Lending a Hand… to Left-Handed Crocheters

Quite often, it can be a bit frustrating to be a left-handed crocheter in a predominantly right-handed world! So, why would us south-paws consider ourselves living in a “right-handed world”? Well, for starters only 10% of the global population is left-handed and most of those are men. Since most crocheters are female, we’re talking about a very small minority!

To make matters worse, finding the right info to help lefty crocheters is darn near impossible, because there just hasn’t been that much material written for us. Heck, even some of the most widely circulated crocheting books and tutorials would suggest that lefties should learn to crochet right-handed! No wonder it seems like there is little hope for left-handed crocheters.

A popular method for teaching left-handed crocheting is to sit across from someone crocheting right-handed or to crochet while you facing directly at a mirror. However, left-handed crocheting can be just as simple as learning anything else – it all comes down to repetitive, diligent practice and a no-quit attitude. Focus on getting past the first feelings of awkwardness with the hook and yarn. Practice makes perfect! No big secret there, right?

Let’s Get Started

The first thing we need to work on is how to hold your crochet hook. The hook will be in your left hand and the yarn or thread will held in, and worked with, your right hand. There are two common ways to hold the crochet hook. For starters, we have the “pencil-hold”, where the crochet hook is placed between your thumb and index fingers. The next hold is called the “knife-hold”. This is a grip similar to how you would hold a knife. It will be up to you to decide which “hold” is right for you. There is no right or wrong hold to use. Do what is the most comfortable for you.

We briefly touched on the “holds” for your crochet hook, now we’ll take a look at the “holds” for your yarn or thread. What is most common? That would be looping the yarn or thread around your right-index or middle fingers and holding it loosely over your hand. Then, make a slip-knot on your hook with your yarn.

Next, hold the slip-knot between your thumb and middle finger of your right hand. The yarn should come out between the hook and your index finger. Using your index finger, keep the yarn tight, in order to create and even tension. This tension is important to maintain, if you want to maintain even stitches. Looping the yarn over the hook is called a “yarn-over”. This is also the way to create stitches and/or chains. The abbreviation, “beg/foundation ch”, is how we describe the beginning of a crochet.

With the hook in front, yarn over and bring the hook up and over to catch the yarn and bring it through the loop (this follows the slip-knot). This will be your first chain. You do not count the loop on the hook as chain. Keep going in the same manner, until you have the necessary number of chain stitches for your desired pattern. It might be necessary for you to keep practicing the chain stitch, until you are able to make consistent chains. This particular chain will be the foundation of your first row of crochet.

So, How Do Right-Handed and Left-handed Crocheters Differ?

There are some significantly important differences between left-handed and right-handed crocheters, which are listed below:

1) Left-handed crocheters work their stitches from left to right and right-handed crocheters work their stitches from right to left, when working back and forth in rows.

2) When working in rounds, however, left-handed crocheters work to the right (clockwise) and right-handed crocheters work to the left (counterclockwise).

3) Working back and forth in rows, the final, finished crochet project for either right-handed or left-handed crocheters will look exactly the same, except where the work began and finished.

4) When working in rounds, however, the finished crochet project will appear different for left-handed and right-handed crocheters.

5) Some people actually prefer left-handed crocheting-in-the-round! Others feel that it appears backwards!

6) Most of the changes that left-handed crocheters will have to make will be in reading and understanding the written patterns and the charts used in crochet.

7) There are many kinds of charts used in crocheting. Among these, there are 2 charts that might prove problematic for left-handed crocheters: color-specific charts and filet crochet charts.

8) In the case of color-specific charts, if the chart isn’t modified for left-handed crocheters, the finished product will be a mirror image of what it should be. In some cases, color placement can make a big difference here.

9) Reading filet crochet charts, on the other hand, can be a daunting task for just about anyone, at first. Those “filled-in” squares of the graph are referred to as blocks. Open squares are the “mesh” or spaces.

10) Charts are usually numbered by rows or stitches, and are usually written for the right-handers. For “lefties”, it will be necessary to amend the chart ever so much, prior to beginning. If you do not make these amendments to the chart, you’ll still be able to complete the project, but the finished piece may be reversed or backward. For color-specific charts, not always a huge issue. For filet charts, especially those that include wording, this could become a real problem. No one wants their wording to come out backwards!

Fortunately, most crochet instructions written today are fine for both right-handed and left-handed crocheters. Most of the patterns that will need to be amended will be clothing patterns. Sometimes, adjustments will be necessary for non-clothing patterns too. One example of non-clothing patterns adjustment, would be when you encounter an instruction like, “join yarn in upper right-hand corner”. In this particular instance, you would join the yarn in the upper left-hand corner, instead.


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