|My Medallion pillow from earlier this month -- see the guest post here at Sew Sweetness.|
It's been a thoughtful sort of week. First I heard that Sew Fresh Fabrics is closing down. Then I heard that Pink Chalk Fabrics is changing course. Finally I read Holly's post and the article that inspired it. It all has me thinking a lot about this online sewing community.
I've only been blogging since the end of 2011, but it feels like things have changed a lot in that short time period. There is SO much out there now. You can find a free tutorial for almost any project imaginable. Fabric companies are releasing more collections by more designers. There are tons of online fabric shops specializing in different bundles and themes. Sewing bloggers are moving beyond blogging to write books, design fabric collections, and start magazines. It's fun and exciting and so inspiring.
|The best package of my week contained these lovely threads from my friends at Aurifil.|
The downside is that it's getting much harder to come up with new material because, as my sister always reminds me, there's nothing new under the sun. Copycats are coming on the scene -- some who don't mean to and some who do. There's a constant drive to produce more information at a higher level of quality than ever before. People speculate about whether blogs have replaced magazines, whether Instagram will replace blogs, and what will end up replacing all of the above. I know traditional fabric shop owners who worry about keeping up with online shops, while online shop owners search for a way to stand out in the growing internet market. After all there are plenty of people in this community who are working hard to make their family living from creative blogs and businesses.
There's concern about blogger burnout, and for good reason. To publish a single blog post means that you must decide on a topic, develop your ideas, make the project, style the photos, take the photos, edit the photos, write the post, and edit the post. If that post is a tutorial, you can multiply the workload by at least five times. If you're working on a project for a blog hop, a magazine, or a book, it has to stay secret until the big reveal. So while you're doing all this work behind the scenes, you're also scrambling to come up with something else that you can share on the blog so that you don't leave your readers hanging without anything new. Layer that on top of the responsibilities of a family and career, and it all gets overwhelming really fast.
|A stack of solids for an upcoming project...they remind me of sunset on our mountains.|
After spending a few days mulling things over, I can't escape the importance of going back to the beginning. Why did we start all of this -- the patterns and the fabric, the blogging and the swapping? We did it because there's something in our souls that loves to create beauty, and it gives us so much joy to do it together. Meeting with you here once or twice a week is like sitting down with a friend in my sewing room, sipping tall glasses of iced tea and sharing our latest projects with each other. It's growing together, learning lessons through the rough times, and sharing the victories that come along the way. When burnout and controversy rise up, we give each other grace and the benefit of the doubt. Friends, after all, hope the best for each other, and in the end, whether we've met in person or not, this all comes down to the simplest of friendships between you and me.
So I'm not giving up. If blogs go the way of the typewriter and the cassette tape (both of which are still completely awesome, by the way), I'll still be here on whatever the next wave is that comes through. We'll still get together for our weekly visits, and yes, I'll still be sewing. Because honestly, I love it. There isn't anything else I'd rather do.