via Cosy Project: Between 10 and 15 per cent of the population is left-handed, and most tools, utensils and other industrial and household items are designed to suit right-handed users. We can’t help with kettles and power drills, but read on to find out how to embroider, sew, knit, crochet, cut and iron as a left-handed crafting guru.

Some stitches are worked the same with either hand: detached chain (lazy daisy) stitch, glove stitch, feather stitch and some others that are worked in vertical lines. Many stitches are simply flipped 180 degrees: a leftie begins lines of running stitch, backstitch or chain stitch at the left end of the line instead of the right. Stitches worked the other way, such as herringbone and blanket stitch, are worked right to left instead of left to right.

There might not be left-handed needles, but the twist in some threads determines how they should be worked, meaning that left-handers can’t simply mirror-reverse all the stitch diagrams. A few stitches even work better turned 90 degrees from the right-handed instructions — it’s complicated, isn’t it?

Embroidery guide for left-handers

Previous generations of lefties were just told to turn the book upside down, but this was simplistic and encouraged a clumsy, inefficient stitching action. Fortunately, there’s now some expert help available to guide them through the myriad embroidery stitches used in surface stitchery, counted thread and other styles of embroidery.

The Left-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion (2010) by Yvette Stanton is a comprehensive manual, depicting the stitches step by step in clear diagrams as well as in photographs with a brief description of the right-handed versions for reference. (She’s also published an equivalent book for right-handers – both are highly recommended. They are available from craft book stores or directly from Yvette.)

Judith Baker-Montano’s 1995 title, Elegant Stitches, has a chapter on left-handed stitches. She covers a good range of basic embroidery stitches with a particular emphasis on silk ribbon. The book is widely available in hardback and as an e-book.


There are no left-handed sewing machines as such, but some are more user-friendly than others. Manipulating complicated controls or overly detailed touch screens can be difficult with your non-dominant hand or clumsy if you try to work across your body with your left hand. When you are shopping for a new machine, spend plenty of time trying out the controls on several different makes and models before making a decision.

Are sewing machines left-handed? It’s certainly true that some current industrial models as well as many early sewing machines require the needle to be threaded left to right and the bobbin to be loaded from the left. We haven’t been able to verify the reason for this, but it’s believed that one of the inventors of the sewing machine, Elias Howe, was himself a left-hander.

Knitting and crochet

Both hands play important roles in knitting, so many left-handers simply knit right-handed. It might also be because they were taught by their right-handed mothers or grandmothers. These days, you can view Youtube videos of nearly anything you want to learn, including excellent tuition in left-handed traditional and continental knitting styles.

Crochet is very different. It requires quite complicated manipulation of the hook with the working stitch and yarn while the non-working hand merely holds the yarn taut and supports the work. Ideally for crochet, one should learn from (and teach) a person of the same lateral dominance. Failing that, Youtube provides detailed step-by-step guidance. The low-tech alternative is to observe a right-hander crocheting in a mirror.



True left-handed scissors have the blades arranged differently from right-handed and ambidextrous scissors. Many scissors that are marketed as left-handed merely have the handles shaped accordingly, but the blades are arranged as for right-handed scissors. So-called ambidextrous scissors have neutral shaping on the handles with right-handed blades.

The main advantage of true left-handed scissors is that lefties can see the line they are cutting along. The upper blade of right-handed scissors conceals the line when they are used in the left hand, making for messy or inaccurate cutting. In addition, the action of left-handed blades is quite different from right-handed blades in your hand and if you’ve always used the latter, it might be quite hard to adapt. If you’ve got a left-handed child or grandchild, supply them with true left-handed scissors from their very first pair – their cutting will be better because they can see where they are going and the action will be more ergonomic for them.

True left-handed dressmaker’s scissors, embroidery and other specialist scissors, including ones for children, are available from scissor suppliers, but probably not from your local craft shop, nor in the broad range of styles, brands and colours available to right-handers.

Rotary cutters

Many rotary cutters are symmetrical and work equally well in either hand while others are shaped to work in one hand only. Some of these, such as the Olfa deluxe and Fiskars models, are easily reassembled for left-handed use while the Martelli ergo cutters come in right- and left-handed versions. Of course, left-handers also need to arrange the fabric and ruler on their cutting board in reverse of right-handers — something to keep in mind if you are working from a photographic tutorial or in a class with a right-handed teacher.


