Crocheting Left Handed In A Right Handed World

 

It is estimated that approximately 10% of the world’s population is left-handed with the majority of those being men.  So if you are a left-handed female & you crochet, you swim in a very small pool of like-minded peers.  I am proud to be a leftie & embrace it.  It hasn’t been easy, however, learning how to do many things in a right-handed world.  I have always been a creative person from playing piano, violin, singing, crocheting, & many other things.  Learning to crochet was very difficult but I believe being left-handed gives me the will to persevere in most situations.

My aunt taught my sister & I how to crochet when we were very young.  Back then (more than 4 decades ago) we didn’t know that by sitting across from each other she could have taught me easier.  After we both cried from frustration, I learned to crochet.  There are myths and stigmas given to lefties that are crazy.  I remember my grandmother feeding my cousin when she was a baby.  My cousin would go to reach for something with her left hand & my grandmother would say, “No, we don’t use our left hand.  That’s not the right way to do things.”  But that was how people thought especially the older generation.

A myth surrounding left handed crochet is that it can’t look as good as if were made right handed.  NOT TRUE.  Left-handed crochet is just as beautiful and professional as thouse who crochet right-handed.  Another myth is that left-handed crocheters can’t use regular crochet patterns.  Also NOT TRUE.  A crochet pattern works the same regardless of hand dominance.  The only difference is that a leftie begins their rows from left to right.  Right-handed crocheters begin rows right to left.

Crochet charts are a different story but once you get used to using them it is not hard to follow.  Crochet charts will start from right to left.  A left-handed crocheter will need to remember while she (or he) is crocheting from left to right, charts will need to be followed right to left.

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 student 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. However, there’s no reason it can’t be done.  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.

If you take a close look at my stitches above, can you tell I crochet left-handed?  The only thing that may be different is my stitches will slant in the opposite direction of a right-handed crocheter.   If you are a leftie, embrace your uniqueness!

 

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Using Excel to Create Pattern Striping 

Want to create your own crochet patterns utilizing stripes but don’t know how to begin?  Have no fear… this tutorial will guide you through each step!  It is how I created my pattern for the Sue Renee Lapghan.

1.  SIZE

a).  Figure out your gauge & size of project.  For this tutorial we are going to use 100 rows.

b.)  Open a blank Excel worksheet.  Find row 100 on the left-hand side of the worksheet.   Highlight row.

c.)  Using the toolbar at the top, click on the “Borders” tab & select “Thick Bottom Border”.  This heavy line will mark the bottom of your project.

     

2.  CHOOSE COLORS  

a.)  Click the arrow beside the “Fill Color” button (see pic below – it looks like a paint bucket).

b.)  You can either select from the colors shown or click “More Colors” to customize your choices.

3.  CREATING CUSTOM COLORS

a.)  Click on the “More Colors” tab.  Then click in the rainbow field to pick your color.  Or click on the “Custom” tab.  If you know the values you want to use you can enter them here.  Click “OK”.

b.)  Repeat for each color you want to create.

c.)  The next time you want to use the same color, when you click the “Fill Color” tab your custom color will be there under “More Colors”.

 

4.  FILL WITH MAIN COLOR

a.)  Click & hold 1 row number at the left & drag your mouse down, releasing the mouse on row 100.  You selection will turn gray & will be surrounded by a thick border.

b.)  Click “Fill Color”.

5.  ADD STRIPES

a.)  Click the row numbers at the left to select individual rows or groups of rows.

b.)  Click “Fill Color” to add stripes.

The Science Behind Color Choices – Part 2

In Part 1 of The Science Behind Color Choices I discussed the meaning of each color & how you can use these meanings to create items for those you love.  If you want to create crochet items using multiple colors and don’t know what to choose…you will discover that a Color Wheel will become your new best friend.

A Color Wheel shows the relationship between colors.  The color wheel in the above picture is a very basic one.  How do you use it?

