LEFT-HANDED QUILTING - Instructions vs. Directions
Again - this post originated as information written for my sister-in-law who was a beginning quilter at the time - and has been updated for this blog. I hope that it may be of help to other lefties out there in blogland.
I want to make a distinction between INSTRUCTIONS and DIRECTIONS.
The instructions tell you how to make a quilt -
how much fabric you need,
the size of the blocks you will make,
the number of blocks you will make,
the size of the quilt you will have when you are done,
and the basic steps you need to complete your project.
The instructions will be the same for both left and right-handed quilters.
What can really mess you up are the directions. I think that it is the directions that confuse us lefties the most.
The directions, by definition, are directional - referring to any point an object can face -
NORTH/SOUTH - EAST/WEST - TOP/BOTTOM - UP/DOWN - FRONT/BACK - LEFT/RIGHT - and DIAGONAL. And don't forget that CIRCLES can be drawn either clockwise or counter-clockwise.
Rule #1 - Don't Forget that YOU ARE LEFT-HANDED!
NORTH/SOUTH - TOP/BOTTOM - UP/DOWN - FRONT/BACK - are usually not a problem. If you look in a mirror, your reflection is not reversed from your head to your toes - you are still standing upright - and you still face front.
EAST/WEST - LEFT/RIGHT can be tricky. Most diagrams and photos feature right-handed quilters - doing their thing - right-handed.
My advice is to take a pencil and circle obvious right-handed references as you read the instructions for the first time. Then you can go back through the instructions a second time and decide if you are comfortable doing the step right-handed or not. If you want to do it right-handed, erase the circle. If you want to do it left-handed, the circle will remind you that you have to compensate when you get to that step.
Some newer quilting books have diagrams and photos for both right-handed and left-handed quilters. I know they think that they are helping me - but the reality is - they just confuse me!! It's like trying to read a bilingual book and having to search through it for the stuff written in English. It would be easier to read, I think, if they just wrote two separate books - but they don't. So with these books - I do a variation of the circle thing. The first time I read them - I take a pencil and cross out the obvious right-handed references.
Just like the numbers on the rulers that go both ways - I just cross off the ones I don't want.
DIAGONAL is an often forgotten direction. One of my favorite quilts is the result of a mistake I made when I forgot to compensate for diagonal cuts.
I tried to duplicate a pattern in the book Strips that Sizzle by Margaret J. Miller (That Patchwork Place, 1992) - and I broke Rule #1 - I forgot that I was left-handed. I didn't realize, until after I had cut them ALL, that my diagonal cuts were "backwards". Instead of going from bottom right to top left, they were all going from bottom left to top right.
Here is an example of what I was trying to duplicate -
This what I cut -
so this is what I got -
(I'll tell you the whole story of my "Blue/Yellow Monster" one of these days. That sucker was up on my design wall for over two years!!)
Anyway - in an effort to help - so you can just read through my instructions without having to think about whether or not the directions are backwards - I will try to write them in "LEFTISH". If there is an area where you may need to pay special attention - I will tell you.
I want you to be able to spend your time quilting - not decoding the instructions / directions.
This is supposed to be FUN!!
Talk to you later - gotta go - gotta write the Rotary Cutting stuff -
AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
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