Monday, September 10, 2007

South Paw Blues

Once upon a time a few years ago, I was trying to convince my friend Danielle to take up knitting. I was sure that she would enjoy it. It would help her relax, meditate, be one with the universe. I did my best to sell knitting as a cure-all, but Danielle was hesitant. She was too left-handed, she felt, to be crafty. Too left-handed? Is there really such a thing, I wondered?

Over the years I've come to the conclusion that when it comes to arts and crafts, the answer, quite possibly, is yes. Left-hander that I am, I, too, have struggled with all manner of crafting, from pottery to crochet, cross stitch to quilting. I think it's possible that some of my, shall we say, limitations as an arts and crafts girl are related to my status as a south paw.

What I've learned is that I just have to work harder than other crafty girls. I'm going to make more mistakes, misread more directions, and generally just get it plain wrong more often, than my less challenged sisters. I've learned to anticipate where I'll be most likely to mess up. I transpose knitting directions onto a legal pad, writing things out, drawing charts, so I understand what I'm trying to do. But if I don't mind starting over, over and over and over, I can get the job done and feel pretty good about it.

My latest endeavor, as I've mentioned in earlier posts, is sewing. Yesterday, I spent an hour or so working on the throw I'm making. As always, I'm learning. My first lesson: I was an idiot not to buy a seam ripper the minute I bought a sewing machine. In fact, I think there should be a law that all sewing machines have to come with seam rippers scotch-taped to them. Why did I think I could live without one?

Imagine me last fall, novice sewer, stitching up my aprons with the smallest stitches possible--I thought it looked pretty that way, sort of french--sewing the most crooked seams you've ever seen (I'm thinking about having little labels made up that read "I was not drunk when I sewed this item"), and then picking them out with scissors. That right there is the reason it took me over a week to make an apron that was essentially an oversized handkerchief with ties.

Yesterday, I sewed plenty of crooked seams (though I also sewed some straight ones--I'm getting better with practice). With my handy dandy seam ripper, it took me about thirty seconds to rip them out. Genius!


VictoriaE said...

YES. I am lefthanded and my Grandma could not teach me to knit, she tried hard too. Lefthandedness was also a problem when trying to learn to play tennis..

Left-Handed Housewife said...

VictoriaE--When I took tennis lessons, I was taught to serve with my right hand (no one thought to ask if I was left-handed, and for some reason it never occurred to me to mention it). As a result, I can't serve to save my life, and I can't figure out how to serve with my left hand (weird, huh?).

My mom, a right-hander, taught me how to knit and crochet, but it was tough. I finally figured out how to knit left-handed, or continental, style, holding and guiding the yarn with my left hand. I actually think it's a far superior kind of knitting. :)