Again I Need Your Help . . . Metric or Imperial System?

First, I want to thank you for all the title suggestions and comments shared on my last blog.  There were 20 comments and ALL were very meaningful and helpful.  I think I have made the big decision, but will wait until closer to book release time to reveal the winner.  That also gives me a little leeway in case I change my mind again.

Sometimes it is the little things that prevent progress.  I have so few knowledgeable rya chums to bounce ideas off of, I come to you …and most of you I’ve never met.  But you are so helpful and important to me.

METRIC:  Throughout my book I have written all measurement in the Imperial system (inches, feet …) followed by the Metric system (cm and M)  in parentheses.  I know most of my customer base are from the USA and most slip into a catatonic state when I mention lengths in centimeters.  I majored in the biological sciences in college and always used the metric system, but even my USA-brain thinks in the Imperial system in daily communication.  The main problem is to list both in the book text every time I mention a length makes the sentence look unwieldy and is a little hard to read.  So do I use the Imperial system, metric, both, or put a conversion table in the appendix.  YOU may have a better idea. I think I know what needs to be done, but I’m looking for reassurance.  (Now you know how insecure I really am.)

I made this rya pillow when I was in 6th grade. It has been the dog pillow for my last 4 dogs.

Making Rya Pillows:  I have made dozens of rya rugs, but only one as a pillow.  I know how I did it, but it might not be the best way. I would like to share in my book a few different ways to turn your rya into a pillow.  I know several of you have done this.  How did you do it? What are the issues to consider. (My grandparents didn’t teach me everything!)

Hanging:  And another thing I am not an expert on: How do you hang a rya rug on the wall.  I have them hanging nicely all over my house, but is my way the best way?  More and more people are hanging their ryas as the fine art that it is.  Most figure out what works best for them and they just do it.  Now I am asking all of you who have adlibbed a hanging system to share it with me–and the world!

Some backings have a hollow hem into which a dowel can be slid.

A narrow sleeve can be sewn on your sewing machine then hand-stitched to the top of the backing for a hanging rod.

A couple of you have already shared your techniques with me, and I appreciate it.  Just thought I’d put out the call for multiple good ideas to be included in the book … I don’t want to have to write it again!

I guarantee there will be more questions in the coming weeks as I grapple with the most challenging paragraphs.  Thanks in advance.  Please share with others who have knowledge in these fields of interest.

Please respond below and we can get a conversation going.  You may not see you comments immediately, but check back later to see how the conversation is going. Many helpers make my work lighter.  And hopefully my book will will make your projects easier.

Cheers,  Melinda


11 thoughts on “Again I Need Your Help . . . Metric or Imperial System?

  1. I think an coversion table in the appendix would be a good idea. That way you don’t have to include both measurements each time throughout the book.

  2. Based on “most of my customer base are from the USA” then use Imperial with a table in the appendix. I wonder if you could make that part of the appendix a possible tear out to ease it for the rest of the world?

  3. Here’s another vote for the appendix and Debi’s idea of a tear-out sheet (or maybe a loose insert) is a good one. If I were to mount a hanging rya, I would first back it with a sturdy woven wool or linen fabric and then sew in a wide sleeve (4″/10cm for a big rya) to that and slip in a wide batten to carry the weight better. I’d use a heavy upholstery plain cotton and make it a true sleeve. That method distrbutes the weight and prevents the acidic wood from direct contact with the rya. I’d go with Faith for the pillow.

  4. Two more very good feedback comments to pull into the mix.
    From Laurie: “I would vote strongly for using the imperial system in the book with an appendix in the back for metric users. I would be completely thrown off by metric, and find that it would be very muddy to have it mixed in on the page. As a reader of probably hundreds of quilting books over the years, I have only seen imperial measurements used…”

    And from Karen: “I finished my piece and sent you a photo.
    I decided to hang mine for my own enjoyment of the piece. I too used a dowel through the hem, but I screwed small eye hooks into the dowel for my wire. Hangs very nicely.
    As for the metric question, my suggestion would be Imperial with metric in parentheses, as is done in most knitting patterns. It makes your figures truly international. Hope to meet you again. Best of luck with the book.”

