No day without a line

9 Nov

‘Remember the painter’s advice to his pupils: Nulla dies sin linea – No day without a line. Nothing is of greater importance than practise.’

From ‘The Manual and theory of Classical Theatrical Dancing (Cecchetti Method)’ by Cyril W Beaumont and Stanislas Idzikowske.

I’m studying for my Ballet teaching qualifications in the Cecchetti school of classical ballet, hence reading ‘The Manual’ as it is affectionately known. The quote got me thinking about all the lines in my life – lines of singing; a line of violin music, the line of the strings and the lines of the bow; a line of written music. Lines of the body in dancing. Lines of dancing interwoven with lines of music. Thousands and thousands of lines of writing and reading.

Oh wait, this is a sewing blog! A line of stitching, a line of pattern, a line of cutting and of course, the inescapable – lines of unpicking ;-P

But the quote is also about practise, and practise is a habit as much as anything else. I’m so out of the habit of blogging about my sewing. I’ve been concentrating so hard on my dance teaching and study this year that the sewing blogging’s fallen by the wayside, especially with the grief of losing Hattie and the strong association she had with my sewing blogging. You know, it’s been over a year, and finally in the past month or so I’ve been able to look at a photo of her without curling up in hurt. So I’m going to celebrate this with a picture of her! Look at her dear little face! And her skull and crossbones name tag, which suited her personality so well!


Ok, that’s all I can tolerate for the moment. Moving on hastily … I also started a ballet blog. It was supposed to be the ‘landing page’ for my dance teaching, but in reality the facebook page does that job.

It’s a lot of work to upkeep 2 blogs and one facebook page. I’ve been contemplating closing down the sewing blog and concentrating on the ballet blog. Or vice versa? Lots of lines of thought about my different options!

But all those lines of thought brought me back to the reason I started this blog. I loved reading about other people’s experience of sewing – why they sew what they sew, what challenges they have, how they solved them. And my favourite, the piccies of the outcomes. I wanted to give something back to the online sewing community that I’d gotten so much from. I think these reasons still stand. I might, however, focus more on the whys than the whats though. Just change my focus a tad, see if that is more to my liking.

And getting back to the lines in my life, and the habit of practise, keeping a blog is as much a habit as anything else. I’m going to work to get back into the habit of posting. I’ll aim for once a fortnight. If that’s a bit much I’ll try for every 3 weeks.

As for my ballet blog, while I’m working through what to do with this blog, I also want to work out what I’m doing with my ballet blog. The next few paragraphs aren’t about sewing ok? You’ve been warned 😛 But if anyone has any input about blogs, or online business presence – or even dance writing(!) – I’d love to hear 🙂

Since the blog isn’t doing the job I started it for, do I continue with it? I don’t really know what I want to say through it. I don’t want to write ‘how to do ballet’ stuff. The internet is stuffed with social media covering that. *pfft* No need for me to re-invent the wheel.
I had intended to explore ballet photography, but it hasn’t worked. My phone camera is extremely limiting and I don’t have enough $$ to buy a decent camera. My students aren’t keen on having their pictures taken. I can take pictures of me but … There’s a limit to what I want to put online. Me in clothes I’ve sewn doesn’t seem to worry me. But the dance stuff…? There’s … well, what’s out there is so ‘perfect’, with almost no normal everyday imperfect photos Sewing blogs quite a strong culture of being straightforward and honest about your sewing experiences and your body.
With ballet, I fear that anything I post that’s not ‘perfect’ will open myself up to the vitriol that is out there on the internet, especially against women. It feels like the equivalent of putting online photos of the lingerie you’ve made yourself, ON yourself, with your face clearly showing. In spite of the culture of honesty, most sewing bloggers aren’t prepared to do that. I suspect that’s also why my students aren’t keen on having their photos taken and put on my blog. Essentially, we don’t feel safe enough to put such incredibly personal images of ourselves and our bodies online.

What use then for my ballet blog? Every so often I find something I want to explore. Like the concept of lines. And the concept of the different lines of writing-style between the authors of the different textbooks, which would be my next post if I continue the blog. Then there are just more fun things out there. The more light-hearted side of dance.

There’s also fair bit of crossover between the two blogs. I’m doing a lot of sewing of dance gear. For eg, I chopped up a too-small leotard and added a skirt and cute sleevy-things out of ‘dry knit’ from Spotlight, to create an as-yet unblogged-about ballet-teaching dress. When mum my Reluctant Photographer took photos for this blog she snapped this shot which I think of as my Degas photo. That slight rounding of the shoulders and upper back of a dancer ‘off-duty’, expressive of the fatigue from working so hard is a … well, a line (!) of body I see often in ballet classes. I love how Degas captures the realities of dance. I love how mum captured that in my own stance. Definitely a crossover of concepts between dance and sewing there!

The Ballet Rehearsal on Stage - Edgar Degas -


So maybe I do have things to say on a ballet blog. Just not a huge amount. With my sewing blog there has been plenty of times where I’ve averaged one post a month. I figure that would be just fine for my ballet blog too. Having a goal is always helpful.

We’ll see, I guess.

4 Responses to “No day without a line”

  1. thenaughtybun November 20, 2016 at 12:46 am #

    Just homing in on one thing here: Hattie. I just lost my own queen, Semiramis, after 19.5 years, so I know the pain. But, have you considered that she might still be there in all ways but physical? I’ve stopped chastising myself and telling me I need to get a grip – she’s dead, dammit – and instead I’ve started to welcome the feelings I have of her being near. No more physical cuddles, but I definitely get them in spirit. And she still stays close wherever I am, like she used to. Maybe Hattie still wants to be your sewing muse, too?


    • Tropical Threads November 21, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

      I’m sorry you lost your Semiramis – what a lovely name! It’s so hard to go through, isn’t it. Thankyou so much for your comment.

      I am sure I see her sometimes out of the corner of my eye, then I turn fully and see it’s just a shadow. But the feeling of her being close remains. It’s only been in the past few months though, that that’s been happening. For that first year anything to do with her was just too painful.

      You know something interesting about her still being my sewing muse? My new cat, Ma’at, won’t sit on the sewing table in the area Hattie used to sit. She sits behind the machine, or on the chair behind me, or the window sill beside me. But never in the corner that was always Hattie’s.

      So maybe she still is my sewing muse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • thenaughtybun November 21, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

        I think she is! And you know, out of the corner of your eye – that’s where some say you see behind the veil. So maybe not just a shadow? I think animals are more cross-boundary-able than us humans. We think too much. Maybe you goddess Ma’at sees Hattie in that place?
        My main approach in these matters is “why not?” As long as you’re not putting yourself or others in danger I see no harm in believing our beloved departed stay close in spirit. Far from it.


      • Tropical Threads November 21, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

        Possibly she is. Although I do remember when Ma’at was a kitten she gave that space a very thorough sniff and decided it would be better left alone. Not just that, but other things she sniffed, she obviously was trying to work out where the other cat was (ie Hattie, we had an orange cat as well who is now great friends with Ma’at). But she never eventuated and Ma’at accepted the smells as a normal part of her world.
        So there might be some very corporeal reasons why Ma’at doesn’t sit there, even now! But perhaps something else too, why not indeed…

        Liked by 1 person

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