Friday, March 13, 2009

You know more than you think you know

People's minds are amazing. We have enormous storage capacity but not necessarily a good indexing and retrieval system. I was reminded of this while talking to my sister-in-law, a beginning quilter.

As she showed me some of her first projects, I gave her tips and recommendations on planning, calculating, cutting, designing and sewing. At one point, she said "How do you know all this?"

I don't know. . . I just, well, do.

Every time we read a quilting magazine or book, watch a television show or video, every time we look at a quilt display or cruise through our local quilt shop, we are gathering information. Some of it, we're maybe not even consciously aware of. Because we're interested in the subject, our brains grab onto new things and tuck them away for future reference.

It's the getting these facts back out to use that's the problem.


Judy H. said...

Even the retrieval process can be amazing. Many years ago, I worked at a yarn/cross-stitch store. Then, just a couple of weeks ago, I was at a big sewing and crafting show, sort of lingering at a cross-stitch booth. The vendors were very busy. Another woman was trying to figure out what size needle to buy, and I opened my mouth and out came all the questions and info I used to use, without me really thinking about it! I had forgotten that stuff was still in there!

Chris said...

I do so wish I didn't have to write down all my ideas to remember then. Sometimes I even forget to write them down when I walk from one room to the next.

julieQ said...

I just can't get to all that recessed information...especially if I am stressed. Then all the factoids I know stay hidden! Seriously, it is amazing how much we know and don't remember we know.

Kay said...

You're so right about this. And it's fascinating to hear other people's experiences with the same thing. What I find a bit scary is to look at something I did years ago (as I just did with embroidery) and realize that I have no idea how I did that, and have no memory of doing it. It's like another person did it. Some things must be really irretrievable.

Linda said...

You're so right. I have been teaching quilting for ten years. I have forgotten where I heard certain things or what reference book I got my info from but the info is still there. I'll be looking for one thing and find something I had given up finding a long time ago. I don't know where I heard this but here's some trash trivia: What you don't use, you lose. Your brain can only hold so much. When you learn one thing new, you forget something else only you don't know that you forgot it...Hmm, I was going to tell you some more but I don't remember them...Hugs, Linda