Are Dental Hygienist Skills Transferable to Knitting?

This morning, as I lay supine in the dental chair, I chatted with my hygienist about knitting. The ability to understand a dental patient mid-cleaning is some sort of hygienist superpower. I don’t know how she understood me, but she did.

While waiting for my appointment, I had been working on a pair of color work Squirrelly Mittens.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit,” she said. “My mom and my grandmother always used to knit big blankets.”

I went into immediate knit-vocate mode.

“I bet you could learn to knit,” I declared. “Look at all those fine motor skills you have as a hygienist. Those would probably transfer to knitting.”

My hygienist looked thoughtful and we talked about fiber arts a bit more, before the conversation was arrested by a Today Show story on the overhead TV. (George Clooney had gotten married over the weekend. An NBC reporter lay in wait along a Venetian canal for the happy couple to float by on their way to an appointment at the registry office. I couldn’t help commenting that this sort of reporting was probably not the reason he had gone to journalism school.)

What do you think, readers? How transferable are other types of fine motor skills to knitting?


  1. Any skill that requires a keen eye and nimble fingers is most definitely transferrable.. just think of the ladies that can type 150 words a minute… I hear continental queens!

  2. Elizabeth Zimmerman said if you can roll your hair and dial a telephone, you can knit. I actually can’t think of an occupation that wouldn’t transfer to knitting.

  3. It’s not so much occupation as character – think of all those flighty types who idly sit in waiting rooms huffing and puffing when appointments run late and then make bizarre comments like “I don’t know how you have the time for that!”

    • My thoughts exactly. Still it’s fun to think about which specific skills are most applicable. Fine motor skills from some occupations. Analytical skills from others. Artistic sensibilities. Etc…

  4. I like to think that fine motor skills are pretty transferable…however, my fine motor skills are pretty limited to typing. I will say that since starting knitting, my fine motor skills have improved. For instance, I can now french braid 🙂

  5. This makes a lot of sense. I mean, anyone can knit but someone already used to using their hands in small precise movements would have a head start!

  6. I hate to disappoint you, but….. I’m a very fast typist. (In the 90 wpm range.) And a pretty good knitter. But that’s it. Hand-eye coordination? Fuggedaboudit. Beautiful handwriting? See note above re typing speed. Pianist? Not. I can’t even ride a bike, fercryin’outloud.

    • I”m not that good at hand-eye coordination either. Always had issues in school during the softball unit. And the golf unit. And the bowling unit….

  7. I am a semi-retired dental hygienist. I love knitting. I was unable to enjoy it when I worked full time as my fingers began bothering me. I’m certain I have some arthritis and have waited until no longer working full time to try knitting. I am thoroughly enjoying the hobby!! I love its portability.

  8. I think vice-versa is too true, any knitter can do any fine motor skills art ever. We’ve learned the art of practice at this point, own it! (i’m a ceramic potter now) @lynda in oregon, if you touched as many keys as stitches, you’d be a pianist. be lynda first though.

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