Crocheting with a Strong Left Hook

I’ve always loved arts and crafts, but yarn took on a whole new meaning for me when I was in college and decided I wanted to learn how to crochet. I heard about a crafting group held early every Wednesday morning at the local senior center and decided to try it out. After all, who better to learn from than the collective grandmas of North Florida? I loved how welcoming the women were, their stories, humor, patience, wisdom, and their deep sense of care and community. I think they were just as interested in having me there, too; they asked many questions about my studies and plans for the future.

All was well and good, but one minor issue arose: I am left-handed. No matter, they said: I was told to sit across the table from one of my new right-handed teachers and mirror her hands. Eventually, another left-handed lady who had been gone for some time came back to the group and sat next to me. She patiently helped me form chains and stitches with an old hook and donated yarn. I admired the projects she created for the prayer shawl ministry at her church and continued practicing my own stitches.
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Many free blood pressure checks and salad bar lunches later, I developed an interest in patterns that I saw online and in magazines. I learned the abbreviations: ch, sc, dc, and more. Crocheting left-handed means I crochet from left to right, which means all patterns and diagrams are backwards. In most projects this isn’t a big deal, and I have learned to adapt. I form the stitches the same way a right- hander does, although I still have some trouble with crab stitch.
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Observing the other ladies in the group, I discovered that I crochet in a style similar to English knitting: using the right hand to “throw” the yarn instead of manipulating the crochet hook with my left wrist as one might use a paintbrush. I was told this was because I learned to knit first when I was younger.

Now, whenever I teach new crocheters, I ask them to sit across from me and mirror my hands. I pull out a hook from the vintage case I received as a gift from the group and am grateful for the time they took to pass down their craft to a nineteen-year-old girl.

—Lindsay


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