As left-handed individuals make up only about 12% of the world population, it is likely that the ratio of left-handed crochet enthusiasts to right-handed ones is also not that high. Yet, that doesn’t mean it is impossible for you to do the craft if you predominantly use your left hand to do very basic tasks. The good news is that it has been done before by many, so there is no need to fret. You just really need to learn in your own pace and trust that your handedness will not affect your ability to crochet and be able to turn yarn into crocheted fabric. By believing in this truth alone can get you far in the learning process and keep you motivated even if it’s sometimes really hard to find tutorials and patterns especially designed for left-handed individuals. The reality is that your non-dominant hand will still be doing quite a bit of work as you crochet, so you just really need to be comfortable using both hands together to be able to hold the crochet hook properly on one side and manipulate yarn on the other.
To get started with crocheting, the first step is learning the basics. Whether you are left-handed or right-handed, this part doesn’t matter. All you need is a crochet hook and your most important lesson is to learn how to hold it properly. For left-handed individuals, hold the hook between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand with the hook pointing back towards your thumbnail. This type of grip is called the pencil hold. Another way to hold the crochet hook is called the knife hold. You can hold the hook the way you would hold a knife when you cut food on your plate. Try out which one suits you most. It is normal to find both ways a bit awkward at first, as with anyone starting out a new hobby. Eventually, you will become more accustomed to hold the hook for it to be able to find its comfort zone in your hands and you will learn which type of hold suits you better.
Once you are comfortable with your grip, the next step is to learn how to manipulate yarn. The kind of yarn required depends on the pattern but essentially, you will have to create a working loop around the crochet hook and this should be held between the thumb and middle finger of your right hand. To control the tension of the yarn and avoid tangles, the index finger of the same hand should support the rest of the yarn with a loop around the index finger just a few inches above the working loop on the hook. This has to be done properly to maintain even stitches.
After learning how to position the hook and the yarn, you will need to learn how to actually crochet stitches. There are several basic and advanced stitches in crochet depending on the result you want to achieve and its usage depends entirely on the pattern of your project. If your pattern is for right-handed crocheters, what you can do is re-write the pattern. Basically, what you need to do is reverse the directional instructions. For example, if the instruction for right-handed individual tells you to “join yarn in the upper right hand corner of the crochet piece”, all you have to do is “ join yarn in the upper left hand corner of the crochet piece”. When you understand what you need to do based on the pattern, you can re-write the instructions yourself and convert it successfully from left to right. Simply put, if right-handed crocheters would normally stitch from right to left, lefties would then need to start from the left side.
Another tactic lefties employ when trying to do a right-handed pattern is creating a mirror image of the pattern. If you are creating a pattern that uses charts, symbols, or illustrated stitch explanations, check if you can flip the images horizontally. You can then photocopy it or print it out so that it shows the stitches being worked clockwise the way lefties are supposed to do it. If you can’t flip the images, what you can do is find a mirror and place it next to the image. This would reverse the image horizontally for you to be able to follow easily.
What if you found a pattern with online instructional videos? Is there no hope for you to follow it? Again, do not panic. Instead, just do the opposite of what you see the instructor is doing. When the instructor turns their work from right to left to show you the progress of the stitches, you do the opposite. Turn your work from left to right instead. Just be mindful that even if you are doing the same pattern as a right-handed crocheter, if the pattern is worked in rounds, the finished work will totally look different. Crocheting-in-the-round when done by lefties would always look like it’s a piece of work that has been done backwards. However, crocheting back and forth in rows when both done by left-handed and right-handed crocheters will still have the same finished crochet work, even when lefties start working from left to right instead of the other way around.
Basically, as a leftie interested in crochet, what you have to take note when following directions for right-handed crochet is to work in the opposite direction. The instructions do not change at all and you just need to follow them exactly as stated but in the opposite direction. When working in rows, lefties will start on the left instead of the right. When working in rounds, you work clockwise instead of counterclockwise like the right-handed people. It’s as simple as it can get. Really, you don’t have to complicate it.
In the end, even if most crochet instructions are written for right-handed individuals, there is nothing stopping a leftie from picking up the craft. As long as you have the patience and the rigor to learn and master the craft, you can become an expert crocheter in no time!