Sewing to fight the Cold

In honor of the frigid temperatures we have been experiencing lately, I decided I would tackle sewing some reusable hand warmers.

Before I was ready to tackle this project I needed to practice sewing straight lines. Unlike the bag I sewed last week, the seams in the hand warmers are visible and therefore I wanted them to look nice and straight.

For help with this mission, I turned to the great wide web. I found this video by crafty amy.  I am assuming from some of the things she says that she has taken a sewing course. I didn’t end up watching the whole video because she was a little redundant but she does have some good tips on how to sew straight. One of the things she said completely revolutionized my technique. Apparently, it is really important to not look at the needle as that can be dizzying. Instead, you look at the  “foot” or watch where your fabric lines up with the machine.

She had a couple of challenges that she demonstrated how to complete.

The first was to make several parallel lines ever ¼ inch down the fabric.

Here is my attempt:

I am wishing that I could have used a different color thread so that my stitches would have shown up a bit better on the light fabric.

 

As you can see,  the seams started off fairly crooked but by the end, I was sewing a reasonably straight line. I did not worry too much about the distance between lines. That might be my next challenge.

 

The next challenge was to make a spiral like this. The trick to this was to have the needle down at the corners, lift the foot pedal and turn the fabric ninety degrees. Then you put the foot pedal down and started sewing again. An important thing she should us in the video was how to back up. This was important and I used it a lot because it is hard to judge how far you need to sew before turning.

Here is my attempt at this challenge-

I was sewing fairly straight but again it was very hard to keep the right distance. That is something I will definitely need to work on.

 

When I got bored with sewing lines on a single piece of fabric, I decided to start sewing hand warmers.

 

I used this tutorial to start. The tutorial included mostly pictures and a few words but it was still easy enough to follow. The pattern called for me to sew the two sides together, leaving a space and then pulling the fabric through that hole. Then I filled the warmer with rice and I was supposed to sew around the entire square leaving a seam. I couldn’t fit all that so I ended up only sewing two sides.

Then I made this warmer. I used a different pattern this time. I also changed it up a bit as I cut 5” squares instead of 3” squares because I wanted a bigger

I am happy with how they turned out and I think if I hadn’t run out of rice I would still be mass producing them. Hopefully, they help me stay warm this week!

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A Time Waster that’s Worth My Time

I am a notorious procrastinator and an expert time waster. When I should be writing or reading or applying for jobs, I spend hours on Facebook. This week I found myself using Feebly as my chosen method of distraction. It was so easy to scroll through a feed and get immediate access to interesting blogs and articles related to what I’m interested in. So even though I”m stilling procrastinating, I feel less guilty as I’m wasting time by gaining new pertinent information.

When I  chose content to follow I might have gone a little overboard. Basically, I looked at the education category and followed the first 30 that came up. Then because I am also passionate about  Agriculture, I went to that category and added some sites that I recognized or looked interesting.

Over the next many days I then started unfollowing the sites that just weren’t for me. For example, this site got unfollowed when it asked me a few times to register to finish an article.

This was one of the sources that got cut.

It maybe wasn’t the most effective way to build my feedly feed but it allowed me to look at many different resources and really start to form my “feedly identity.” I found it easy to unfollow things when I already had so many articles to read. It also really helped me find sources that I really enjoyed.

For example,  Education Technology. I am really enjoying reading the practical and easy to use sources and tutorials that could be used to integrate into any classroom.

This was one of the sources I have really enjoyed. I really love being able to browse this articles on my iphone wherever I am.

 

I was really excited to find Cool Cat Teacher on feedly as well. She has a  I am a dedicated listener to her weekly “10 minute teacher” podcasts. I enjoy her podcasts as they are quick and easy to listen to without a huge time commitment but they are also filled with interesting and useful tips and strategies. I was really looking forward to seeing some written work from her. Unfortunately, so far the posts from her site are just links to her podcasts.

 

On the upside, I also found the Cult of Pedagogy. This is another podcast I love to listen because it is full of inspiration and teaching strategies. The cool thing about this one is they are posting the written word that I can read on Feedly. Sometimes it is related to the podcast of the week, sometimes it is something completely new. It’s fun to get to access their worlds through two different methods. I am, of course, really enjoying Feedly and the easy access to relevant information. However, I still need to get my other work done so I am going to have to try to start finding a balance.

