Should you cast on (CO) with the knitting needle in your right or left hand? Does it matter?
If you care to know the answers, read on.
It all started with the Long Tail (LT) CO method. I learned this all-purpose CO from my late Aunt Iris when I was little (and it always brings back fond memory of learning it with my two sisters). Aunt Iris was right-handed; and I’m, well, mostly right-handed. We did the LT CO with the needle in the left hand. Eventually I discovered that the usual way to do this CO is with the needle in the right hand. So I determined to try the norm, it was easier than I expected and in no time I was able to CO with the other hand. Naturally, I started wondering — “Does it matter”?
The answer is: Yes, it matters because you’ll get different result. This applies to other COs with the CO edge looking different for front and back. When you’re working flat and if you want to have the “pretty” side or a specific side of your CO edge on the right side (public side) of your project, it will be handy to be able to CO with either hand. For me, the pretty edge of the LT CO is the edge that faces me as I CO. Compare the two in the photos below.
LT CO with needle in right hand – the usual way. Notice the “pretty” edge is facing you as you CO, but you need to flip to the other side to work the first row.
LT CO with needle in left hand. Notice the “pretty” edge is also facing you as you CO, but you don’t need to flip to the other side to work the first row.
When I’m knitting flat, if my first row is a right-side (RS) row, I CO with needle in my left hand. If my first row is a wrong-side (WS) row, I CO with the needle in my right hand. Try it out and see. Simply CO few stitches with either method and see which edge is facing you when you begin to knit the first row.
What about working in the round? There’s no dilemma, I CO with the needle in my right hand as usual. Unless for some reason, I want the “pretty” edge on the WS, then I CO with the needle in my left hand.
Finally, here’s my trick to remember which hand to hold the needle: RS with right hand. When working in the round, which is always worked from the RS, hold the needle with right hand. When working flat, just do the opposite, hold the needle with left hand.