reblog + reflect: stashing & minimalism

This weekend, I was away from home and didn't have an easy knitting project to take with me on short notice, so I appeased my crafty mind by catching up on sewing blogs on my phone. One blog series that really spoke to me was the Craft Sessions Stash Less project.

If you are interested in mindfulness, minimalism, and getting more joy out of your making materials, this is a great series.  It explores a lot of inner motivations on why we stash away materials and how to be more thoughtful and intelligent about what we are doing - while leaving room for fun, spontaneity, and whimsy.

I intend to work through some of the thought processes that the author, Felicia, outlines.  There are some great exercises on examining why we do what we do. A big take-away on stashing is something she nicknames FOMA - fear of missing out.

I do this a lot - on sale items and one-of-a-kind vintage and thrift fabrics, yarns, and other notions that strike my fancy.  In this period of scaling back on shopping for all things fiber-related (from readymade clothes, to yarn & fabric) I have struggled with this a bit. To combat this fear cropping up, I've just unplugged from my "promotions" queue in my gmail and focused more on planning to use what I have to get through the feeling of missing out.

Another thing that comes up in the series and the comments (FYI: be sure to read all the comments on these - they are really interesting and people get really involved in reflecting on the same things as the author and providing additional insights) is emotional impulse buying.  One reader mentioned that she gives herself permission to stash impulsively after visiting with her mother-in-law.  This idea of rewarding yourself to assuage rough emotions really rang true for me when I read it.

This weekend, I tried to convince myself to buy some mint green yarn to make a summer cardigan so it is ready by summer instead of starting it in May.  I really really struggled with this sense of urgency, desire, and manufactured sense of fear that I would not be a complete person if I didn't have this cardigan done for May 1st - but I realized that what I really wanted to do was get a little rush from buying something hopeful and springy to get a transitory release from all the grieving and stress surrounding the funeral and the dismal cold, wet weather that we've had.
let's talk again in May, shall, we?!
Instead, I read sewing and knitting blogs,browsed Ravelry & bought a PDF sewing pattern for a specific fabric in my stash.  I think PDF sewing patterns are the perfect antidote to the urge to buy emotionally - provided you have fabric in your stash that you can use right away to make something.  I got the Lucie dress. I've been wanting to make this dress for ages and I have the perfect fabric for a wearable muslin.

I buy the pattern, download it immediately and get to work assembling it.  At first, I hated this part of the process with PDF patterns, but I have come to really enjoy it. It's methodical and peaceful - like a puzzle.

instant satisfaction, the right way.
It gives a sustained instant gratification - so much more so that just sending off your PayPal info and waiting for a package to arrive later.  It takes advantage of the immediate urge to make and do that often prompts an impulse buy. The process also channels any troubling emotions creatively and produces tangible results that are more positive than a bunch of bills and packages later in the future.

One more satisfying and mindful instant gratification is shopping your stash.  Much like the "shop your closet" concept in minimalist wardrobe planning - shopping your stash takes advantage of what you already have in your possession.  What is more instantly gratifying than using something you already own?! Theoretically, we all stash things we love.  This isn't always the case and part of the mindful stash process revolves around letting go of what we don't love... but for the most part, we collect things to which we are drawn. What better place to start for inspiration, wearability, and joy?

I'm starting to shop my stash till May to create some new me-mades that will make stash-space for more mindful purchases in the future and give me something to wear for Me-Made May.  Yes, that's right... I have always dreamed of participating and this year is going to be the year for me.

During my planning month for my summer capsule, I'm going to create a mini-capsule of me-mades and wear something of my own creation every day.  I am really looking forward to it the process and what I can learn by taking part... as well as the fun of playing along with other sewing bloggers.

Till then, I'll be exploring my stash and my habits and creating some garments in the process. <3