Saturday, August 6, 2016

Why Blog?

This weekend is my 20th high school reunion.  I decided not to go.  I was going to go to part of it, but I decided that I'd rather see the new Star Trek movie with my husband, get up early to go hiking with my parents, and have some downtime to get some sewing and relaxing done, than spend the weekend drinking and rafting and all sorts of other planned activities with a bunch of people I was never that close to & haven't seen for 20 years.

I guess I'm just a bit of a loner and curmudgeon, but I'm feeling okay with this decision.

However - the very fact that the reunion is happening gives pause to think.  20 years?! Already?

That's a bit staggering. Things change a lot in a decade. Even more in two.

When I was a senior in high school, I was addicted to my journal - an actual spiral-bound, cloth-cover book with a dark blue background, scattered with a celestial potpourri of golden suns, moons, stars, that I wrote in, by hand, with lots of different colors of pens every day. I had no readers.  I had no filters. I wrote what was on my mind, what was in my heart.  I wrote it just for me.

Somewhere in college, LiveJournal got wildly popular.  I tried making the switch from the private print pages of my journal to the glow of the computer screen, but it didn't really start to feel natural till a few years later when I had a blog as an extension of my MySpace page and I started my first Blogger blog for knitting as an extension of hanging out on the message boards.

Back then, people still had a lot of anonymity online and they shared a lot about themselves - not so much personal information, but personal thoughts & reflections... the types of things we were sharing just to ourselves before.

I think that those blogs were a lot more interesting, in many ways.

Now, it's still all about sharing with others, but in a smooth and polished way - professional photography, all the successes, tutorials, things for sale, sponsored reviews... you know, you're supposed to have a niche that makes you special and useful and gets you a lot of traffic so you can sell ads or get sponsors and make money from blogging.  There are a lot of blogs our there about how to make your blog better, more marketable, more profitable.

It just doesn't resonate with me. I'm just a person who likes to document my life for myself & maybe a few friends in one way or another. I'm not marketable now, just like I wasn't popular in high school... and it's actually a bit liberating to know that I'm so far from ever being that way, that there is no reason at all to try. But then - why blog, if no one is reading?  Why blog, if I am not teaching things or publishing patterns or taking super-fancy perfect photos, or just all-around being pretty and super-perfect at everything and showing the world how great I am?

Why?  I think it is just because I like taking time to reflect and to document my processes for myself - to seal the memory of things.  To look back on memories and be able to show the few people I care about a quick reference point of something I made that I think is cool. To avoid making the same mistakes over and over. To work out ideas.  To save information where I can find it again.  Lot of reasons... but they all sort of boil down to learning - learning about myself as I learn how to make better things. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

more thoughts on abundance, scarcity, stashing, and making...

I remember about this time 2 years ago at Lammas that I wanted to try to use up some fabric from my stash for a month, as fall approached - but instead, I just stopped sewing for a couple of years.

Strangely, I began to sew again in spring this year, right around the same time that I started sewing for myself 2 years ago... so I'm a little worried, with some waning 'sewjo' in the last month, that I would follow the same cycle again and stop sewing in fall.  But this time, I think I will persevere and get into the winter sewing this time.

I have some lovely wool and flannel fabrics that are just waiting to become cozy things & knitting is off my list of activities, since I got DeQuervains... so even if I go through periods of slowing down or getting busy, I think I will still be sewing come winter this year.

I just wonder what qualities and feelings are in this Lammas time, where the world is ripe with abundance and yet the tinges of fall and decay are just ever-so-slightly starting to show, that make me think so pointedly of my own consumption and collection of crafting materials?

Maybe it's falling after my birthday month, where I often give myself permission to be a bit more frivolous, that makes me suddenly want to keep it simple and use what I have?

Maybe it's the feeling of summer winding down and the need to shift gears to sew for a new season that feels overwhelming and makes me feel like I need to collect new things to be inspired and prepared?

Whatever it is, there's a certain angsty 'je ne sais quoi' that puts me at odds with sewing when I think about all these things together.  Sometimes, I find it temporarily inspiring to take on a new challenge - stash-busting, stash less, rigid budgets, rigid rules, making lists, capsule wardrobes... they give a temporary invigoration, but they are actually extensions of the angst and malaise.

There is a balance where enough is enough and making brings joy and beauty.  It is out beyond any challenges and self-imposed rules. It's a way of living and being.  A calm sense of purpose that is still open to the unexpected.

So I'm giving myself a non-challenge challenge. I think for about a year-ish.  Nothing hard and fast.  I just want to stop worrying and saving and just really use the beautiful things I have collected without a fear of scarcity or lack of worthiness to use "the good stuff".

I really want to use the fabrics and the patterns that I have already.  I also want to learn more about drafting, altering, and fitting patterns & creating blocks to have trusted, lasting pattern templates.

I have a friend now who knows how to do this. She's been starting to teach me some stuff and its pretty cool... so I would like to be open to exploring that, tracing out my go-to patterns in a more lasting form & really, really perfecting their fit.

There's nothing more comforting to me than using a tried and true pattern. I do like to learn new techniques and constructions processes, but once they've been learned for a certain pattern, it takes a lot anxiety out of the making process not to have to worry about fit & to already understand how the garment goes together... because my body shape is such that lots of tweaks, grading, and shortening are most always required.  Once I know the fit and make of a pattern, I have more freedom to play with the fabric... and that is what I really like to do.

I  don't mind repetition of processes and I also like to wear the same shape of stuff most of the time - fit and flare or babydoll dresses & full midi skirts in woven fabrics are my tried and true favorites.  In my wardrobe, these are the things I can sew better than I can buy & that give me joy when I make them. (Confession: If I can't steam it to a crisp, I'm not going to enjoy making it nearly as much!)

I give myself permission to not push my skills to make a bunch of new types of things.  I also give myself permission to get curious and try new things too.  Like, I made a pair of zipper shorts in June. I haven't blogged them, but I wore them on 4th of July.  They were fun, but they were so hard to fit. Maybe I'll try jeans this year.  Maybe I won't.  I will see how I feel. I will not be attached to results or lists.

Whatever happens, I'm going use the special fabrics, though. The ones that make my heart sing. The ones I've been saving for sometime in the future when I am better, more worthy, more perfect.

No more waiting. Because I'm fine now. Because I'd be happy with a closet full of Brumbys, Veronikas, and Kellys for all seasons in beautiful fabrics.  Because it doesn't really matter what other people are doing or what they think about me and my makes if I have a good time making and wearing them.

I am pretty sure that absolutely no one reads this blog & even if I had readers - my sewing is not my business or livelihood... it's my joy, my happiness, my balance to be a maker.  If that brings you joy to watch, yay.  if not - that doesn't matter.

So at this bittersweet time when we feel the simultaneous peak of abundance and traces of future scarcity or loss... I will just dig in and make stuff with the stuff I have. With no rules. Just curiosity.