Hobbies for the one-handed
January 30, 2015 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Recently, I took up knitting and guitar to keep me occupied. This week, I broke my dominant/writing hand--entire arm is completely unusable down to elbow, after surgery and splinting, and this'll continue for at least 4 weeks, if not more. Are there any hobbies that can be done one-handed in the meantime, to keep me from getting incredibly bored?

Seriously: I can even really brace things with that arm, it may as well not exist. and 12 straight hours of netflix/reading/(one-handed) videogames was getting old a few months ago.
posted by flibbertigibbet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can knit one-handed by holding holding one needle stationary, between your legs, or even clamped vertically to a table or chair. The dexterity you gain in your off hand might be a real boon once you're back to knitting two-handed!
posted by BrashTech at 3:22 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you can turn pages, you can read. Maybe learn some songs. If you have trouble keeping a book flat, you can have the spine removed at an office/paper/copy shop. Or, of course, you could use an e-reader.

Walking is also an option. Also, if you have a cat, and patience, you could try teaching the cat some tricks (you need a hand to dispense treats).
posted by amtho at 3:29 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe puzzles? It might be a bit annoying with your non-dominant hand and getting the lid off with one hand might be tricky but I bet a 1000 piece puzzle could keep you occupied for a while.

You could also start meditating. I really like the Headspace app, even though it's expensive to continue past the free trial, but there are lots of free resources out there.
posted by carolr at 3:35 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When I had my dominant hand out of commission for a few weeks (closer to 2, though), I did crosswords to see how good my non-dominant handwriting would get.
posted by mchorn at 3:41 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Learn a language-- I'd use that time to start with the duolingo app and progress from there.
posted by travertina at 3:50 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Projects around the house? I'm thinking something like cleaning out the kitchen junk drawer, weeding your magazine collection, throwing away old makeup, going through your closet and identifying things that you want to get rid of. Not necessarily a 'hobby' but you could do all those things one-handed and for me they're really soothing. If that's too much you could clean out your digital spaces; organize your music, pictures, etc.

Crafts where precision isn't necessary? Maybe abstract watercolors with your non-dominant hand? Puzzles is a good idea...perhaps beading or other jewelry-making that doesn't require fine motor skill?
posted by stellaluna at 3:53 PM on January 30, 2015

Best answer: Seconding reading, learning languages or other mental stuff; perhaps photography. Planning whatever needs to be planned in your life (like picking out color schemes for wallpaper/house painting etc.). And you could always walk and see places.
Do not overexercise your non-dominant hand, it's the way of tears and confusion.
posted by Namlit at 4:02 PM on January 30, 2015

Get better acquainted with your non-dominant hand. There are a number of ways to secure paper without troubling your other hand, such as a clip board with a large rubber band at the bottom. Writing aids may also help, they are not just for children 😊

On the guitar end of things, if it's to your taste, the entire song repetoire of Rise Up Singing has been performed as how-to guitar & singing videos. You could work on the one hand's positioning (use a large pillow to hold the guitar in place on your lap) and learn the tune and words/sing the song until you can get your strum on. I watch them to learn how to sing the song, so this is floating balloons

Best wishes on your recovery!
posted by childofTethys at 4:03 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would second learning a language. Apps like Duolingo and Mind Snacks actually make it pretty fun.

On the guitar front, I urge you to not just give it up for the coming 4+ weeks. It won't be as fun but you can do a 10+ session a day just using your good hand. If your fretting hand is the good one, keep practicing those chords and changing between them. Do scales! If it's your picking hand that's still workin, nows the time to start learning/practicing fingerpicking.
posted by saul wright at 4:52 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

You might switch from guitar to singing.

Google tells me this hobby involves practicing and mastering lots of weird physical exercises and tricks. It can also get you out of the house, if you want that, for lessons and karaoke and what not.

Oh, and apparently there's free software to help you figure out whether you're singing the right note. (I haven't tried it myself, but now I suddenly want to.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 5:07 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Needlepoint with a frame? I can do that one handed when my kid is hogging the other hand as she falls asleep. If you use plastic canvas and thick wool, the rigidity of the canvas makes it even easier.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:14 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maybe take up learning crochet? Only requires one hand and a hook....
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:35 PM on January 30, 2015

I need two hands to crochet, but I'm not very good at it.

I would go crazy with the puzzles, myself.
posted by sarcasticah at 9:02 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I once taught a one-armed, left-handed man to crochet. He wasn't very good at it but he enjoyed the process.

Building up your coordination and strength in your non-dominant hand will make your recovery time a lot less frustrating. Buy or make hacky sacks and practice throwing them with the usable arm. Once you get good at it, move on to darts. Work with clay and create something interesting. Try painting with your non-dominate hand. Every day, assign yourself a new task to learn to do with your non-dominate hand. Work on it until you perfect it. Dusting left-handed sounds incredibly challenging to me.
posted by myselfasme at 11:55 PM on January 30, 2015

Best answer: I am a knitter/crocheter. When I sprained my dominant hand (splint for 3 months), I bought a knitting loom and used that. It scratched the creative itch for me.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:36 AM on January 31, 2015

I know you're specifically asking for non-video game hobbies, but Kingdom Rush on the iPad is a great one-handed game. (SO recently got a bunch of stitches in his dominant hand).

Sudoku with a clip board.

Some abstract painting with watercolors could be fun.

I'm thinking most activities that are normally done with two hands (knitting, crochet, typing) would just be very frustrating to do one handed. Like the whole time you'd be thinking "If only I could use my hand!", which is probably the state you are perpetually in, never mind trying to relax.

So, finding new music to listen to, borrowing books on tape from the library, making your way through the Criterion Collection on Hulu? If its not just mindless consumption of media, but some classics you've never seen/heard but have always meant to, it might be more rewarding.
posted by fontophilic at 10:04 AM on January 31, 2015

Contact juggling.
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 2:58 PM on January 31, 2015

Best answer: I had a similar situation years ago and it frustrated me so much that I spent a lot of time training my non-dominant hand. It felt like a difficult video game i was trying to master. Started with simple drawing (can you draw Pokey the Turtle?) then moved on to printing, then cursive. Got pretty good at it. Sadly I have let it wane in the decades since, but it gave me a real sense of accomplishment plus gloaty triumph over my stupid body that had failed me. Take that body! You're not the boss of me! Hopefully this attitude will carry over into my fast-approaching sunset years.
posted by umberto at 10:09 AM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Instead of learning a language, classical/jazz music appreciation MOOCs via edx/coursera.

Crosswords for learning to write right-handed.

Knitting/crochet one-handed was a little frustrating, but I appreciate the recs there. I can't find anything that is scratching that creative itch, though... Needlepoint was, sadly, not for me.

Thank you all!
posted by flibbertigibbet at 8:22 AM on February 18, 2015

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