I love libraries. I have since I was a teen-ager. One of my dreams is to find a book I’ve written on a library bookshelf.
The last few weeks I’ve been borrowing books that have to do with sewing. I’m learning all kinds of little things. For example, I should always change the needle on the sewing machine when I start a new project. This is to make sure the needle is sharp and doesn’t damage the material. Reading these books makes me want to learn everything I can do with my Singer 5417C zigzag machine. I’ve previously done some appliqué work. But the library books have shown me that I need to consider the width of the stitch as well as the length of the stitch. Pondering this confusing new information reminds me of the first book I had to read about photography.
In the early 1980’s, I picked out a camera from the Sears & Roebuck catalogue: a 35mm metal camera with a changeable telescopic lens, a carrier bag, a flash attachment and a nice user’s manual. Now, being a novice, I didn’t realise that it was important to purchase a camera with a manually adjusted shutter. The camera purchased has an over-ride, which matches the shutter speed to the aperture setting. Thousands of photos are taken with this camera. In 2001 I took a photography class as a part of my requirements for a Bachelor in Arts degree in Fine Art. I get my camera out with excitement. I start reading the book on photography as required by the class. Confusion! There’s a section on adjusting the shutter speed. That can be done manually?! But I can’t do that on my camera. It has the automatic overdrive! I spoke to the instructor, who kindly lent me a Seagull Medium Format Camera to do all my assignments. I began to get an insight into how much more a photographer can achieve by understanding all the mechanisms on the camera are and how to use them.
Now, it’s 2011 and I’m once again baffled by the lack of detailed and specific instructions in the manual for my Singer Sewing machine. I would say that basically I’m an advanced beginner. I know how to read the back panel on a clothing pattern, how to lay it on the material and cut out all the required pieces. I’m pretty good about reading the instructions and following them with a decent, wearable result.
I’ve been reading blogs by women who make historical clothing, including corsets, ball gowns and day dresses from the Regency, Edwardian, Victorian and Medieval periods. I guess I am now realising that the only way to learn is to continue to try things, experimenting, reading more books and blogs. I will also access www.YouTube.com for other tutorials. I’ve learned that many times the best way to learn is to make lots of mistakes—because then I learn what not to do as well.
It’s a good thing the days are getting warmer. I opened the studio window tonight to take the photo of the opening buds on the tree outside. I pulled it so far, and then it would go no further. For some reason, the window broke. And therefore it is still open. I’ll have to close the studio door tonight, to keep the rest of the flat warm. The contractors who work for the counsel are coming tomorrow to look at it. Whilst that is frustrating, I did get a good photo.
One thing about an active imagination, it keeps a person curious and always yearning to learn more. That’s why I love libraries. Finding books to look at, study and evaluate from the library is a cost effective way of maximizing what is out there, and at the same time, not spending money on books that aren’t wanted. If a library book is particularly helpful, then a wise decision can be made to buy it. I hope you love libraries too.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith, “Lady Helene”