But first, I’ll just read one more article.

I’m sewing! Kind of. . .

This Sunday,  I applied all the research I did last week and bought myself a sewing machine. While at Walmart,  I also bought replacement sewing needles, pins, a seam ripper and some fabric.

I brought it home, opened it up and. . . . spent several hours reading the instruction manuals.

A video tutorial by Brother really helped me put the machine together and get started.

My funny story- I knew enough about sewing machines to know that the machine has a foot pedal and that runs the machine. When I was researching machines to buy they kept advertising different feet that let you do different stitches. I just assumed they meant the machine comes with many foot pedal things and I wasn’t sure how that worked but they made different kinds of stitches. Turns out sewing machine feet are something completely different!

 

After I finished assembling the machine, watching the videos and

I started with a test piece- I used two small squares and had plans to sew them together. This little project took me over an hour.

First attempt at sewing! This took me over an hour!

Everytime I tried to sew it would bunch up the thread on the bottom and stop moving. So I would cut it out and try to re thread the bottom thread, watch another video and try again. After much trial and error I finally found a troubleshooting site that gave me the wisdom I needed. Turns out I threaded the top string incorrectly. Apparently, you can’t just go from 3 to 5, you actually have to find the number 4 and thread through there too. Who knew?!

 

Anyway, with the machine threaded properly sewing my little square turned out to be a breeze and I felt like I was ready to tackle something slightly harder. I hit up Pinterest looking for something I could make with a fat quarter of fabric. I came across this post by  Diary of a Quilter and somehow convinced myself that creating a bag would be an easy and appropriate first project.

Luckily the picture tutorial was really straightforward and easy to follow. I still had to do some seam ripping and my sewing line isn’t extraordinary straight. Yet, by 1 AM I had completed this bag:

I am fairly happy with how it turned out and am really excited to keep trying projects. So if you need me I will be on Pinterest searching for beginner sewing projects!

Miskawsowin- The Gap

I grew up in the Big Muddy Badlands in Southern Saskatchewan. The beautiful land is rich in history that has been shared with me through various tours, oral stories, and written histories. I have also been able to share the stories through my own tours.

My parents’ ranch is full of teepee rings and other First Nations artefacts. In the north pastures, we can see remains of summer camps. They have teepee rings in circles. In one particular place, the rings surrounded a pile of rocks that turned out to be an oven filled with tools. In the southern pastures, in the valleys, we find winter camps with double teepee rings indicative of the use of two canvases. My community also has a buffalo jump, a turtle effigy and a buffalo effigy which are common tourist attractions.

We talk lots about the First Nations people who occupied the land we now live on and we have made educated guesses on how they lived. However, we still do not know much about them. For example, I do not know the bands or the linguistic categories of the first nations people who lived there.

When we talk about the history of the area, there is a large gap in the stories. We talk about the First Nations people from time immemorial. Then we talk about the outlaws and the first pioneers. We do not talk about colonization.

There are currently no First Nations within two hundred kilometers from my home. In fact, there are only one or two people who identify as indigenous in our community. Yet we do not discuss what happened to the First Nations people who lived there for centuries before us.

My visual

My visual represents the gap I feel in the history of my community. I have asked a few people from home and they are noticing that gap even in their education.  

The left side represents the time before colonization. The right side represents the history The white space represents the parts we do not talk about.

I would like to think of myself, as a future educator, I can be the bridge between this gap. I would like to learn enough about the local history and about the treaties so that I am able to fill this gap in our stories. I do realize that will take a lot of work and will not be comfortable, but it is necessary.

