Cut that fabric, just do it!

When I completed the mid-term self-assessment and got to the question about what Alec could do to support me, I realized why I feel like I’ve been slacking on my Digital Learning Project- I am afraid to make a mistake. With the stage I am at (cutting the fabric), making a mistake could mean the end of the project or you know, the project as I know it, so I have been putting it off. I’m not sure why since there isn’t going to be any sewing epiphany in the next couple weeks so here I go with cutting.

I knew I had to lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric and the pattern guide even showed how to do it. BINGO. SEW SIMPLE. But one thing I wasn’t sure was if the fabric had to be layed inside or not, or if that even made a difference. However as we know, I am leery of making a permanent mistake so I turned to the internet for help. There was no statement that I could find explaining how to lay out the fabric so I turned to my sister for help:

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Thank you to my sister. Who, yes, also loves cats as much as me. Our childhood cat used to run in our mom’s patterns messing them up while she tried to lay them down. Guess I should have been helping her instead of being entertained by the cat.

While the internet was no help for figuring out how to lay out the fabric, I did find some other tips when cutting out fabric.

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Via The McCall Pattern Blog.

I guess pattern cutting could be tedious. One of the suggested ways to make it less tedious was to use a high table, well I don’t have a table that’s 3 meters long so that one was out. It also said to cut at a “cheerful time of day…” so I chose right after lunch on Sunday?

On this post (and a couple others) it says to use sewing weights instead of pins to secure the pattern but all I have are dumbbells and I didn’t know if the uneven weight distribution would mess it up so I thought I would stick with pins.

I also watched this youtube video for additional tips on proper pinning. Thank goodness I did, I wouldn’t have really thought about aligning it straight and possibly leaving room for seam allowance.

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Once I felt like I did all of the research I could, I started cutting but saw what the websites meant by the pins making the fabric uneven, however I didn’t want to put the dumbells on to lump the paper and fabric up. So I thought of an alternative. It actually worked pretty great!

 

I used pins to make sure the pattern wouldn’t move around and then just slid the cans around to the area I was cutting. Here are my fabric pieces.

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Slacktivism, activism, offend-everyoneism?

This Tuesday’s class on social media activism was a really good one for me to [virtually] attend. Being that it is 2017, I have most definitely heard about, seen, perhaps even unconsciously participated in social media activism. As I mention in my title though, I find this type of social media very tricky. Our society seems so sensitive nowadays that you never know when or how you are going to offend anyone. In everything I do, I always just want everyone to get along, in fact my number one strength in Clifton Strengths Finder is Harmony. I get quite irritated when people take things personally and in terms of social media, when viewers seem to think we should all prescribe to the same belief system or causes. It’s unrealistic and even unhealthy that we would all believe in the same things so I’m not sure why certain people find it necessary to argue our beliefs so strongly.

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Image via Giphy.

Along this same point, there is so much negativity online which I believe can also deter people from making a difference online. For example, Katia mentioned how some people or groups were not too happy with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, because it, in essence, took money from other charities due to its popularity. To me, this is just people trying to find something to complain about. I believe it is things like this that can discourage productive conversations about social activism. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to bring up something and then have people criticize me for bringing it up. I don’t know that my skin is that thick! Is there anyone else who feels this way as well?

Having said all this, I do see the merit and value in moving beyond a personally responsible citizen to a participatory or digitally oriented citizen. We have this wonderful tool, the internet and all of its platforms, at our disposal, so I think it is up to us to do our best to use it effectively. Though it may not always be easy or comfortable, (especially for a Harmony person such as myself), baby steps are a good way to start. I feel like I could start by simply sharing a news article, sharing a link for a charity or cause that is important to me. Once I feel comfortable with that, I could move more into social activism. Does anyone else feel like they need to set themselves up a little action plan such as this?

Major Project

When Alec first told us about the Major Digital Project, I was quite excited, I love projects and learning new things on my own. But that also kind of left me torn, since most things I want to learn, I have already figure out, eg. knitting, crocheting, basic bike maintenance, or were things that required tools I didn’t have, eg. building a mini dollhouse, intense bike maintenance or were things I thought I might get bored/mentally done with pretty quickly, eg. making a pie or bread that my stomach could handle. One that stuck with me was sewing, I am an okay sewer, meaning, I can sew in a straight line, thread a machine, sew a button on, things like that. I enjoy sewing but I can’t do much beyond those basic skills. Here are some things I have figured out how to sew, thanks to the sewing machine I received as a birthday present a couple years ago and skills my mom taught me when I was younger.

