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Where are all the Left-Handed Crafters?

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Where are all the Left-Handed Crafters?

National Left-Handers Day is coming up on August 13th, so we’re shouting out our left-handed crafters! There are different options when it come to knitting and crocheting, but there’s something new to learn for any crafter who’s curious. If you’re interested in trying something new, then read on! Or if you’re a new crafter, who happens to be left-handed, we’re glad to offer some resources. Let us know in the comments if you’re a left-handed crafter, or if you have any tips!

Left-Handed Crafters, Have No Fear

For Lefty Knitters: Continental Style

While knitting uses both hands equally, some crafters find the continental style lets the left hand contribute more. Plus, it might be a bit more efficient! Continental knitting holds the yarn in the left hand, which is also called ‘picking’. This is compared to the English style, in which the yarn is held in the right hand (also called ‘throwing’). Some knitters find the Continental style faster because there is less waste motion.

Left-Handed Crafters

Continental Knitting

Here’s a tutorial for the knit stitch, and you could revisit this basic lesson for a chance to try out holding the yarn in your left hand. It will feel like you’re picking the stitches off the left-held needle with the right-held one. You could also try this tutorial for the purl stitch.

For Left Crocheters: A Playlist

When working left-handed, crochet calls for an entirely different approach. To accommodate the learning curve, we’ve created a special playlist! If you’re a more experienced crafter, you might want to skip the first video or two. However, if you’re a brand new crafter, then this will be a wonderful way to begin. Even if you’re not typically a left-handed crafter, you might want to give this a whirl, just to see if it’s a better fit.

Crafting Left Handed

We’d love to hear from you, if you’re a left-handed crafter! Do you have any advice or suggestions to offer? Let us know in the comments, and hopefully some other crafters will benefit from the shared wisdom. Happy National Left-Handers Day to all our crafters whose left hands dominate.

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44 Comments

  • I’m a southpaw. But I learned to crochet long before I learned how to knit, so I’m more comfortable holding the yarn in my right hand. My knitting style is that of a standard thrower. I’ll work two-fisted when I do stranded colorwork, but that’s as close as I get to knitting continental.

    • Melissa – Southpaw! Love that you use that. πŸ™‚

  • If you prefer learning fromΒ videos, you aren t limited to those taught by left-handed crocheters. You can actually use technology to reverse videos yourself so that you can follow along correctly as a left-handed crocheter.

    • This is a great tip, Mixkino! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  • Graphs, charts and videos are all great, of course, but you may find a written crochet pattern that you want to follow. As a left-handed crafter, you ll need to reverse the instructions. Some people can do this easily in their minds but others, particularly beginners, may need to manually write out the new instructions. Simply print out the pattern then change every left to right and vice versa. Follow your newly-written instructions to crochet the pattern.

    • Another great suggestions, Mixkino! We also recommend doing this when following a pattern that defaults to the smallest size – going through and circling your number of stitches can save you from a real headache later. Thanks for weighing in! πŸ™‚

  • I’m a left handed and I was actually taught by my friend who is right handed. In the beginning I thought I would never learn. I love to make baby blankets. If you want to learn keep trying.

    • Love your positivity, Annette. πŸ™‚

  • when i wanted to learn to crochet there was no one to help me and my left hand out, so , i taught myself how to crochet. i would sit across from a woman that i cared for through home health. she crocheted all the time and i would sit across the room and watch her. that is how i got the basics i had a book that taught corchet and in a days time i was crocheting rows. that was about 10 years ago now. i might not be the best but i sure love to crochet with thread the best

    • Debbie, this is so impressive! Love of crafting is way more important than ‘perfection’, in our book! πŸ™‚

  • I have a left handed granddaughter who is 7! Would love to have a book with illustrations for her to learn either crocheting or knitting?
    What do you have available? I have been doing both since I was 12 and would love to help her learn.
    thanks so much,
    Carolyn Hopler
    pjhopler@aol.com

    • Hi, Carolyn – This is a great idea. I’m sad to say, we don’t have any books for younger crafters that focus on left-hand crafting. We’d suggest checking out your local craftstore or bookstore, there are also some great videos, as well. Best of luck!

  • I am left handed. I can knit and crochet!

    • πŸ™‚

  • How appalling that you post something like this.

    Left-hand dominant people are perfectly capable of knitting using the left hand to control the working needle. Instead of showing people who prefer to knit “mirrored” how to do it, you’re telling eft-handed people that they should learn the standard way instead. And knitting continental is an entirely different choice.

    You are spreading lies and misinformation. Knitting does NOT “use both hands equally” – if it did, you wouldn’t be holding the working needle in your right hand.

    I will never buy any Lion Brand products and will urge everyone I know to do the same.

