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Amy Solovay

Your Advice on Crocheting Clothes Left-Handed?

By October 18, 2012

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Mairzy is a left-handed crocheter who just posted the following question in response to our pages about experiences with crocheting left-handed. Mairzy writes,

"I would love to RECEIVE some advice on making clothes. It seems that all patterns are written for right-handers and the translation does not always render the same results as what a right-hander would have. I've considered trying it right-handed but I think I would lose interest and get very frustrated."

Hi Mairzy,

Thanks so much for your submission to our website. I really appreciate it.

I'm going to ask our left-handed crocheters to step in and help me answer your question, because I guarantee you that they can do a better job of it than I can. Being a right-handed crocheter myself, this is not something I've personally experienced or had to deal with.

I do know a couple things you'll have to take into consideration, having been told by other left-handed crocheters. One is that your buttonholes may end up on the "wrong" side, depending on how a pattern is written. See this page for some further insights about crocheting buttonholes left-handed.

Another is that any charted designs may come out reversed -- which is OK if the chart is symmetrical, but not so great if it's an alphabet chart or something that only looks good in one direction. For that reason, I try to include left-handed versions of my charts on our website whenever that would be an issue.

My understanding is that asymmetrical shaping could also get to be an issue for left-handed crocheters in certain circumstances.

My suggestion would be to start with making symmetrical clothing designs, which I would think should be reasonably hassle-free for most left-handed crocheters. I can't think of any good reason why a symmetrical design wouldn't turn out right no matter which direction you crochet it from. (I'm hoping someone will jump in and correct me if I'm wrong in suggesting that, especially if your experience has been otherwise.)

Anyone else with insights to add? Please, let's see 'em! We'd be especially interested in hearing about your tips and tricks for overcoming these annoying little hurdles. Thanks in advance to everyone who contributes a comment.

See Also: left-handed crochet.


October 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm
(1) Helen says:

I am thinking along the lines of a musician who is left handed, like Paul McCartney, I think I read somewhere about him playing a standard guitar, after he flipped it over, he learned to play upside down. I know this doesn’t seem to apply to crochet right now but if I sit down with a piece of work I can do it in reverse. On straight rows I add an extra row in the beginning, such as starting with your foundation row I would chain and then come back with a single crochet stitch and then start my pattern on the next row. Don’t know if I explained it very well but hopefully it is something we can all play around with to see if it works for us.

October 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm
(2) Dale says:

I crochet left-handed and never had a problem with any patterns I have done. The only problem I have had is if I needed clarification, only right handers were available! One issue solved on that – watching the right hander crochet in a mirror. It becomes reversed to her, but right for me.

October 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm
(3) Linda says:

I have done some clothing, I tend, like Helen, to add an extra row at the beginning. That seems to work. I also stress the need to crochet the practice piece to make sure your gage is correct. Do not be afraid to change hook size to make your gage correct. I tend to crochet tighter than most patterns so need to use a larger hook than specified. Also, I try on items as they are in production, just in case I need to add or subtract a round. Hope this helps!

October 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm
(4) Diedra says:

I am a lefty and have been hooking for about 12 years now. I have never found the need to do anything different from a right handed pattern. That doesn’t mean there isn’t, I am just saying I have not run across it. That being said, In the beginning, I simply took everywhere in the pattern that says “right” and read it as “left”. Another good suggestion was made above about watching a righty in a mirror, works nicely, that is how I learned to write from my righty mother. As a result, I don’t hold my hand upside down like many left handers do. I have done many samplers and even filet crochet with no differences in the right version and the left. I also tend to hook a little tighter than many right handers. Just keep with it, it will come natural soon enough.

October 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm
(5) Marsha E says:

I have been making crocheted clothes since the mid-70′s. It started with a bunting outfit to bring my son home from the hospital when he was only 3 days old. One of the things I have found when making any type of clothing is that you MUST make at least 3 copies of the pattern and have either a pen or pencil at hand so that you can make notes on the patterns! Then when you are finished, and if it is something you will want to make again, re-write the pattern with all of the corrections (if there are any!) and make sure you have all of them in the correct place. I have been making sweaters for myself and whenever my friends want me to make the same thing for them (for a fee of course!) I always have the corrected pattern notes right at hand! Good luck! ME

October 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm
(6) Chris says:

Here’s my 2 cents’ worth from yet another lefty – my grandmother tried teaching me, but to no avail since she was right-handed. I did manage to learn a few basics, but mostly I’ve been able to learn on my own. Like Deidre, I too will often substitute “left” for “right” in directions and there doesn’t seem to be any problem. Most times it’ll work. I recently made a filet crochet Christmas tree skirt – directions were to follow the chart from right to left – which I did, not interchanging the words left/right. It came out fine. I have also found some video clips on the internet that are specifically for lefties. Good luck!