Locate the main color you are considering using for your project.  If you want your colors to:

  • Blend:  Choose from the two wedges to the right or left of your main color.
  • Contrast:  Choose the color directly across from your main color.
  • Triad:  Choose the colors that create  an equilateral triangle with your main color.  For example, the above color wheel has 12 wedges.  If your main color is red & you want a triad color scheme, you would select red & every 4th wedge around.  (RED, YELLOW, BLUE).
  • Split Complementary:  Choose colors on each side of your main color.

On most color wheels each shade/hue of the color is numbered according to value.  If you want to create unusual color schemes, chooses colors that are the same values. A Color Wheel guide to mixing color (as shown in the link below) is what I have & I love it.  It will tell you:

  • Primary Colors:  Red, yellow & blue are basic colors & can’t be made by mixing other colors.
  • Secondary Colors:  Orange, green & violet each made by mixing two primary colors.
  • Tertiary Colors:  There are 6 of these made by mixing one primary color with an adjacent secondary color.
  • Warn Colors:  Reds, oranges, yellows
  • Cool Colors:  Greens, blues, violets
  • Plus all of the above information

 

The Science Behind Color Choices – Part 1

I am always fascinated by color & I love bright, happy, cheerful colors for my personal clothing items.  When creating patterns, I tend to lean more toward neutral color palettes.  When creating needlework projects, it is easy to get stuck sometimes on what colors to use.  This is where a Color Wheel  will come in handy.  I have a pocket color wheel so I can carry it with me to craft stores when selecting yarn for a project with more than one color.

What do different colors mean?

  • RED – Red is a very emotionally  intense color.   It is the color of blood & fire; therefore, it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Light red –  joy,  passion, sensitivity, and love

Pink   –   romance, love, and friendship

Dark red  –  vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing

Brown   stability, masculine qualities

Reddish-brown – fall, harvest Read More

Maria Infinity Scarf Pattern Now On Esty & Ravelry

Maria Infinity Scarf Pattern 

I now have the Maria Infinity Scarf pattern available for sale in my Etsy Shop & Ravelry Shop.  You can view my post regarding this pattern here.

Crochet Boho Cardigan

If you are looking for the perfect Spring cardigan to spruce up your wardrobe?  This Crochet Boho Cardigan from Annie’s Catalog is just what you need!

 

Crochet Boho Cardigan – $6.99
from: Annie’s

I am in awe of how some designers create these gorgeous patterns. The Crochet Boho Cardigan  works up in a beautiful diamond pattern with gorgeous fringe to frame under the arms & the bottom of the cardigan. The pattern calls for a discontinued yarn (Bernat Cotton-ish); however, upon a search for yarns of a close match, I found Cascade Sarasota in delightful colors at The Yarn Basket in our local town.

I chose Cascade Sarasota in Vibrant Green. The #3 weight yarn is 60% cotton/40% acrylic.  It is a light, easy to use yarn.  The pattern  designer, Crochet By Gu’Chet, did an amazing job creating this pattern & is helpful if you have any questions about the pattern.  Speaking of the pattern:  It is well written with plenty of pictures & measurements to follow.   Pattern is for sizes up to 5X.   If you would like to create this beautiful wearable piece of art for only $6.99, visit Annie’s Catalog.

Once you have completed your project, Crochet By Gu’Chet will add your pictures to her Facebook page.

 

My Top 7 Best Selling Crochet Items at Craft Fairs

I like to sell my crochet items I make at craft fairs to help gain exposure for SouthPaw Stitchery & to supplement online sales.  With my health issues I can’t do a lot but I try for at least once a month from Fall to Winter.  I also do a show in late February that allows me to sell Spring and Summer crochet items.

When I first started selling at craft fairs & craft shows, I didn’t know what to expect or what items would be popular. It took some trial and error but I now know mostly what sells best & what doesn’t.

