Sewing Faster – is that what we really want?

I came across a good blog post today called How to Sew Faster:7 tips for sewing more efficiently. Whilst I think many of the ideas are great – I particularly like the one about preparing small projects to undertake whilst you’re waiting for pasta to cook (!) – I have to ask myself if it is worth squeezing things in to such an extent that they become stressful?
Isn’t the reason most of us have for undertaking any type of craft or sewing that it is a complete change from normal routine and that we find the process relaxing and feel satisfied with what we have produced when we reach the end of the process? Many years ago whilst working in a sewing shop, we had a regular customer who bought a huge number of tapestry canvases and wool, however she never framed them, but instead rolled them up when she had completed them and put them in a bottom draw never to see the light of day again. I was fascinated by this and asked her why she continued to work on something she didn’t use. She told me that, for her, the pleasure was in the sewing, but once the canvas was complete, she completely lost interest and wanted to move on to the next project. It was all about the relaxation, the feel of the canvas and wool, being able to lose herself and completely relax in the process of creating something. That doesn’t go along with squeezing it in between making a pasta dinner!

There are now many academic studies and articles centred around mindfulness, relaxation and craft, telling us what we already know; it is good for us to take time out for ourselves, relax into something we enjoy and ultimately feel the pride of creating something we can be proud of.  A friend who has been a yoga teacher for many years (and my bad back thanks her for it!) as well as a councellor and colour therapist has just found her way back to textiles after a long break. Unsurprisingly she is excellent at ‘ring fencing’ time in her sewing room and I am constantly amazed at her output – both in terms of quantity and quality. She relishes the idea of ‘experimenting’ and does not count time spent ‘messing about’ with different ideas, techniques and materials as time wasted. Her sewing room is her haven when things outside it get too much – an escape to another place. We have talked about doing some day work shops together to help others find this ‘zone’ where the process becomes the main goal and where the emphasis is moved from WHAT we make to HOW we make it and the pleasure we derive from the process rather than the end goal.

Joan Harrison Bursary

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