Monday, May 21, 2012

If It Looks Like a Goose...

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means that I'm someone who spends her free time in the ways I do. I have the same hobbies as Miss Marple.

When I am feeling down, I find that looking at flowers or yarn or fabric makes it better. Most people probably think this is weird.

I've been struggling with the labels I've associated with doing crafty things. (I'm not sure I can make this make sense, so let me apologize now for any incoherence.) I never expected to be a person who enjoyed creating things. I always thought it took too much time and that there was too little return for the effort. Why would anyone spend hours and hours knitting something that is usually covered up by your trousers? Why make a quilt when you can buy a bed in a bag in a very pretty color?

Part of the answer, for me at least, is that I have the time to do these things. Kids take up all the time their parents have. I don't have kids, and that means that time is my own to use as I want. I mean, I still work full-time, but there are evenings and weekends and lunch hours that I don't spend changing diapers and worrying about the music I play in the car while my toddler is there.*

Part of the answer is that when I create things, I get to have control over them. (Mmmm, I do love control.)  There are a finite number of commercially-available bedspreads, but I can choose to make a quilt with fabric sporting elephants, cartoon cities, and flowers. I can pick precisely what I love, and I can do with it whatever I want.
Timeless Treasures Tiny Town Pink

I struggle with the stereotypes I have about people who choose to spend their time making things. I picture them home schooling their children and making clothes to put on a goose statue by their front door.** I don't find those activities compelling, and I unfairly judge those who do.

As I shopped for fabric last week for my first quilt, I kept saying to myself, "My quilt is going to be cool. It's going to be modern and whimsical." In my head, it was somehow different than the "normal" quilts that people make.

Except it's not.  Not really. Anyone who makes something makes what they feel is beautiful. They pick fabric or yarn or whatever supplies make them happiest. There are many people who would look at the things I make and think they are horribly ugly.

The truth in all this is that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. People may hate what I do, but that shouldn't change how I feel about it. People may think the way I spend my time is ridiculous, and it doesn't matter. I have to be confident enough in who I am and what I love to acknowledge their opinion and then let it go.

Here's an example: I asked my mother-in-law if I could borrow circular punches. We had a bunch of Andrew's family up for a cookout to celebrate Andrew's birthday on Saturday, and she brought them to me then. I pulled up this link to show her and Andrew's aunt what I planned to make.  Andrew's aunt said, "Well, that's interesting." She didn't get it. And it's okay. The only people who need to love it are Andrew and me. It's our house. The fact that someone doesn't understand it doesn't make it any less beautiful.

This post is a reminder and an affirmation to myself. I am someone who knits and maybe quilts and gardens and makes art out of paint chips. I have something in common with those who make clothes for their goose statue, and yet I am unique.

I love what I make, and someone else loves the goose clothes she makes. We're both right, and we're both spending our time in valuable ways.

Do what makes you happy. I'll try to do the same.

*Seriously, how do parents do this? Do you listen to VeggieTales all the time, or do you continue to listen to Nicki Minaj? Recently I had to endure a baseball game sitting in front of a kid who kept singing, "I'm sexy and I know it." I feel pretty confident that kid shouldn't be listening to LMFAO, but I didn't blame the parents for needing to listen to adult music.

**Who did I just offend? Sorry. I'm not trying to be a jerk.


  1. I think we may be related in the brain.

  2. Here in Germany, they don't even bleep out the bad words in English-language songs, which is about 70% of what most stations play. That could get interesting with small, English-speaking children listening....

  3. And I forgot to say that I love the fabric!