When you are setting up the various workstations in your craft room, think about the way you do things when arranging the relevant components. For example, position task lighting on your right when you are embroidering or quilting so you are not working in your own shadow.

Set up the ironing board to the left of the sewing machine for pressing patchwork seams as you go. If you are fitting out a studio from scratch, even the location of power outlets and switches can be optimised. If you work with pencils or paints and paper at the design stage, position the paper to the right of the equipment so you aren’t reaching across your work to pick up the eraser or wash a brush.

If you work digitally, you’d have the Wacom drawing tablet to the left of the keyboard. Many lefties also convert their mouse to work in their dominant hand. You can lessen the inconvenience and irritation of right-handed equipment with thoughtful planning and design.


These days, most irons have the cord anchored at the centre, not at one side. Left-handers should avoid irons with side-mounted cords as they always get in the way and flex sharply, causing them to break down quickly. That said, it doesn’t mean that most irons suit either hand equally well. Like kettles, they may only have a water window on one side and the controls may favour right-handers too.

A basic ironing board is a symmetrical shape and can be turned either way, but most models with iron stands, cord holders or shaped legs are only suited to right-handers. The lever for collapsing the board or adjusting the height is also inconveniently located for a leftie. In a household of both dexterities, the ironing-board set-up can be a source of conflict. If you have the space, position the board at 90 degrees to the wall so that a user can stand at either side.

If you are considering the purchase of an ironing system (comprising a powerful steam-iron head connected to a boiler mounted in the board framework), examine it very carefully from a left-handed perspective before buying.

via Reader’s Digest: Only 10 percent of the population is left-handed. While there may not be many of them, being left-handed sure does come with some surprising perks!

Being a lefty may help you succeed in leadership roles

“When I was at Columbia Law School, which is one of the most elite schools in the country, we noticed that a large proportion of the class was left-handed,” says Robert S. Herbst a left-handed attorney, wellness expert, motivational speaker, and powerlifter. “This made sense as left-handed people are right brained meaning they are more creative, analytical, verbal, and have better language skills, all of which are traits necessary to being a good lawyer.” Herbst was also an Eagle Scout: “I have met a number of left-handed Eagle Scouts, including Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York City mayor. Perhaps being right brained and left-handed also gave us the leadership ability, discipline, and ambition to excel even at an early age.”

Lefties earn more

In a study published in Laterality, Christopher Ruebeck, PhD, an economist at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, found that lefties earn slightly more money than their right-handed peers who work at the same jobs. These results were most pronounced in left-handed college-educated men, Ruebeck says, who, on average, earn 15 percent more than righties. Here are other myths about lefties you need to stop believing.

Lefties often learn to be ambidextrous

“Over the years I have found myself learning to be ambidextrous simply because I had to,” says Ernestine Sclafani, a public relations specialist in Los Angeles. “The world is geared towards being right-handed: buttons on jackets, jeans, doorways, desks in school.” Certain activities also were made easier by switching the hands. “Learning to play golf was much easier being a right-handed person than left,” she says. Today, there’s more awareness of lefties and more products and activities that accommodate them. But being ambidextrous is certainly a good skill to have.

Left-handedness lets you stand out

“I remember back in high school a friend had told me that being a lefty was going to be made into a handicap,” says Danielle Becker, a mixed media artist and the founder of Leftys Right Mind. “Besides being the only one in class with the side of their hand completely covered in pencil, I never felt being a lefty inhibited me from excelling in my work, let alone hold me back in life. In fact, I believe it sets me apart from the rest. I cherish the fact that I am a lefty. My left hand has guided me over the years to find my passion and to be able to live my dream as a professional designer.” She credits her creativity—her work as an artist—to being a lefty. “I thrive in the creative world. My wide array of talents across multiple platforms is rooted in (lefty) hands-on art making and a commitment to unbound creativity.”

It’s a great conversation starter

“I’m a lefty and find that, strangely, people often notice,” says Ingrid Hansen, a publicist at Launch Media. “It’s a great conversation starter when they do.” Also, she finds that many lefties are introverted, which actually led her to her career. “As an introvert, I’ve created a successful company that coaches other introverts, including lefties, on speaking to the media.” Find out other benefits of being an introvert.

