Monday, February 8, 2010

Body of Evidence

I think I've mentioned these personality features before:
  • I'm an immersive learner
  • I'm extremely enthusiastic by nature
  • I struggle with compulsive tendencies - no, I'm not being glib
Each of these factors is influencing my journey through Newbie Sewingland. (So far I have most enjoyed the capital city Ripstichalia. But the food is kind of stringy - hahahaha!)

Let's take a moment and debate the merits of each quality, yes?

Learning by throwing myself into the pool is the only way I know how to do it. I have to say, I think it's a productive method. What you suffer through initially is more than compensated for by leaps of knowledge and confidence. I'm the kind of person who, were she to move to Sweden, would be speaking the language in 6 months. This isn't because I have any talent, but because I need to communicate. Right now I'm learning the language of Sewing, and while we frequently misunderstand each other, we've had some fun games of charades over coffee and booze.

Enthusiasm is my hallmark. Lack of skill (I like to call it "skill-freeness") is overwhelmed by the overriding belief that it can't be that hard and that mucking in will be fun and yield great gains. That's until reality sets in. At which point it's too late.

Now the compulsiveness is an issue. When I'm driven, I will stop at nothing. It's had some very negative impacts on me and others. (Have I ever mentioned how, when M was a baby, I'd frequently look at the - completely new - formula in the fridge and feel like maybe there was something wrong with it? How I'd smack Scott down if he tried to stop me from throwing it away and starting again? I am embarrassed to tell you how many hundreds of dollars I threw down the drain because my brain convinced me that my baby was potentially in danger. Blame it on hormones - or brain chemistry - but I was not rational.)

Living with intensity - ok, let's kill the euphemism - living with compulsion - in any form - can be hard on the system: one's own and those of family and friends. I don't go out much lately, I don't have a lot of extra mental energy to throw at things. My husband has to listen to me talk, yet again, about pattern adjustment and built-in ease. Oh, and given my hit-and-miss spatial reasoning skills, he frequently has to help me to interpret patterns. When I start a project I find it almost impossible to put it down until it's totally complete. Then I bemoan (though I know this is entirely counterproductive) the lack of perfection of my product.

What can I say, I'm a work in progress.

To keep myself on track, you know I'm also a compulsive (and in this instance I mean cheerful) list maker. I've bought a lot of patterns, a lot of fabric lately and I don't want to lose track of its purpose.

Brief Sidenote: I abhor clutter but, if ever I were going to indulge any latent hoarding tendencies it would be with fabric and patterns. One can find all of the potentiality of the universe within them.

At any rate, below please find my (marked up - I have a clean copy, natch) Spring/Summer 2010 high-level sewing project plan. I'm showing you the edit copy so that you can see how it's a living document. Don't worry, I work from a new one whenever I can't stand the scribbles anymore.

As always, I don't view this as law. It's not even a guideline - more of a document to help me organize how to get from point A to point B, should I decide to take that path. I'm not a goal setter so much as an organized person who's reasonably productive despite her desire to sit on the couch for the next 6 hours and watch reruns with chips.

If you're still reading this, thank you my troopers. Your stamina wins you this question: How to you learn? How do you approach new activities? Any special methods I can cop? So interested to hear...


  1. Go an spend some time just feeling materials and looking at them - don't buy. Over a week digest the fabrics and textures and return to the one you loved the most and make something with it.

  2. My sister was a bit...intense...about the feeding situation with the baby too.

  3. How could I not troop through with you? I don't think I'm anywhere near sewing a garment, nor am I sure that's the thing for me? I just don't know yet, which makes me a bit anxious to be honest.

    I, like you, dive right in. Though I would never throw baby formula away because I cannot imagine having to repurchase it, I have done similar "irrational" things as you. I don't think, actually, that you have any need to feel like you operate illogically when it comes down to the nitty gritty of it. You're a mother desperate to protect.

    Ok, back to diving in. The only thing I can say is to refrain from judgment, move away from the guilt of taking too much on, collecting too many materials you fear you won't get to or do justice with, and just live in the moment.

    The moment is the hardest thing for me to seize. I would say go for that!

  4. I can be similarly absorbed by tasks, which is why I'm often loathe to try new hobbies! That's a pretty aggressive plan, loose though it may be ... but everything you've sewn so far has been gorgeous, so I understand wanting to plow ahead.

  5. I'm a list maker too. I need to actually start referring to them and not just writing them! I love your amibition and I know you're going to be a sewer extraordinaire!

  6. Kate: That's so smart. Smart in a way I'm not usually smart. But I'm going to give it a go.

    Wendy: It's rough when you're dealing with a helpless creature. But I do think my challenge was pre-existing, and amped up with pregnancy hormones.

    Lydia: Excellent advice. I am trying to be more circumspect. I've got a new project idea (she says in the same breath) but one that might slow me down in some ways. I mean, make me more patient.

    Sal: Thank you so much! I know it seems agressive but, compared with (let's say Peter from Male Pattern Boldness and Gretchen) I'm just sliding by. I'm not saying I will do more to compete - that's nuts and not viable :-) but I mean that I'm still a woman with a job and a kid and I need to recognize that sometimes I can do more and other times not as much. I'm working on adapting to that.

    Stacy: Coming from you that is great to hear! I really appreciate the support. Oh, trust me, I like making lists and then forgetting about them as much as the next girl :-)