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3 Helpful Crochet Tips for the Left-Handed

Arabia Temple works at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and gives some of her favorite tips for crocheters who often come into the store asking for help.
left-handed-crochet

At least once a week, someone will come in and talk about how they’d love to crochet, but they’re afraid to try because they’re left-handed. Admittedly, the majority of crochet patterns, diagrams, and instructions are created for crafters who hold their hook in their right hand.

Here are a few tips that have proven helpful to those who hold their hook with their left.

Re-write for left

stGeorgesVariationChart-left

Before you even pick up a hook, you should read your entire pattern from start to finish. Once you’ve gone through it and understand what it’s asking of you, go through it once more and make adjustments to the directional instructions to reflect crocheting from left to right.

Create a mirror image

If you’re working with granny squares, motifs, or other patters using charts, symbols or illustrated stitch explanations, see if the images can be flipped horizontally (see example of St. George's variation on the right) before they’re printed or photocopied to show the stitches being worked clockwise. Or, you can simply find an actual mirror and place it next to the image to follow the pattern.

Declare it Opposite Day!

Online instructional videos, like Lion Brand's Youtube Channel, are a great resource for crafters, but when the host is a right-handed, you’ll want do the opposite of what you see the instructor doing. For example, right–handed instructors will turn their work from right to left – like turning the page of a book; you would instead turn your work from left to right-like going back a page.

While crochet doesn’t exactly cater those who are left-handed, it certainly shouldn’t scare them away. As long as you remember that patience, practice, and perseverance are all you really need to crochet, no matter what hand your dominant hand is, you’ll be just fine.

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  • Judy

    I am left handed and I have crocheted for over 40 years. Most patterns don't matter if you are left or right handed. The only time it really matters is if you are making clothing items.

  • Marie Hill

    I remember helping my mum crochet me a school cardigan - I am left-handed and she is right-handed - we had two right fronts! I have made many items of clothing and blankets following both patterns and charts with no problem. Didn't realize that I was automatically flipping the charts!

  • Annie

    This was clearly written by a right hander, I'm a proud lefty and have never had a problem following any pattern, the only difference is we go the opposite direction.

  • Linda Leino-Mahac

    I just stay away from anything that is shaped -- like clothing. There are so many other things to make like scarves, jewelry, caps, flowers, afghans, rugs, etc.

  • Cat

    Have never had to do a "mirror" image of a pattern in order to crochet an afghan. I'm a Lefty and I was taught by a Righty...and I have taught several "righties". I have been crocheting for 40 yrs and everyone has loved the afghans I've made. I even design my own patterns. I was told by a design specialist for a yarn company that patterns for afghans didn't matter whether you were righty or lefty...only clothing.

  • Cindi

    I am a lefty and I have been crocheting for about 15 years, I had a righty sit in front of me to teach me the basics which meant I was doing everything she was doing only with my left hand. It was so much easier for me to learn that way since I am a visual learner. I have and will continue to enjoy crocheting for as long as I am able. Thanks for the tips though. Never know when I might need them.

  • ProudMary

    I too am a lefty and have made everything from hats, cowls, scarfs, afghans, shawls, boots and even clothing items such as sweaters and tops. The only difference I've found is that when making things where right and left matter it's mirrored when I make it. Usually this means that the left boot gets made before the right one or the left side of a garment gets made first. Very rarely have I had to 'rewrite' a pattern for my left hand, and I've been crocheting for over 13 years now!

  • Molly

    I'm a lefthander and have been crocheting for many years without any trouble at all and I was taught by a right-hander. I just crochet in the opposite direction.

  • Donna

    I am left handed and just beginning to do crochet. I tried for many years but had no one who could teach me. I have found lots of help recently on Youtube to learn basic stitches. I ran into a big problem when attempting an afghan that has words crocheted into the pattern using the popcorn stitch. I finally figured it out, but what a frustrating experience! I don't find the suggestions to just hold it up to a mirror, crochet it backward, or the worst - just learn to crochet right-handed- helpful at all. I'm glad to read in the comments here that the problem also occurs with clothing patterns since I have been eyeing some of the beautiful shrug and sweater patterns. Forewarned is forearmed as they say!

  • Kate

    I recently tried to do a crochet cable pattern but failed miserably. It was so hard to work it out I restarted 3 times and have now given up - I think I need more experience to work out how to swap the direction etc around. I once crochet a beautiful cropped button up top and had no trouble at all so don't understand why cabling is so difficult.

  • Alma

    I'm also very "left-handed" & been crocheting for over 32 years. It just gets off with me when they make such a big deal on the patterns. There isn't such a big deal to being a "lefty" as everyone knows we use our right side of the brain lol I learned from a right-hand person & realized early on that all you do is reverse your pattern (like clothes, just make the right side of the pattern your left & vis-versa). I can do any pattern I want. The first time I tried to do a baby sweater; I ended up with the left front on the right side (was so funny) went to my friend & she told me just to reverse the pattern. There wasn't any right or left pieces, you came off the back to do each front onto the back. As for anything with shape all you do is work it as the pattern calls for, what happens is the pattern right side is your wrong side.

    I also teach crochet & it's so easy as I just stand in front of my students & I use the "Mirror Image" where what I do with my left hand they do with their right. I was a volunteer at the Shriner's Hospital in Shreveport, La. My first time to teach was a shocker. I had 7 moms & only one spoke a little English, the rest none & I don't speak Spanish. I'd made up packets for them to use as a reference, but they couldn't read it; I then went on-line and had it all translated & bingo it worked. They could see what I was saying by going to the lesson in Spanish.

  • Donna

    I am left handed and was taught by a right handed person and she used a mirror to figure out how to teach me. As far as patterns go, i have always read them the same as a knitting pattern, just follow directions.

  • Judy

    I have been crocheting for 50 years but never been able to crochet a sweater or booties for a baby. I have had 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren and I still cannot make bootie tops and bottoms turn out right. So I just stick to baby blankets, but I am going to do the mirror image thing and see if it turns out then. Thanks for the free lesson.

  • Amber Star

    Just cruising by to look at yarn and was interested in the lefty crochet. I'm a lefty and a knitter. Has anyone already pointed out the picture with this article is showing knitting needles and not a crochet hook? I was sort of surprised to see that.

  • Paula

    I'm a lefty, and I taught myself to crochet a few years ago from a book that apparently was written by a righty. Somehow I managed to figure out how to do everything "backwards" from what the pictures showed, and I've gone from there. But I haven't tried anything complicated like clothing - I've just made hats, baby booties, scarves, cowls, etc. There are books out there and videos on YouTube for lefties. Sure, reading and reversing patterns may take us longer and be confusing, but being a lefty doesn't mean it's hard for us simply to crochet.

  • Zagadka

    As a left-handed kid wanting to learn from my right- handed mom I went through a lot of frustration and ultimately gave up for a decade or two. I decided to give it another try several years so now and I can honestly say I simply had a mental block. The best thing I learned was to follow the ORDER OF THE STEPS and not the DIRECTIONS. 90% of patterns have nothing that requires left/right, especially when you're first starting out with scarves, etc. That would have been a huge help to me as a child and now I hope it helps others, too!