This post was originally published in 2003 on Ambitatterous website.
A personal pet peeve of mine is the notion that left-handed tatters need only a hand mirror and a cursory understanding of geometry (more specifically, how to place a mirror at a 45-degree angle) to tat with the fluidity and efficiency of their right-handed cousins.
Anyone who has ever plied a tatting shuttle knows that it takes two hands (no matter which one is dominant) to tat, not one. Therefore, the tatter must read the instruction, apply the hand mirror to available images for reference, PUT DOWN THE MIRROR and pick up the shuttle -- thereby displacing the visual reference so critical to success in tatting's initial learning stages.
It's not as easy as it looks. Try mentally reversing the drawings (or photographs) generally found in, say, the standard crochet lace instruction booklet.
That's not to say that left-handed tatters don't accomplish the same flow and grace of motion that right-handed tatters do, because we do. As Georgia Seitz says, "There are as many ways to tat as there are tatters." In my opinion, it just takes longer for us lefties because of the mental gymnastics.
That said, every lefty encounters directional and joining challenges in their learning curves. These challenges may or may not be present in less sinister studies.