Friday, January 3, 2014

Top 5 Reflections of 2013

Time to reflect up in here! This one was probably one of my favourite lists to compile, because it asks nothing more than that I blab meaningfully about the kinds of things I love, but that my friends and family usually ask me to shut the hell up about. And because this past year has probably been my most productive for sewing and knitting, there's a lot to work with! Let's get started:

Know Thyself - It may seem an extremely obvious reflection for someone engaged in making their own clothes, but the importance of knowing and staying true to what you know works best for you cannot be overstated. Especially when vast regions of the online sewing/knitting/crafting community are very trend driven. I think I'm getting pretty good at resisting the urge to get caught up in the spirit of things that are utterly antithetical to my own style/comfort level/good sense, but occasionally the will weakens beneath the crushing onslaught of peplums and detachable collars (not that there's anything inherently wrong with those things!). I have found that it's a good thing to remind myself occasionally of what I like and what works for me, and in doing so, have managed to keep my projects practical, wearable, and long-lasting.

Fitness Is Important - I am that person who hated high school gym class with every fiber of her body, only to maintain some manner of weird workout regimen (to a lesser or greater extent) throughout her adult life. Therefore, I am already on board with the health benefits of keeping some level of fitness in your life. However, it was this year that it really hit me how important it is to my ability and longevity as a crafter as well. I tend to sit for hours at a time when knitting, and hunch over my machines when sewing: both of these things lead to fatigue and (with time) repetitive stress injuries. I've come to appreciate that staying fit also means paying more attention to my body when I'm sewing and knitting: making a point to move around, take breaks, stretch, stay hydrated and eat something once in awhile, lol. I owe it to my future knitting and sewing self to not to let the things I love harm my body.

Being and Time - There is never enough time, and I will never get everything done. Full stop. This is simply one of those things that I need to accept, and work at not letting it stress me out. Because contrary to what this blog might lead you to believe, my life is not all knitting, sewing, and taking photos in the most minimalist corner of my studio. I also teach full time, exercise, make meals, go for bike rides, visit family, read books, watch bad horror films, and hang out with friends (although not nearly often enough). And I love doing all of those things, and wouldn't want to have to do without even a single one of them in my life! So if that means that there might be days when I don't have time to spend 10 hours knitting up a storm (although days like that are awesome!), it's ok and I don't have to feel like a failure because of it.

Skill Acquisition is Not a Linear Process - I've always assumed that if I do something enough, I will automatically just keep getting better and better and better at it until I am sort of super human. This does not actually happen! It's a useful and confidence boosting misconception to labour under when you are trying something for the first time, but the acquisition and honing of skills is not a linear thing. What I mean is, just because I managed not to screw up the buttonholes on project X does not mean that there will automatically not be any screwing up of buttonholes EVER AGAIN. Being slack or cocky about your abilities does not pay off when it comes to sewing and knitting: I have found it's best to approach each project with a mind that's humble and open to learning, even when the territory seems familiar.

To-Do Lists Are The Worst - Probably my favourite reflection of the year is that to-do lists (for myself) are self-defeating and guilt inducing, and should thus be avoided. I used to make incredibly detailed lists about what I wanted to achieve with a project in x amount of time, down to how many minutes I intended to spend on each particular stage. I would cram so many goals into the space of a day that there was no room left for being human, and I would feel terrible for (inevitably) failing to complete the mountain of tasks I'd set for myself (regardless of how much I did do). Which is no way to go about it! Now, I prefer to have general goals with generous (if any) time constraints, and to focus instead on what I did do in a day (it's so much more edifying to concentrate on those things you achieved than those you didn't).

OMG, are you still here? Bless you for reading/skimming all that! Hopefully some of it rang true and you were able to commiserate, or at the very least found some of it amusing. I'm going to try to get the top 5 inspiration list done tomorrow, then I think there's only one more list to go until the end. If anyone is still around next week after this avalanche of blabbing, I promise to have some actual project-related stuff to post :)


  1. Ah - I really relate to the comment about nonlinear skill acquisition. Lately, when I use patterns that I've used previously, I expect to already know how to deal with all the tricky bits and am hard on myself when I have to wrap my head around some instructions or refer back to the more detailed sewalong. In short, I expect to simply remember how to do everything! It's nice to hear about other sewists having the same realizations. Thanks for posting your reflections!

  2. I really love this list and especially relate to the fitness and to-do list revelations. There were times this year when I sewed too much and made my hands and arms hurt! I've been working on finding a better balance with sewing and fitness. Hard to do, but worth it! I'm not writing down any particular goals this year, either. I already know what I want to accomplish most (just one or two big things) and keeping them internal might actually help me get to where I want to be! Happy 2014. :)

  3. I'm with you on knowing thyself. I spent the first half of the year trying to make what was popular and cute, realised I couldn't wear them on a daily basis and spent the second half making things outside of trends and sewalongs. And managed to avoid peplums too! I look forward to your makes this year!

  4. I, too, used to believe that once I did something correctly, I would forever do it correctly. Ha! That myth has been debunked but at least I know that if I did it right once, I can possibly do it again.