Thursday, May 12, 2016

Can we talk? -


There's something that I really need to get off my chest - and I think that it needs to be said - out loud - so I'm just going to say it.

BOB and I have a problem with Right-Handed teachers who WILL NOT help Left-Handed students.

There, I said it.

We apparently are not deemed worthy of their expertise. We are expected to do it Right-Handed or "just reverse it" with no help whatsoever from them.

Now you can call me a hater/bully and tell me what a bad person I am in the comment section below.

As most of you know - if you've been following along lately - I'm trying to learn how to Free-Motion Quilt on my home/domestic sewing machine. Having said that - I must admit that I have tried - unsuccessfully - MANY times - and have MANY books on the subject. I say BOOKS - because I am not one to take "classes".

Several years ago - I took a hand-applique "class" and had a problem stitching a curved leaf. The teacher had explained to the class how to start at the bottom of the leaf and go up the right side/outside curve of the leaf and had told us to stop at the top of the leaf. Then she would explain how to stitch the left side/inside curve. I - being Left-Handed - started at the bottom of the leaf and went up the left side/inside curve of the leaf and realized that she hadn't shown us how to do that yet. When I took it to the teacher and showed her my problem - she said, "Oh, you are Left-Handed, I cannot help you." BOB thought - "Gee, thanks, lady - I paid for the class and you CANNOT help me?!?!?" I sucked it up and said, "That's OK - I'll figure it out on my own - show me how you do your colors." - but it was NOT OK.

My Left-Handed sister-in-law tells the story of being in a class with three lefties - she said -
There are plenty of left handed quilters out there (supposedly one in ten) and we always need help with quilting challenges. In my class this summer, there were three lefties in our group of ten. We all just had to quietly sit there trying to translate how to execute the cutting and sewing of each block in our "backwards" brains. There was really no sense asking questions of our "right-handed" teacher; because unless you are left handed, you just don't get the questions. It's like speaking a foreign language!
I have a Left-Handed quilting friend who took a "quilting" cruise - and who was assured that her left-handedness would not be a problem. She paid extra for a variety of class-related stuff and it cost her a considerable amount of money. When it came time for the teacher to reach her "table" - she asked her how to do the technique Left-Handed. The teacher pointed to another Left-Handed quilter at the same table - and told her to do it like she did it. Excuse me - but my friend did NOT pay big bucks to be taught by another leftie who happened to be sitting at the same table. She paid the TEACHER to TEACH her!

So - like I said - I'm not one to take "classes". However, I did sign up for some Craftsy "classes" on Free-Motion Quilting - and you can probably guess where I'm going with this.

One of my Craftsy "classes" - taught by a Right-Handed teacher - who shall remain nameless - came to the part where she was showing the class/audience how to pin-baste a quilt. She said that -
I always put the fold in my right hand - and I have a lot of students ask, "Well, what if I'm Left-Handed." I don't care. It goes in the right hand. It doesn't matter.
I have gotten in trouble before for not keeping my mouth shut - and I have been called a bully - and other names not fit to print - by some who thought that I was being negative when I talked about stuff. And I know that I tend to be very direct in what I say and how I say it - and I have a considerable amount of trouble with how to say something without ticking everyone off - but others have been praised for "keeping it real" when they post about their upcoming colonoscopies - so this is my version of "keeping it real".

So now - just for fun - let's reverse the "pin basting" scenario above - let's say I'm teaching the class and came to the part where I was showing the class/audience how to pin-baste a quilt and I say that -
I always put the fold in my left hand - and I have a lot of students ask, "Well, what if I'm Right-Handed." I don't care. It goes in the left hand. It doesn't matter.
How would you react??

Would you - like my sister-in-law and her friends - sit there quietly trying to translate what I said in YOUR backwards brain?

Or would you call me on it - and say -

Excuse me?!?!?!

How rude!!!

It DOES matter to the student who asked the question or he/she wouldn't have asked it!!!

I certainly don't speak for all Left-Handed Quilters - I even had one tell me - "I have never let my being Left-Handed keep me from learning anything that I wanted to learn." Well - me neither - BUT I still have to compensate for it when I am reading a book or taking a class from a Right-Handed teacher. It's BACKWARDS and I am expected to "just reverse it" - and sometimes it's not that easy.

And to make matters worse - some things that Right-Handed people think need to be reversed - DON'T. I do a lot of things Right-Handed and can mentally reverse many others if I need to. BUT there are times when a Left-Handed quilter needs help and will ask a question.

