Left-Handed Crochet

I’ve been meaning to put my post on Left Handed Crochet here for ages. I originally wrote it for Kat Goldin’s Crochet Camp on her Slugs on the Refrigerator blog way back in the Summer but wanted to put a copy here also for any fellow lefties who might be passing.

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Leftie crochet

After a quick Google of the percentage of left handed people globally I’ve found that figures vary between 10-15%. This illustrates a fact that I’ve always known – there really aren’t very many of us around.

It’s interesting that there seem to be slightly more men than women who are lefties, fewer who crochet though no doubt. I’ve also read statements that say left-handed people produce an above-average quota of high achievers. Bring it on! Alexander the Great, John McEnroe and Billy the Kid are listed as notable lefties in one article, which discusses how left handers are better in a fight because of the element of surprise (!) but perhaps we’d better stick to crochet for now shall we?!

When I’ve crocheted in public I’ve had sometimes comments about looking “cack-handed”, been told it “looks really odd like that” and I’ve also been asked “Don’t you find it hard – doing it like that?” The last one just makes me laugh. Actually I like being different to the majority, although when I was learning to crochet it was a different story as I grappled with instructions and illustrations where the hook was always shown held in the right hand. I tried to squint and imagine it all reversed, but this wasn’t very successful at the beginning.

I have heard that you can learn from or teach, a right hander by sitting opposite them and copying their actions as if they are a mirror image. I haven’t tried this approach yet. I need a willing victim to try this experiment.20130526-075829.jpg

Useful resources

In the end I found a small range of teaching aids. The best one was a smallish booklet I found on Amazon called Crochet Unravelled by Claire Bojczuk, which is for complete beginners and uses illustrations for left and right handers. I can’t tell you how good I found this simple straightforward guide. To be honest I credit Claire Bojczuk with teaching me to crochet. I don’t know her, we’ve never met or corresponded but I think I’d give her a bunch of flowers if we ever did!

YouTube videos showing left handed demos can be really useful as they’ll show you ways of holding the hook and how to scoop the yarn in a clockwise direction (as opposed to the righties who scoop it up anticlockwise.) When I was learning I watched sometimes, just for the pleasure and encouragement of seeing another leftie. I don’t know any other left handed crocheters and sometimes just watching for a few minutes can set you on your way; especially if you’re having problems visualising what to do, don’t know where to go into a stitch or are just feeling a little fed up of instructions written for a right hander.

Simply Crochet magazine has a how-to section at the back every issue which includes a photo tutorial for some stitches for left and right handers. This approach seems to be pretty rare compared to most crochet and craft magazines.

There are several Ravelry groups for left-handed crocheters, where I’m sure you would be welcome to ask questions and seek advice.

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Equipment

Although I do use left-handed scissors when cutting lots of paper or fabric, I haven’t found that I’ve needed any different tools for crochet. If you do know of something crochet related for lefties I’d love to know about it, please.

Crocheting in rows

If you’re left handed you’ll be crocheting rows from left to right. When you begin your first row (called the foundation row) you’ll be working along the chains from the left to the right.

When a pattern tells you that the foundation row is the right side of the work remember that’s the side where the cut tail of the yarn will be hanging down on the right hand-side. If the foundation row is the wrong side of the work the cut tail of yarn should be on the left. Just so that I remember I usually don’t darn this in until the end as it reminds me which side I need to darn into and which to leave.

Crocheting in rounds

As a leftie you’ll be crocheting around to the right, or clockwise. This is worth remembering when you are more experienced and start using symbol patterns. These types of patterns show the stitches going to the left for right handers, but you will be doing the same stitches in the same order but going around to the right. Are you beginning to see why the moral support of YouTube videos, books and tutorials for lefties can be so encouraging at times?

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Final thoughts

It’s just a case of remembering that the pattern will be written assuming that you’re right-handed 99% of the time. Most of the time this doesn’t matter at all, but just pause and think about the instructions before you begin. For example: if you’re going to try some colourwork you might need to reverse the instructions, unless the design is symmetrical. So, if you’re told to follow the chart with odd numbered rows going from right to left, just remember that your rows are going to be from the left to the right.

Is all this confusing? As clear as mud? Don’t worry – once you’ve got the hang of crochet as a leftie everything will become second nature and you won’t think about it too much, apart from sometimes when you might find yourself saying ‘Oh these crazy right-handers….!’

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How about you?

 

16 thoughts on “Left-Handed Crochet

  1. As the mother and grandmother of left-handers. (In fact in my eldest’s household the only right-hander out of four people is my son-in-law so he feels outnumbered! ;-) This is very interesting expecially as I have been trying to teach my granddaughter both knitting and crochet. I managed to teach myself to knit left-handed but I don’t think I could manage crochet that way round. So if I can get her to keep up her interest these thoughts should help.

      • Well I suppose kntting could be the same but when I knit, as taught by my mother, I hold the right knitting needle under my right armpit and flick the wool with that hand leaving the easier task of moving the stitches on the left needle onto the right one to my left hand. So for my granddaughter I showed her how to hold the needle under her left arm and reversed the rest. I am very slow knitting left-handed.

        • Lefties knit in exactly the same method taking stitches off the left needle onto the right, holding the yarn in the right hand (unless using Continental method but that’s still the same for lefties and righties.) The hold you use is particular to you and your mother, there are many other ways personal to each knitter, it’s not an especially right handed way. I’ve researched holds lots and asked around at knitting groups this year as I changed mine from an over the top right hold to more trad under. It’s faster and easier.
          You’ll need to teach her how to do it the same with the yarn on the right, perhaps look at other holds too as she won’t master circular needles in future if she carries on with the needle under armpit hold!
          (I recommend the Knitting and Crochet Bible linked to here for ref tho it’s not for children. The authors have both as separate books too.)

  2. Hi there!!!!! I always say that the world was made for right handers…… but the left ones make the diference….. I’m crocheting with my left hand almost a year now and sometimes i find difficult to “read” a pattern but finally i manage to do so….. Unfortunately i don’t know how to knit but this will be the project of the summer….

    Merry Christmas from Creece…..

  3. This is fabulous!!! Finally! I’m 65 and I thank you so much!!!!! I make prayer shawls for cancer patients in Grand Rapids Michigan usa and this will be SO much easier!!!!

  4. I really wished there were someone in grand Rapids area who TEACHES left handed crochet. Are you aware of anyone?

  5. As a fellow lefty I’ve heard the % of left handed presidents is higher than right handed ones just an interesting fact I think it’s fact I read it somewhere. Anyway thank you for posting your patterns tips for lefties I’ve been pinning a lot and adding you to my google + for all the new lefty crocheters I hope they find you I learned to crochet from my grandma she was right handed but was very patient with me I’m still thankful to her for teaching me I’ve always got a hook in hand working on a baby blanket diamond bobble stitch now and this second I’m making a quick pair of slippers kind of making up that pattern as I go I don’t know if you can put pic’s or patterns up but after I finish them I’d be happy to share thank you again love your site!

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