More or Less

_MG_9128I start my e-course today over at Squam, teaching an eager group of students the in’s and out’s of pitching their work to magazines, agents and publishers.  We’ll be learning together over the course of the next month, and this means that things are BUSY!  I have also been putting the final edits on my book manuscript and playing around with shooting the cover.  It hasn’t left much time for crafting, but surprisingly, I’m okay with that at the moment.  I’m at a bit of a crossroads with my crafting, if I’m to be honest.  I recently read this New York Times article about a women who lives in an 84 square foot home, with only 305 possessions.  I can’t tell you how much that lifestyle appeals to me.  Of course we own 300 trucks, blocks and board books alone- your possessions have a way of quadrupling once you have a kid or two.  There are many days where I feel like all I do is move stuff around- a load of laundry from the laundry room to drawers, toys into their bins, dishes into their cupboards- you know the drill.  I swear once my kids are raised, I might convince my husband to buy a tiny home and park it in one of the boy’s backyards!  It’ll just be the two of us, our garden (!) and our 305 possessions (but wait, do knitting needles count as one possession as a whole, or does every needle count- hmm, we might have a problem there).  But as a crafter, I’m not quite sure how to apply the idea of ‘less is more’ when I am always making stuff.  Whether I’m sewing quilts or baby books, blocks or shirts– it adds up.  As does my knitting- no matter how much of it I give away.  And let’s not even get into my yarn and fabric stash.  It’s not enormous, but it definitely takes up a few shelves in my studio, to be sure.  Although I don’t buy much new material- I prefer to reuse, repurpose and shop from my stash- there is still the issue of stuff.

_MG_9140And what happens when you don’t really have anything else that you are dying to make- be it sewing or knitting?  We have enough clothing, blankets, hats, scarves, etc. to last us a lifetime- in fact I’m always decluttering and giving away things that don’t fit quite right or that we just don’t like anymore.  And I don’t really want to sew just for the sake of sewing.  I’ve gifted quilts and knit things to almost everyone I know and love.  And yet, when I’m not creative in this way, I become a bit depressed.  Knitting and sewing bring me joy and they ease my stress in a way that even exercising can’t.  So what’s next?  I’m not sure. I just finished this sweet little shrug (pictured here) out of a ball of natural yarn I’ve had in my stash for years, and buttons that I have been saving for something special.  It’s so beautiful in its simplicity- fitting for this idea of less is more.  I’m also finishing up a dress for myself, and a quilt each for my niece and nephew.  That will keep me busy this month…but then what?  I would love to hear your approach to dealing with the issue of accumulating stuff vs. the need to keep crafting.  And any good de-stashing projects that you’d like to share would be greatly appreciated!

_MG_9130

12 thoughts on “More or Less

  1. adrysk14326

    I recently found (online) a site that sends pillowcase dresses (all sizes) to schools in Africa and Haiti—a great way to be creative AND generous. Also, one of your local hospitals (or all) might love some baby quilts to give to new moms who may not even have 305 things to their names. There is an online site which takes handknit sweaters (all sizes) for children across the globe who need warm clothes….they even provide a pattern! Social services may give you some ideas for foster children who are waiting for their forever homes who don’t even have a duffle bag or suitcase to put their things in when transferring to other foster homes—usually they use a garbage bag–having a small, cloth bag of their own helps them feel like they DO belong, and that someone cares about them. You are a lovely knitter and beautiful seamstress, there’s lots of ways to make a huge difference in children’s lives by a seemingly small gesture. You have a big heart, Christine, an idea will come to you soon!

    Reply
    1. cchitnis Post author

      I love the idea of knitting/ sewing for children in need. Everyone deserves handmade love in their lives. Thank you for all the suggestions. I used to partake in Craft Hope (which I believe is the site that sends pillowcase dresses to Africa)- thanks for the reminder to get back in touch with what they are doing these days.

