, it’s also because it helps with my stress and anxiety. I am someone who carries a lot of anxiety and worry day to day, much of which I can’t control.

Part of this, I think, comes from living with one hand. For example, I stress about the checkout part of shopping, getting out my purse, rushing to get my change/card back into my purse, packing, etc. this applies to a lot of things. I have little tricks too help things run smoother, but I’m constantly thinking about these things, from worrying about holding people up to trying to carry multiple things off a tube/bus without missing my stop. As you can imagine, this doesn’t exactly contribute to ‘worry free’ life.

I also think that my level anxiety comes from my upbringing and, bless her, my mother. She is a wonderful mum but she is the queen of worry and anxiety, and I’m not sure she knows quite how much. I think this anxiety, understandably, was worse when I was young. Why wouldn’t it have been, two young children, one with a disability who was clumsy and, err, a little ‘head in the clouds’. Anyway, I think I’ve inherited a lot of that worry and anxious behaviour, and I can see that my mum is calmer these days so it is ‘conquerable’ but I think my disability exacerbates it!

So back to the point, knitting really calms me. The methodical movement of the needles, I disappear into what I’m doing, the world melts away and calm takes over me. However, this wasn’t quite enough on the crafts front. I wanted to learn to crochet too – there’s so much more I would be able to create and crochet is easier to do ‘on the go’ as you don’t need to finish a row- if you get interrupted, you just stick a safety pin in the loop and put your work in your bag- it’s brilliant.

But it proved VERY difficult to start with. It was much harder to grasp than knitting and many of the tutorials involved a lot of right hand hook work/movement that I just can’t do. Unlike knitting, I needed to hold the yarn in my left hand. Frustration ensued. Anger. Cursing. I tried at least four times to master crochet, working some of the yarn, it looking very wrong, unravelling, trying again and failing, again.

I had a few stumbling blocks. The first is that I tried to crochet with the most used style hook.

Slim Crochet hook
Standard Crochet Hook

BIG mistake for me, I had no grip, the hook just kept twirling between my right ‘hand’ and my leg. Quickly I realised that this style hook just wasn’t going to work. So I bought a set of ‘ergonomic hooks’.

Ergonomic Crochet Hooks
Ergonomic Crochet Hooks

This helped considerably, I have more grip as I hold the hook between my hand and my leg, like this.

crochet hook
‘Hook between hand and knee’ crochet method

I started again with a little more success than the first few attempts, but something still wasn’t clicking. In part I think it was because the type of yarn wasn’t ideal, but also, this whole ‘chain’ business wasn’t quite clicking. I’m still having trouble getting my head round exactly which part of the chain I’m meant to insert my hook into but I’m working on it! I did manage a messy beginning of a granny square, which seemed to be the simplest thing to learn how to crochet.

First granny square attempt
First granny square attempt

I seemed to get the basics down, but I realised I needed some better yarn to really crack it. So I put it on hold and tried again with some Stylecraft Special DK and just like that, I could crochet. It clicked. I was super chuffed.

Successful Granny Square
Successful Granny Square

And thus began my second addiction. Proving yet again, what seems to require two hands, does not actually need two hands.

Granny Squares for Mood Blanket
Granny Squares for Mood Blanket

I was still pretty slow and the ‘hand and leg’ combo wasn’t ideal. That’s when I had a slight ‘epiphany’. I could use the device that I hold my knife in to hold the hook. And voila, I practically have the proper use of a second hand.

Strap Holding Hook
‘Strap Holding Hook’ Method

If you’re one -handed and don’t have such a device, any kind of ‘strap’ would work, anything velcro based that can hold the hook tightly to your arm. It’s not perfect, I don’t have the twisty motion that a lot of crocheters use but I have more motion and I’m pretty proud of my little brainwave.

The best part is that I can crochet on the tube on the way to work, I’m now fast enough to do a square a day. I do get a lot of looks on the tube but I’m using it as a way to push myself out of my comfort zone and get used to people looking. It’s hard but the more people see, the more they get used to it. Plus I’d rather be stared at for doing something interesting with my disability than being stared at just for being me, for having an odd looking hand. This way, hopefully people see that it’s no big deal.

