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left-handed crochet

  • Learn to Crochet: 3 Double Crochet Popcorn (Left-Handed)

    Time for a left-handed tutorial!

    I love that Leisure Arts has crochet tutorials for left-handed crafters.  I've enjoyed writing more about knitting lately, but I felt a little bad that there were no left-handed tutorials.  Most knitters are taught to knit right-handed--the one left-handed knitter I know went ahead and learned to knit right-handed to save herself the trouble of needing to re-write every pattern and reverse every knitting chart.

    Left-handed crocheters, however, can follow a standard crochet pattern and work from right to left.  The more I think about it, the more crocheting seems more suited to left-handed crafters entirely!  You work from right to left, and you hold the work and your strand of yarn in your right hand while the left hand does all of the dominant work. 

    Oh. 

    Maybe right-handed people are the ones doing everything backwards in this area.

    Weird.

    Okay, well, while I'm over here checking my privilege, enjoy this tutorial on the popcorn stitch with 3 double crochets.

    I thought I didn't like popcorn stitches, but I do.  They're cute, and add nice little pops of texture to any project.  I've been making dishcloths as a wedding present for a friend, and the new book Dishcloths (5951) has several patterns that feature popcorn stitches.  I haven't tried them, yet. 

    But I'm looking forward to starting!

    I hope you are, too.

    Happy hooking!

  • Learn to Crochet: Beginning Ring

    It's the beginning ring post!

    Beginning rings are pretty simple, so I'm not entirely sure why I saved them for last.  It probably has something to do with how most knitting tutorials and books cover lots of back-and-forth techniques before addressing working in the round.  Working in the round isn't especially scary or tricky once you get the hang of it (and I'm not just saying that because that's how most skills are), but there is something comforting in knowing that you're working with something flat and simple when you're just getting started.  I guess crochet is probably the same way.

    But regardless of how you might view it, the beginning ring is easy and kind of fun.  At least I think they're fun.  I'm excited for you to know how fun they are for yourself!

    Right-handed beginning ring video
    Left-handed beginning ring video

    Crocheting from a beginning ring is a lot like crocheting into any other chain....that goes into a circle.  Unlike knitting in the round, which usually results in something tube-shaped or bowl-shaped, crocheting from a beginning ring is part of a lot of flat projects that just so happen to be worked around and around.

     If you do want to crochet something with a rounded shape, this basket pattern got a pretty positive response on the Leisure Arts Facebook page.  I haven't tried it yet, but I think it would be a really cute way to organize a work table or a kitchen counter top.  Crocheting in the round is also how you get granny squares.  Which I obviously love a lot:

    I guess my near-constant talk of granny squares makes a little more sense now.  Or maybe now you think I have some sort of problem.  But I had to show you just how much I love granny squares!  They're like really soft building blocks that come in all sorts of textures and colors that can keep you warm.  Last year, I didn't feel like finding a place to put up a Christmas tree while keeping it away from a nine-month-old who was pulling up on everything.  So I pulled out some green granny squares from my granny squares stash,* crocheted up a few more, and then sewed them together.

     The granny square tree was relatively safe from little hands, and packing up after the holidays was pretty easy.  This was also a really great way for our home to look a little more personal.  We moved when our daughter was only a couple of months old, and I quit decorating after I slapped some pictures on the walls.  I already knew I wouldn't have the time or energy to decorate for the holidays even though it's something I normally love doing.  But this tree was a nice expression of my interests and it was cute to boot!  I know I sound like I'm putting quite a bit of significance on a sweet little project, but it meant a lot to me at the time.  It was a creative outlet, it expressed my personality, and like I said: so cute.  I got more joy and satisfaction out of that project (and the compliments) than I did out of any other thing I made that season.

    That's why I get so excited about crafting.  You can build whatever you want.  You can take whatever skills and time and resources you have, and use them to make something that you dreamed up.  Once you know a few simple stitches, you can follow a pattern or write one of your own.  You make a creation that's uniquely yours.  It can be enjoyed and appreciated by others, or it can just be something that makes you smile. 

    Like a weird little Christmas tree. 

    Or an afghan.  Or socks.  Or a basket or a hat or a scarf or a toy or anything else you have ever wanted to exist in yarn form.  You know the stitches.  Now go make something!

     *Because I have a stash of granny squares.  You never know when you'll need them!

  • Learn to Crochet: Left-Handed Treble Crochet Stitch in Foundation Stitches

    Because I'm a high-tech and fancy person, I have a notebook for all of my blogging ideas.  I try to set out a schedule for when I'll publish posts and I have lists of ideas. In a few more weeks, I'll probably have some sticky notes poking out of the top. Super-impressive Internet stuff going on here!

    Magnetic enclosures keep the scatterbrained thoughts from flying out everywhere.

