Thanks, it's all ok now. I'm not connecting curves to the live poly, I'm drawing them on it to get the shape for the patches outline curves (using nurbs>square) and its working fine.
Basically I create a rough outline of the model using nurbs primitives, which I tweak to get the surface as good as I can. Then I convert them all to poly objects, and just combine them into a single object (no further tweaking). I then make the poly live, and draw patch outlines on the surface with EP curves. Some of the nurbs primitives from the original outline I may keep, rebuild for uniformity, and use their boundary isoparms for some of the patches.
My problem was that when I dragged the curves edit points they were not clicking to the live surface, because I wasn't dragging them with the middle mouse button. Heyho
Anyway, this method is working pretty well for me, surface origin direction permitting (hair pulling, teeth gnashing moments here and there as you'ld expect).
The reasons I'm not using a NURBS live object and I've added a poly phase are:
Firstly the curves attach to one a little too well, and I dont want them following the outline of the primitives exactly, just to get from point A to B, roughly. The other main reason is you can't combine NURBS a la Polys you can only attach which would add a helluva lot of time to this process to get everything aligned and nice. It could be done, but would mean making one NURBS shape not live and then another live as I draw a curve over a boundary between each of them which would prolly push me off the cliff of patience
Agreed though. Patches are the best way for accuracy, and knowing your model. I can predict how it'll behave and how it'll convert. It can be very time consuming, but I can see the rewards further down the line.
I hope I've explained it now, I know it may seem weird, but I find shaping organic model surfaces using Polys and even Subds horrifyingly unpredictable and iffy. This I guess is because I don't yet have a 'feel' for the kind of topology and outlining curve shape I'm going to get out of extruded and rotated polys. Honestly, I don't get how people can build something like a torso with polys when I find I can knock one together with a few curves running its entire length rapidly rather than tweaking and splitting a poly. Hopefully, as I get more into polys (which I use for appendages from my initial patched nurbs models) I'll find other things I can do, prefer in the poly phase.
I saw this http://www.3dm-mc.com/tutorials/maya/dobby/
though and went OMFG!!! not a method I can wrap my head around