So, I can crochet ‘on the go’ and knit at home and I have so many awesome projects available to me. It’s so exciting, I don’t have to buy beautiful things others have made, I can make them myself! It sounds simple and obvious but when you’re so used accepting that ‘crafts’ are not really your thing because it’s fiddly and most of your stuff comes out looking like a five-year old’s art class ‘thing’, it’s a bit of a revelation. Anyway, I’ve wasted no time, I’m already all over ‘homeware’ with some beautiful coasters:

Multi-coloured crochet coasters
Multi-coloured crochet coasters

They’re not perfect or even, but then I think it adds charm, I’m not perfect or ‘even’ either, but I’m one of a kind, well, ish. What can I say, who needs two hands anyway? I’m a crochet addict and this is my story.

For anyone interested in how I crochet one-handed, or are an amputee who would like to learn to one-handed crochet, I will be doing a video soon. If would like to knit one-handed, take a look at my Casting-on knitting Tutorial – I will also be doing a follow up ‘knit stitch’ one-handed tutorial soon.

One-Handed Knitting Tutorial – Casting On

Since learning to knit, I have been utterly addicted and extremely chuffed that I found a way around a seemingly two-handed activity. When I was searching for tutorials, there were very few one-handed tutorials. They either consisted of two-handed knitters awkwardly attempting one-handed knitting, or showed people knitting one-handed but offered no instruction as to how to do it if you’ve never knitted before, or guidance on their technique as a one-handed knitter.

So even though I hate the idea of my ugly hand being on show the way it is in this video, I wanted to offer a useful alternative anyone out there who was like me- wanting to learn but convinced it was not possible. My way may not work for you but feel free to contact me if you want to work out a way – I’ll do my best to help with my knowledge.

I hope this video is helpful, enjoy and good luck!

A tutorial on casting on one-handed for those with an upper body disability.

Please let me know if you have any questions, this in’t the best view for learning, I just wanted to show it could be done and how.

If you’re missing your left hand, I would place the left needle under your arm and using the left handed (this seems contradictory but most knitting is ‘right-handed’ and I’m missing right hand) tutorial below you can follow my process but in reverse.

There are some useful links below, & a link to my blog if you’re interested. Thanks for watching!

Casting on Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWJQvsZ6kT0&index=1

Beginner Tutorial:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONVQCK_-rKc&index=2

Left handed knitting:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b21msW3cS34&index=9

Yarn: Patons Big Fab – John Lewis
Needles: 9mm Plastic

The Art of Procrastination: My Writer’s Block – Part Three

The Art of Procrastination: My Writer’s Block – Part Three

The newest activity I have taken up as a form of procrastination from writing is a golden one, the queen of all procrastinations: Knitting.

Knitting

How is knitting the queen of all procrastinations? Well, truthfully, it’s utterly addictive. I started knitting and pretty much didn’t put it down for three days. I was knitting on the tube (bold move on my part), in my lunch break, while watching films and football, while waiting for pasta to boil – I am full blown addicted. This lead to buying more wool I can knit through (I’m probably set for about six months), at least four sets of needles, as well as looking up knitting patterns and tutorials online. I have knitting fever and I won’t be recovering any time soon.

If I had my way I would be knitting all the time. I’m sure if any of you are knitters, you’re nodding your heads in agreement, knowing you would all be knitting 24/7 if you could. So there you have it, the queen of procrastinations. I even reached a point where I ran out of wool for my first project and couldn’t wait a few days for more of that colour to arrive, so naturally I HAD to start a new project in the meantime. Addicted.

So how did I come to the discovery of knitting and its epic procrastinating tactics? Well, my very good friend took up knitting last year and I watched her get the fever. I was jealous. I was also convinced that knitting was definitely a two-handed activity that would forever be out of reach. Watching her knit, I just couldn’t see how I could possibly do it. I left it at that and stuck it in my ‘not for you’ list.