Some Right-Handed teachers CAN and DO help Left-Handed students - and I love them dearly. That's the way it SHOULD be.

Some Right-Handed teachers some simply CANNOT - and I understand that. It's not always easy - and some things are more difficult than others. Cutting a 60-degree diamond shape Left-Handed is a little tricky.

But it's the Right-Handed teachers who simply WILL NOT help Left-Handed students - that I DO NOT understand.

It is NOT OK to dismiss a question posed by a Left-Handed Quilter simply because you cannot be bothered to figure out how to REVERSE it for them. It is YOUR job to teach ALL of your students - not just the Right-Handed ones.

It is NOT OK to say "I don't care." That student paid for your class the same as everyone else and to say that you "don't care" is simply unacceptable.

So after BOB calmed down and watched the rest of the class trying to learn all that the teacher had to teach - she posted a "question" on the lesson. I tried to choose my words carefully so as to not offend her and then wondered why I had to be careful not to offend her when she obviously didn't care that she had offended me - but anyway - I said -
Hi (insert teacher's name here) - With all due respect, you might suggest to your Left-Handed students that they fold the backing and put the fold in their LEFT hand - then line up the corner of the fold with the CENTER safety pin and eyeball it with the safety pin to the RIGHT of the table. That might sound a bit better than, "I don't care. It goes in the RIGHT hand. It doesn't matter." It DOES matter to the student who asked the question.
Now I have not yet received a "reply" - and I fully expect to have my head handed to me by her and everyone else who thinks I'm being "negative". But you know what? Here's where "I" don't care.

And just for the record -

One time I did keep my mouth shut - I ran across some FMQ designs that were drawn from right to left and supposed to be "Left-Handed". I wanted so much to tell the designer that FMQ is like handwriting and English is written from left to right - and that those designs aren't Left-Handed at all - they're Hebrew and/or Arabic - but I couldn't figure out a nice way to say it - so I just "let it go". I laughingly made reference to it in a blog post - but never did tell the designer - because I know that he/she was trying to be helpful - not realizing that it's one of those things that doesn't need to be reversed. Someday someone will clue him/her in - but it isn't going to be today - and it isn't going to be me.

This time is different.

It was something that I really needed to get off my chest -

And I think that it needed to be said -

Out loud -

So I said it.

And now you can call me a hater/bully and tell me what a bad person I am in the comment section below.



Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -


EDIT UPDATE - The teacher's response was - "Thank you for letting me know!;)"
I'll give her credit for being gracious and not biting my head off. I truly believe that she did not realize how she sounded and that next time she might not be so flippant in her handling of a question from a Left-Handed quilter. Mission accomplished - ;))

EDIT UPDATE #2 - I like to reply to all comments left on my blog - but some of you come up as "no-reply". I have no idea how to get to your email on Google+ so please come back later to check your comment and my response. Thank you.


20 comments:

  1. At my age, I have heard every insult in the book for being left-handed. At least I am no longer getting beaten by teachers. Like the young and fast who get the train seats, right-handers are "entitled" and can't think outside the box. Isn't it easier to say it doesn't matter than admit you don't know?
    To add to the fun... you are probably using a machine that was made only for right-handers. And, by the way, as a student I took all my notes from right to left in mirror writing ... faster and in those days the pens were dipped in ink so you didn't have to drag your hand and smear it up. In college, those rightys who didn't bother to come to class wanted to borrow my notes. I even had to tell them to hold it up to a mirror!
    Yes, probably because everything has made for them, they have never had to know there is a difference or even figure it out!

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  2. We have some left handed folks in my family, and I can still barely imagine how hard certain task must be when everything is slanted to the right handed world. Things that the majority of us don't even think about. Good on you to speak up. She needed to know that the answer WAS flippant and dismissive, really. I think lefties tend to be more ambidexterous but that might be out of necessity, an adaptive thing? Fight on, my friend!

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  3. I understand exactly where you are coming from. I'm right-handed, and my husband and youngest daughter are both left-handed. While my husband is from the generation that was forced to use his right hand, we fought teachers who tried to "change" our daughter. She has learned to crochet and sew left-handed the hard way - mostly on her own. I'm working with her now in her introduction to quilting, so we'll see how that goes.

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    1. Thank you for your comment - ;))

      You come up as a "no-reply" commenter - so I'll respond here if you don't mind.

      When I was in the 4th grade - my teacher tried to force me to write right-handed. My mother had a little "talk" with the teacher and she stopped trying to get me to change. The teacher didn't like me much after that but she REALLY didn't like my mother - haha.