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As you can see, all have something in common, straight lines and most, four sided. And none required a pattern and are mostly made out of basic cotton. One of my favourite accidental pastimes is browsing the internet for sewing projects I will never do. Why won’t I do them? I don’t know how to follow a pattern, how to sew non-cotton fabric nor do I know how to sew anything besides a straight seam. My sister has a similar pastime, and while her skill level is a bit higher than mine, she doesn’t do patterns either. We always say that one day we will buy some fancy non-cotton fabric, a pattern and make something “cool.” Of course, we never do. But I always think, I am a fairly smart person, and I have some decent skills. I have learned nearly all of my knitting and crocheting skills from youtube and various websites, why couldn’t I figure out sewing? WELL a big hurdle for me will be to move slowly and try to finish it in one day, as I tend to feel like with all my sewing projects. Another hurdle will be learning that mistakes are okay and sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and redo what you just did.

So all this being said, I decided my project will be to complete one or two sewing projects, with the conditions of:

-using a pattern
-sewing with non-cotton fabric

PS This post is actually a few weeks old, I figured out categories yesterday so had to do some copy and pasting. It is the first one in my Major Digital Project category.

Cut cut cut

Now that I had my pattern, I decided it was time to print it off and begin assembling. I downloaded and printed the guide and actual pattern off. 45 pages later, A+ to me, I printed it off properly, getting the gauge correct the first time.

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Once I look inside the guide, the assembling didn’t seem near as daunting. It seemed simply like a puzzle- assembling the pages in the right order to form the parts of the dress. So, I did that and here it is, I did have to move some furniture to get it to fit in my living room.

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Feeling pretty proud of myself, I decided to soldier on. As you can see from the top picture, I had to pick out my size so that I knew what lines to cut, I did my measurements and figured that out, still feeling pretty good about my abilities.

 

I started out by cutting this piece. I’ll be honest, I don’t know where it fits in with my dress patternbut it looked like a good, simple one to start with.

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At this point, I really felt like I was cruising, like do I even need to learn anything from anyone about sewing or do I know it all already? Well I was snapped back to reality pretty quickly when I looked at the next piece I was to cut out.

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What is a notch? Why are there dozens of lines intersecting with each other? How am I supposed to know what line to cut into? And what are those solid black dots?

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Image courtesy of Pinterest. I couldn’t find any other link. 

 

I looked on the pattern website and nothing there. So, I proceeded to google and looked up:
-What are notches on a sewing pattern?
-How to cut out notches on a sewing pattern

I found a couple websites through which I eventually figured out that notches indicate where pleats are in the finished garment. Often they are triangle or diamond shaped and you are supposed to make a little cut in the fabric to indicate where they are.

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Image courtesy of The Sewing Coach.

Thank you to the internet, I figured out what notches meant and was able to finish cutting out my pattern. Woohoo! Next step, cutting out the fabric.

 

 

 

 

Give me a y-a-y for social media!

When I think of social media, I mostly think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, though after Tuesday’s class, I have come to learn that there are many more platforms, and that social media encompasses more than just certain brands. I myself am not a big social media user but I do know there are many positive effects of it. As my fellow EC&I831 classmate, Joe, suggests, it is important that I take the time to start looking at the all of the good social media can do. I really liked his take on the charity aspects and wider good social media sharing can do.

The first thing that comes to mind as a positive attribute of social media is the ease of connections. Within seconds you can be updated on someone’s life, even if they live across the world. I remember as a kid sending letters to people all over and while I still think there is a place for letter writing, having the ability to communicate with immediacy can allow for closer relationships.

Another positive attribute about social media is the ability to form connections with people we don’t even know, this could entail a myriad of definitions but I am mainly thinking of professional type relationships, such as the ones in this class. It is neat to be able to “meet” people we never normally would have encountered through the internet. Already, I have noticed the beneficial aspects of this through a platform such as twitter. In using our hashtag, I have read several articles, that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. Now, that’s not necessarily changing the world but its changing the perspective of at least one person and that’s better than nothing! Since I have never used twitter, it’s kind of amazing to me, the power of having our ideas accessible to millions of users quickly and without much publicity effort. Of course, I knew all of this before, I have just never experienced it.

Social media platforms also allow everyone to be able to form connections with public personalities. One that I am thinking of is Pope Francis. When has the world ever been offered such an immediate and close glimpse into His Holiness’ thoughts and teachings? NEVER. I myself have used His tweets with my students and the general student body in my school. Being able to have his point of view accessible to us daily sends out a stronger message for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It allows us to hear words of wisdom without having to wait for public appearances and long news articles.

Looking at this from much simpler terms, which I think we need to do at times, social media can sometimes just be a place for us to see and learn about positivity: news clippings that make us smile, a cute picture, funny meme, inspirational photo or whatever it may be. And yes, I know people will say Marley there’s so much garbage and dumb things and negativity. Of course, there are, but I also find sometimes a person just has to suspend reality and choose to look at the positive. I might not follow the most intellectual things on Instagram or read the worldliest news stories but sometimes the things I choose to engage in uplift my mood, give me motivation for that extra-long run or are just genuinely good and nice to share with my students.