7 Best Selling Crochet Items at Craft Fairs

  1.  Fingerless Gloves – Fingerless gloves are very popular at craft fairs in our Pennsylvania area.  I always make sure I keep extra sets made because they are sure to be a big seller.
  2. Dishtowels, Dishcloths, Washcloths, etc. – Always popular items any time of the year are the kitchen & bath cloths & towels.  These are normally the less expensive items I have at my stands but they really sell.
  3. Boot Cuffs – Boot cuffs, like fingerless gloves, are very popular in our area.  I try to make matching sets with the same pattern stitch for boot cuffs & fingerless gloves.  It can be an upsale for you – especially around the holidays.
  4. Coffee Cozies & Travel Mug Cozies –  I sell these like crazy especially around the holidays.  I have had customers buy them for their entire office staff.  They are less expensive items but made in quantity it adds up.

5.  Scarfs/Cowls – I try to have a nice variety of different scarves & cowls available at craft fairs to meet the needs of different customers.  Buttoned scarves/cowls are very popular.  Traditional neck scarves are still a staple to have on hand as well.

6.  Hats –  I sell a lot of hats at craft fairs, mostly beanie hats & slouch hats for women & girls.  This is another item that I try to pair with scarves & cowls with the same pattern stitch.  Makes a great upsale item!

7.  Home Decor Items – Pillows, placemats, mazon jar covers, coasters….I sell these items well at most craft fairs.  I make matching pillows & mason jar covers; matching placemats & coasters (again as an upsale).

Importance of Gauge with Crochet

Gauge Swatch © SouthPaw Stitchery

One of the most important steps in crocheting a project is taking a few moments to check the gauge section in a pattern.  The gauge determines how many stitches per inch & how many rows per inch.  Most gauges are written for a 4″ swatch wide and tall.

Since everyone crochets differently some loosely, some tightly, some in-between—the measurements of individual work can vary greatly when using the same-size hook and yarn. It is important to make sure you achieve the gauge specified in the pattern.  While some designers will state in afghan patterns & similar projects that “gauge is not important” but they list the dimensions anyways, still try to create a swatch.  It can save you yarn.

When creating clothing items, gauge it is particularly crucial to check your gauge.  There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time on a sweater only to have it be way too big or too small.

Hook sizes given in instructions are merely guides and should never be used without making a 4-inch-square sample swatch to check gauge. Make the sample gauge swatch using the size hook, and the yarn and stitch specified in the pattern. If you have more stitches per inch than specified, try again using a larger-size hook. If you have fewer stitches per inch than specified, try again using a smaller-size hook. Do not hesitate to change to a larger- or smaller-size hook, if necessary, to achieve gauge.
If you have the correct number of stitches per inch, but cannot achieve the row gauge, adjust the height of your stitches. This means that after inserting the hook to begin a new stitch, draw up a little more yarn if your stitches are not tall enough—this makes the first loop slightly higher; or draw up less yarn if your stitches are too tall. Practice will help you achieve the correct height.

 

Tapestry Crochet – Adding Colorwork to Projects

Fingerless Gloves – Tapestry Crochet © SouthPaw Stitchery

I love tapestry crochet as it allows you to add colorwork to your crochet projects.  By using one or more strands of yarn, you carry and wrap colors in the stitches of the working color.  Then colors are switched by following a pattern to make a specific design.

The fingerless gloves (picture above) I made using a  tapestry crochet pattern.  Tapestry crochet is considered easy because it uses single crochets.  However, if you crochet too tightly your project will buckle.  If you make your stitches too loose you will see the carried color through the project.  So you want to make sure you are using just the right tension to avoid both of these.

I found an affordable, 38-page download for tapestry crochet instructions & some very nice patterns on  Annie’s.  

Learn to Tapestry Crochet includes basic steps on how to carry and wrap yarn, change colors, step-by-step photos, written instructions and charts. A great learn-to book! Also included are 6 projects perfect for a beginner.