October 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm
(7) Lorene says:

I taught myself to crochet when I was 19 and now I am 65…when I learned there were no computers…no left=handed directions…nobody
would teach me…so I propped up the pictures of the stitches in front of my bathroom mirror and the reflection in the mirror is backwards or left-
handed…that’s how I learned the stitches…reading patterns took some practice…a lot of trial and err…I would start with something very simple…
with a graph to do filet crochet you need to start in the left hand corner on the first row…which is the opposite of a right hander…other wise your image will come out backwards on the right side and right on the wrong side…I learned this when I was doing a pattern that had a rose in the middle…but there are lots of patterns that come out the same no matter…
I never had much problem with doilies…I am going to give you my email…lorenefinney47@yahoo.cvom
just email me with any questions you may have and I will try and answer them…hang in there and you will get it…

October 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(8) Nikki P says:

I learned from mirroring my right-handed grandma, because I am left handed. I have crocheted now for 30 yrs and I tend to use a larger hook than needed and tweak the pattern as I go. It’s wonderful though that typically (with sweater patterns) if I just crochet the pieces as suggested but piece them together “Inside Out” they end up correct. :D

October 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm
(9) anna says:

hi, i have been doing it since 9 years old, lefty self taught, and having a ball, i am 58 years young now, and no problem with any pattern that has come across. i love to crochet, never stop and never used a mirror to look at. looed at a book and off i went. this is how i learned too crochet. i do everything. i am not braging, as i am not that type i am fun loving love god, and my grandchildren!but i do love too crochet, just like you. bless you all!

October 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm
(10) darci says:

I to am a lefty been hooking for 30 plus years and have never really had any problems with the patterns . I have done some clothing mostly baby but haven’t had any problems so just follow the pattern and you should do fine.

October 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm
(11) Linda sain says:

thanks helen that is helpful doing an extra roll before i start. I am going to try that.. now with computer tech they can now do a video doing left handed

October 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(12) Leftie says:

Sadly, I had to give in and learn to crochet with my right hand since nobody was ever able to teach me as a lefty. Sometimes I wish I would have persisted and learned to use the ‘right’ (in my case, left) hand though. I am sure I would be better at it.

October 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm
(13) Donna Hall says:

I have crochet for 30 years. I am self taught. I just follow the directions only it is back wards to a righty. When it is finished it looks like everyone else. i really love to crochet. Enjoy it.

October 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm
(14) Sally A says:

I am a right handed crocheter that was taught to crochet by a left handed crocheter (my cousin). All these years I never realized there was a difference but one day at the laundry mat (a few years ago) I was crocheting an afghan while I was waiting on the clothes to finish. I looked over and there was another woman crocheting. Both of us were using our right hands but our work was going in different directions. So far I haven’t had any problems with the finished products and I’ve been crocheting for 37 years!!

October 23, 2012 at 5:02 am
(15) lynn davis says:

I’m a left handed crocheter taught by a right handed crocheter.I sat across from my grand ma an watched her.You have to read each pattern very carefully and reverse the pattern to fit your left handedness.But that’s true with everythung if you are a true lefty as I am.To often people do not read the pattern before they start to work that’s where most problems come if.I have no trouble especially with the newer patterns making anything.As far as botton holes you have to think which side you want them on be it boy or girl.I’ve crocheted for over 50 years this way.I now do it professionally and people are very pleased with my work most don’t know it was done by a lefty until I tell them.Just keep working and trying

October 23, 2012 at 5:33 am
(16) Carol Butler says:

Hi, Im a self taught crocheter and have been so for 40 years. I have made clothing very successfully and sold it in various shops. I have no trouble in reading or writing crochet patterns, left or right handed versions. I crochet left handed and have no trouble in following right handed patterns at all.
If you wish to see some of my clothing go to http://www.cackhandedcarol.blogspot.com
there is a selection there made from right handed patterns.
So just follow the pattern as is, and make sure the right sides face when sewing up.

October 23, 2012 at 11:27 am
(17) Alysen says:

Hi Maizy,
As a leftie I am going to give you this: All are born right-handed, only the gifted overcome it ;)

We’re always reversing life. I found when learning to crochet and knitting I watched the teacher while sitting face to face. It’s an automatic reversing.

I tried following right-handed written doily or circular patterns and it doesn’t work. I put the written pattern up to a mirror to get the reverse effect and it worked somewhat. The problem was how I had to set up the mirror and pattern on the table. It was awkward. Par for the course!

October 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm
(18) Jeanne G. says:

I have read that, as a lefty crocheter, you must reverse all the instructions. I guess I’ve been doing that all my life without thinking about it. Or maybe that’s the reason I usually end up making up my own patterns for everything.
The woman above who commented that she adds an extra row at the beginning of her patterns has found a creative solution, I think. I’m going to try that next time I use a pattern.
Good luck, and happy stitching!

October 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm
(19) Eve says:

I am a lefty & my right handed Mother taught me to crochet years ago & I have never had a problem with it! I just watched her & did the stiches with my left hand which is going backward to a right handed but never had to add or ajust anything, I just read the pattern & do it! Guess she taught me well!
Happy crocheting everyone!

October 25, 2012 at 1:30 am
(20) Sheila says:

I’ve been crocheting left-handed for 42 yrs. and have never had a problem. I’ve found no adjustments were needed for anything I crocheted.

October 25, 2012 at 10:16 am
(21) Jennie T says:

Every once in a while I will have a problem with a pattern but it has gotten progressively better over the years. It all depends on the writer of the pattern. Keep at it and if one designer makes you feel confortable, stick with them.

October 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm
(22) Kim Marie says:

I learned to crochet from watching my grandmother crochet while sitting across from her. Therefore, I crochet from the back to the front and my items when finished are not “backwards”. I know that seems weird, even weirder when you see me do it, because I was born with a birth defect in my forearms and hands called TAR Syndrome. But it works really well, especially when constructing garments, because my crocheting is especially even and smooth. I do everything from doilies in size 30 thread on up to large afghans this way and everything turns out well. I’m sorry I don’t have a working digital camera so I can’t shoot you any pictures but perhaps if you try it it will help you with your crocheting clothing problems! Good luck and blessings!!

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