Thursday, 30 August 2012

Inches or centimetres...

Here in Australia, I grew up using the imperial system for measurement. I began my Teacher training still using the imperial system for measuring length (inches, feet, yards) and left three years later, having to teach children measurement using the metric system (millimetres, centimetres, metres).

To this day, I still prefer the imperial system. When a baby is born and I'm told the weight in grams, I always have to ask, What's that in pounds? I have difficulty converting mass. And, although I can convert inches and centimetres when I need to, I have to think about it.

The only exception has been miles per hour and kilometres per hour. With a speedometer in miles per hour and road signs in kilimetres per hour, I learnt to convert very quickly!!!

On my blog, I use the imperial system for two reasons:-
  1. It's the one I naturally think in.
  2. I see it used a lot online.
My question to you is, which system would you prefer me to use? Are you happy with me just using imperial (inches), or would you prefer me to add cms as well... using my trusty tape measure?

... Pam

19 comments:

  1. Personally.. I am used to both, though when I studied we were taught the metric system .Now kind of used to convert inches to cm. Because after I started sewing this is the only conversion I needed to know.So its fine for me ;)

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  2. Definitely imperial, I have had to import all my rulers and cutting boards as they are all metric here and I am totally lost!

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  3. I learned in Imperial so it's generally what I'm most comfortable with. I think Canada went to metric in about '75 (so I was 13). I tend to convert metric to Imperial in my mind, but for fabric, I always think in metric! My rulers and cutting mats are in Imperial - I didn't even think about that until I read Celtic Thistle's post, lol. Apparently when it comes to fabric I can go back and forth between the two without even thinking about it! Not so much for cooking or driving though - then I have to do the calculations!

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  4. Oh, what an interesting and relevant issue!

    In Israel and in most of my school studies (math) we worked with the metric system. I know my height in cms, my speed in km/h, my apartment size in sqm... etc. When I sew clothes, centimeters are most convenient to me, partly because my tape measure is in cms but also because the guidelines for seam allowance on my sewing machine are in cms.

    BUT I found that I prefer inches for quilting!! First of all, books and tutorials use inches. My beautiful rotary cutter ruler is in inches. It is customary to use 1/4 inch seam allowance for patchwork (and I have a special presser foot for that). AND the good thing about inches is that it's easy to divide them in two! 1 inch, 1/2 inch, 1/4 inch, 1/8 inch... In cms, it's much harder after 1/2 cm - you start getting distracting fractions.

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  5. That's a tough one! Im used to the imperial system. However I believe the metric is the most logical. I wish the US would convert!

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  6. I am used to both systems - in the UK we were taught metric measurements at school, yet out in the real world everything sold by weight was measured in pounds and ounces and my height was measured in feet and inches! And of course milk and beer were sold in pints. Very confusing and, although things have supposedly changed to metric now, I think people are still clinging to the old measures. When I first moved to Germany in 1988 I had to adjust to buying things in grams / litres and of course driving using kilometres. When we went to Canada things were mostly metric with the odd throw back to the English system - I bought my quilting ruler over there and it is, of course, in inches!!

    I generally prefer to use the metric system now but I can cope with either (that said I know I need to lose 5 kilos but couldn't tell you how many pounds that is - possibly because that's a larger, scarier number!). I think you'll have a hard time pleasing everyone if you use just one or the other - if you have an international audience then maybe you need to give the equivalent measurements in both systems or use whichever you are most comfortable with and have a quick conversion table somewhere for reference.

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  7. I'm more accustomed to the Imperial system for general measuring but thanks to Ottobre Design, I'm also comfortable with metric. In fact, I consider 1 cm the perfect seam allowance!

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  8. I'm used to the metric system. I get really confused about the Imperial one, I see it used a lot online too, but if I see a tutorial using the metric one then it is absolutely my favourite.

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  9. I'm in a similar situation. I grew up with Imperial, but we have since converted to Metric. I actually use both equally and don't generally have a problem going back and forth between the two!

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  10. I grew up learning in metric, and get confused with imperial system used here in the U.S. But when I sew, I do not try to convert. Whether in metric or imperial, I just follow the patterns and instructions and do not convert...

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  11. Great post Pam! I grew up with both - I learnt to sew from my mum who uses imperial, but at school was taught metric. The UK was very slow to convert from imperial to metric, so I'm comfortable with both.
    When I first started posting tutorials I put all the measurements in metric, but gradually had people ask for conversions to imperial. Now I try to put both in my tutorials to keep everyone happy!

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  12. If I'm quilting its imperial all the way. Everything I do in metric!

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  13. I grew up in Israel, and was brought up with metrics, Than in the early 1970 we lived 2 years in Manchester UK, and i had to learn about inches, feet etc... was quite an adventure. In 1981-83 we lived 2 years in Boston USA, and i learned Weaving in in BU. My loom was bought in USA thus i have to calculate my Weaving width in inches.....It still fascinates me, but i can handle it.
    I also have a collection of knitting needles in European [mm] UK And USA [Inches] measurements... They say calculating is good for one`s health !!!
    mirjam

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  14. I totally feel with you! I just started blogging, and have been using inches on my blog, since that is what most readers are familiar with, but I definitely think in the metric system!

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  15. I was born in Uruguay, and in school and across the country we used the metric system, when I moved to Canada, 25 years ago, I had to learn the imperial. I actually use both equally but personally for everything related to sewing I like the imperial, do not ask me why.
    Marisa.

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  16. That's good news for me because I only know the imperial system! :)

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  17. Hi Pam, I am comfortable with either but prefer to see both!! Cheers, Karen

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  18. I grew up in a metric world. All day at work I work in centimetres and grams. Baking would have to be done in ounces, as would weight. People's height needs to be in feet and inches for me to understand and I have no idea what a kilometre is. I sew exclusively in inches and get frustrated with British magazines giving me centimetres, after all, all the quilting rulers and machine feet come in inches!

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  19. I grew up with imperial, changing to metric in my last year at school.
    For sewing either system works for me, I'll just follow directions, same with cooking although I prefer imperial for cooking because the numbers are just so much simpler and I can relate to 4 ounces of something rather whatever amount of grams it is. I always use imperial for height and body weight.

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