Friday, July 27, 2012


I am not a math person. In fact I would say it is safe to say I hate math. I think it is also safe to say I am really really bad at math. Seriously if there is not a calculator handy, I find most basic math to be complicated. I am not ashamed of this. It is just a fact. I suck at math.

This has been a constant through my entire life. Considering I am well aware of my math shortcomings I have always avoided anything that has to do with numbers. I avoided sciences like chemistry since they are pretty math intensive and stuck with things like physiology and anatomy where the most math I had to do was count the number of ribs in the cat I was dissecting.

I took remedial math in college because I failed the state mandated test, and it took me five tries to pass the first section of it. This wasn't all my fault though. Remedial math was taught by grad students and teachers who didn't speak English, so it wasn't a strong learning environment. Once I got out of that I took math and Society which taught me how to balance my checkbook.

We will pretend for now that math doesn't actually play a vital role in sewing, because in my world it doesn't. Alright so there is a lot of geometry in sewing and patterning, however I don't consider that real math. Don't get me wrong, it is real math, but I don't use it like you are supposed to.

Geometry was the only math class I ever took that I got an A in. Oddly I never got any correct answer by solving the problem the way the book said I should. My teacher was convinced I was cheating so she would give me my tests when I was alone in the room, sitting next to her, and she would make up the questions on the spot. I would get the correct answer each time, though I couldn't really explain why. Even though the entire point of geometry is to use the theorems that are in the books, she decided I was some sort of geometry phenom and passed me with a look of awe.

So yes I still use my own weird variety of geometry in order to sew, but I doubt it would make sense to anyone with any math knowledge in the least. So again we go back to pretending like math isn't a vital part of sewing, because my brain just doesn't work that way.

Now with me saying so emphatically that I hate math you would not expect for me to say that I love sudoku. The fact is though that I love sudoku. I play probably an hour or more of sudoku every single day. Sudoku is my go to time killer while I am at work. I play it, I love it, and I am really good at it.

How is this possible? Sudoku is a bunch of numbers isn't it? Well yes it is, and that is a very astute observation you just made there. The thing is though it has nothing to do with math. I know I thought for the longest time it was a math thing, but once I tried it I realized that the numbers are just the simplest object to use in the game.

The game isn't about math or even numbers really, it is about patterns. I might hate math, but I love patterns. I am the type of person that can find a pattern and just fall into it. I love doing things that involve patterns. I will make my own patterns where none exist. Things that other people find monotonous and boring because it is a repetitive pattern, I find soothing and peaceful.

I actually think my love of patterns is why I love certain aspects of sewing. Serging material is about as dull and monotonous as it gets, but I love doing it. I love just feeding yard after yard of material through the serger. I love making seams for the same reason. I know most of my seamstress friends are thinking I am insane right now, but I can't help it.

For years I avoided sudoku for the simple reason that I thought it was math. One day I was bored and there was a sudoku puzzle, so I decided to give it a go. The next thing I knew I had breezed through and entire book. I find that only the hard puzzles or advanced or expert or whatever you want to call them actually pose a challenge for me.

I will play for hours and just get lost in the patterns. I don't think too much about the game itself, it is more of an automatic thing for me. Instead I let my mind wander as it pleases. It is my zen like moment if you will.

Some people do yoga to center themselves, I play sudoku. Everyone needs something to keep them calm and sane. I just find my peace in the patterns.

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