I am a A Left-Handed Quilter. A couple of months ago I decided to start a blog so that I could share my love of quilting and maybe some pictures of my projects and an occasional rant. I posted for a while and changed the blog name a couple of times. Now I'm here. Welcome to my new and improved blog!!
I am not a professional quilter. I quilt for fun. I am no expert and I am not perfect, but I have won my share of blue ribbons at the local county fair and at a Quilt Show in a near-by town. I have never entered a quilt in a juried show or any type of international competition. Maybe someday.
I made my first quilt out of two sheets and some batting in 1973. I tied it with yarn and bound it with pre-packaged quilt binding. Quilting books and magazines were scarce back then - but I had them all. My first "real" patchwork quilt was for my first nephew in 1976. So I have been quilting for a while now. I love to quilt.
I don't take classes. My left-handedness always gets in the way. I have taken only three classes in my life - not counting Home-Ec classes in seventh grade.
#1 - Hawaiian Applique - 1977
We lived in Hawaii for about five years. My husband called me one day with information on a local Hawaiian quilting class. I figured that if I lived in Hawaii I should learn to either quilt or hula - and I sure as hell wasn't going to learn to hula - so quilting it was.
I tried to prepare for the class by cutting out the pattern and turning under the edges and basting them all down - like my books showed. When I got to class, the Hawaiian ladies laughed at the "haole" - very politely, of course - but they still laughed at me. Hawaiian applique is all "needle-turned" applique. They showed me how to do it their way - but my left-handedness still got in the way. I have at least ten Hawaiian applique pillows and wallhangings in my UFO pile. They are all cut and basted - but not sewn.
#2 - Hawaiian Applique - again - 1985
This time I attended a class in Burbank - it was offered in conjunction with some quilt show - I don't remember exactly when - a long time ago. Anyway, we split off into teams of two and it was my job to press the fabric before we were to fold and cut it. The damn iron and ironing board were set up backwards! And the sewing - again - my left-handedness got in my way. One of those - all you have to do is reverse it classes. Yeah, right! That one is in my UFO pile, too.
#3 - Floral Applique - 1995 - (What is it with me and hand applique classes?)
This time I took a series of classes from a little German lady who had made the most gorgeous quilt I had ever seen!! It was at a local quilt show and I literally stopped in my tracks!! Her color shading and workmanship were incredible!! Anyway, when I heard that she was teaching classes, I signed up immediately.
The first block had a leaf - long and skinny - curved to the left. She showed us how to start at the bottom of the leaf and sew up the right side on the outside curve of the leaf. We were to stop at the point on the top so she could show us how to turn it before we sewed down the left side and inside curve. Great!! I started my leaf at the bottom - went up the left side and hit the inside curve first. I showed her my problem and she said, "Oh, you are left-handed! I cannot help you." Terrific! I had been there before. I told her "Never mind, I'll figure it out myself. Show me how you do your colors." I learned everything she could teach me about how she chose her colors - how she shaded her roses - everything except how to sew the block. Those blocks are at the very top of my UFO pile. (I did manage to figure out the applique sewing stuff on my own and that is going to be one gorgeous quilt when I get it done!! Stay tuned. I'll show you when I get there.)
So, anyway, I don't take classes. I buy books. I have a lot of books. I love books. I read every single one of them from cover to cover. What I don't like are the pictures in the books. They are usually "right-handed". And they usually say stupid things like - "If you are left-handed - just reverse it." We all know it isn't that simple. But it is a right-handed world - so we try to adapt. I do my best to figure it out - and then I do what works for me.
My sister-in-law is new to quilting. She and I share the same birthday - I am exactly five years older than she/her. I married her brother three weeks after she married her husband - over thirty years ago. She is also left-handed. She is taking some quilting classes and we email back and forth all the time. I try to help when she gets stuck on something. When I told her my blog name problem and mentioned a couple of new names, she said -
"I'm partial to "A Left-Handed Quilter" because it is definitely something that makes you (us) unique. I hope you can include the left handed idea in your blog name somehow. 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! It would have been great for me to have been able to tell the other southpaws to just go to your blog! You could post some of those great instructions you wrote for me and reduce the global confusion once and for all!"
I hadn't really thought about doing a "Left-handed" blog - I was just looking for a new name. But I understood exactly what she was talking about - and I think she's right - we all need a "Left-handed" blog - so - that's what I'm going to do.
I'm a very visual person. I like someone to show me how they do it - and then I can figure out what will work for me. So I can try to do the same for you - do some tutorials and try to explain how I do things and then show you how I do it. Now that I have figured out how to add pictures to my blog - I can take photos to show you what I'm talking about. (See, my two previous attempts at blogging actually taught me some stuff - yay!!)
I also want to be perfectly clear - there is always more than one way to do things. I'm not saying that my way is the easiest - or the best - or anything. But maybe, just maybe - it will help you. I certainly hope so.
Then maybe I can get other bloggers to share their tips and tricks and I can make a list of their blogs for reference. Maybe we can all help each other. Wouldn't that be great? The possibilities are endless.
And because doing things left-handed really is like speaking a foreign language - I am creating a new language. I am going to write my instructions in what I like to call - "LEFTISH" - and (I've always wanted to say this) - "If you are right-handed - just reverse it."
Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta sew -