A couple of months ago, when meeting said friend for drinks, she told me she was going to start selling her knitting. She knits all the time, so why not sell it? I’m very happy for her but I have to admit the green-eyed monster flared as I thought how lucky she was she could just do that, knit awesome stuff and sell it. I love making stuff but it comes out looking shit most of the time – my teacup candles just looked tacky. I’m ashamed that I was jealous, it’s not like I wanted to sell knitting, and nor will I, I just hated that I couldn’t be part of something that I desperately wanted to do.

Anyway, I came away feeling all ‘it’s not fair’ in a self-pitying tantrum about my pathetic existence. The next day I googled one-handed knitting and had a look/asked around to see if it was possible. It started to look as though it might be and I got a tad excited like children on christmas day all hopped up on sugar and anticipation. My first attempt was a bit of a disaster due to crappy wool and skinny needles, but attempt two, equipped with thick needles, good quality wool, video tutorials on my laptop, and one needle wedged in my armpit, I managed it. I knitted. I KNITTED! It was a super proud moment and I was far too excited, but I could bloody well do it.

I find with stuff like this, a moment of one-handed achievement, I get hugely over-excited, and although people understand why I’m excited, they still give me an underwhelming look of ‘so what’, or worse, ‘great’ with a slightly patronising undertone – ‘aww you managed something that I can do with my eyes closed and drunk, good for you!’ with a weird encouraging smile that makes me feel like a five year old who’s just given their parents a stick man painting. I don’t blame people’s reactions, it’s a bit of a weird situation to respond too, either they don’t think it’s a big deal, or as I said, any rejoicing usually comes out a tad awkward and on the patronising side (hard not to I guess). We all then swiftly move off the topic and carry on with what we were doing, while in my head there’s lots of jumping around, balloons and fireworks, butt wiggling and dad dancing, but it’s a party of one…

So I never really get rejoiced with in the way that I want because there doesn’t seem to be a shared frame of reference, and in turn, an understanding of the happiness or excitement that comes from such an achievement – this wasn’t just a ‘I found a way, yay for me’ (which plainly happens too regularly to celebrate every time) – it was a ‘WooooooHooooooo something I thought was closed off from me, shutting me out forever, has just opened its gates and let me into its wooly heaven’ moment. I’d pouted on many occasions about not being able to knit and now a whole world had become available, and for me, it was a momentous achievement.

Now, while I just blabbered on about how no one really got my excitement, a few weeks later, and after I had written the above, my best friend from uni came over for dinner. I told her I was knitting and her reaction was golden. She was equally as excited as I had been and completely understood my own excitement and amazement, which is one of the reasons I adore her. Having tried knitting once upon a time and really struggled with it, she could share my reaction. And having at least one person to share this excitement, and even bafflement with, was completely and utterly awesome. So I guess that makes my whiny ‘no one gets me’ stance a little redundant, but I am happy that that’s the case! So thank you Charlotte, you are my absolute hero, and I love you for all your unfailing support, weird understanding of my quirks (and disability), and your general awesomeness.

Anyway, I have finished my first scarf and I am very proud.

My First Scarf

It’s not perfect but it looks like a scarf and it doesn’t have any giant holes. I gave it to my darling boyfriend who wanted the first, original creation. He even wears it! So that’s a plus.

And that’s how knitting became on of my many procrastinations from writing. While I need to make time for writing, I don’t regret learning to knit, I love that I can do it, I love doing it, and I look forward to tackling new projects. Some of the one-handed logistics may cause a few difficulties with more complicated patterns but I’ll find a way – I will not be beaten, I will not submit, I will not give up. I make my life harder for myself but I will not be excluded – there is always (well, usually – I won’t be performing surgery any time soon) a way around.

So I have more ways to procrastinate than ever but it’s a new year, I have a planner, I hope to spread my time evenly and enjoy all the creative and challenging crafts in my life from mastering oil paints (Christmas gift) and honing my baking skills, to knitting an array of clothing and writing my book.

To 2015, here goes!