Not a baby blanket, but an actual human being. That is what I’ve created in the three month since my last letter from the making road. Sewing-wise I have therefore very little to show at the moment, but I’m learning to be content with it.
Productivity, worth, money and our strange fascination with it all, has been very much on my mind lately. But before I delve into that I thought I’d give you a quick summary of the last 12 weeks:
It all began with the messy removal of a reduntant chimney in my little sewing studio, which led to so much more light but also required fresh paint (there was an incident with the tester pot not matching the actual paint but let’s not get into that), a new carpet and bespoke desks. Our neighbour is a very talented joiner and has created some simple magic for us, I must say.
Least to say all this was done and dusted mere days before my due date, which turned out to be uneventful anyway. I then spend another 10 days feeling heavy and cumbersome while rather impatiently awaiting the arrival of our second daughter. Who in the end came with such force in the early hours one morning, she certainly gave credit to her birth date (May the 4th ;).
Naturally, there was some rest and recovery time before I slowly began to tip toe into the studio again. But I didn’t pull out the sewing machine until the sun came out in England and I realised my (now two!) children could really do with shady hats. Which led us to the here and now, three month, two hats and a baby later.
Where I ponder the crux of productivity and worthiness as I pick up the threads of this project. You see, originally I had envisioned this project to be noisier. Not just because of the constant running of the sewing machine, but the energy and time it would take up in my life. Instead the sewing machine has stayed largely quiet. Somehow in the competition of life’s should’s and must’s I find too many excuses not to sew. Don’t get me wrong, I was well aware that the impeding birth would hit the pause button on my Maker’s Journey for a while. It also seems only natural that with two children under 5, a newish house, an allotment and the dawning of our first home education year other things keep pulling on me. Wisphering, suggesting constantly how much more important they all are. Time, after all, is limited.
But these past few months I found myself most distracted by doubt instead of other work, by indecicivness instead of action and ironically the constant worry of not being productive enough. When time became even more scarce I quickly arrived at the conclusion that if I do make time for sewing, I would need to know exactly what to do and how, in order to not waste this valuable resource. A clear paradox as this project is all about play and experimention which in their very nature require me not to know exactly what and how I’m doing things. It’s the entire point of this journey to figure things out as I go along. Yet, I busied myself with research and planning instead of sewing, so that when I do get to the making desk the path would be laid out in front of me.
When I eventually found myself in the studio ready to sew again, I found my thoughts of doubt there too and we continued to battle about how I should spend my time more wisely.
Doubt particluarly loved to bring up the prodcutivity equation. Why does it take you five hours to sew a simple hat, it asked. You’d be better off just buying one! It’s not really worth your time, it said. There it was: productivity = money = worth?
While I’ve managed to quietly continue the work on the hats in all that thought fog, it still left me exhausted at the end. Requiring yet more rest and recuperation.
What is it, I’ve wondered about this need to feel productive. How have I lost that sense of value in experimentation and working things out, in not knowing until you know. Because there is value in it, that special kind of satisfaction when you look up from the road to see the distance you’ve covered. Before turning towards the open path again. Would life still feel the same if we managed to do everything on the first step? If every action immediately leads to the end? If we never find ourselves on unexpected detours?
I doubt it and yet, I continue to worry at every step wether I should be quicker, and am constantly tempted to cut corners to make this project go faster. As if the only value really lies in the finished product. Not in the journey of making.