My new outlook on blogging

Hi! My name is Shyla Froshaug and I am very excited to be taking this course and to be learning more about educational technology. I am in the last semester of my degree and recently finished my internship. During my teaching experience, I used the smartboard frequently, incorporated some online research into some of my classes and actually had the opportunity to introduce my grade 5s to powerpoint. I couldn’t help feeling like I was missing out on opportunities that more interactive technology would allow me to give my students. However, I was overwhelmed by everything else I was learning about being a teacher and so stuck with what I was already comfortable with. I really enjoy using technology (when it works for me). I am excited to explore what technology I could use in my practice, now that I am getting a chance to slow down, step back and do a little more reflecting and learning before diving into teaching full time. I have decided to start the technology exploration by finally digitizing my portfolio. I am hoping this will be advantageous to me as I start the job application process.

I have a little experience blogging as requirements for different classes. I won’t lie. I find blogging intimidating. I think it’s because it is a) very public and b) kinda permanent.

My sister and I on our way to the University of Regina for my first year of university. I have changed so much since then!

So far in my education career, I have found that my beliefs about education and about society are constantly evolving. So I don’t love when I google my name and something I wrote several evolutions ago comes up.

“I often read old blog posts and think “ Did I really write that? Why?”

But here is where things get a little complicated for me. The exact reasons blogging isn’t my favorite thing are the same reasons I really like blogging.  The fact that blogging is permanent and public are also huge advantages. It’s neat to be able to interact with colleagues and be able to take up course topics with classmates in a deep, meaningful way through my computer (and while sitting in my Pajamas). And if I am completely honest, it is also neat to read those old posts and really face how much I have learned, grown and changed throughout this process.

So I am making a commitment now to change my mindset, choose to look at the positives and give blogging another chance.

If they can do it, sew can I!

I am going to take this project as an excuse to finally learn how to sew! I have always wanted to learn but was intimidated by the prospect.

As a Christmas present, I received a beautiful handmade drawstring from a student who has been taking sewing lessons from a community member. I decided then that if she can do, I can too! I told myself that someday, when I have the spare time,  I was going to commit to learning how to sew. So this project kind of seems like fate! It is the perfect excuse to make the time now.  

I am excited to finally try to learn this craft, but I do have a few concerns about this undertaking.

  1. Expenses- I have been a full time student for 4 years now, so it is not surprising that I do not have a whole lot of wiggle room in my budget for starting a new hobby. Sewing requires a lot of initial supplies, Including a sewing machine, and it also requires lots of fabric for every project you tackle.Solution: My mom has agreed to buy me a sewing machine with the understanding that I will eventually make her window curtains for the house. Instead of buying new fabric to start with, (and mess up on) I have plans to “upcycle” old clothes. I have raided second-hand stores and mom’s rag pile for useable
  2. Time- Another side-effect of being a student is that I never feel like that I have enough time for extra things, like learning to sew. It’s hard for me to make the time forSolution: I have added sewing time to my “official” schedule on the wall and I plan to stick to this
  3. Obsession- This concern goes hand in hand with the time concert. Last year, I taught myself how to crochet, and I became obsessed. I was staying up all hours of the night to finish projects. Everywhere I went I took my crocheting bag with me. If I wasn’t physically crocheting then I was pinteresting new ideas. It got to the point that it had dominated my life in a borderline unhealthy way. I had to put my crocheting things away before my internship to make sure that I would not get distracted by the temptations again. I am worried my new hobby will have the same effect on me, and honestly, I do not have the time to become consumed by sewing right now.  Solution: I have scheduled time for sewing into my official schedule and I plan to limit myself to only sewing during those times.

The first big obstacle I need to address is the fact that I do not own a sewing machine. I have done some research, browsed manuals, read reviews and watched videos. The problem with trying to buy a machine you have never used is a lot of the jargon they use to describe the machine goes right over your head.

“14 unique built-in stitches with one 4-step auto-size buttonhole” Is that a lot of stitches? Too many stitches? Not enough? When do you use an auto-size buttonhole?  

So I have had to do a lot of just researching about what a beginner sewing machine needs.

I have finally chosen this machine. It is reviewed well for a beginner sewing as it is simple, easy to use, transportable, and small enough to fit into my dorm room. It is one of the more cost efficient machines I have found and best of all my local Walmart sells it making it easy to buy and start using immediately.

Projects and Goals

I am going to tackle many small projects to start with. Hopefully, this will give me some chances to experiment with different technique.

