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Crocheting the Left-Handed Way

My two sons are left-handed and both recently expressed interest in learning to crochet. The older one quickly switched to the circular knitting machine but the younger is still keen. He is typically deft and confident at crafts but crochet is tricky for him and I’m right-handed, so I’m awkward when I try to show him the left-handed way. This got me wondering how left-handed crocheters get along in a world dominated by right-handed crocheters and resources. What’s out there to help? Do those of us in the yarncraft industry need to be more aware of their needs and adjust our patterns and tutorials? 


childs hand holding wooden hook pencil style with crocheted piece and yellow yarn attached
Holding the Yarn and hook as a beginner

Historically, left-handedness has not been as accepted as it is today. Left-handed people were often expected to learn to carry out tasks in a right-handed manner and of course this could result in difficulty learning and less comfortable crocheting.


A left handed crocheter, Christine Mackinnon, who has helped with my sample making, told me:


“There was very little in patterns and how-to books for left handers. I learnt to crochet from a very patient lady in my breaks at work.”
“Don't be put off by your first attempts; as you get more proficient you will see the progress you have made. Slowly but surely it will make sense.”

Today, most left-handed crocheters hold their hook in their left hand and tension the yarn in their right hand, working in the opposite direction to their right-handed counterparts but, just like right-handed crafters, they might use knife or pencil hold for their hook and tension the yarn in many different ways, so there’s no single right way to be a left-handed crocheter! Let me know in the comments how you hold your hook, whether you're right or left handed. You can even add a photo to your comment!


Tips for Left-Handed Crochet Success 


1. Learn from Left-Handed Resources: Seek out tutorials and guides created by or for left-handed crocheters, which are tailored to your way of working. Sarah Korth of SEK Handmade on Youtube, creates left and right-handed versions of all her crochet tutorials and has a playlist just for left-handed crochet techniques, right from tensioning the yarn to unusual stitches trending  on social media. 


I started providing lefthanded tutorials when teaching in person classes where I had several students who were left-handed, firstly by providing lefthanded tutorials for my Learn to Crochet videos and later expanding my offerings to all left-handed crocheters.
My goal is to help crocheters grow confidently in their craft and this is one of many ways I do that. 

If you’re lucky enough to have someone to learn from face to face but they use the opposite hand to you, try sitting facing one another so you can mirror their actions, which is easier than trying to reverse what you see sitting alongside. 


2. Practice Regularly: Like any skill, left-handed crochet requires practice to improve. Start with simple projects like a granny square and gradually tackle more complex patterns as your confidence grows.


3. Join a Community: Connect with fellow left-handed crocheters through local crafting clubs, online forums or social media. Sharing experiences and learning from others can be incredibly motivating. I look forward to my son crocheting with my mum, an amazing left-handed crocheter, who edged my chiffon wedding veil with fine thread crochet.


4. Reading Patterns: While many left-handed crafters become adept at interpreting right-handed patterns, new left-handed crocheters may prefer to use patterns with ambidextrous instructions, e.g. “in/against direction of work” in place of right or left. Charts can also be confusing. Right-handed charts can usually be flipped to be left-handed but many designers don’t know that this would be helpful. I only recently realised, whilst working with a left-handed sample crocheter, that my motif charts are right handed, so now I’ll update all my patterns with charts. Try contacting whoever published the pattern (magazine/independent designer) to ask if they’ll send you a laterally flipped chart for left-handed crocheters. You could also take a smartphone photo of a chart and flip it in moments using the phone’s photo editor, as long as you keep the photo for personal use only. Here's an example of one of my simple charts for a flower.



5. Be Patient: Learning crochet may take time, whichever hand you use. Don’t expect perfection overnight; rather celebrate your progress and any learning moments and enjoy this creative process.


Conclusion


Left-handed crocheters may find that some patterns need adapting to their way of working but there are also some great resources out there. The internet also offers us the chance to connect with others that have faced similar difficulties with crochet and shared how they coped with learning new skills, so don’t put off trying as, with perseverance, you’re sure to find a way to create handmades you’ll love.



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