A Left-Handed Beginners Guide to Needlepoint

Greystone Needlepoint Lefty Guide

For many left-handers, needlepoint can be intimidating. Maybe you’ve already tried to follow beginner instructions and diagrams (designed for the right-handed), and it left your mind and your thread in knots! But fear no more, this simple guide will have you on your way in no time!

Where to Begin
For a beginner the background is a great place to start, and Basketweave is the mostly commonly used stitch for larger areas.
Select your background thread and cut a piece of thread approximately the length of your fingertip to elbow. Thread your needle and start at the lower left-hand corner of your canvas (right-handers will begin in the upper right). Pull your thread up through a hole in the back of the canvas leaving a short tail – hold the tail with your finger so that it does not slip through. Your first few stitches will cover the tail thread, anchoring it to the canvas. 

Start Stitching
The most basic and most common stitches are Basketweave and Continental – called Tent Stitches for the slanted shape that the stitches make. Both stitches appear the same on the front of your canvas, but differently on the back.

Basketweave: Is named for the woven basket pattern the stitches form on the back of the canvas. Basketweave is a sturdy stitch that helps preserve the integrity of the canvas.

Left handed Basketweave Needlepoint Stitch

Left-handed stitchers will begin in the lower left-hand corner of your canvas, stitching in diagonal rows. Pull your needle and thread up through the odd numbers (1,3,5,7 etc.) and back down through the even numbers (2,4,6,8 etc.). It is important for left-handers to remember that the stitches should all slant in the same direction and you are working up and down the rows diagonally only.

Continental: Is the simpler of the two stitches, but best used on smaller scale areas of the canvas like outlining shapes, figures and small details. With this stitch, you are working from left to right down a row horizontally to start, and then right to left down the next row. Left-handers should come up the backside of the canvas on the odd numbers (1, 3, 5, etc.), and go diagonally over canvas and back down on all even numbers (2, 4, 6, etc.).

Left Handed Continental Needlepoint Stitch

Anchor and Trim Your Thread

To finish a thread simply weave it under a couple stitches and then clip the end.

Don’t Forget to Finish Your Project

We can’t wait to see what you create #canvastokeepsake 


  • Leigh

    As a lefty, I would highly recommend learning how to stitch as though you were right-handed. I do, and this allows me to see my work as I stitch. Stitch left-handed meant I couldn’t see my work and I was dragging my hand over the work that I was completing. Just my opinion.

  • Mary Goodner

    I am right handed and do needlepoint but my left handed daughter wants to begin but I can’t find a new book to give her for Christmas.

  • Hazel Blumberg-McKee

    I am relearning needlepoint after a long absence. I’m left-handed. I’m following directions from a guide to left-handed needlepoint. But when I do basketweave, the reverse side doesn’t look right. It isn’t a basketweave. It’s more like parallel slanted lines. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help.

  • Michaela Hemsley

    Thanks for the tip to start with the background of a needlepoint. I want to pick up a new hobby, and needlepoint sounds fun. I’ll have to look into canvases and designs I can start out with. https://needlepoint-studio.shoplightspeed.com/canvas-kits/

  • Jane Morrissey

    Is there a book or site for instructions on more complicated needlepoint stitches for left handed stitches.

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