My goal is to sew for 5 hours every week and hopefully finish about one small project per week or one larger project per two weeks.

As far as a final culminating project goes, I haven’t picked one. I feel like I need to get a feel about what is realistic before I make any plans.

Stay tuned to see if I really accomplish my sewing goals this semester!

Miskasowin: Naming Myself

“Hello! I’m Shyla Froshaug and I’m from a Big Beaver, Saskatchewan.”

This is the scripted line I have nervously recited to introduce myself. The line I have nervously rehearsed in my head preparing for my turn on that dreaded first day of class introductions. I have even learned how to recite this line in Cree to introduce myself in my Cree language classes.

 

Tansi! Shyla Froshaug e-isiyihkasoyan. Big Beaver niya ohchi.

 

This is the line I have used to name myself. The hardest part is waiting for my turn to introduce myself and hoping I will not jumble my words and mess it up. The most complex part is the fact I technically live equal distance from two small towns and therefore have to decide whether I am from Minton or Big Beaver.

Easy!

Except maybe it isn’t that easy.

I have started to understand that a side effect of my privilege is that I am afforded the flexibility to not recognize parts of my identity. Huge segments that make me who I am have gone unnamed. In the book Indigenous Write, Vowel (2016) points out “ there really are no . . . terms with which to refer to the “non-indigenous peoples living in Canada who are from the European-descended socio-political majority” (14). This, of course, represents me, and before being exposed to different minority groups and discussions of equality, I had not realized that I needed a term to define my identity in this way.

 

So let me try that again

 

“Hello! My name is Shyla Froshaug. I am a cisgender,  female, heterosexual, treaty 4 resident, white, settler descendant from Big Beaver, Saskatchewan.

 

There are a few issues with this version of my introduction. First of all, I don’t like saying the ten words from my original introduction! There is no way I would confidently say all of that without eating my tongue!

Second, these words that are meant to identify me, make me feel guilty. I feel guilty that I did not know what cisgender meant until very recently. I feel guilty that as a capable woman I have chosen a career that is dominated by females instead of branching out into one of the many occupations I would have been a minority in. I feel guilt over the dark history that was dominated by my white and settler ancestors. I feel guilty that as a treaty 4 person occupying treaty 4 land I am getting so many benefits from the treaties while making no sacrifices.

Third, every time I list these terms I wonder what I am forgetting. What part of my identity am I continuing to leave unnamed?

 

Miskasowin 

“finding one’s sense of origin and belonging, finding one’s sense or finding one’s centre”

My initial reaction to this concept is I already know who I am and where I come from.

I am Shyla Froshaug from Big Beaver, Saskatchewan. I am a 6th generation Canadian, a multi-generation rancher, and a 5th generation school teacher. I grew up on my great-grandfather’s ranch, and then my parents’ ranch in the Big Muddy in Southern Saskatchewan. My parents, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents all grew up in the community surrounding Glentworth, Saskatchewan.  

My great-great-grandparents were immigrants. They all moved to Southern Saskatchewan during the 1910s to homestead as per the Dominion Land’s Act. They were coming to “fill empty land” and for the opportunities to own land and better their lives and the lives of their descendants.

The majority of my great-grandparents moved from the United States. However, I did have some grandparents come right from Norway and Germany.

My great-grandfather, Boyd Anderson, wrote an autobiography the year before I was born. From his oral stories and from his novel, he has left us plenty of information about our family history. I also have had  the privilege of getting to know all of my great-grandparents and therefore have been able to learn a lot about where I have come from. 

However, what has never been discussed is the treaty relations that allowed my family to own land and settle in Canada.

So that is where I would like my Miskasowin to lead me. I feel like I need to learn more about the treaty relations that have shaped me and how being a treaty person impacts me and my identity.

My commitments for this semester are as follows

  1. I am prepared to be vulnerable
  2. I am prepared to look at the stories that define me through different lenses.
  3. I will work towards embracing all parts of my identity without guilt.

 

Something Vowel (2016) said on page 8 of Indigenous Writes that spoke to me was “ Names are linked to identity and notions of identity are fluid.” Already in my 21 years of life, my identity has changed multiple times as I have grown, developed and learned more about who I am. I am prepared for this class and for life in general to continue to help shift my identity.