      When I asked my mother to teach me how to knit - she flat out said - "I'll be d@mned if I'm going to try to figure out how to teach you how to knit left-handed. You'll have to learn how to do it right-handed or not at all." So I knit right-handed. I crochet and hand-applique left-handed because I taught myself.

      I want to welcome your daughter to the wonderful world of quilting!! Please check out the page/tabs at the top of my blog - Left-Handed Quilting - LHQ for short. I have posted a lot of "How I Do It" - it is definitely not the only way - and it may not be the best way - but it's how I do it and it may help your daughter. She will have problems with cutting - so be sure to check out that section.

      I began blogging to help my Left-Handed sister-in-law who had just begun learning how to quilt. A lot of my earlier posts were taken directly from our emails back and forth - so this whole blog is designed as an aid to the LEFT-HANDED QUILTER - and I am just one of them - hence "A" Left-Handed Quilter.

      At the top left of my blog is a listing of OTHER Left-Handed Quilters - so be sure to visit their blogs to see how THEY do stuff.

      And thanks again for your comment. I really appreciate the support - ;))

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  4. Also heard lots of this about being left handed. I am always thankful to my Dad that went to the principal and hashed things out with him. Well after that l never had a problem with those teachers again. But still today right-handers are having issues with us. It's not just reverse the action it's about changing direction and also l have the back of my work facing me and not the front. Well they don't get it! Had this just the other day in this small tiny town in South Africa and the poor lefty is struggling, but the handling of the needle has stuck in her brain and l can't help her because she has found her comfort place even all too uncomfortable! I think right-handers are feeling insecure about our creative souls uhm hands

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    1. I agree - ;)) I gave up trying to do "needlepoint" because I got tired of having to hold it upside-down in order to get the stitches to line up correctly on the curves as they were drawn for right-handed stitchers.

      I have a blog post under the "LHQ - Basics" page/tab called - "LHQ - Instructions vs. Directions" where I make a distinction between the two. "Instructions" are the steps needed to make the quilt - "Directions" are up/down - left/right - clockwise/counterclockwise - north/south - etc. The "Instructions" are usually pretty clear - it's the "Directions" that mess us up - ;))

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  5. I hear you loud and clear. Being left handed in a right handed world throw us many curve balls. I have only taken a few workshops/classes for these reason you have outlined. I found myself teaching myself how to do it when I should have had the teacher teaching me. I will only ask once and if they can't help properly I won't ask again. I wish I was braver to put them in their place. We have a lot to offer if we are allowed to shine.

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    1. Thank you for your comment - ;))

      I detest confrontations and thought long and hard about whether or not to post my "question" on the lesson - and then again about how to word it. I also thought long and hard about whether or not to post THIS post - and decided that THIS time I would NOT "let it go". I figured that I would either get my head handed to me by one and all OR I would start a conversation that needed to be started.

      One of my quilting friends told me to put on my teflon skin and nerves of steel and set the world straight - so I'm trying to do that. And I think that ALL of us lefties should start speaking up - we have to stop "letting it go" - ;))

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  6. For years I couldn't understand the need for "left handed scissors" - i thought "just turn them upside down. But even upside down they are still right handed. LOL. I learned why.
    I am partially ambidextrous and some things just work better for me in left hand orientation. I have my mouse on the left because "it makes sense." I have always wondered if perhaps I should have been a leftie, but was too compliant as a child.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Gene - ;))

      Years ago I got a pair of Fiskars "left-handed" scissors - the handles are reversed so they fit my hand better - but the blades are NOT reversed so I can't actually see what I'm cutting. That, to me, is a classic example of what a Right-Handed person THINKS a Left-Handed person needs - they didn't REVERSE the stuff that NEEDS to be reversed - just what they THOUGHT should be reversed - and they only got it HALF right - ;))

      I write left-handed and taught myself to use the adding machine (remember those?) with my right hand so that I can "add" with my right hand and "write" with my left - that "makes sense" to me. I also use a mouse right-handed for the same reason. I think all lefties are ambidextrous to some extent - we HAVE to be in order to use some things - and most times we don't even think about it - but it's those OTHER times when we DO have to think about it that stop us in our tracks.

