So last night, I decided to take the sleeping pill before lying down, but my busy brain had other plans for me. The thoughts were tumbling all over each other. I tried concentrating on the hum of the A/C unit, but it was like trying to turn on a table fan to cover up the loud party noise in the upstairs apartment. I tried a meditative technique – allow the thought, then let it go. But after I let it go, it called all its brothers and sisters and cousins and told them the grill was fired up and there was free beer in the fridge. Well, at least I’m prepared if I ever get any Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to the door early on a Saturday, I’ve figured out how to draft the pattern for my skirt and hidden purse for the renaissance faire, and remembered which box a particular piece of fabric is in. . .it went on for hours. *sigh*
One of the thoughts that occupied some time, though, was that this busy, busy train of thought that makes connections all over the place has served me well in not only learning things, but teaching what I know to other people. It’s sort of like super-mnemonics (for people who can’t remember anything with mnemonics. Go figure.). I always did well with languages, because they had obvious connections to one another, and in English as well as in Romance languages, I can very often figure out a word or phrase I’ve never seen before because it has connections to words/phrases/etymological roots in the language it’s in, or another I know. I always said I learned more in my German class than I did in my English classes, and now I understand that by taking German and Latin and Spanish and French, I was strengthening my knowledge of all of them by connecting them together. Once I’m teaching Spanish, this will come in very handy. In the beginning, when I started sewing, I did it to save money or to have something specific, like a long pale blue concert dress. It was a functional thing I did. But once I started to teach myself pattern drafting, and researched and learned the way my sewing machine worked, it started to make connections with other things, and even with itself. I never connected why the pattern markings were where they were, but then suddenly – this is where the armscye curves diverge, this marks the front and the back on nearly symmetrical pattern pieces, here’s a good place to alter, here’s a not-so-good place because you need to fool with other pieces, this is where the body curves in, this is where it curves out. . .and once I learned how the sewing machine made a stitch, I could thread any machine you put in front of me, and knew exactly why the take-up lever was the most important part to keep an eye on (stop sewing when it’s down, the next stitch pulls the thread out from the needle. If the thread comes out of the take-up lever during stitching, the thread doesn’t get pulled back up and you end up with a birds-nest of thread under the throat plate that might permanently damage your machine, and definitely messes up whatever you’re sewing!). As a result, I was able to teach my beginning sewing students how to find their bust points and make cup size adjustments, and I always started my classes by taking the machine apart and showing my students how it worked. Everyone who attended all the classes walked out with finished projects that fit, we had very few machine mishaps, and lot of people came back for more classes.
I also understand different learning styles, and being able to make connections meant that if I had a student who needed to do it herself to learn it, I’d see and walk her through as she worked. If a student needed pictures, I drew. If someone needed it explained, I could think of different ways to explain something if the first one didn’t take. And yeah, thinking through this stuff caused a lot of sleep loss, but it served a purpose in the end.
So. . .am I tired? Yes. Am I wishing for that doorbell to ring early on a weekend so I can argue religion? Heck, no. . .but I am looking forward to going to the sewing table today and having everything already worked out in my head so I’m less likely to make mistakes and waste time.