    Today's post was written out as "TR left foundation." The first time I glanced at it a day or so after writing it, I was confused about Teddy Roosevelt going somewhere.  I guess I'm just thinking a lot about Presidents right now.* 

    Like I said last time, TR is the pattern abbreviation for "treble crochet" and, frankly, I wish the note was shorter because I like scribbling indecipherable codes in a notebook like a mad genius.  Now that I've revealed I'm not very much different at all from the nine-year-old reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Dancing Men" for the first time, let's have a moment to give thanks for legible notes and the organizational power of notebooks full of lists.

    AND let's talk about left-handed crocheting and the treble stitch.  The treble (or "triple") stitch is called that because you make a stitch with your hook in three increments.  It's a little taller than a double crochet stitch, and I just like it a lot because it's cool-looking and really helpful to know how to do.  Curious about how to do it left-handed?

    Here is your video!

    This is one of the last crochet video posts I'll write.  I'll write a post about the beginning ring videos, and that will conclude the Learn to Crochet series (for now).  If you never wanted to crochet in the round, you could take off and do all kinds of crochet projects just with what you've already learned!  But don't be like that.  I don't want to get too dramatic and act like a life without knowing how to crochet baskets and granny squares and doilies and cowls and hats and little toys isn't worth living, but do you want that life?  Really?

    I'll give you time to think about that while you practice your treble stitch.  I'll just be looking up my old Sherlock Holmes books.  We'll talk soon.

    *Full disclosure: I wrote this post out ahead of time and scheduled it to post today.  I don't have a clue who the next President will be, and don't have anything to say other than "Wow, so the winner won!  How about that guy?"

  • Learn to Crochet: Double Crochet Stitch Left-Handed

    I don't think I mentioned this, but I got to go to the Leisure Arts building last week and meet the nice people there while trying to look like the type of person you'd let talk on your blog all the time.  Everyone was very friendly and super-talented, and I had a blast.  Plus, I just had fun staring in wide-eyed wonder at all the crafting goodness.  I mean, one department even has a ribbon room!

    And it's all color-coded!

    Yes.  There wasn't a gold-plated sign on the door that read "Leisure Arts Official Ribbon Room", but I did hear an angelic choir when I looked at it.  I even met the lovely people who make the video tutorials!  There is a whole person with a body behind the hands and voice in the videos.  I thought I'd remind you lest you start picturing her like Nanny in those Muppet baby cartoons.

    This how I imagine all those people who feature their hands in how-to videos.  Except, you know, they're just disembodied hands and a voice.  Image found here.

    Ahem.  Anyway...

    I checked for a cape, but didn't see one.  Nonetheless, I still think ambidexterity should be considered a superpower.  I'm pretty sure my almost ambidextrous dad would agree, and I think you should too.  I've always thought it would be cool to be ambidextrous, but I'm not.  I have, however, considered its many benefits--the main one being that it would be amazingly helpful to be able to use your less-dominant hand if you ever injured yourself and couldn't craft like you normally would. 

    If you're even remotely capable of that sort of thing, I would strongly encourage you to learn these techniques so that you can comfortably alternate methods in case you ever need to.  If nothing else, you can impress yarncrafters around you and pull out these tricks when you're at parties.

    If you're just left-handed, then enjoy the video!

    Hooray for left-handed crocheting!

     

  • Learn to Crochet: Double Crochet Stitch in Foundation Stitches Left-Handed

    Exciting fact: one day in (what I hope is) the very near future, I'll be able to embed these lovely video tutorials in posts so that you can just watch them right here on the blog.  It's going to be a great day, and all that arduous work of reading a blog post and then clicking over to another site and then clicking 'Play' will be a distant memory.  I feel tired just thinking about it.

    Until that happy day, though, thanks for doing the heavy lifting.  You're the best, and I truly appreciate you stopping by to read about the glorious world of yarncrafting.

    To show my appreciation and love, here's the link for the video for the double crochet stitch in foundation stitches left-handed.  Go on, click that link!  Power through it!  I believe in you, my brave little southpaw!

    How long has it been since I've said that I love the fact that Leisure Arts has made videos for left-handed crocheters?  Because I feel like I should say it again: I REALLY love the fact that Leisure Arts has made videos to help left-handed crocheters.  I watch them and I'm always surprised at how different the process looks when it's performed left-handed.  I'm sure there are left-handed people perfectly capable of watching a right-handed tutorial and adapting, but I'm also sure that I would not be one of them.  I can't wait to be able to bring these videos directly to you because I think they're really something, and I hope you do, too.

    Until next time, my little southpaw.*

    *I won't say it again, I promise.**
    **I'm probably going to say it again sometime.  Sorry.

  • Learn to Crochet: Half Double Crochet Stitch for Left-Handed Crafters

    There are some things left-handed people have to learn to do with their right hands--start a car, take a picture with a standard camera, and my left-handed husband bats with his right hand because his right-handed dad taught him that way.

