Freebie Friday – Left handed crochet

I often try using my left hand instead of my right hand for various things (writing, tennis, racquet ball, baseball) just to challenge myself. I’ve read articles that state that switching hands creates neurons in the brain. Here’s an article stating just that! I’m all for creating neurons in the brain! What better way to make my brain stronger than with left-handed crochet! I had never tried to do this until…

Day 1:

Today, I was trying to teach someone how to crochet left-handed. I am a right-handed crocheter. It was hard. I got frustrated. I got aggravated. I almost gave up. I was the student and I was a tough student.

I have been crocheting ever since I can remember. How is it possible that my left hand (LH) is acting like it has never seen a hook!? It’s been working with my right hand (RH) all along! I had to keep switching the hook to my right hand to see how it holds the hook and yarn. It’s just always been automatic. When I switched to my left hand, I had no clue what I was doing.

What I thought was going to happen when I tried using my left hand ended up being different from what actually happened. I thought using my left hand was going to feel awkward and that I was going to be slow. I thought I would just have to think a little harder about getting the stitches done. What actually happened was that I had no idea how to crochet with my left hand. None. It was as if I was new to the craft. Although I was teaching myself, I literally felt like I had a split personality depending on which hand the hook was in. I was even talking to myself as if I was teaching someone else (in my head of course, I’m not crazy). I may have been muttering. It was surreal.

It went something like this:

LH: This is hard.

RH: But you’ve seen me crocheting for years!

LH: How do I hold the hook again?

RH: Ugh!! Like this. Pay attention.

LH: Ok. I think I got it now. But what do I do with my other hand? How does it hold the yarn?

RH: Let me show you… again.

LH: Ok. But can you show me again, and go slower this time?

RH: Like this!

LH: I think I got it! {Does two double crochets very, very slowly and feeling proud and then…} Arg!!! I forgot again. Can you show me again?

RH: What!? I just showed you! Pay attention! It’s like this.

And so it went. I have to admit I wasn’t as patient with my left hand as I am when teaching someone else. I should already know how to crochet, even it it’s with my left hand!

I took a break from the lessons so I could remind myself that my left hand needs encouragement and that it takes time to learn something new but my left hand feels discouraged. She starts to get it only to lose it a few stitches later. Left hand needs constant demonstration and I need to be more patient. I had expected my left hand to pick it up more quickly. I thought it would be a matter of practice, not a matter of learning a new craft. My left hand was learning a new craft. My eyes see the same things don’t they? My eyes have seen me crocheting with my right hand all along. Why couldn’t they make the switch to my left hand? I guess a different part of my brain is looking through my eyes.

Left Hand Chain

I still managed to make a couple of chains. This isn’t the first one. I didn’t take any pictures of that fiasco.

Day 2: After sleeping on it.

Today was more of what I expected would happen on day one. I picked up the hook with my left hand and I knew what to do with it. I was slow, clumsy and awkward but I was able to do it with minimal switching of hands to see how it was ‘supposed’ to be done. My two sides merged and were no longer separate entities. 🙂

Day 3 and beyond:

I am much quicker now. I can see myself succeeding at left-handed crochet. If I keep at it, I think I can be very good with my left hand, at least well enough to teach and guide a left-handed crocheter.

Left Hand Chain_1

By day 3 I wasn’t so bad. I was even getting quicker. They aren’t all even but not bad!

 

Let me explain why I embarked on this madness.

I have a friend and work associate who is learning to crochet. I keep forgetting she’s left-handed.  I was helping her with a ripple stitch afghan she was making. I would show her my way and then get reminded that she’s left-handed as it takes her a second to ‘translate’ what I’m doing. I’ve had students who are left-handed who wanted to learn to crochet and the best I could offer them is to show them how I do it and then have them try it themselves with their left hand. It usually works out with both of us adjusting a little bit. But, the experience with my friend made me realize it would be so much easier to teach someone left-handed if I could crochet left-handed myself. I jokingly told her I was going to make a video making a swatch of the blanket so she could use it if she got stuck when I wasn’t around. She said she sometimes had trouble following a video from a right-handed person doing the stitches. I said I would practice with my left hand and make the video. We were joking around but I was serious. I took me too long to get to that video because the next time I saw her there was a pile of curled yarn that was so obviously frogged while she was making a simpler blanket. I have to admit I was a little sad I didn’t see her enough to help her finish the project but I totally understood how frustrated she was getting with her progress. I’m still going to work on that video in case she ever feels up to trying it again.

One good thing that came out of this was an ever bigger empathy and understanding for people new to crocheting. This experience could only make me a better teacher to the craft. My young students have already taught me many things about how to be a better crochet teacher because it comes a little harder to many of them. I’ve had to rethink how I explain things. Some of the students who have learned from me have gone on to modify how they crochet to suit their own styles and then they are able to pass that knowledge along to other struggling students. I watched in amazement how students who had trouble learning from me suddenly could learn from one of my students that did learn from me. They were somehow able to convey a different path to the same thing. We have taught each other how to be better teachers. 🙂 And now I had to apply that to myself. Again, I never thought it would be like teaching myself a new skill. I just thought I would be a little slower and not that I would be completely inept. I’m getting there though.

And for all those left handed newbies who want to learn how to crochet, here is a great blog post with great video tutorials over at Moogly.

I am not affiliated with any websites nor do I make any money from these sites. They are simply patterns I like or would like to try myself.

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