While it’s not always easy, the challenges can make you stronger

“While I cherish my creativity, I do find it difficult to live in a right-handed world,” says Kim Murphy, a left-handed author in Batesville, Virginia. “For instance, when I go to the library for research, there are rarely any computers set up for lefties. Garden equipment, such as weed whackers, can be downright dangerous for me to use. Still, I love being different.” Having to overcome obstacles, and always challenging yourself, ultimately makes you a stronger person. She, too, credits her left-handedness to her creative spirit. “Because I’m an author, I have met many authors and artists over the years and a higher percentage of the artists I have met are left-handed.”

Lefties are more likely to think outside the box

According to the American Psychological Association, 10 percent of the population is left-handed. And according to a study in the Journal of Mental and Nervous Disease musicians, painters and writers were significantly more likely to be left-handed. Brain hemisphere specialist Michael Corballis, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, points out that just as information is prone to errors as it traverses between brain hemispheres, it’s also more likely to encounter novel solutions. Righties might dismiss an idea as too radical, but lefties might be able to develop a solution that a right-hander’s brain would skip right over. “It’s good to have a few people in any society who think outside the square,” Corballis says. Handedness aside, these are 10 things all highly creative people have in common.

You are in good company with these left-handed presidents

There have been eight presidents who have been lefties, including James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

You’re likely to find lefties in your extended family tree

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, multiple factors including genetics, environment, and chance determine whether a person is left-handed. It was initially thought that a single gene controlled handedness, however recent studies suggest that multiple genes, perhaps up to 40, contribute to this trait. Each of these genes likely has a weak effect by itself, but together they play a significant role in establishing hand preference. However, because the overall chance of being left-handed is relatively low, most children of left-handed parents are right-handed (even though there’s a greater chance that left-handed parents have left-handed kids). If you look far enough in your family tree, you may be surprised to find a number of lefties there. This is the real reason some people are left-handed, according to science.

You have a decreased risk for some health concerns

In a study published in Laterality, it was found that left-handed people have a lower prevalence of arthritis and ulcers. It probably doesn’t have to do with your handedness, though. Researchers believe it’s related to the underlying DNA that creates left-handedness––the genes that are associated with lefties. So if you’re ever teased for being a lefty, remind yourself that they have a higher chance of developing those painful conditions.

You’re a better GPS

Do you or your left-handed friends have a knack for reading maps, remembering parking spaces, and figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B? According to a study, researchers observed that left-handed people showed a lower rate of error in a spatial orientation test than righties. Spatial skills will always be important (yes, even in the age of the GPS)––you never know when you and your right-handed counterparts will get lost in the woods and you’ll be able to save the day.

You bounce back more quickly from injuries

If you suffer from a stroke or other brain-related injuries, research shows that left-handed people recover faster. While we hope nobody has to go through anything as traumatic as a brain injury, it’s nice to know that you could potentially have an easier time recovering. The reasoning? The cognitive functions are spread out in the brains of lefties, which means that in theory, when you have a stroke (which is typically concentrated to a small area of the brain), less of your cognitive functioning will be affected.

Lefties are more competitive

Everything is a competition nowadays, so being competitive will get you far. In a study done at Northwestern, it was found that lefties are more competitive than cooperative. Take this example from the study: “Cooperation favors same-handedness—for sharing the same tools, for example. Physical competition, on the other hand, favors the unusual. In a fight, a left-hander in a right-handed world would have an advantage.” So, being a leftie could give you a leg up on physical competitions like certain sports, but the jury’s still out on mental competitions. This is the real reason a person is right-brained or left-brained, according to science.

Lefties are better at video games

Before you ask: No, it doesn’t have to do with the competition thing. Research from Australia National University showed that left-handed people outperform right-handers in processing a large amount of information at a fast rate…like shooting enemies, dodging zombies, and avoiding GTA car collisions. These findings can be extended past the computer screen, too. Like, you’re probably better at absorbing the list of things your mother told you to do during your last phone call than your righty counterparts. (We’re joking, of course, but this skill is certainly a valuable asset)

You may have better self-control

As it turns out, left-handers are shown to have better self-control than right-handers. They don’t have any trouble passing up those brownies or refraining from lashing out at a coworker, two things that can be very difficult sometimes. A study in JECN found that lefties have better “inhibitory control,” which regulates the way we control ourselves, than righties. That will come in handy! (Pun intended)