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Knitting Styles Survey, Part 2: Right vs Left-Handed Knitters

Let's get back to the knitting styles survey. Last time I had an overview of the results in terms of handedness, knitting direction, knitting style, and stitch mounts. In this post I'll take a closer look at the similarities and differences — if any — between right- and left-handed knitters.

Out of the 1328 respondents, 83% (1108) were right-handed and 11% (152) left-handed knitters. The remaining 68 were either fully or partially ambidextrous, and we'll get to those responses in a later blog post.


Two pie charts showing that the majority of right handed knitters work with their dominant hand leading whereas two thirds of left-handed knitters work against their dominant hand.
The majority of right handed knitters work with their dominant hand leading whereas two thirds of left-handed knitters work against their dominant hand (click to enlarge).

Knitting Direction

Approximately three in every four knitters (76%) said they prefer to knit from right to left. Working in the opposite direction (left to right) was the favored method for 20% of respondents.


This results changes somewhat when exploring the responses between right- and left-handed knitters but the implications of the results are more dramatic than what they seem on the surface.


Of the 1108 right-handed knitters, a vast majority (78%) prefer to knit from right to left, that is, with the working needle in their right hand. Approximately 19% of right-handed knitters prefer to work from left to right.


Out of the 152 left-handed knitters, though, two thirds (65%) usually knit from right to left and about a third (33%) from left to right. In other words, the vast majority of left-handed knitters work against their dominant handedness. Most often this is because they were taught knitting by a right-handed person or are self-taught with the help of books of videos which are predominantly made by right-handed knitters. But there were also a few comments revealing that the person's left-handedness was ignored as a child and they were forced to adhere to a right-handed world's rules.


There are slightly more right-handed knitters who prefer to work in both directions without ever turning their work (3.6% among right-handed vs. 2.0% among left-handed knitters) but these differences are minuscule.


Two pie charts showing that picking and throwing are the two most common knitting styles regardless of handedness.
Picking and throwing are the two most common knitting styles regardless of handedness (click to enlarge).

Knitting Styles

Among all respondents, continental and English knitting were the most common ones with nearly half of the respondents (46%) preferring the picking style and more than a third (35%) using the throwing method.


When examining the responses among right- vs. left-handed knitters, there are no vast differences. Picking and throwing are the most common knitting styles for both groups although continental knitting is slightly more prevalent among right-handed knitters (46% of right-handed vs. 40% of left-handed knitters).


Lever-style knitting is a bit more favored among left-handed knitters (18% of left-handed vs. 15% of right-handed knitters). Portuguese knitting and switching knitting styles depending on occasion are pretty much as (un)common in both handedness groups.


Two pie charts showing that combination knitting is more prevalent with right-handed knitters, Eastern stitch mounts with left-handed knitters.
Western stitch mounts are the most common regardless of handedness. Combination knitting is more prevalent with right-handed knitters, Eastern stitch mounts with left-handed knitters (click to enlarge).

Stitch mounts

When looking at all respondents, the vast majority of knitters said they use Western stitch mounts (77%), that is, the leading leg of the stitch is in front of the needle. Combination knitting (mixing Western and Eastern stitch mounts) was the next most common with 11%. Only 9% of the respondents knit using Eastern stitch mounts (leading leg behind the needle).


Comparing right- and left-handed knitters the situation changes somewhat. Western stitch mounts are by far the most prevalent regardless of handedness (approx. 80% in both groups). But for left-handed knitters, Eastern stitch mounts are the second most common with 12% of respondents (9% among right-handed knitters).


The biggest difference between the two groups is in combination knitting. Whereas for right-handed knitters this was the second most common way of knitting with 11% of the respondents, only 5% of left-handed knitters are combination knitters. Indeed, it seems that left-handed knitters opt for fully Eastern stitch mounts in favor of combining stitch mounts.


There is practically no difference between the groups when it comes to reverse combination stitch mounts, though, but reverse combination knitters are quite rare in any case (1.6% of all respondents).


On the Generalizability of the Results

From the get-go, the knitting styles survey was always going to be skewed towards the English-speaking or, at least, English-writing proportion of the knitting community with a good grasp of Internet skills. The respondent population turned out to be even more biased than I anticipated: over 65% of the respondents hail from North America and around a third from Europe, leaving less than 5% for South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia combined. This undoubtedly has a massive influence on the results. Take them with a grain of salt, if you will.

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How common are different knitting styles? In the second part of the results to the knitting styles survey, I examine the similarities and differences between right and left handed knitters. Do all knitters knit in the same direction? What knitting styles are most common with left handed knitters? Are Eastern stitch mounts most often used by right or left handed knitters? Find it out in this post. #knitting #knit #knittingtutorial #howtoknit #learntoknit #knittingstyles #continentalknitting

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