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Lessons in Humility

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

So yesterday I did a live Q&A for a pre-recorded class on crocheted edgings for the Knit Camp at the Coast Virtual Retreat from Olive Knits and one of the participants threw me a curve ball! I was asked to demo the crab stitch edging left-handed.

Now. I very purposefully taught myself to crochet left-handed when I first started teaching as an exercise in patience and humility because it reminded me exactly how frustrating it can be to learn something new for the first time. I knew what my hands were supposed to do, but I could. not. make. them. do. it!


Eventually, I did get it figured out. My tension is tighter when I crochet left-handed and my stitches are a bit more squashed, so it's interesting to see the difference. It also takes me a lot longer!

The most important benefit I received from doing this, though, was the ability to help left-handed crochet students on the spot in my classroom. One of my very favorite students ever is someone I met while teaching at Yarn Matters in Williamsburg, VA and she had been turned away not once but TWICE simply because she was left-handed. They refused to teach her. Can you believe that!? I still can't. It astounds me. It makes me sad and angry and determined.


Fortunately, there are now many more resources than there used to be for left-handed crocheters. Two of my favorites are Tamara Kelly of Mooglyblog and Bella Coco on YouTube.


You can also find crochet basics for left-handers from the CGOA at http://www.crochet.org/?page=LeftHandBasics


But for the crocheter who asked me to demo the crab stitch left-handed: THANK YOU. Yes, I felt all fumbly and incompetent, but it REMINDED me how important it is to stay humble and thankful for the opportunity to help teach people how to crochet with confidence. If that takes me feeling awkward for a few moments live, that's okay!


Because, guess what? Today I practiced. I sat down and reacquainted myself with the crochet hook held in my left hand. Someone during the Q&A suggested I switch holding my yarn into the other hand and my first reaction was, "No, I can't do it that way!" But they were totally right. I realized this while we were still live as I was stubbornly trying to force my hands to remember how to do it on the spot and I switched. (It was much more better.) So thank you to that person, too!


But I never got back to the crab stitch.


And so I did that today. I sat there and did a whole round of single crochet on my little square knit swatch to get the feel for it again and then I tackled that crab stitch. Backwards single crochet. Doubly backwards since I was doing it left-handed! And those first few stitches were a mess. But by golly, I stuck with it and finally got the hang of it enough to proceed.


THIS is what the crab stitch looks like both left-handed (in purple, with an S slant) and right-handed (in red, with a Z slant):


Also note how much denser/smaller my left-handed stitches are! Which is simply evidence of just how much your tension can affect your gauge even with the exact same yarn and hook!


But if you'd like a proper tutorial in the crab stitch, worked left-handed, from someone more practiced than I am, I recommend this one from Tamara Kelly.


If ever you need some extra help in a particular stitch, especially if you're left-handed and struggling to find a tutorial that helps you, please don't be afraid to reach out to someone. Whether that's me or Tamara or another crochet teacher, speak up. Ask for the assistance you need. I assure you, we're more than happy to help when we can! And we want you to succeed without having to do things like force yourself to learn a new skill with your non-dominant hand.

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