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Friday, January 2, 2015

Finding My Way

In the mid-90s, when I rediscovered sewing, there was no Pinterest; heck, we barely had internet. A few years later, when I really got into sewing, I was online, but there wasn't the volume of content like there is now; and it wasn't easy to find. As a result, I saved and printed A LOT of sewing patterns, tutorials, and tips. I've learned a lot over the past 15 years; the problem is that my collection of online crap is consuming my sewing room. I am generation paper. Yes, I like paper. Or at least I did. Then Pinterest came along...and Evernote...then my iPad. I've gone digital. But I still have piles of patterns scattered around my house. Most have homes in mislabeled file folders.

Yesterday, I began my purge. Whenever I travel longer distances (like my almost 6 hour drive to see my family at Christmas), I get a weirdly preoccupied with car accidents. I began to think about what would happen if I was in one and my family had to go to my house to find things. It's ridiculous and irrational because compared to most people, I'm about an eight out of ten on the organizational scale. Nonetheless, my mind wanders; as I drive, I get the trash bug. Then I turn into my mother...who rarely saved anything. We're both Virgos.

On New Year's Day, I began. I tore through two file cabinets - I started with more financial stuff like car insurance forms...that dated back to 2008. Then I moved on to work-related files like my teaching evaluations... (this is embarrassing) from 1995. BTW, I was an awesome teacher back then! Next came the decorating magazines. Sure, stenciling is cool again, but I'm thinking that sponge painting will never make a comeback. I probably tossed 30 magazines. My recycling guys are going to hate me. Then I moved on to the Buns of Steel VHS tapes, then some college stuff (I'm 50, so that should give you an idea of what I found). It was mildly entertaining. I dug out my Central Michigan student ID from 1984, then my Penn State ID from 1986. I found wedding invitations for lots of friends including one who divorced that guy, married another guy, divorced him, and is now with another guy. I did learn some important things while doing this. Specifically, my cats are 11 years old, not 12 like I thought.

When I got done and the dust settled, I had emptied two storage containers and two small file cabinets. My friend decided that she wanted to repurpose the file cabinets, so those were out the door later in the afternoon.

I saved the most difficult for last....sewing-related items. I did a lot of self-talk. I did a lot of thinking. I convinced myself that everything I needed was online. I pin A LOT; it all can be found on Pinterest.

I began slowly. I found myself putting more and more printed patterns into the recycling bin. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Why? The patterns were awful. Some were poorly designed while others lacked any sense of detail. Some didn't even have pictures! Blasphemy! Plus, in the grand scheme of things, I'm a fairly talented sewer - if I need something, I can figure it out on my own or do a quick search online. I think my break-through moment was when I realized that I've turned into the sewer that I'm supposed to be. I've tried a lot; I know what I like. And that means that I don't need clothing patterns. I don't need basic tote bag patterns. I don't need stuff for kids. I like funky quilts not traditional ones. And…I sew practical things. I design my own patterns because I need something to function. After my self-analysis, I asked myself one simple question, "Will I ever make this?" The answer, in most cases, was "no."

I'm done for now; I feel a lot more settled. My back is sore, but it was worth it. And it's now easier to find what I really need and what's really important! YAY! Time to get to work designing my next pattern!

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