  • I’ve always been left left handed. My Mom made sure that when I was in school that I had the appropriate scissors, etc. She didn’t want me to be forced to change.. I bought a book to teach myself how to crochet when I was 19 and the first thing I made was a purse.. When reading a pattern that is dealing with sides (clothing) I have to mark it to make sure that I have the left and right side correct! I also use both hands when I’m crocheting – it’s a lot faster for me. I’m 62 now and I’m still crocheting all the time!

  • I suppose it’s futile to mention this, but i will state it anyway: The assertions that knitting uses both hands equally is false. Repeating this falsehood only demonstrates a very poor understanding of knitting and the formation of both knit and purl stitches. This false assertion also indicates unawareness of the symmetry of most knit patterns. You obviously understand crocheting can be done lefty. So why the double standard? I am surprised such a large company which has been in business for so long persists in this archaic mindset against lefty knitting. Lefties can knit in the opposite direction with no difficulty. There are many online tutorials that demonstrate this form of knitting, most notably the “Lefty Knitting” class on Craftsy. It would be nice if Lion Brand would modernize its thinking in this regard and bring lefty knitters into the fold in a more positive way. You’d sell a lot more yarn by being inclusive, rather than punitive.

    • Hi, Mary – the information cited in this post is based on what can be found on our Lion Brand educational pages (so that no one gets confused when they follow links). However, since this question has come up several times, I’ve passed it along to our team to review.

  • I’m so disappointed in Lion Brand for posting this article. I’m very left handed and was easily able to find free resources online when I broke my ankle and wanted to learn to crochet. As for “knitting uses both hands equally,” I’d like the author of this article to hold her working needle in the opposite hand and get back to us about her knitting progress.

    • Hi, Rebecca – all information cited in this article is based on what can be found on our Lion Brand website, so that there’s no confusion when crafters follow links. This particular question has been asked a couple times, so I referred it to the team in charge of creating our educational pages. Until we’re able to update the information there (which can take time), we don’t typically update blog posts.

  • I’ve noticed that you haven’t responded to anyone who has commented that you made an error in your post, but for my own peace of mind, I have to say the following.

    Knitting is a two handed activity, but it is not always an equal handed activity. This is the same whether a person is right handed or left handed. One hand will naturally want to “lead”.

    Although some lefties learn to knit right handed with no problem, not all of us can. This applies to many things, not just knitting – using a knife, for example. Most people use their dominant hand for the ‘technical’ work, and their other hand for holding what is being cut. How many right handed people can switch how they do things at the drop of a hat? Why are left handed people expected to do so?
    Even when a left handed person knits right handed, whether continental or throwing, they tend to develop their own style that utilizes the left hand more.
    Personally, my right hand is mostly there to make me look symmetrical. lol I even have a hard time swiping credit cards with my right hand.
    I applaud any lefties who choose to knit right handed and have no difficulties in doing so. But if it is not working for someone, it is up to the teacher to find what works best for that student.

    As a company which promotes learning the art of knitting, I would think that you would want to be correct in what you say, and you would want to include everyone. This would also be a monetary plus for your company.

    • Hi, Denise – When a question arises as the result of a post, we typically get in touch with whoever handles that information (in this case, the team that produces our educational content). It can definitely take some time to resolve questions, and get all information updated at the same time. It seems that the question of left-handed crafting is very sensitive for many, so I’ve also inquired about producing additional resources to support those who prefer not to learn to switch ‘lead’ hands when knitting or crocheting. Hopefully, we will be able to accommodate.

  • I am left-handed, and very often crochet from a right-handed pattern. Good thing my brain can translate! πŸ™‚

  • As a left hander I learned from a right hander. I set in front of her and copied what she did. I only crochet but have not had a problem following directions. It has become second nature. I love diagrams as I find in most books there are errors that are not corrected regardless of what hand you use. I have been made fun of that I work the thread/yarn and keep the hook almost stationary. But there is no wrong way to crochet.

    • Love that idea, Sarah! “No wrong way to crochet” is right! πŸ™‚

  • Judy. I am not a lefty, but I have to hold the crochet needle in my left hand due to a birth defect. My Gram was a lefty and she taught me how to crochet left handed. My Gram was the most artistic and intelligent person I’ve ever known. She made all my Gramp’s suits for his work and learned to oil paint from watching Bob Ross on PBS when she was 75. I have 3 of her paintings hanging in my living room and dining room. My gram hated that she was a lefty, but I always reminded her that if she wasn’t, I would have never learned to crochet.

    So, you see Judy, it goes both ways. Instead of trashing LBY for not giving you enough credit. Maybe you should put a tutorial on the website to teach lefties how to knit and crochet. I’m sure there would be a lot of adoring fans. πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Penny – sounds like your Gram was an astounding artist! How wonderful you have some of her works in your home. πŸ™‚

  • I knit and crochet, and have recently met a teacher in a yarn store who is helping me learn new techniques. However, my greatest need is instruction in how to transform complicated patterns and charts for left-handed knitters. There is some help on YouTube, but not as much as I would like. Please contact me if you would like more detail about what I have in mind. Thank you.

