Left-Handed in a Right-Handed World

I am left-handed. While only about 10% of the population is left-handed, there are a great many who work in the arts. I don’t know that a greater percentage of artists are left handed than in the regular population, but I do know that we lefties have had to come up with a great many work arounds to accommodate our left handedness in a world set up for right handed people. I am also left eared, left footed and left eyed, meaning that I am able to hear, see and kick better with my left side. Also, weirdly and this may border on TMI, when I was nursing my two children, then babies, it was my left breast that filled with milk far more readily than my right.

Moving right along…

When I found the artist Sue Spargo and began learning the stitches she uses in her work, I found it challenging. There were certain stitches that no matter how much I tried, mine didn’t look the way hers did. The Pekinese Stitch is an example of that. I remember doing her Fresh Cut Block of the Month and she used that stitch on one of her flower stems. I kept trying to replicate what she was doing, following her instructions, as laid out in her book Creative Stitching, but somehow my Pekinese Stitch looked all wrong. Finally, when I was with Sue I showed her what I was doing and she said, “Oh, but you’re doing it as though you were right handed, but with your left hand!” Then she showed me how to do it left handed. It was a game changer! (I have since taught myself how to do this stitch using either my right or left hand.)

The Pekinese Stitch using my right hand (on purple wool) and left hand (on green wool)

I’ve encountered similar issues when trying to learn how to needle turn appliqué, sew on a sewing machine, put a zipper in, buttons, and any number of other things that I’ve attempted over the years.

In the coming months I am collaborating with my favorite artist on a You Tube project that we think will help us lefties in the world! Stay tuned.

Since writing this post, I have launched my YouTube Channel – Ariane Zurcher – On the Other Hand. I’d love to hear from you there!

10 thoughts on “Left-Handed in a Right-Handed World

    1. It’s interesting that, though studies have not shown that left handedness is hereditary, out of the 8 children my mother, and her two sisters, had, three of us are left handed, which is far above the 10% seen in the rest of the population, making me wonder about those studies and how they were conducted! XX


  1. Sounds like a very useful project. I think Sue was pretty clever to be able to show both ways – I work in an operating theatre, if we have a left-handed doctor I try and put the curved needle in the needle-holder the other way round but it’s not easy, I have to think about it!


    1. I’m guessing that doctor appreciates it and you. I know I always notice when someone tries to accommodate my left-handness. When Sue showed me how to do the stitches she uses, I was incredibly grateful to her. In the first workshop I took with her, out of 18 people five of us were left-handed!


  2. As a fellow lefty I look forward to hearing about the YouTube videos. While I am a definite lefty with some things (like handwriting & hand quilting) I have gotten pretty good at being ambidextrous with my rotary cutting.

    Funny story, when we were learning to do cursive writing in elementary school our “regular” teacher was out on leave — probably maternity, but back then you did not talk about such things!. . . and we had a substitute teacher that was from the “old school” that left handed meant “from the devil” so she would only let me use my left hand if I did everything in the right handed fashion. So I hold my writing instruments like a right handed person, form my letters like a right handed person, etc.

    To this day many people are amazed when they learn that I am left handed (they never really watch when I am writing things down I guess!) LOL

    Have a happy day.


    1. Wow! I am so obviously left handed when I write, people often comment. And I admire you for being able to use the rotary cutter with your right hand. I definitely cannot do that, however I do knit right handed as I was taught by my right handed mother at a very young age. (I knit very quickly) And I cut using regular scissors with my right hand, mostly because that’s all that was available when I was a kid.


  3. Looking forward to the videos, am also left handed and NOT ambidextrous for most things. I too knit right handed since I was taught by my right handed aunt. That seems no problem at all.


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