Tuesday, September 18, 2012

why I craft - the bullet point list

I don't know about you, but I like bullet point lists.

There's just something so... organizational, about putting your thoughts neatly into a list, and the bullet points are a nice finishing touch, don't you think?  They're like top stitching around a finished edge!  They just tie the whole thing together.

Okay, I'm done waxing poetic, I promise.

There are really so many reasons that I craft (make, create, sew, glue stuff, etc...) that it would be difficult to make a truly accurate list.  I love spending my free time immersed in a project.  It speaks to something inside me that goes CRAZY without a hot glue gun.  But... although bullet point lists are fun and everything, even I know that nobody wants to read the exhaustive version of Why I Craft, so I have distilled it for you (so neatly, so concisely!) into...


The Top Five Reasons I Craft (in descending order -- for fanciness):

5. Frugality 

If you are anything like me (closeted spend thrift, anyone?  FYI: frequenting frugal mom/couponing blogs does not change how much you actually spend on fabric  in a month -- trust me, I know aaaall about it!), your hobbies probably aren't intrinsically cheap.

Around here, we do our best to stick to a zero budget (that just means every penny of our money is allocated to a specific place each month, so that there is zero leftover at the end), which means I have 50.00 a month to spend on fabric, thread, yarn, patterns -- you get the idea -- everything I might want to craft.  And that means that I currently strive to use up my scraps (of fabric, specifically, but in other areas of crafting as well).

In addition, crafting by it's very nature is somewhat frugal, isn't it?  If I make myself a potholder instead of heading down to Target to buy one, then I am not only satisfying my love of sewing, but I'm also creating a useful and important every day item that, now, I don't have to buy.  AND if I can make that potholder primarily from scraps (i.e. if I don't have to buy anything in order to make it), then it's practically FREE!  Do you see what I mean?

4. Uniqueness

This one is definitely a big reason.

Is it selfish to admit I love having things that other people don't?

I don't mean that like it sounds!  I just really like knowing that when I create something for myself (or when I create and gift something to a person I love or care about), it is the *only* one like it.  I mean, technically, I could recreate it as precisely as possible, but that's just boring for me, so I don't generally see the point.  That's one reason that handmade gifts are special, isn't it?  Because the person receiving the gift knows that it's one-of-a-kind.

It also fosters a sense of personal style in the maker (me!), when I clothe myself in handmade things, or accessorize (not that I get around to doing that very often...) with things I've made.

3. Beauty

Simple.  When I can make things myself, I can make them the way I want them.

Things from the store don't always fit my personal "aesthetic", do you know what I mean?

I love stuff from Target as much as the next person restricted to 50.00/month, but I love providing my own beautiful surroundings even more. If I've worked on a quilt, sewing so many straight lines that I'm half cross-eyed by the end, I cherish that quilt so much more than I do the one I picked up at Target (although, I really like that one, too).  So, I guess it's a sense of beauty as well as a sense of accomplishment.  Sort of.

2. Sanity

If I'm not able to make stuff -- ask Ben -- I go a little crazy.  Life's just easier when I can routinely get my hands on raw materials.  It's pretty important to both of us that things stay as sane as possible around here.

1. Fulfillment

This ties into the sense of accomplishment I mentioned along with beauty above.

I'm going to get controversial, and maybe a little too philosophical or something here, and say that I believe very strongly in a creation story (we won't go so far as to say "The Creation Story," but I do believe in a world that was created).  The idea that the world was carefully, intricately designed by intelligent hands (although, I guess it could have been like the doll quilts I smacked together the other day -- but it generally seems to function more smoothly than those doll quilts do...) is beautiful to me and the idea of humans then using their hands to create things in.. response? reaction? or, sort of in reverberation of that first creation, is really profound.

It's difficult to explain, so I will just say that I feel a sense of small-ness, as though my place in the world is affirmed, whenever I create something.  It's like I'm just repeating history, just making a quilt as thousands of women (and men) have done before me, just knitting socks like fisherman first knit their nets, and there's an order to that and a sense of peace in the tradition of it all.  

I'm not sure I have any hope of that making sense, but I'm throwing it out there anyhow.


Those are my Top Five Reasons.

I just realized I numbered them instead of using bullet points, but now I am loving that they're in descending order, so I guess I'm at an impasse!

Do you have any Top Reasons for crafting, sewing, quilting, hot gluing stuff all over the place?  

I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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