NOTE: I’ve invoked the ire of some left-handed knitters with this one, and deserve the backlash — I guess my right-handed privilege is showing. I’m in no way meaning to suggest here that anyone who is knitting in the opposite direction is doing it wrong. My only intent was to send a message of encouragement to aspiring knitters who happen to be lefties that knitting is not off-limits to them; that there are a million ways to knit (no matter your dominant hand) and that you should give it a try and figure out what works for you. For those who have figured out what works for them is knitting in the opposite direction and managing all that comes with that, I doff my cap! Knit and let knit, I always say. UPDATE: Karen might have said it better than I did.
There’s a certain question I get asked all the time, and also see being asked of others on social media on a regular basis — left-handed people who would like to knit and want to know where or how they can learn to “knit left-handed.” I always say the same thing and feel increasingly like I should say it here (where Google can find it!) as something of a PSA: Knitting is a two-handed sport. When we knit, have a needle in each hand. We insert the right needle tip into the first stitch on the left needle, wrap the yarn around it, pull this new loop through the old stitch, and slide it off onto the right needle. Repeat. So we knit from right to left across the work, moving the stitches from the left needle to the right needle one (essentially) at a time. Those are the basic mechanics, but no two knitters do this in exactly the same way. Take a look at the #howiknit tag on Instagram if you don’t believe me!
The central variable, though, is how you hold your yarn. Some people hold it in their left hand, which is referred to as Continental-style knitting, or “picking.” Others hold it in their right hand, which is called English or “throwing.” (Portuguese knitters run the yarn around their neck, or through a pin on their chest, and use one thumb or the other to wrap it around the needle!) Many right-handed people knit Continental, and I’m sure there are left-handed throwers out there. It’s more a matter of how you’re taught or what you’re comfortable with than whether you’re right- or left-handed. And even within the picking and throwing camps, everyone holds and “tensions” the yarn differently [i.e., which finger(s) it might be wrapped around, and how many times]. But again, no matter which hand the yarn is in, the underlying operation is the same.
So as a new knitter, no matter your handedness, you should experiment with the different methods and do whatever is most comfortable for you. (I recommend the videos at knittinghelp.com as an excellent starting point.) But please don’t think that, as a lefty, you should have to knit in the opposite direction or anything like that! Knitting is knitting, and takes both hands.
FOR LOTS MORE ADVICE, see Beginning to Knit