Have fun with it. #motivation

A post shared by Runner's World (@runnersworldmag) on

This brings me to my last point about the great things in social media: my students. While the only social media I consistently do is Seesaw (which I love), it has been nice to be able to share things with them through whatever platform I come across. In the past students and I have watched Olympic clips, we have learned about wildlife, different types of classrooms around the world and since starting this class, I have come across a tweet of a baby elephant learning to walk, which my kids will love. Granted, not all of this has been done through social media but it has offered us some opportunities to experience a world outside of our classroom.

 

Finding a Pattern

Major Digital Project- [after too long a break] I am back! As I mentioned, I chose to do a patterned sewing activity for my major project. To get started, I decided

  1. I needed to sew something I would be really excited to have as an end product, because I knew that otherwise there was a strong chance my frustration would outweigh my desire to complete.
  2. I also figured that this project should have some sort of financial investment for me because that too is like a carrot dangling for me (I hate waste). skirt
  3. I also had to accept that the pattern had to be a perfect level difficulty wise. So I was humming and hawing, searching a few of my favourite craft websites for inspiration or something that would seem like a treat for me, I couldn’t really seemto find a good balance. Either projects seemed too easytoo boring or too complicated. I was starting to feel like Goldilocks.

Four straight sides, wouldn’t follow my rules. But I do love skirts. Image courtesy of Colette patterns.

giphy2I decided to take my search to Fabricland in Northgate Mall.  I was thinking okay this is perfect, I’ll get a hard copy of a pattern and won’t have to worry about assembling it like I would have if I bought it online. But disappointingly enough, I didn’t find anything that would fit my criteria. This was getting to be a bit panicsome.

Me wondering why I didn’t think this through more. Via Giphy.

But I guess the stars aligned because I received an interesting package in the mail from my parents. In late August, I had ordered some fabric online and had it delivered to my parent’s house in Palm Springs, long story short, my Delivery Man Dad had been able to pick up and mail it to me in Regina in time! Now at least, I had some fabric.

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I worry too much. Via Giphy

I have learned a few things about Instagram and the accounts I follow. One thing I have figured out is hashtags. I knew from following a fabric account called Cotton and Steel that they sometimes have hashtags for certain fabrics. On a whim, I searched the name Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.35.40 AMof the fabric (#magicforestfabric) I ordered, thinking I would just get just some ideas for what I could make with it. Well, lo and behold, I found a dress with the exact same fabric and there were even links on the account where I could find the pattern. After looking at the pattern online, it seemed like something I could figure out, there was interfacing…something I never really have figured out the meaning of and I would have to print and assemble the pattern myself, but what did I care?! I found a perfect pattern for perfect fabric. I added it to my cart and bought it. Next step: printing!

 

Teaching in the Digital Age 2

Now there are certainly positives things about teaching in the digital age, they may or may not even outweigh the negative effects I outlined in my previous post. What really got me thinking in the article “Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0” was the idea of a learning community online, and how virtually anyone can become a part of one. In pre-digital area, a person often had to be a certified expert before teaching or engaging in deeper conversation about a topic whereas with the internet and the ability to be connected with the world, any type or knowledge-level of a person can be engaged in conversation or learning about a topic. AND this would be even truer now, considering this article was published almost 10 years ago! I liked the idea of learners being a part of learning rather than just an observer or listener of learning. It reminds me of the way I have shifted my teaching, of course I have my moments of instruction where I am directly teaching a concept to my students, but I have found when I can have them do some of the teaching or the level of thinking to which I am guiding them to, they are all so much more engaged. This also extends to group learning- through which the majority of my day is spent teaching: students collaborate and work with each other in an attempt to meet the learning outcomes.

I watched the video RSA Animate: The Power of Networks, and I found it really interesting. There were a lot of points in it where I had to pause, think about the information being presented before resuming. I think a lot of what was said is true: nowadays we are all interconnected. Learning, knowledge and teaching is not so hierarchical. This is powerful as it gives all of us the ability to learn from and teach one another. I don’t think a lot of us, myself included, realize just how connected we truly are.

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Courtney of YouTube.

The final points Manual Lima (the speaker) makes at the end about how we need to think differently really made me think “ah I get it, or at least half get it.” And that is one thing with digital teaching that I struggle with, thinking differently to incorporate it in my teaching and my own professional learning. Our school division has really been pushing the use of the SAMR model in our teaching, encouraging us to incorporate more technology and making it more beneficial for our students. This is really hard for me to “wrap my head around.” There is so much to cover in the curriculum and now we have to come up with tasks to make technology make the experience even richer? I guess it will continue to take more creative thinking and attempting to think, what feels like, on a different level. I know our society is changing and I always say teachers need to adapt their teaching, I guess it is up to me to include technology in that as well!

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Image courtesy of Hooked on Innovation.