      Reply
  2. Jennifer

    I too am a minimalist at heart so I think of my crafting as necessity and less hobby. I actually don’t have a stash. I only buy yarn for the project I am working on and the same for sewing. I also frog any project that doesn’t work and re-use the yarn on something’s that does i.e. cotton baby sweaters that have now become gorgeous washcloths or my daughter’s sweater that I completely re-knit into one she liked better. Maybe this is more aligned with the function of crafting in the old days or maybe I’m just cheap? Ha! I tend maybe to an extreme toward function and less collection. Maybe I’ll see you at Squam this year?!

    Reply
  3. Chloe W

    I don’t know whether this is feasible or doable, but what if you knit/sewed for people in need? In the UK you can donate to women’s shelters, hospitals and care homes and perhaps that is something that you would be able to do? It not only allows you to continue doing what you love but you’ll be able to bring beautiful items (you are truly talented) in to the lives of people who need it. You are such an inspiring woman though, I’m sure you will find a solution to your problem that will be perfect for you!

    Reply
  4. stephinies

    I try to think of my craft supplies as a well stocked pantry 🙂 I like having bits and pieces that I can pull together for just the right project…. my rule is that it stays nice and tidy in my current space. I’m lucky to have a generous studio… so that does make it easier. Some of my supplies are for my online shop and others are for personal projects… so there is a lot. I do go through things a few times a year and start a declutter box in the corner of the studio. Once the box is full I offer studio bundles in my shop or give way what is in it. I agree with you on how important creating is for some of us….. it’s good for my soul too.

    Reply
  5. stephinie

    I try to think of my craft supplies as a well stocked pantry 🙂 I like having bits and pieces that I can pull together for just the right project…. my rule is that it stays nice and tidy in my current space. I’m lucky to have a generous studio… so that does make it easier. Some of my supplies are for my online shop and others are for personal projects… so there is a lot. I do go through things a few times a year and start a declutter box in the corner of the studio. Once the box is full I offer studio bundles in my shop or give way what is in it. I agree with you on how important creating is for some of us….. it’s good for my soul too.

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    You could always sell items to order, you are very talented. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with having things. It is smart to have a collection of supplies for possible future crafts, rather than buying new supplies for every project. And children love all their books and toys so much. Storage and organisation of things is an issue of course.

    Reply
  7. Helen

    I guess many of us in the privileged part of the world often have way too many things, others don’t and in poorer countries many people don’t have much of anything. So I find adrysk14326’s suggestions really good. Apart from that, I also had the thought that you sell stuff on e.g. Etsy. I’m sure the sweet little shrug would be snapped up.

    Reply
  8. sylvia (@artsyants)

    You are so right Christine, once you have kids the amount of stuff that invades the living space can be scary! I am constantly de-cluttering and I have a very small stash of yarn and fabric. I just purged my wardrobe yesterday and now have a huge pile of clothes to give away. I will always hold on to my handknits though! My mom kept handknits she made for my sister and me and now my kids are wearing them. She’s a de-clutterer at heart though but she was able to find a balance and I’m trying to do the same!

    Reply
  9. lori

    Yep, I was going to suggest charity, too. I’ve heard of one that does new clothes for children that don’t have any at the start of the school year. I’m sure there are tons. It’d be great to help foster children or a women and children’s shelter, etc…

    Reply
  10. Seeking Joyful Simplicity

    I love the suggestions of crafting for others and those who have little. It gives a new sense of purpose to the projects we create.

    Reply
  11. Shell ~

    ~ My elementary school age knitting students have knitted cotton hats, small animals and beanbag toys for our local Salvation Army house. That was indeed wonderful Handwork.
    The children were so delighted to share their knitting with other children who needed something handmade with loVe.
    ~ Christine, I’m wishing you well with your e-course at Squam. I didn’t receive the funding I was hoping for (from a cancer foundation) in time to sign up. Are you going to have the course again within this year ?
    Or, will you consider creating your knowledge into a BOOK ?? ……… please, please, please.
    Did I hear a yes ?? ~ Oh, that’s Fantastic !!
    Truly, I hope so.
    Best,
    Shell ~

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s