My name is Shyla Froshaug and while I am from Big Beaver, Saskatchewan, I don’t really know what that means historically. I am ready to learn more about who I am and where I am from.

Summary of My Learning

https://goanimate.com/videos/0gCTKOZatzNo?utm_source=linkshare&utm_medium=linkshare&utm_campaign=usercontent

This video summarizes the evolution of my ideologies about Curriculum. In this video I have compared my assumptions about Curriculum to a building. At first my building was small but sturdy. Throughout the semester my building has gone through many challenges that has eventually caused it to collapse. From the leftovers of my old building and from the new things I have learned about curriculum I was able to rebuild a bigger more complex building. However, this new building has been built on a very shaky foundation as I have many unanswerable questions and many conflicting feelings about curriculum. I fully expect that this building will also collapse and I will be able to rebuild yet again. I believe that throughout my lifetime I will continuously have my beliefs as an educator challenged and my assumptions will be continuously evolving as a result.

Curriculum as Numeracy

I have always loved Mathematics. It was my favorite subject for most of my school career. I loved the puzzle that was math and I craved the feeling of solving math problems whether it was addition in 1st grade or quadratic equations in high school. However, I think part of why I loved math was I was told from an early age that I was good at it. Thinking back, my class was divided into those that were good at math and those that were not. This division happened by grade two and held strong throughout my school career. The students that were not good in math in Grade Two were not good in math in Grade Twelve. After listening to Gail’s presentation and her belief that we are all mathematical, I wonder if my classmates were really not good at math or did they struggle because they had the belief early on that they were mathematically inclined.

This week’s article was interesting as it demonstrated that there is different ways to think about math. One of the key features of math that I was taught was there was only one correct way to do it and only one correct answer to a question. This article about teaching mathematics in an Inuit community challenged that assumption. I found it interesting to think about using base 20 system instead of a base 10 because that changes the way that I look at math, and challenges the idea that there was one way to count. It is also interesting to note that the Inuits have about three words for every number depending on the situation. It is interesting to think that numbers and our view on numbers changes depending on the context.

The Dangers of a Single Story

I’ve had a scary thought this week as I realized I have never thought about the single story I have been told. Thinking back to my schooling I realize that I absolutely was only told one story. In English class we read stories written by white, upper-class men. In math class we learned the same formulas created by old, white men. In Science, we learned the Western ideologies about scientific method and logic. In history we learned the colonial story of how Canada was created. I didn’t even have the benefit of Treaty Education to add another story to my experiences. I was never told that there was another way to look at these subjects. I was never told that there was any other stories.

This weeks discussion has also made me think about how lucky I have been to have been able to see myself in the literature and media I have been exposed to. I am not only well represented but I am positively represented. There is no shortage of female protagonists with blonde hair and blue eyes. And the characters that look like me are very rarely the “bad” guys. This is something I have hardly ever thought about before this semester, but it is something that I am glad has been brought to my attention. How would my self-image have been affected if I never read books that I could identify with? Or worse, how would I have been affected if the only characters that looked like me or had my story were villains?

 

My childhood has given me the story of invisible privilege and has encouraged me  to read my world through this lense. My parents were very concerned with raising responsible, kind, compassionate children. My teachers seemed to have  the  same goal. Therefore, I heard an uncountable times that all people are equal. It was never brought to my attention that other people’s experiences in the world would be different than mine. My childhood was not particularly diverse and therefore I really only heard one story about people who were different then me. And that story did not come from people with diversity. Instead, I learned the stereotypes of many groups in my society. Many of these stereotypes are not positive.
Luckily for me, I have continued my education to postsecondary where I have been told many more stories.  I am being taught how to question the single story I have been told. I think the biggest “take-away” I got from this week’s article was the importance of questioning. Questioning the story, whose story is it, what does it allow, what doesn’t it allow, who is oppressed by it; who benefits from it? The key isn’t to silence any story, but to question it and listen to other stories. Because there is never just one story and listening to only one story is what gets us into trouble.