Saturday, September 27, 2014

Between You and Me

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.

26 comments:

  1. AGREED. Thank you for writing this post. I've been having similar posts. I'll still be around, too! :)

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  2. Thanks for not giving up! I love your beautiful photos and inspirational projects! xoxo

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  3. Thank you!! As a new quilter I would be totally lost without your blog and the other blogs that I follow!! I appreciate the inspiration and tutorials!

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  4. There is a lot out there but it is not all quality. The stars do shine and set themselves apart. Please don't stop blogging, I look forward to your posts on my feed.

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  5. Thank you for such a lovely blog post, so thoughtfully written. I would be lost, these days, without all the wonderful blogs I follow - be sure everything you do is appreciated!

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  6. Heidi, this really hit a chord with me. I've been thinking about all of the above, while not posting much on my blog-- in spite of having plenty to share (and some not, while I can't show reveals till their time is available). Plenty to think about. I don't have any answers, but I sure appreciate your articulation! And btw, I'm not giving up either, though I really need to get a post up....

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  7. It's really interesting, isn't it? I've become quite disillusioned with some aspects of the whole blogging community in the past 12 months. I've seen blogs turrned into what seems like a big advertising stream, rather than a conversation with readers. I find that very off putting, it's meant I've abandoned some of my once-favourite blogs. And I feel like the conversation bit has moved off in the direction of Instagram too. It's also just simply hard to keep up with everyone you'd like to! I get that people are trying to make or supplement their income from it, I've no problem with that per se. It's just when it becomes all about that, rather than seeing a bit more of someone, getting to know them, seeing the things they struggle with in their projects etc -hearing their real voice - then it just loses it's appeal.

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  8. I totally agree. I blog because I want to and I want to share what I create.

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  9. Hi Heidi, I'm a lurker and very rarely comment, but your comments have resonated with me. I love reading blog posts that read like a conversation, have beautiful pictures and let me into the way you think and feel as a quilter and a person. Thank you for persevering, your insights, your humour and the amazing efforts you put into making your blog worth reading and your photos so gorgeous. These are qualities that I won't find on IG or FB (which I don't do because it's so superficial and invasive), so please keep going. For your own creativity and sanity, and because there are others like me who can't blog, but love reading posts from those who do it well. N

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  10. Great post! I think about this a lot too. I know I started mine to separate my crafts from my family blog but it soon turned into more - an etsy store, QAL's,etc... - and I got burnt out. Since having our third child last spring and moving for the 4th time in 4 years I spent months wondering what I wanted my blog to be and I decided as much as I would like more readers/ comments, it is not my motivation. I blog because I like to share what I make. If I am only sharing that with my mom, that's completely fine with me.
    Glad you'll be sticking around - I just found your blog this year!

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  11. Lovely post! And you are so right.

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  12. I'm so glad I will have your blog to keep reading as I continue to write my own. I think if you just share what interests you, we will be here to read it.

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  13. Very well-spoken. There will always be those of us who do not have the next capabilities and still need the blogs to network. I don't have Instagram so I miss out on a lot there but frankly there is only so much time in a day that I can devote to "keeping up" or "expanding my horizons." I've thought about starting my own blog but don't know where or how to begin. Thanks for sharing. Your words and devotion to writing and sewing really do make a difference.

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  14. I'm a big fan of reading blogs and yours is on my list - I appreciate the time and effort that goes into keeping it up. I had a blog but I ultimately chose to use my free time to sew. Blogs content has become very commercialized lately. It would be interesting to see the market values of the free products many bloggers are given to work with shared with readership.

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  15. Beautifully written. I agree, it's about going back and remembering why you started. I think about all of those things and wonder about my place in it all, but I keep coming back to the fact that it's a long term game and you have to do it for the right reasons. So, I'll be here reading along and appreciating all the hours of love and labour that go into making this an amazing place. :)

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  16. I found your thoughts very interesting and those in the posts and articles that you linked to. I am a very new, very small time blogger - I started about 15 months ago - but I feel that I put pressure on myself to produce more and do more and better and so on and I hope that I will keep going. I hope that you will keep going too! xx

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  17. Hi! Jan from Sew and Sow Farm sent me :) you have a lovely blog, I have subscribed :)

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  18. Well I for one will continue reading your blog, however often you manage to post something. Your posts are always a great mixture of products, projects and everyday life. It is an exciting moment when that email drops into my inbox telling me you have posted something new!

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  19. I started reading this with a sinking heart, thinking you were going to stop blogging - so so happy you are going to keep going. I think Instagram has its place, but there it is not such a great way of connecting with friends as blogs are.

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  20. Very well said! There's something nice about "catching up" with an "old friend" through a blog. In person isn't always possible, and emails aren't as nice without the pictures of quilts. :D I love Instagram for quick panic moments, and "is this too crazy?" quick discussions, but I don't think it will ever replace blogs. I took a electronics break for a week -- I didn't even bother catching up on Instagram, but I'm making my way through the blogs. :)

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  21. Bravo & agreed! As I tell my kids: if your heart is in it, you'll find a way... regardless of what else is going on around you. I love Instagram for photo stories & inspiration, but an honest, thoughtful blog (like yours!) will always be my favorite. Great post.

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  22. Heidi, although I have just recently found your blog, it is such a joy to me. You write so well, I hope you will continue. I will try much harder to let you know I am here and reading. I would really miss you.....

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  23. Thanks for your thoughts. I think this year for me has been a process of letting go that my blog has to be 'something' (a money maker/for a particular audience, a new idea) in order to justify its existence. But I can write and make for me, as it suits. I know I'm the kind of personality that shuts down creatively if I suddenly put guidelines around something. I would be nice if something just magically came of this, but if it doesn't, I know I did it because it gave me energy and told my story. xx

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  24. This was a great post...thank you! I'm so grateful for bloggers like you who inspire me everyday.

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Aren't you the sweetest!! Thanks for making my day by leaving a comment!

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