    • Hi, Susan – this is a great question. There’s certainly been a lot of interest following this post, so our team is working on some new ideas now!

  • I’m a self taught leftie. I’m surprised by many of the comments about rewriting patterns from left to right or reversing the videos. I just follow the directions and don’t worry about left-right directions. I just crochet naturally and follow what my left hand is doing. Almost all patterns are symmetrical so I really don’t worry about right to left and vice versa. All my work has turned out beautifully in spite of being left handed and garments I’ve made fit as they are designed to do.

    • Hi, Linda – this is a great tip. And it sounds like it definitely increases the ‘relaxation’ factor of your crafting time.

  • I am an accomplished knitter AND a left handed thrower. I’ve been saying for years that I was going to write a book full of “left handed” patterns, where K2tog didn’t mean SSK . Apparently there IS a market for it based on these comments.
    From my perspective all patterns are merely suggestions…suggested yarns, suggested shapes, textures, etc. The joy of the creative process is taking a designer’s suggestion & then making it my own. That includes everything from lengthening a hemline or changing the gauge to reversing (or completely altering) shaping instructions for knitting left handed.
    And when doing stranded colorwork, I hold all the yarns in my left hand on different fingers & my thumb. For designs with frequent color changes, like Bohus knitting, my left hand looks a bit like a spider crawling along.

    • Hi, Jenny – wow, it sounds like people would definitely be interested in any resource you’d want to create! Go for it!

  • I am left-handed. I do not knit, but do crochet. And that is done right-handed. Someone tried to teach me to do it left-handed by saying, “It’s simple, just mirror me.” That is not the way to learn. There are several things that I craft using either right or left hands, so whatever works best for me at that time.

    • Hi, Ginger – sounds like you’ve found what works best for you! πŸ™‚

  • I am left handed and knit and crochet. I prefer crochet because I am faster. I have never found it hard to read patterns, I just reverse the directions. The left handed people I know tend to be more ambidextrous, so have good control with both hands.

    • Hi, Amanda – being able to do tasks with both hands also increases your IQ. πŸ˜‰

  • I’m a southpaw & was taught how to crochet in the 6th grade by my right handed teacher so I crochet right handed. This sweet Hungarian lady made all her students learn how to crochet, even her male students. My Mom saw how much I enjoyed it & asked me if I wanted to knit (she didn’t crochet), again – she was right handed, so I also knit right handed. I’m glad, too – looks like a hassle to get tutorial/help for lefties when it comes to patterns

    • Hi, Holly – sounds like you had a wonderful teacher! Handicrafts are wonderful for everybody – not just the girls! πŸ™‚

  • To Carolyn Hopper….. I too am left handed and my G’ma tried teaching me for YEARS to crochet. There was a lot of frustration and a lot of tears. This was way back in the day before the internet! LOL …. Anyway one day I was in tears and my G’pa came in and asked what the problem was and when my G’ma explained she had been trying for YEARS to teach me… and since it was backwards to me I wasn’t getting it and was frustrated – he said… “I’ll fix that”…. promptly called my Uncle over and they took this HUGE mirror off the wall and leaned it up against the duncan phyfe table …. and in about 20 minutes…. I totally got it! Then the tears were for a totally different reason! πŸ™‚ That was the best summer, sitting in front of that mirror and learning all the stitches I could! It’s too bad my G’pa hadn’t walked in on us before then! One of my best memories!! Maybe it will help your granddaughter!! Good Luck!!

    • Hi, Kelly – what a lovely story! It’s beautiful that, in a way, they both taught you how to crochet. πŸ™‚

  • I crochet and knit. I taught myself to crochet about 40 years ago from a McCall’s magazine that was for teaching Left handed people how to crochet. My grandmother had bought it for me. It arrived 1 day after she had passed away. I was the only left handed granddaughter she had, and I couldn’t seem to get it when she tried to teach me. So when I received that precious gift from her I immediately went out and got yarn and learned how to crochet. Been crocheting ever since then off and on.

    I learned to knit just 7 years ago. I enjoy using the English method. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s slower to knit that way. I was use to holding the yarn in my right hand to crochet and I have really good tension using my right hand to hold the yarn. I figured if it works for crochet it will work for knitting. As long as we enjoy our crafts is all that really matters.

    Plus I was blessed with the ability to read a written pattern and convert it automatically in my brain. It just came naturally to me.
    Have a blessed day everyone! Enjoy your yarn and whichever craft you choose.

    • Hi, Pam – wonderful to hear about your experience! It’s so lovely how many grandmothers have passed along this craft to later generations. Your automatic pattern conversion sounds extremely useful – if only you could patent it! πŸ™‚

  • I am a leftie through and through. I consider myself very lucky. Righties can Knit easily following patterns while never learning how stitches lean or twist. We lefties get to really understand the knitting process.

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