Crocheting for a stroke victim


A friend of mine has had a stroke and can’t use her left hand. She loves to crochet and misses it terribly. Does anyone know of a way or any tool that will help her be able to crochet again?

Thanks :knitting:

It seems like I came across a thread on KH about such a thing (or was it elsewhere?). Have you tried Googling this or using KH’s search engine?

How extensive is the disability on her left side? Specifically, you say she can’t use her “left hand.” Can she use any part of her left arm? Maybe the forearm or the elbow?

What I’m envisioning as a work-around is an arrangement where her right hand still manipulates the crochet hook, forming the stitches. The yarn feeds through a “third hand” or “stitching bird,” which is usually an embroidery or hand-sewing accessory.

This is simply one example of what I mean. An Internet search of “third hand” “sewing tool” will produce many different models, and there are yet more “third hand” tools for electronics, bicycle repair, and other tasks. If she’s working with a physical therapist, the PT may have some good input on what kind of “third hand” tool would be most useful (if the therapist has a clue about crochet, that is).

Then, with her left elbow or forearm, she can hold the ball of yarn or the in-progress crocheted item. The exact mechanics will need to be worked out, and neck/upper back comfort attended to, but the “third hand” may help out.


This is therapy after a stroke and would need to be done by a professional. I believe the term for this would be an Occupational Therapist. She could check with her doctor, medical social worker, or physical therapist to see if she could get a referral to one and if it would be covered by her insurance. Occupational therapists deal with the movements, provide special equipment (customized crochet hooks for instance), and suggest adaptations needed.

Agreed, Lady in PJs. But, having rehabbed after two knee-replacement surgeries and paid private PT (!) before that simply to maintain my walking function (previous orthopedists said “The MRI is negative” and refused to examine the reason for my extreme bilateral knee pain any further) for several years, I can say that a PT may be easier for the stricken crocheter to come by.

Many health plans will refer to physical therapy more easily than to occupational therapy. My sister is an OT, and I hear laments about this unfortunate reality frequently. :sad: But yes: ideally, an OT would be working with the stroke survivor to tailor a solution involving ergonomic design of crochet hook, chair/seating furniture, height of work surface, “third hand” tool, and so on. Definitely.

You’ll get no argument from me on the [B]ideal[/B] solution!


Thank you all for you replies…I did find online a crocheting and embroidery holder which is meant for a stroke victim. Not sure how this would work exactly since it only holds the yarn and doesn’t pinch it like a real left hand but I’ll let her know it’s available. She has worked with therapists and they’re saying there’s really not much hope for her left hand.

Again Thank you all! Happy knitting and crocheting!



I had a stroke 14 years ago, and still can’t crochet effectively. I can hand knit in a weird way, and do have an idea on crocheting that I want to test out tomorrow which may work for your friend. Stand by and I’ll let you know how it works tomorrow.

Thanks for being such a good friend for asking this on her behalf!


I don’t want to offer unrealistic hope for your friend, but having walked a similar road as her, my experience with PT, OT, and speech therapy varied. PT and speech were most useful. OT, on the other hand was much less so. I heard too often there that “I’d just have to accept that there were things I’d never do again.” I am stubborn by nature, and the surest way to get me to do something is to tell me “you can’t do that.” I can, by golly, just not the same way most people do. :slight_smile: My point is that the word of an Occupational Therapist isn’t necessarily gospel.

That said, I do have a video of me crocheting for your friend: please tell me if you think this technique can help her. If so, I’ll get some clearer video for her.

My best wishes to you and her, and never give up, never give in!

Darn it, the link didn’t work! And unfortunately Flicker cropped most of the video. :wall:

Reuploading video to you tube at link below, if you think this will work for her I’ll find a way to get better video to her.

Charlotte, that’s very impressive. I hope Pepsi99 sees this. If she doesn’t respond in a few weeks, I’d suggest PMing her!

Thanks for making and sharing the video. It provides a lot of insight (at least for me) about the kinds of motor skills lacking in stroke victims. It’s one thing to hear about it and another to see it. I so hope this will help the OP’s friend!


I’ll be checking back every so often as the new job has me up to my eyeballs in alligators. Not a bad thing, just eating away into my knitting and KH time. I’ll be PM’ing Pepsi99 in a few days.

One of the hardest things to realize about the therapy issue post stroke is that it focuses solely on necessary life skills like walking, talking, and shirt buttoning.

To us yarnies, knitting and crochet [B]are[/B] life skills, but not so much to the OT involved. Not to put too fine a point on it, but wiping your own fanny is more important to reentry into the world than quality of life skills like knitting or crocheting. And frankly, that focus on the necessary is what kills the spirit of too many of us with neurological deficits. It almost killed mine, even as persistent as I am.

I just hope the OP’s friend can gain some hope and adapt anything in the video to her own situation. And I’m more than willing to establish contact with her directly for support and troubleshooting, as someone who has some idea of what she’s facing. A stroke is physically and psychologically debilitating enough without the added loss of a skill one loved enough to take years to master. It would be my pleasure to help however I can.

Agreed. When I had to give up crochet for 15 (!) years–it was either that or give up working as a word processor/technical editor–almost no one understood that the crochet had been a stress reliever, a pretty essential “life skill” in itself.

I eventually replaced it with quilting, which can be done these days via rotary cutting, machine piecing, and long-arm quilting (sometime$ sent out to a professional long-arm quilter), with almost no handwork needed.

But when I was able to venture back into the World of Yarn in January 2008, it was like meeting a long-lost love again. And just in time…I didn’t know it, but the next four years were going to be absolutely dreadful, and quiet non-machine-type handwork has been essential.


I know what you mean DCM! :hug:

Thank you so much Charlotte! You’re doing great! Unfortunately my friend can’t move her arem or fingers that much. They are pretty much immobile so she really is doing this one handed. I’m sure there’s a way she could ‘thread’ the wool so that her left hand could sort of hold it but she can’t pinch it in any way. She told me she was going to give all her crochet hooks and wool away and I told her never to give up…not to do that yet…so we’ll keep working on it and eventually I know we’ll come up with something that will work!



I’m so sorry to hear your friends mobility is so limited, and that she can’t use that way of crocheting as something of a workaround. :sad: Like you I’d hate for her to give away her hooks and wool if she doesn’t have to.

I’m sending you a PM asking some rather direct questions about the mobility in your friends fingers, hand, wrist, and arm so that I may be able to limit my own mobility to hers as far as I can to try to figure out a method that might work. You don’t have to answer them, but that’s my only way of tailoring to her as far as I can. I hope you do, because I really want to help if I can.

Please give her my best!

Two thoughts…

  1. If she can pick up her immobile hand and lay it on the yarn as well as on the work, that can give her some control over the tension. I don’t normally wind my yarn around any fingers, either when I knit or crochet, so I know it could work.
  2. If and when she gets back a small amount of mobility, a hair scrunchie around her palm with the yarn run through it might give her enough “grip” to make it easier.

It’s possible to knit “shepherdess” style with a long needle held under one arm, handling the yarn and work entirely with the other hand. Something tells me it should be possible to do Tunisian that way, too, or possibly to use a long Tunisian hook under the nonworking arm (using it as weight only) and maneuver at least small things with the working hand.

Where there’s yarn there’s a way!

thank you so much everyone! I’m going to read to her your responses and see if we can work something out. :slight_smile:


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