“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve been writing a blog thread on Practical Thread Magic about doing bobbin work. While I’ve been discussing bobbin tension and machine makes and all kinds of practical mechanical issues, there’s always a fear issue that needs to be addressed. Yup! It’s upside down.
I’ve taught this for over twenty years. There’s very little new about bobbin work except for the threads available and the fact that it’s much more accepted.In over twenty years in a classroom, I’ve heard almost everything anyone is going to say about it. One woman always says, with fear in her eyes,”It’s upside down. How can I know where I’m going? What I’m doing? “
It’s always a bad classroom moment. There’s a fervent urge to put your hand over her mouth and/or offer her chocolate. Hysteria is as contagious as pink eye.But everyone is thinking it. It must be addressed.
Actually the answer is quite simple. A lock stitch leaves a line of thread on both sides of the work. You can see where you’re going from either side. And all you’re doing is filling it in backward.
The word backward takes us to that wonderful gift, dyslexia. I’m not being sarcastic.
I’m quite dyslexic. No one knew until I studied it as a teaching student. They knew I couldn’t spell or write well. They thought I was lazy.
Well, they were somewhat right about that, but the truth is that d’s,b’s,p’s and q’s are identical for me. I learned to read through context and configuration.It helped that my school teacher mother made me study and read an extra 4 hours every night after school. She wasn’t trying to fix my dyslexia. She had no clue. It’s simply what she thought you did with kids.
I still can’t really read a map or a calendar. They move on me, and I can’t hold numbers in my head. How do I deal with this? I hire someone who can do those things, and I do what I do well myself.
But here’s the upside. I can read stories in any configuration, beginning, middle and end, in any order, and it makes sense to me. And I can read and write backwards and upside down, cursive and printed.
Dyslexia is simply an ability to see the world differently. If you can make the translation to the rest of the world, (read and write, speak and hear), it gives you the ability to show a world something they’ve not seen before. It’s a gift.
So when I’m looking at my drawing, I’m simply looking at it as I would look at a backwards slide. I know it’s facing the other way on the other side. That doesn’t matter. Instead, I fill it in with gentle shapes and change my color on top when I change it on the bobbin. There’s no mystery. Simply a different point of view.
Fear is a dragon. Perhaps a princess dressed up as a dragon who’s really waiting to see us be brave. Besides, everything worth doing is worth doing badly. If you want to do anything well, you need to be willing to go past the worst fear we have as adults: that we might not be instantly perfect at something. If you want to do it badly enough, you can do it. I know. I’m dyslexic.