It’s been a while. I haven’t written a blog post for ages. In fact I have been quieter than usual on all my social media sights in the last couple of months and it has taken me a while to make sense of things. Just a heads up, I am definitely no writer, so this may be somewhat incoherent, but I hope it explains well enough what has been going on. Heads up number 2, this is all about work, not my personal life. My personal life is great, the husband is great, the boy is great and doing very well at school, etc. This is all about work and I guess me as a person and the way I approach my work.
Ever since I closed Eaden Yarns last year, in fact, exactly a year ago, I have been drifting from one thing to another. I had a good run with Eaden Yarns, a successful 4 years but I have not for a second regretted closing the business. However, I spent the whole of this year wondering what will I do for work, beating myself up for the fact that I just can’t settle on one thing. After Eaden Yarns I decided to carry on dyeing yarn but only to use in my projects. I was weaving with it for a while, making awesome bags and scarfs. I gradually made a switch from synthetic dyes to using only natural dye materials which was a huge step and the best one yet. Natural dyes are magical and love learning all about them. Unfortunately as much as I love weaving, my wrist simply can’t take it. I’ve struggled with wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis for the last couple of years and weaving made it a lot worse. I wasn’t able to knit for months with the last bout of tendonitis and even now I can only knit about 5 rows a day. For someone that loves wool and has knitted obsessively since the age of 5 this is very hard. Spinning is once again completely out of question as well and so are many other things. Anyway, I won’t dwell on the things that I can’t do, moving on…
I picked up sewing again but I have not been completely happy with almost anything that I made for some time.Hence the reason why I haven’t been posting much on my IG and facebook. Nothing I made has been good enough, nothing is neat enough. I’ve always been a perfectionist. My husband always tells me that I have impossibly high standards when I show him my work and complain that it’s not good enough. My answer has always been the same to this: ‘I don’t see the point in doing something only half heartedly, either I do it really well, or not bother at all’. See, the thing is, it was drummed in my head as a child that I was really smart. I was really smart and therefore the only reason I got an A- or a B was because I didn’t try hard enough and/or I was lazy. That was pretty much the narrative I was brought up with. So even now, as an adult, if I make something and it doesn’t come out perfectly, in my head that means I didn’t try hard enough and I need to try again. And again, and again. ( parents, hey! They can sure f%@k you up).
Something changed in the last few weeks. I kept seeing mistakes in my work even more than ever, redoing every bit of stitching, deciding not to sell something yet again because it was not good enough and then being annoyed with myself for wasting all the fabric and time on it. I felt anxious all the time, I couldn’t sleep. Last week I finally cracked. I realized that I spent approximately 12 hours sewing one zip. One zip. Sewing it over and over again, unpicking as it wasn’t neat enough, sewing again, unpicking again…I finally realized this is pretty crazy, even by my perfectionist standards. So I decided enough was enough, I can’t do this. After some reading online, I came across Personal Excellence and the articles on Perfectionism and realized I fit all the 11 points mentioned perfectly. That could have practically been written about me. So here it is, I am a Neurotic Perfectionist. And I had enough of it! I carried on reading and the 80/20 principle and the law of diminishing returns made perfect sense to me. I won’t go into too much detail, but if you are interested, you can find the articles here.
For once, I didn’t procrastinate and write to do lists and made plans on how I am going to do things and waited for the perfect moment to do them, I just started changing things right away. There are a few things I will be changing. One of them is to stop obsessing with my hand dyed solid fabric not coming out perfectly even coloured. They are not meant to be even, there will be lighter or darker sections and if I can’t deal with this I might as well stop dyeing and buy factory dyed fabrics.
The whole obsession with perfect stitching and perfectly matched points made me realize that I don’t actually enjoy quilting and sewing anymore. Not like this. So out go the patterns and blocks and I am going to just embrace it all and improvise. Just pull some fabric out, follow my intuition and cut and sew and see what happens, no plans, no to do lists.
I got started right away on this and begin piecing some of my hand dyed fabrics together. As I stitched some strips together, they started forming a semicircle shape, so I thought why not make it into a round zipper pouch. I pieced, trimmed and a bag happened. That’s another thing about me. I can’t just make something, stitch for the sake of it, I always have to make a functional object, a bag, a cushion cover…Anyway, here is the result.
Normally I would have sketched out an idea, took accurate measurements, drawn a pattern, calculated the amount of fabric, written a step by step to do list, had a coffee while recalculating the measurements again because I would be terrified that I might waste the fabric if I make a mistake and only then I would have gotten going.
I haven’t had this much fun sewing in months, sewing like this is so liberating! Even my husband exclaimed ‘ Look at you cutting into fabric with scissors!’ when he saw me do it. I don’t think he has ever seen me cut fabric without a ruler and rotary cutter. Over the weekend I pieced more fabric and made another couple of pouches and they look great. I am actually happy with them, I am proud of them. And now I want to make quilts and cushions and explore dyes and learn again and I can’t wait to show you what I have been making! My love of textiles finally returned and it all feels right. Maybe, just maybe I have finally found my thing.
It feel weird and kind of silly sharing all of this. I don’t normally lay out my problems for the world to see, I talk to my friends but I am not one for sharing personal stuff online. I did however feel that I needed to explain why my work is going to take a drastic turn. This isn’t about lowering my standards. I still want to do the best quality work that I can, I will just remind myself every now and than that I am not a machine and work in an intuitive way rather than forcing things to be constantly perfect.
I’ve added some bundle dyed Luna pouches to the shop, if you fancy taking a look. These will be the last of the kind. My shop will close on the 18th of December for the holidays and reopen in the new year, hopefully full of new and exciting work.
Thanks for reading.