If you're left-handed, the odds are good that your crocheting experience has been riddled with frustration. Everything from learning the basics of the craft to following written directions can appear more difficult than it is for our right-handed peers. As someone who has been crocheting left-handed for over a decade, I can tell you that a few little misconceptions caused me a great deal of disappointment and confusion. Here I'm going to take the opportunity to address them, as well as questions that have been posed to me by other lefties.
Myth: Because I crochet left-handed, my work is never going to look the same as right-handed crocheting. If it looks bumpy, or lumpy, or crooked, or sloppy compared to right-handed work, well - that's unavoidable. It's because I'm left-handed.
Fact: When done correctly, left-handed crocheting can look just as beautiful and professional as right-handed work. Sometimes left-handed crocheters learn incorrect technique because they have right-handed teachers, or try to teach themselves from right-handed diagrams, and become confused. Incorrect technique will yield crocheting that looks incorrect.
Myth: I can't follow a pattern written for right-handed crocheting. Or, I could, but I have to reverse all of the directions for it to 'work' for me. This also means that if I want to publish my own designs, I need to 'translate' them.
Fact: Good news! Patterns will still 'work' exactly as written in most cases. The only difference in a left and right handed version of a pattern is that the work will come out mirrored. In most cases, this does not matter at all. For instance, take a look at the left-handed and (projected) right-handed version of the Smaller Ugly Duckling.
The stitches are mirrored, but it produces the same thing. For patterns that are symmetrical from left to right, no changes ever need to be made. For patterns that are asymmetrical from right to left, you will still usually not need to make any changes. Take a look at the picture of the project, and decide whether flipping it will matter to you. A few instances in which you may want to 'translate' the directions are when your project will include words or an image that will not make sense as well when flipped, or if your project needs to be exactly the same orientation as everyone else's. Fortunately, directions for words and pictures are often given in charted form, which do not need to be translated since you can simply work it as shown to get the same result.
By the same logic, patterns written by a left-handed designer almost never need to be translated to be useable by right-handed crocheters.
Myth: As a left-handed person, I cannot learn to crochet from someone who is right-handed. Once I learn, I can't teach anyone who is right-handed, either.
Fact: It is completely possible for right-handed crocheters to correctly teach lefties how to crochet, and vice versa. Of course, given the greater number of right-handed crocheters, your prospective right-handed pupil may want to try to find another teacher for the easiest time all around, and it's always nice to find a left-handed teacher yourself. There is no reason at all that it can't be done, however.
The most important thing to remember is that when mimicking a teacher who uses the opposite hand, you only need to mirror their motions, not do the complete opposite. (Therefore, you will still be holding your yarn to the back and inserting your hook from front to back, not holding your yarn to the front and inserting your hook from back to front.) Some ideas for teaching in this situation include using a mirror to reflect the motion of your hands, or finding diagrams online and simply flipping them horizontally to get the correct directions. An experienced crocheter will often even be able to crochet with their opposing hand (albeit sloppily) for the purpose of demonstration.
If you have a question or tip related to crocheting left-handed that I haven't mentioned here, let me know!