If you are a lefty like me, tapestry crochet charts, like most crochet diagrams, you must follow from right to left.  A left handed person crochets from left to right.  At one time I would recreate charts/diagrams so I could read them from left to right.  I no longer do.

Maria Infinity Scarf Free Crochet Pattern

MARIA INFINITY SCARF

Free Crochet Pattern

To purchase a low-cost, ad-free version of this pattern, view my shops on:

Etsy

Ravelry

I was asked to design a scarf that could also work as a wreath.  My brain cells went into overdrive!  My customer wanted a lightweight yarn, but gift cards would need to be attached to the scarf.  What stitch do I come up with?  I decided to do a modified version of the Fairy Stitch.  If you need a last-minute Christmas gift for someone special on your list…the Maria Infinity Scarf can be worked up in a few hours!

This modified stitch pattern makes it  easy to create many looks from this pattern.  I named this pattern after my beautiful great-niece!

I used one of my favorite yarns for this project…Lion Brand Heartland Yarn.  It’s soft, silky, & allows you to create beautiful textures with a numerous amount of color choices to pick from.  I have great design plans for future patterns with Heartland.

 

 

Skill Level:  Intermediate

Gauge:        Approx. 8 1/2 Stitches x 10 rows = 4″

Yarn:          1 Skein Lion Brand Heartland Yarn (251 Yards) (Badlands Shown)

Hook:         H/5.0 mm

Finished Size:  Before seaming – 34″ Wide x 10″ Tall

NOTES:

This scarf is worked in rows then seamed together at the end.

The best way to remember the stitch pattern beginning in Row 4:

  • [SC, CH 2, SC] in the CH 1 SP of Shell ST from previous row.
  • Shell ST [2 DC, CH 1, 2 DC] in CH 2 SP of [SC, CH 2, SC] from previous row.
  • Odd number rows = 1 DC beginning of row
  • Even number rows = 2 DC beginning of row
  • If you want to make scarf larger or smaller:  Your beginning chain count will need to be divisible by 6.  Add 4 for the beginning chain.  For example:  102/6 = 17.  102 + 4 = 106 (the number of chains we start with below).

SPECIAL STITCHES:

  • Shell Stitch – In the same stitch [2 DC, CH 1, 2DC]

Leaving a 14″ tail, CH 106.

Row 1: CH 2.  SK 3 SC.  SC in 4th ST.  *SK 2 ST.  Shell ST (see NOTES) in next ST.  SK 2 ST.  [SC, CH 2, SC] in next ST.*  Repeat from * to * across to last 6 ST.  SK 2 ST.  Shell in next ST.   SK 2 ST.    [SC, CH 1, HDC] in last ST.  Turn.

Row 2:  CH 2.   2 DC in 1st ST.  *[SC, CH 2, SC] in CH 1 SP of Shell ST from previous row.  Shell in CH 2 SP.*  Repeat from * to * across to last CH 1 SP. [SC, CH 2, SC] in CH 1 SP.  [SC, CH 1, HDC] in last ST.  Turn.

Row 3: CH 2.   DC in 1st  ST.   *Shell ST in [SC, CH 2, SC] from previous row.  [SC, CH 2, SC] in Shell ST from previous row.*   Repeat from * to * across to last CH 1 SP.  Shell ST in last CH 2 SP.    [SC, CH 1, HDC] in last ST.  Turn.

Rows 4 – 20 :  Repeat Rows 3-4.

Row 21:  CH 1.  SC in 1st 2 ST.  [SK next ST.  SC in next ST.]  Repeat from [  ] across.  SC in last ST.  Turn.

Row 22:  CH 1.  SC in each ST across.  Turn.

Rows 23 – 25:  CH 1.  SC in each ST across.

Seaming:

Fasten off.  Fold scarf in half with the side you want to face out on the inside.   Using beginning tail, whip stitch end rows together.   Fasten off, weave in ends.