Thursday, March 4, 2010

Leftie? Rightie?

Truth is, I really don't know. I'm certainly a leftie when it comes to the important things like eating or writing, but I never am sure when it comes to other things. It always depends upon somebody else. Yeah, I KNOW! Crazy. However, if the person who teaches me to bowl does it right-handed, so will I. If The person who teaches me to use a tool does it one way, I will just do the same. Then there are the times when I'm left to decide for myself. Seems like it should be easy enough. But more times than I can say, I've spent way too much time trying to decide whether to be a leftie or a rightie when the task is as hand. Example: recent class with Deb Tucker to learn her method of making a Hunter Star quilt top.

Deb is a great teacher -- very lively, well-organized, and so thorough that in her hand-outs, she provides very clear instructions for doing things either left- or right-handed. First, she gave a walk-through in front of the group by way of demonstrating the method. Right-handed. Then we each went to our work stations and, following the printed instructions, were to begin the project. Deb made her way around the room, spending time with each student to be sure they understood. When she came to me, she asked if I was leftie or rightie. My natural instinct is to say "leftie" when asked. So she proceeded to show me how to follow the lefties' instructions. Okay ... that was all it took to set my head in a spin. I watched HER do it right-handed, then tried to follow the left-handed instruction she provided -- and I was all confused. Should I turn it this way or that? Am I leftie, or rightie? I don't know any more! (This has happened to me before.) So how to proceed? First I try one way, then the other. Anybody watching me will certainly think I am "challenged," as one teacher put it after observing my first attempt at using a rotary cutter. (I was trying to decide if it would be more comfortable in one hand or the other, but the teacher concluded I was a total dim-wit who seemed to be content to pass the tool from one hand to the other instead of using it to cut fabric.)

So anyway, I eventually decided it didn't matter which way I did it, as long as I was consistent. I got enough blocks completed in the class to make a wall-hanging. That was the intended goal for the class, so I gave myself an A+ for my efforts. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to go on and make it a bed-sized quilt, and congratulated myself for having had the foresight to purchase enough fabric in the first place to do just that. So, at home, I proceeded to whack out the little trapezoids and triangles I needed to turn this thing into a major production. Then my personal little cloud moved in overhead, and rained on my parade. Turns out I was short just about a quarter-yard of one fabric. How? I just KNOW I asked for equal amounts of the two colors needed when I shopped. If I lived in town, it wouldn't be such a pain. I could just dash over to the quilt shop and get what I need. But no. I live nearly an hour away. And the weather was the sort that keeps even the brave hearts off the roads for quite a stretch.

Eventually, I got out, got the fabric and would continue as soon as I could get some time and energy (and these two ingredients HAD to come together -- won't do to have one without the other). It took about two weeks for that to happen due to unfortunate timing involving sudden and severe illness and an overload of work here. But last night, I played with it, all the while visions of a beautifully quilted masterpiece danced in my head. (They always look fantastic in my head; in real life, not so much. But that's okay -- I still love doing it.)

I think I like the traditional setting best:

Bottom line: if you've ever wanted to do a Hunter Star, I recommend Deb Tucker's method. If you get a chance to take a class with her, you won't be disappointed.

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