Buying is not the only way to engage.....

I have had a couple of ideas rattling around in my head for the past week. They have all been brewing up into a blog post. The post was one thing a couple of days ago, and now, today, as I actually get to writing, it has evolved into something else. What good does my telling you this do? Well, perhaps nothing at all, but perhaps it will also explain how this post will evolve as I write....

All sounds very post-modern doesn't it? I promise I am not being coy, or purposefully obtuse. Just trying to set the scene.  Herewith other scene setters. 

I have been listening to Podcasts on my drive to and from work. I spend about 35 minutes in the car twice a day. I am not the most patient driver. I kinda hate commuting, it feels like a complete waste of my time, because I cannot knit or sew or do anything else besides drive. I am prone to road rage. I know, it's not cool, I am trying to deal with it.  I apologise to the driving universe for my impatient driving, and my rage.  

Listening to Podcasts is helping with the drive, more or less. The first couple I came across (and no, I will not name names) made me just as frustrated as the drive. A good interviewer lets the interviewee have the space to answer smart questions with full answers. A good interviewer does not inject their personal anecdotes that are fully irrelevant, or self-indulgent, into an interview...  Anyhoo.....  So I found a great podcast about the world of fiber in Woolful. That is a link. Click it. Go see what I am talking about. I have literally just found these podcasts and only listened to one so far, but am looking forward to listening to the whole catalog. Woolful is the brainchild of Ashley Yousling, out in Northern California. It is totally worth it to read her backstory and catch up with her blog. She is one of those creative souls that just reading about them makes you feel better about the universe.  Know what I mean?   The fabulous interview with Karen Templar of Fringe Association, and Fringe Supply Co. that I am referring to is Episode #9 and also includes an interview with Felicia Semple of The Craft Sessions.  Those are also links, and you should also click through on them... Bossy ain't I? 

Sometimes when someone else has said what is on your mind so well, so succinctly, with such style and grace, you want everyone you know to pay attention to them. Between the two of them, Karen and Felicia, they covered much of the ground I have been pacing for the past couple of years. Making is something we can all do. It is mostly practice accompanied by some learned (or inherent, but encouraged) skill. Practice produces competence and success.  Being mindful about what you make, instead of consuming blindly, leads to satisfaction and, dare I say it, happiness. Choosing to spend your time on something that you make is going to make you feel soooo much better than buying something that is not quite right from a source whose origins are obscure, at best.  Producerism vs consumerism. Craft versus automation. Personal versus business.  Analog versus digital. Unplug that gizmoid, go sit by the window and do some stitching that will end in a tactile finished object that adds meaning to your real-time, in-your-face, right now, visceral life. Unplugging takes some initiative, you have to make a choice, you can't just react, you must act. But it will be worth it to take that step....

I wrote one line down in my journal a couple days ago that reads 'making is harder, more challenging, than buying, but so much more rewarding...'.  It is way too easy these days to troll the internet looking at other things that people have made, looking at fabric or yarn or floss or some other raw material and thinking that you are doing something creative by buying said supply.  It shows up on your doorstep, this new thing you thought would make you a better maker for having, and you have already moved on to the next thing to buy. You forgot what you were going to make with that first thing you bought.

 Look at your stash. Yes, right now, go look at it, really look at it. Pretty nice,huh?

Wouldn't it feel really good to just pull it out, piece by piece and start using it? What are you saving it for? Don't buy more, until you use some of what you have! Buying is dangerous. It is a temporary exchange. Once that thing comes home to you, you adapt to it and become de-sensitized to it, and it is no longer as satisfying as you thought it could be.  So you push that button again and buy something else.... A vicious cycle ensues.... There is an article on the Fast Company website here about how experiences are more satisfying, and a better use for your hard earned dollars, than buying things.  I am not advising against buying, please do not misconstrue my meaning. I am just encouraging us makers not to postpone joy- make something!  You know it makes you feel better. Why not do it now? You don't need that shiny new pattern, that brand new fabric line, that crazy new tool. You have everything you need right at your very own, real time, fingertips to create immediate joy and satisfaction. I often feel like we're moving at too fast a pace as a community to really absorb all that life has to offer. I understand that delicate balance between commerce and creativity. I love all the amazing fabric, yarn and patterns coming at us these days. But I can't absorb all this newness at the current pace. I'm still working with 'new' lines from two years ago....

Had a conversation with a friend recently about how much time we have saved with all our technology. But somehow we don't seem to be making good use of this saved time.  Why do we do so much bickering?  Sniping at each other, anonymously, online, what good does that do anyone?  Why is Congress so deadlocked? Why can't we have affordable health insurance? Why does every single child appear to have a cell phone?  What's wrong with this picture.... I don't think that stitching will cure all that ails us. But I do think that if more people used their energies on creating or producing something tangible, something they could use and be proud of, that we would all be more aware of the labor that goes into things. We just might value each other and our hard work a little more. Stop looking for the easy way out, the sale, the cheap workaround, and just give everyone a little more benefit of the doubt....

Wow, that's where it went.... Wasn't really sure where this post would land, but there you have it.  I will end by saying that this blog appears to be where I drop my deep concerns, voice my niggling worries, my dreams and desires.  If it's too much wordiness for you, you can always follow me on Instagram @agatheringofstitches....