    Crocheting should probably not fall in that category.  I say this for two reasons:

    1. I've tried to crochet as if I was left dominant just to see if I could before.  I nearly broke my brain and (even worse) almost messed up my project.  I know left-handed people are probably a little more flexible about this sort of thing, but holy smokes!
    2. There are videos for left-handed crafters.  Thank goodness.

     As I said in the half double crochet post for right-handed crocheters, the half double crochet (HDC in patterns) is a nice, solid stitch that's a little taller than a single crochet stitch and a little shorter than a double crochet stitch.  It's a common stitch, and I think it's a pretty one.

    And now you left-handed people can join in on the fun if you've been waiting to learn!  No, really!  This is fun! Stop rolling  your eyes at me!

    Okay, I think crocheting is fun.  But you probably do, too, if you're reading this.  Hooray!

    Click here!

  • Learn to Crochet: Foundation Stitches and a Free Pattern

    Remember when I said that chain stitches were the foundation of any crocheted item?  Foundation stitches are also the.....um.....foundation of any crocheted item!

    Simply put, starting your project with foundation stitches is another way to start your project as you're crocheting your first row.   As the nice lady says in the video, beginning your project with foundation stitches saves you the trouble of counting chain stitches on a large project and your finished product will have a stretchier edge.

    And before I forget, here's the video for the left-handed crocheter.  I wouldn't want to leave you hanging.

    Back to it: a stretchier first row helps you set the right tension for your project.  If you crochet your chain stitches too tightly, you'll have a hard time crocheting into the stitches and your crocheting may get a little puckered-looking by the time you have a few rows of stitches done in the right tension.  This probably won't be too noticeable on something like a scarf or a cowl, and you're likely to be the only person it bothers.  But if you're making a hat or a sweater--or even something that needs to be seamed together with other pieces of crocheting--you're going to notice that inflexible edge a lot.

    (I thought about including a picture of how this has happened to me, but pride and my disorganized photo-organizing habits have saved your eyes from this horror.)

    Not to be a fear-monger, but does anyone want to think about what happens if you're several rows in on an afghan and figure out that the problem with the pattern is due to the wrong number of chain stitches and you're going to have to rip the whole thing back?

    Man, I really am getting into the spirit of Halloween!  I'll stop now before things get too terrifying.

    My point is, foundation stitches are a great way to start a project and it's always helpful to know different methods for starting a project.

    AND!  If you follow along with the video, you'll know how to do the single crochet stitch!  You're crocheting now!  High five!  Here's a free scarf pattern!

    I know, I know.  A scarf.  But scarves as a beginner's project are cliched for a reason.  They're straight, simple, and scarves.  I'm sure my personal bias for scarves is showing now, but whatever.  We're settling into fall, the air is cooler, and this scarf idea is super cute.

    Just a tip for reading patterns: "ch" means "chain" and "sc" means "single crochet."  You'd probably figure that out on your own, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.  

    I also think I should mention that the pattern tells you to chain your beginning row, but there's obviously nothing stopping you from trying out your new skills at crocheting foundation stitches.  Do it!  It's going to be fun!  You're crocheting!

  • Learn to crochet: Learn to chain left-handed

    I was talking to my husband this weekend about the fact that Leisure Arts had made HD videos (also available on their website) and how I thought that was cool, but he just snorted and asked if anyone really needed to watch a crochet tutorial in high definition.  I promised to show him some of the videos I've watched online that were so fuzzy and shaky that I nearly got car sick.  When the simple act of trying to learn a new technique reminds you of watching The Blair Witch Project, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong with your crafting experience.

    He seemed to find my comparison a little dramatic (it's almost time for Halloween.  Maybe I just have scary movies on the brain), but then he's not interested in yarn crafting.  Maybe I should have told him there are tutorials for left-handed people like him.  I don't know if that would have convinced him, but I still think the left-handed tutorials are exciting!

    In knitting, left-handed crafters are usually told something to the effect of "See what I just did?  If you're left handed, just do the reverse of what I did.  It's that simple!"

    Actually, left-handed people are usually told this when they're trying to learn anything.  Or so that left-handed husband tells me.  He also told me it's usually not that simple.

    And in crocheting, it's apparently really, really not that simple.

    So here's  a video showing you how to crochet your beginning chain if you're left-dominant.  Rejoice, 10%--20% of the population! Your HD crafting tutorial videos are here and your days of muddling through instructions lost and alone are over!

    Click! Right! Here!

    The 'right' pun was unintended.  I'm sorry.

    But I think this is exciting!  I'm a very visual/tactile learner, and it's really helpful for me to watch an instructional video as I attempt to follow along (usually 3 or 4 times in a row).  The idea of trying to translate instructions for myself as I'm trying to learn a new skill would probably discourage me from even attempting it, which is why I think this is awesome.  I hope you do, too.

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