Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!


Friday, 12 May 2017

A Stitch in Time - Slow Crafting Vs Mass Making

Part of my 100 day goal ( see more about that here ) is to get more organised and reform my messy creative ways. I looked around as I was tidying this morning, at the tray of half stitched hexagons on my desk. Then at the basket I know is hiding all the yarn I have bought for a box of crocheted squares that lurk in the next room. There is a fabric basket full of quilt blocks-to-be and a cushion cover that needs finishing. I have a little doll in progress that is going to be a birthday gift, her muddled expression telling me I need to hurry up and get the pins out of her head, they are giving her a migraine. Another basket holds a second cushion cover, also in progress for a pattern I am making. There is a ball of brown yarn and a pair of knitting needles that are waiting for me to start on a pair of ears for the bunny I decided to knit. Another drawer holds bloomers, still pinned together, that are approaching their second birthday as a work in progress.

The thing is, there are half baked projects everywhere I look. Somedays I find this alarming, other days a little overwhelming. Today I eyed them suspiciously from the corner of my eye while attempting some yoga and suddenly thought "what is the hurry?"

Certainly the pattern making will be a priority. And the birthday items, well they have deadlines naturally. But as for everything else - what does it matter if I don't finish a quilt for another 2 years? Or my crocheted blanket that began in 2015? It has been on hold for awhile, despite having lots of new yarn to play with. The knitted bunny - well that is an achievement in itself. Knitting is a new skill for me and I always jump into the deep end. No waiting to be perfect for moi. Why knit a scarf when you can knit a bunny? They tried to make me learn hand stitching before I was allowed near the sewing machine too as a child. That didn't last long. I wanted to machine, not hand stitch.

That need for speed, can quite easily become an overwhelming factor if we forget to meditate on our craft occasionally. I'd have to say, that feeling it can be partially fuelled by the amount of projects fellow makers seem to churn out...quilts here, blocks there...why they must be magicians! New swaps to participate in, blog hops, book's fun and exciting but it can also make your head spin. If that is someone else's style, there is nothing at all wrong with this.

I think particularly when you are new to a craft, you really want to speed on ahead and forge new paths. Discover new things. I've found more and more, as I become increasingly experienced in a craft, I suddenly start slowing down. Taking the time to enjoy, breathe it in. Stitch more slowly. Savour the moments.

My crocheted blanket may be approaching the old maid territory but being so much in the middle of a project and knowing it isn't going to be finished any time soon is quite comforting. It's similar to being in the middle of a good book. There is a rhythm to it, and you know there is still lots to enjoy before it's over. Because it is hard work starting new projects, the choosing of materials, the trying of new patterns, the slight fear and wonder of how it'll all turn out. Taking the time to carefully craft something so that not only the process is highly enjoyable but the item itself is outstanding is surely worth it.

It's easy to become a little mass production factory, creating 'stuff' here, there and everywhere. I think when the creativity becomes a to-do list that you stressfully sew through, ticking each item off as if it was akin to mopping the floor and making the beds, something has gone very wrong. There is plenty of 'stuff' in the world, you only have to visit a store to see that. What there isn't a lot of, is beautifully and genuinely crafted items from the heart. And as makers, isn't that what we are all about? We might sew, we might stitch, we might make a doll, a potholder or a quilt. However, we aren't just patchworkers or quilters or dressmakers....we are actually artists. Fibre, fabric and thread is our medium. And the sewing machine is our paintbrush, our sculpting knife.

Strip away the deadlines, the dollars and cents, and the need to have accomplished fifty things in a year or keep up with ten swaps and a block of the month, and you are left with the beauty that is in creating. Using time-honoured processes that make our work individual pieces of art.

Sometimes I forget this, and when I do, stress creeps into my work. The results are always average and I can remember some hideous disasters that happened when I made things more complicated then they needed to be.

So just remember, if you feel like you are running behind, that creating something actually takes time. It was never meant to be produced en masse, but crafted gently, slowly and lovingly over long moments; and with every stitch there goes a thought, a heart beat and a little piece of ourselves that wonderfully, and mysteriously will still be here when we are long gone.

Megan x

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