    And this just in from Merete from Finland:
    “I hope to buy your book when it is released, and am as you know situated in Finland, so even though I am slightly familiar with inches, I really think it should be both imperial and metric. My little vote!”

    And from Mia in Sweden: “Personally I prefer the metric system, but since you write your book in English, perhaps inches are better. With a conversion table somewhere. Writing out both centimeters and inches can be too much. Tricky question! Not much help, I’m afraid. 😱😱😱””

    And from Joan: “I hope this reassures you – – use the Imperial system and put a conversion chart at the end of the book. Good luck with a great project.”

    And from Holly in New Hampshire: “I would do both Imperial & Metric. Many knitting patterns use both. Your book maybe a real hit in Europe & other places. (Your book WILL BE A BIG HIT)

    Hanging a rug…I would have the canvas longer & fold the top over making a tube then sew the edge onto the backside of the full canvas. (Does this make sense!)
    I would think that it would be more stable. I know doing the front of the tube will be a little difficult, but it can be done. This would make a cleaner edge, without causing ripples.

    Pillow, did you do both the front & back in rya? [I had a short wide backing. After knotting the whole thing I folded it in half over a pillow and stitched it shut on the top, side, and bottom…easy.]
    If so you can sew the sides together with same colour of the edge. Your needle would use the same holes & join the back & front cleaner.
    If the pillow is not Rya all around, then sew the front sides in but leave enough to reverse the pillow & complete the rest by hand sewing.

  5. And this just in from Polly in Ontario:

    I think you should write all the measurements in inches, feet…and put a conversion table in the appendix. The Canadians that I know think both “ways” even though fabric
    is always measured using the metric system. I agree with you that listing both is way too cumbersome.

    All my pillows are up at the cottage. I think I left about an inch border exposed on all 4 sides of the rya pillow. I laid the backing piece on top of the rya pillow with the good side facing the rya pillow. Then I machine sewed the sides (at the inside edge of the rya backing) leaving an opening. I flipped right side out, stuffed and hand sewed opening. A zipper could be added but I didn’t do this. I think my piece of fabric was larger than the rya pillow so the pillow would have some dimension. Sort of like making a regular pillow with the 5/8” seam…..

    I have always hung my ryas using a rod, turning and making a top hem if the backing didn’t have one – before starting to knot.

    I love the idea of a rya dog pillow. I am thinking that I want to use my left over yarn for a pillow….maybe I should make one for my Golden, Emma – she is not doing well health-wise and
    it may make us both feel better. 😉

    Continued good luck – you sound almost there!

  6. The consensus seems to be imperial with a conversion chart, but I’d like to make one more vote for including both in the text – maybe imperial with metric in parentheses. That’s not at all uncommon in fiber arts books (except maybe quilting, because of the 1/4 inch seam allowance tradition). It would be much easier for users in Europe and Asia to have metric handy.

    • Thanks, Rhee. It is a tough one, but I agree with you and have given this many hours of consideration. You are right on target with my plans. There is just one area in the book where we will be writing the paragraph twice–one time all in Imperial and one time all Metric. The rest of the book will be clear enough with both listed side by side. This book is intended for ALL to be able to read easily. Many thanks.

  7. I thank you all for your well-thought-out comments. Everyone of you made good points on the metric concern. I have decided that due to the international interest in keeping rya alive that I would keep both measurements in the text EXCEPT in the one area where it was really bothering me (and proof-readers). That area is being revised so reader can choose which text paragraph to read, but it is just one page. The rest really is fine with both listed. Everyone really wants to find their preferred measurement units as they read, so to make many people have to flip back to the appendix often made me feel like I’d be discriminating against one whole group of readers or the other. I think we have figured out the best solution for easy readability for all. Your comments here and emails have been very helpful.

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