the kindness of strangers …

… or as a dear friend of mine likes to say … ‘friends we have not yet met’. Whilst my relationship with social media does not come without inner conflict, I am unreservedly grateful to have made connections with fellow creatives whose values I share. I’ve been truly humbled by the kindness of people I’ve met here on my blog and over on Instagram.

Part of what attracts me to my chosen craft is its solitary nature – hour upon hour spent absorbed in a project, liberated from my over-thinking mind. However, as someone whose glass is perpetually half empty, spending too much time alone can be counter-productive. Especially when a plan has unravelled and I err towards an all or nothing mindset.

Through social media, I’ve been on the receiving end of such generosity of spirit, which has encouraged me to continue making and writing about the process. I was recently gifted this self described ‘sketched trial’ from @thescentofwater, which sums up my compulsion to write and create in a way that I can’t in words. One woman’s sketch is another woman’s work of art – it’s something I will treasure forever.

And some more day brightening gems from friends I haven’t yet met: a feast of patterns in the latest issue of Ottobre accompanied by a homemade granola recipe from @mariangravemaker; a pin cushion and Linden pattern to trace (I foolishly cut into my original before copying) from the lovely @leemac36 and a photo of Maude accompanying one of my first followers Eimear, on a ‘semi-formal event’.

The change in seasons had me temporarily floored with my evenings disappearing into the darkness. Until I discovered the Danish concept of Hygge and decided to embrace the opportunities fall and winter bring. Whilst continuing to pear back my possessions, I’ve been cosying up my micro-living space and marrying function and beauty with a handmade ironing board cover. This project was the quick win I was looking for thanks to excellent tutorials from Tilly and the Buttons and Wendy Ward, along with some top tips from Eimear.

I’ve been watching Season Three of the absolutely brilliant Transparent and one of the stand out lines was Shelley’s proclamation ‘I’m a BRAND’ in reference to her one woman show ‘To Shell and Back’. It reminded me of the conflict I have with social media which is not the medium itself, but as with most things, my relationship with it. Having addictive traits, there’s real potential for me to get swallowed up in the ‘show and like’ aspect, thinking I am only as valid as my latest offering. So, I’ve been resisting the urge to bang out more makes and endeavouring to be more considered, when it comes to where my sewing adventures take me next.

I’d love to hear what projects you’ve got in the pipeline to take you through this changing light?

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14 thoughts on “the kindness of strangers …

  1. What a lovely, thoughtful post. I’ve been attracted to sewing for just those reasons; that it’s a solitary pursuit but a considered, mindful one. I, too, have to be careful that the quirks of my personality don’t take over everything I do. I’m a perfectionist, an obsessive, generally an optimist but I do let my inner voice run away with me and tell me I’m not good enough.

    But, the more we delve into our own heads, the more we know and the easier it is to recognise the warning signs, and then to withdraw, reset and wait for the feelings to pass.

    When you first displayed your signs on IG I felt it immediately. I recognised my own and took some time to reflect and work out what was going on in my head. I love IG and I’ve come across some really lovely people but I have to remember that it’s not my work, or my life. If I haven’t got anything to show and tell, no matter.

    Thanks for putting all this in a post because it helps me so much to know that we’re all fucked up, but in the nicest possible way 😊

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    1. Thank you so much. I’m really glad to be able to connect with people through my writing. Sometimes I think I’ll run out of things to say. Then again I could always write about sewing! When I say I’m a glass half full person, it’s in relation to my propensity to low mood. But I do like to see the good in life, people and situations and make the most of my lot. You are totally right about getting to know ourselves and sensing when we are triggered – I liked your analogy of resetting a lot. Also your words – ‘it’s not my work, or my life ‘. Very true. Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement. It’s so very gratefully received X

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  2. What a winter warmer! Your ironing board is now as beautifully dressed as you are! It’s a neglected item and after many purchases of covers I think you’ve done a sterling and stylish job. The material is so versatile and would look equally good for cushions or a dress/skirt.

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    1. Thank you Terri! It was getting depressing using it with my torn cover and the iron spitting water all over – an upgrade was definitely in order. It was satisfying to learn how to do something new as well. Reckon I’ll look after it a lot more now I’ve gone to the trouble of making it and there’s a lesson in there for me! It’s lovely material but I couldn’t see myself wearing it – it suits my board so much better. X

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  3. wow – that fabric on your board is super cool – fully embraces the ‘william morris’ maxim of useful and beautiful- its also a helluva board – I just noticed all those wire attachments! certainly deserving of a good cover and I know that cover will last decades! Maude sits happily on my workroom shelf ‘display’ now when not ‘going out’, such a lovely piece – I love the whole look of the purse. I will have to check out Transparent…… (and also run off to work …..)

