The series where we talk about having a thoughtful stash.
First up today I want to say a big big thank you for all your suggestions about classes for next year. Many things you suggested are already on the list but there other things I hadn't even thought of. So thanks. We start planning for next year this weekend....
The winner of our giveaway - that receives the lovely Tessuti pattern bundle - was Robin Spencer. Congrats Robin - I will be in touch!
Stash Less - A challenge.
So one of the things that came out of being away this year was some thought about, and awareness of, the daily choices we are making about the way we live. Living out of a bag, a tent and a car meant we were often thinking about stuff; what we needed, how much we needed, and what we could do without. Arriving home a week ago brought into focus the stark contrast between the tent and our home, and highlighted that at home we have been perhaps a little less conscious about what we are bringing into our lives. Walking in to my sewing space clarified that there need to be some changes. Today's post is about one of those changes. I'm starting a year long challenge to stash less. I want to talk about how stashing helps and hinders us, and I want to regain my consciousness. And I'm taking you along for the ride - in part to keep me accountable but also to further the discussion about "stuff" through the lense of handmaking.
But first a little bit of context.
Consciously creating objects of utility and/or beauty for myself and my family has been part of my life now for nearly ten years. I think something up, a combination of materials and a form, and then I make it. Sometimes I don't even do the thinking part. I pick something up as I walk past the sewing space and find that 5 minutes later I have a hat on the needles. There are sparkly things in that room. Things that sing to me as I walk past to hang out the washing. So much possibility.
The lovely Maura from Folk Fibers recently captioned an instagram post with "In the presence of good materials, hopes grow and possibilities multiply."
And I truly believe that is so so true. But I also think that there can be too much of a good thing. And that maybe that is where I am at.
When I started making things I started with nothing - no materials, no supplies in a cupboard. I remember purchasing my first pattern, yarn and needles in a department store in the UK and setting off on my first project. I was excited and light. I didn't even own a knitting bag as there was no way I could knit anywhere other than my couch due to the sheer force of concentration required to get the string around the sticks.
But then slowly something happened. Over time I made things and wanted to make more things. I purchased a metre of fabric here, and some yarn there. Sometimes it was on sale but more often because it was pretty and I wanted to make X with it. And sometimes I purchased even though I knew I didn't have time to make the X, because I wanted the option to make it as soon as I had the time. But the time never came.
And things add up. And now there is a room. And there is stuff. Too much stuff.
Stating the obvious - daily life involves many choices. Choices of how to spend our money, what to bring into our home, what to eat, where to buy our food from. We talk about it a lot in our family; one of the main messages we are always trying to get across to our kids is that "Stuff doesn't make you happy". The excited feeling you get when you get something new only lasts a fleeting moment for most things. And then you start feeling desire for something newer.
And that is the thing. I know this and yet for some reason where crafting and craft supplies are concerned I give myself a free pass. I'm not conscious. I am not considered. I make decisions based on desire. And I want stop because I think there are problems associated with where I am at. Problems that affect my creativity, the feeling I get when I walk into my sewing space but also simply how I feel about myself when I am purchasing. It's starting to not feel so good.
Many an article has been written about the optimal size of a stash. And I believe in having one. But I know for me I will feel lighter having gone through this process and I believe it will do good things for my making, forcing me to be more conscious about my purchasing choices and the materials I use to create.
I'll explain the details of my challenge next week - I have set myself some rules to follow - but in the mean time I'd love to hear your thoughts about stashing. Do you do it? Do you like/love it? Do you feel overwhelmed by it? Does it affect your making?
I'll be back tomorrow with a new weekly-ish segment. Happy days.