      My kids and husband are/was right-handed and became VERY aware of stuff that they could use right-handed that I had trouble with - mostly kitchen stuff like gravy ladles and butter knives. They especially liked to watch me try to use a manual can opener - when they finally stopped laughing - they would do it for me - ;))

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  7. Oh how I understand your frustration! I used to teach crochet. . . and made a point of having my students sit with people of their own handedness so that it would be easier for me to teach them. Those that were left handed seemed to catch on by having me stand next to them ('cause they were doing the same thing that I was doing); while I had the right handed ones "mirror" what I was doing. That seemed to work pretty well because the actions were the same -- but they were done in different directions.

    With quilting, I have pretty much gotten myself to be able to use either hand for cutting (but I detest left handed scissors-- they always cut into the area around my thumb and I refuse to use them. The straight handled scissors are much better for me.)

    I did have an applique class many moons ago where the instructor stood beside me and gave me the motions to go through step by step (instead of showing me how she did it) and that seemed to help because she could see what I was doing and helped me correct things as I went.

    But, being left handed is not easy. . . . and since everyone else gets to complain about how they need special treatment for whatever the "calamity" of the moment is I think you have every right to get your dander up!

    Have a great day.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Sherry - it seems that your comment doesn't show up in my email inbox - but that happens with other commenters who have Mr.Yahoo email addresses - so I think perhaps Mr. Google doesn't like Mr. Yahoo very much - ;))

      Anyway - I hear you on the left-handed crochet. I taught myself back in the 60's when I found a "poncho" pattern that I wanted to make - with the pattern and an instruction booklet both open on the table in front of me. I read the pattern - looked up the "code" in the instruction booklet - tried my best to "reverse it" - and did it stitch by stitch. I must have ripped out that neckline section a dozen times before I got the right number of stitches to make the next row "work". Fun times.

      Good for you for taking the time to help your Right-Handed students!! It's funny how Left-Handed teachers are expected to teach Right-Handed students - but not the other way around. I think teachers should be able to do it BOTH ways - not just whichever way THEY do it - which is one reason why I don't teach - I can show you how "I" do it - but I'm not about to show you how to do it Right-Handed - there are PLENTY of resources out there for you - you don't need me - ;))

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  8. That's probably why I'm not interested in classes! I do know learning to crochet left handed took me 10 years to be able translate the directions!

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    1. Oh, Katie - I hear you! Go back and read my response to Sherry's comment above - I tell the story of my first crochet project. I can do it now - but I don't do it "correctly" - I hold the crochet hook like a knife - not a pencil - but I don't care - it works for me.

      One time I tried to teach my Right-Handed sister and did the first couple of rows for her - she took the piece and added her couple of rows and all of a sudden the "front" side was the "back" side and the "back" side was the "front" side - we both laughed and decided to go do something else - ;))

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  9. I have gotten to the point if someone makes a comment about me using my left hand, I smile, and remind them that yes we lefties use both sides of our brains,:) they usually remain silent and get the message hahahaha

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    1. Haha - good for you!! I always thought it would be fun to set up a "booth" at a County Fair or a Quilt Show with EVERYTHING LEFT-handed - then ask those who are RH to take a "tour" - and watch them try to figure out how to use stuff LEFT-handed. It could be "educational" for them - and a LH would always be available to help them out - ;))

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  10. oh my, I have lots of stories I could tell that have happened to me in my 69 years being left-handed. My knuckles were smacked in kindergarten and the pencil placed in my right hand. I was always told you must watch and figure out your own way of doing things. I don't take classes,the ones I have attended were frustrating and expensive and having to basically teach myself. Over the years I have taught myself to crochet,knit,quilt any many other crafts.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Faye - :))

      A couple of years ago I tried to establish an "International Left-Handed Quilters Association" - and had a meeting on 8/13/13 - International Left-Handed Day - got a whole THREE attendees - and two of them were Right-Handed - ;))

      http://alefthandedquilter.blogspot.com/2013/08/international-left-handers-day-81313.html

      I think BOB needs to do another rant on the Left-Handed teachers out there who are NOT writing books on "Left-Handed Quilting". I'm doing the best I can - but I can't do it alone!! - ;))

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I love reading your comments -
they let me know that I'm not just talking to myself - ;))

FYI - I have always restricted comments to “Registered User” - and I have always moderated my comments - and I will continue to do so. I like to read your comments before I publish them - and I DO publish ALL of them - whether you agree with me or not. The only ones that I DO NOT publish are the “buy-me” and "spam" crap.

So - if you want to leave a comment but don’t like your word verification choice - hit the little arrow thingy to the right of the box until you find one that you DO like. I can’t always read them either but word verification is there for a reason and I refuse to be bullied into taking it off - ;))

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