Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Try knitting left-handed in ‘dextronormative’ society

I’ve decided “dextronormative” needs to be recognized as a word, after searching for a suitable book to continue my education as a left-handed knitter.

Having completed a class in circular knitting at my local yarn shop, I looked at adults’, teens’ and children’s books at my library. Unfortunately, pictorial and written instructions ignored left-handers’ existence.

I found a book for left-handed knitters in the library catalog, but given the expansiveness of the craft, there is no guarantee that this book is the only one I’ll ever need.

I expected that among the “Dummies” imprint, left-handed knitters should get their due, given its otherwise comprehensive treatment of subjects.

No such luck: in a brief essay, left-handed knitters were told to substitute the words “left” and “right” with those written in the text.

The recommendation to use a mirror to reverse accompanying illustrations was apparently offered in the belief that left-handed knitters have an extra hand.

Knitting authors are apparently OK with this “dextronormative” bias, but considering the effort that already goes into mastering a new skill, shouldn’t left-handed knitters get the same in-depth instruction given to their right-handed counterparts?

Publishers should include left-handed knitting instructions and photographs when teaching basic stitches. Inclusion of this information should be qualifying criteria for library and bookstore collections.

Update: My Sept. 19, 2014 submission of “dextronormative” to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines this adjective as being “of, relating to, or based on the attitude that the right hand is the normal and natural dominant hand.”

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