How to Hold Knitting Needles


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On this page you will learn how to hold knitting needles as you knit across a row of knit stitches and it is the first step in learning how to knit. 

Knitting books are generally written for right-handers and therefore, they assume that the hand doing most of the work while you are knitting will be your right hand.

If you are a right-handed knitter, the right hand is the one that moves the needle through the existing stitches and is moved to pull the yarn through to form a new stitch.

The function of your left hand is really just to hold steady the needle with all of the stitches yet to be knitted across the row, so that your right hand can do the 'knitting'.

Those same knitting books will tell you to hold the right needle the same way that you would hold a pencil. If you don't have your knitting needles handy, find a pen or a pencil and hold it in your right hand.

© George Redgrave | Flickr - Holding a Pen (Cropped)

How does it feel?

Holding your needles this way is not too bad until you have knitted across some of the stitches.  But at that point the stitches on the needle that you have already knitted will bunch up against the palm of your right hand and when you have a lot of rows beneath the needle it would be very difficult to manage.

The method I prefer (and the one that most basic knitting instructions recommend) is to hold the left needle lightly over the top using the thumb and index finger to control the tip of the needle, much like the person in the photo below.

holding knitting needles to knit a row© wthitiworasith | CanstockPhoto.com - Holding Knitting Needles

Personally, I find it easier to hold both needles the same way, over the top as for the left needle.  It appears that I am not the only one to hold my both of my knitting needles the same way - as the hands in the photo are not mine!

How to Hold Knitting Needles while Forming a Stitch

The yarn is held in the right hand, loosely wound through your fingers. You are then able to use your index finger to wind the yarn around the needle as you are knitting your stitches.

Again, being a contrary type I use a different, far less efficient method.

I do not wind the yarn through my fingers but let it fall free from the work. I have to let go of the right needle to wind the yarn around the needle as I am knitting my stitches. I have often seen this method called 'throwing' - it is not the 'right way' to do it, but it works for me.

When you are just learning, it is probably a good idea to try holding the needles the way the knitting books suggest but with a bit of practice, you will find that you slip into a more comfortable the method of holding your knitting needles and it may or may not be the method prescribed by the experts.

It really doesn't matter as long as the method you choose works for you!

For a printable PDF copy of the How to Hold Knitting Needles Tutorial just click on this link.

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