Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February's BOM, Dyslexia and Me

I did my first BOM on the last day in January!  So this month, I wanted to do things differently:  I finished my block yesterday.  I didn't procrastinate this month so I'm giving myself a "You Rock!"

This month's BOM is called "Jack the Ripper."  It's part of Kristy's (Quiet Play) BOM, "And Sew On..."  Kristy is all about paper piecing and so is this BOM.  I took an online hand stitched class from Rachel (Stitched in Color) and was introduced to English Paper Piecing (EPP).  When I was having trouble with that, she said that we could also make some of our blocks using paper piecing.  I had never tried it so of course I googled it and found plenty of help.  Now I'm hooked!
Jack the Ripper

I love seeing my two blocks side by side:

When I introduced myself on this blog, I mentioned that I have dyslexia.  It's a learning disorder that deals mostly with reading, writing and speaking.  Generally, it takes me five times longer to learn most things than someone who doesn't have dyslexia.  When I was growing up life was very hard for me in school.  I wasn't diagnosed until I went to college.  A professor at the local college spent many months helping me learn how to get around my disability.   More than anything else, he gave me HOPE!  He never let me give up on myself.  

So you can imagine that if it takes me five times longer to make this block than it takes an average person, you wonder why I do it.  Well,  I have perseverance!  I KNOW it will take me a long time to do anything and have learned to accept that about me.  For example, I have to read a pattern over and over to make sense of it.  I know I will have mistakes that I will have to either correct or accept.  I am very stubborn when I want to do anything.  I won't quit!

When I made this block, I spent two and a half hours just picking out my fabrics.  Then I read Kristy's blog article on how to piece this together.   I printed my pattern and cut it out.  I noticed that the image of the block in the PDF file was backwards to what the pattern printed out:

 So in the picture above, the top paper is how it printed out, the left is my pattern that I cut out and taped together to help me have a pattern with all my fabric choices written on it and the right paper is a mirror image of the top paper.  My brain has a hard time processing a reverse image.  When I cut out the pattern pieces  and tried putting them in order I was getting frustrated because my brain can't easily process it.   So I know I needed to reserve (flip) the image and then I was able to put the pattern pieces together.  Altogether, it took me about an hour and a half to do this,  something that would take the average person maybe 15 minutes.

Next step is to lay the fabric choices out the way the pattern looks:

Continuing onto construction:

Well, this is the only picture I have:

I can tell you it took me about 4 hours to sew it together!  I printed the pattern on recycled paper that had writing on it.  I wouldn't do that again!  First, it was very hard to see my fabric through the back to check my placement and then when I ironed it, the print rubbed off onto the iron and then the fabric.  VERY BAD!  When piecing the three parts together, I would recommend that you take your time!  You'll be spending a lot of time with your REAL seam ripper if you don't.

So all in all, I put about 8-10 hours into making this block.  For many people this would be totally unacceptable but for me it's the norm.  I accept this as a fact of life.  I always have a good laugh when I see an estimated time on a project.  I love sewing and that's why I do it.  I don't care about how much time it takes me.   I love that I can make something beautiful.  It's maybe even more beautiful because I know how hard it is for me.

Just to write this simple post, it's a two to three-hour process.  I would like to post it right now but I will wait until my husband is home to go over it with me.  Did I mention I have the most wonderful husband?  He sits down with me every weekend (he's only home on weekends) to go through all my writings.  He knows how hard writing is for me and we go through it together .  He doesn't change what I write, he just makes sure the reader will be able to understand what I write.  Although I understand that having dyslexia is genetic and isn't any fault of my own, it's embarrassing.  People put so much importance on how we write and speak.  I am constantly reminded of this when I read blogs about how people are turned off by bad grammar and such.  My co-workers often tease me about words I can't pronounce correctly or when I can't get my thoughts out coherently.   I know they mean nothing by the teasing, they say it's endearing but if they knew what it's like for me, I'm sure they wouldn't do it.    I have a job in radiology taking images of our bodies so I don't have to rely on writing to make a living. Thank God for that!  I write a few times a week. I do it because it is difficult for me and I'm always striving to improve.

Only two percent of people who have dyslexia graduate college.  I am so proud to be included in that number.  Dyslexia is a part of who I am.  It is my weakness but it's also my strength.  I have more patience than most people.  I go after I want no matter what.  I don't give up easily.  I have to "over-learn" everything in order to understand it. I accept imperfection and wished society didn't praise perfection so much.

If you know a child with dyslexia please tell them they can have success in their lives.  They can do anything they want; it will just take HARD WORK and a LOT OF TIME. They need to figure out what they are passionate about and go for it.  If they have passion, work hard, the rest will follow.  I have graduated college, have my pilot's license, sew, cook, hike, read all the time, have two wonderful sons,  I am married and make a good living as a radiographer.  I want them to know they can have a wonderful life.  Life is never dull for me.  I get to laugh a lot at how things turn out, e.g. fabric cut the wrong way (Oops! I know how to sew it back together!)  Lots to enjoy!


  1. This is a fabulous post! I admire your patience, diligence and good humor about the challenges you face. I'm glad I've found your blog! Caroline, aka lalinsocal

  2. Krásné věci, skvělá inspirace pro mě.

    === Wonderful things you are doing a beautiful inspiration for me!


  3. I always love reading your blog Kim. You have such a wonderful upbeat attitude and your lovely personality shines through your words!

    You have done a fabulous job on the second block - well done on perservering!! I'm glad you found a way that makes it a bit easier for you - and if there's something in my patterns I can change to help, please let me know! :)

  4. It looks great, fab colour choices! I haven't even started mine yet, but you have inspired me get going tonight!

  5. What a great post, my eyes are a little bit wet I think. Just 2 hours before I had shouted to my son (with dyslexia). He´s in puberty and he gave up studying a little bit last month. I made him to read your last paraghaph and we discussed about it. Thanks. Oh, and your block is great !!

  6. You are amazing! I will tell you that I have been doing paper piecing for quite some time and my mind was boggled when I got to the tiny parts of the the seam ripper and I also used my ACTUAL seam ripper quite a lot with this block. I had to keep flipping back and forth to see the lines and I just couldn't make it work in my brain. You did a great job!