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    1. Thank you Eimear and for all your helpful advices. This board is an absolute beast. It’s called a Relaxsit and can be used in three different positions! I got it from an ex boyfriend in my 20s who was clearing out the house of a deceased relative. Which is pretty much how I’ve got most of my furniture! I’m so pleased you get pleasure from Maude – I was overjoyed she has a part to play in your semi formal event. I’ve just finished watching Transparent – stellar viewing – let me know how you get on with it 🙂

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  4. I adore your writing! And I hear your struggles and joys. I find social media a bit of a hard one for me too. I have developed some amazing relationships with fellow makers and creators, but like any digital communication it can be fraught with misinterpretation and elements of FOMO and keeping up. I’ve realised that I just can’t be commenting on everyone’s posts everyday. That sometimes a heart will have to suffice. Some days I won’t even get on to my feed. But then I notice that a relationship might be appearing to fade if I withdraw for a while. And it weighs on my mind and increases my anxiety. It’s a fickle thing, is IG. I love the wonderful sense of community it affords me (which is absent in my non digital life) and am concerned by it in nearly equal measure. It’s a tough one and we have to understand it’s gifts and limitations. I think I’m as confused as ever 🙂

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    1. That’s a massive compliment for me Jillian – thank you very much. I always wanted to write when I was young but lacked the vehicle which sewing seems to have given me. I just sit down and write about what I think about whilst working on a project. IG has been a fantastic way for me to connect with people across the world who share my values and interests. I don’t make these connections as quickly in real life – it’s takes me much longer to find my tribe. I’ve been very lucky to meet like minded souls over the years who I socialise with one on one so this public type of mass communication is quite different. It’s been super for sharing ideas and inspiring projects. The downside is trying to keep up with such a fast changing environment and like you say FOMO! I has to look that up – love it. The upsides definitely outweigh and I just need to be strict with myself on occasion and recognise that connections of real value don’t get severed due to lack of constant contact. I’m really glad you found my blog – a definite positive IG outcome for me 🙂 X

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  5. Oh my word Aimee you write so beautifully. I totally understand about your thoughts on social media. I get frustrated with myself for feeling disappointed if a particular follower on IG doesn’t ‘like’ my posts, out of them all, maybe two or three. In fact I take it quite personally! On a positive note though, I too have had some amazing gifts sent, some a complete surprise, not to mention the fabulous makes I have purchased, which includes my very precious Maude purse that I carry around daily. I am in complete awe of your writing and sewing skills, your latest being your wonderful ironing board cover. I have just one question though … Why didn’t you use barkcloth!! X

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    1. That’s so lovely of you to say – thank you – your kind words have really made my day. I do ramble on in my posts and say so little about my chosen subject matter! So it means a lot to me that people enjoy reading and stop by to say hello. I think I need to remember the positives about IG and worry less about the negatives. Sometimes I need to take myself off grid and not worry about offending people or missing out (which I have done). I reckon the connections of value we make will still be there when we re-emerge! I’m so glad you carry Maude around with you – that makes me super happy! You made me laugh about the barkcloth! It would have looked amazing covered in some. I actually have a very small stash though – about 4 or 5 bits of fabric and this was the only piece I couldn’t imagine making an item of clothing out of so it seemed a good use for it. I’m enjoying ironing a lot more since I pimped my board! 🙂 xx

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  6. Great post, so thought provoking. With regards to IG I used to get disappointed with myself that my feed was not more beautiful and considered. But I’ve made peace with it as my life isn’t like that.
    Over all I think IG has more pros than cons and I have made lots of lovely friends through it.

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    1. Thank you Louise – I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment – it means a lot to me, that my catharsis enables me to connect with others. I think it’s really important that your feed reflects you, your personality and your life when it comes to making meaningful connections with others – and it sounds like you have done just that. I certainly am glad we met through the medium. I hope you are well and finding your way to navigate through the changing seasons. x

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  7. What a great post! I found myself chuckling in recognition of habits all too familiar to this fellow creative mad-woman. I struggle to put my voice out there and am therefore in awe that of those, like yourself, who manage to do it more frequently. Ah, “more frequently”…those words alone acknowledge my lingering feelings of competition and inadequacy, which I do so wish to form into something useful instead of something which tears down my wavering self-esteem. Deep down, I guess we should accept that any words we choose to share are enough. Connection that provides us encouragement, even if through social media, is something special after all.
    Thank you again for sharing your journey!

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  8. I’m so touched that my words resonate with you – thank you very much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts with me. It’s funny – I feel like I share very little – compared with the reservoir of emotions I keep bottled up inside – but I’m aware that my posts are more revealing of my nature than other sewing blogs! I think I just use sewing as a vehicle to share a perspective I’ve long kept hidden from the world at large 🙂 I love the sentiment – that any words we choose to share are enough. And forgive me for being overtly cheesy but ‘we are enough’ – and it’s taken me a long time to appreciate that. I’m glad to share my journey with you.

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