I Learned to Knit Without Fingers

Jenny Marquis is a new knitter, and loves making scarves in Boutique Unforgettable yarn. But Jenny knits a little differently from most people, since she was born without fingers. Read about how Jenny describes learning to knit, and scroll to the bottom to watch a video demonstration.

Jenny Marquis 41. Why are your hands this way?
I was born with a congenital bi-lateral hand defect, while we cannot be certain the most common school of thought is that my hands became embedded in my mother’s uterus during development. It is not genetic, just a million-in-one fluke.

2. Do you have prostheses?
As a pre-teen I experimented with a prosthetic that was generously given me by the War-Amps of Canada. The full prosthetic arm covered my left hand and was a functioning robotic hand. However, because of the “thumb” on my right hand, the same prosthetic could not be fitted to it, this rendered my right hand useless, as I use both hands for essentially every task; and my left became clunky and awkward. Needless to say it was quickly abandoned.

I do not currently use any other official prosthetic, though I have found some tools to aid me in my daily life such as: magnetic clasps for necklaces, an embroidery hoop stand to hold my projects as I work on them, electric can openers etc.It’s always a matter of seeing the issue and researching to find a solution that would work with my handicap.

3. When did you learn how to knit?
I learned to knit this past September 2015. I was in my third trimester with my second little one, and my nesting instinct must have been extremely strong, lol! I had previously tried and failed knitting countless times before, but something made me decide to pick it back up and give it “just one more try”.

Jenny Marquis 34. Who taught you how to knit?
My mother. She’s a wonderful knitter, not to mention my biggest fan and advocate. She has always believed that I can do whatever I put my mind to, its just a matter of figuring it out, like a puzzle.

Knowing my desire to knit, when she saw a video for Irish Cottage Knitting, and watched as the women tucked their needles under their arms, she immediately thought of me.

I was amazed when after only a few minutes of instruction, I was able to knit a row! This felt very ground breaking for me; at almost 30, I really thought I was finished figuring out my limitations, and knitting would just be one of those few things I could not do.

I remember my mother and I both tearing up a bit at what this little badly knitted, beginner row represented, and how even now, I can and will continue to push the boundaries of what I thought my capabilities are.

5. What stitches do you know how to do?
I am learning more every day! I was just gifted a book “400 Knitting Stitches” and I look forward to working through that! Though right now my goal is lace knitting, then eventually I’d love to work up to Fair Isle and Colourwork.

6. What do you like to make?
My repertoire is quite small right now, as I’m still such a beginner. My favourite item to knit right now are dishcloths and scarves. Easy, knits up quickly and gives you a sense of satisfaction right away. I just bought a pattern for a lace shawlette, it looks so beautiful, but I’m still a bit intimidated to try!

Jenny Marquis 27. Which is your favorite Red Heart yarn?
I find I’m constantly running back to buy your 100% variegated cotton to knit up into dishcloths! I posted a photo of several dishcloths on Facebook, offering to give some away, sort of as a “pay it forward” idea. I got over 120 people commenting right away that they loved them and would love to receive a couple!

I’m also in love with Red Heart’s Boutique Unforgettable line. The colours just draw me like a moth to flame! It’s so soft and the things I have knitted with it has gotten so much praise just because of how vibrant the yarn is!

8. Do you do other crafts?
Besides knitting, I also love embroidery and cross-stitch. I own a spinning wheel, and am looking forward to start dying and spinning my own yarn eventually. However I have a 4 year old and a 3 month old right now; I could see a spinning wheel lying around just being too much of a temptation to play with, so perhaps in a year or so!

9. Can our readers connect with you online anywhere?
Yes, right now I’m using mostly my Instagram account here, as well as my personal page for my knitting and DIY’ing, found here on Facebook.

15 thoughts on “I Learned to Knit Without Fingers

  1. Willow

    I am so in awe of your tenacity (not to mention your beauty)!!! I will certainly remember you the next time I want to pout and give up on something. Thanks so much for the inspiration!!!

  2. Yvonne

    Wow, you are truly inspirational! And you have such a great smile…
    Thanks for sharing this part of your journey. You rock!!

  3. Beth

    Watching you knit I am reminded that, if we can dream it, we can do it. You are a living testament to this. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring all of us.

    warmly,

    Beth

  4. Loretta

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful inspirational story. I’ll definitely be passing this on to my crafting groups and my newsletter. Also can’t wait to stalk Jenny on Facebook and Instagram to see all the beautiful things she’s creating <3

  5. missy

    I am a mom of 2 girls, 20 and 11. And I am all teared up not bc of your condition but bc another person who wanted to knit “did”! I am a pediatric Rn and it is amazing to see another doing something that defies the odds. Get on Ravelry and Pinterest. I have taught so many kids to knit/crochet and most of them said they were too little or too young and it’s such a great thing to help someone meet their dreams and goals. I pray we see more beautiful items. I am huge washcloth and scarf fan!! Blessings to you. missydawn

  6. Lynn

    I love the colors of Red Heart’s Boutique Unforgettable line, too, and they look great with your lovely lace work. I’m impressed that you are already knitting lace….but then I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as you obviously have a terrific drive when it comes to surpassing challenges! Before long you’ll be designing and I hope you will share those designs when you do! Congratulations on all your successes!

  7. Karen M Roth

    You are beautiful! Thanks for your inspired testimony. I have always loved the look of knitting but my left hand has been pretty fumbly since my Hemiplegic Migraine attack. But I still crochet. I want to learn how to make a cardigan that is lacy ,romantic, with pockets. I have the patterns I want to try.

  8. Terry Wynn

    Good for you. Your Mother must be so proud of you. I have some cotton yarn I would gladly send you, just email me.

  9. Mary

    You go girl!!! We all have our trials and tribulations. You’re remarkable, very talented and intelligent. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Mind over matter. Beautiful work. I’m a crochet person who wants to learn to knit and you’ve inspired me to give it a try. I wish you the best and may God bless you in every way possible.

  10. Joanne

    Loved your story touched my heart your parents must be ecstatic over your accomplishments . . . I am happy for YOU!

  11. Joanne

    Absolutely heart warming. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story. I also love to knit dishcloths with the cotton wool and people are always very appreciative to receive one. That said, with what you have overcome in order to make one, it would not only be a handmade dish cloth made with heart but a treasure all its own. Good for you!!!

  12. Vaughnde

    You are an amazing young woman! I also am a newbie knitter (August 2014) and I loved your video! At least we don’t let our disabilities stop us from doing what God has put in our hearts to do :) Keep up the Good Work!

  13. Speattle

    Jenny! Come join the knitting community over on Ravelry.com You will find loads of project inspiration over there and it is a great way to share and archive your own projects as you knit more and more.

  14. fadhila

    I proud of you ,You are great,I m happy for you

  15. Evelyn

    Jenny, never again will I tell myself I can’t do something. Your story has blessed me beyond measure. I can crochet up a storm, but I’ve never been able to learn knitting. You are a true inspiration…God bless you and yours!

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