Today's post is the third installment of Meanderblog's contributions to Slow Fashion October, themed "Handmade." If you're just now tuning in, the first and second posts can be found here and here. Slow Fashion October is the brainchild of Karen from Fringe Association, and the goal is to celebrate and spread awareness of what slow fashion is, why it's important, and how different people implement different aspects of it in their lives.
The thing is, I'm not a heavy participant in the "handmade" aspect of Slow Fashion.
Yes, I own a sewing machine, but I use it mostly to repair damaged items. Yes, I do know how to crochet(ish), but I'm not well-practiced. I don't know how to knit and I don't know how to sew from a pattern, though I've dabbled in all of it just enough to know I'm not good enough to make actual, usable things (yet).
It's not my mom's fault. She tried and tried to teach me all about domestic arts when I was growing up, but I was a child of the suburbs with my head in the clouds, and I couldn't be convinced to care. My grandmother made attempts too, and she certainly created plenty of handmade pieces for me as a kid. It wasn't until I got married that I realized I really needed a lot of those skills, and I'm still playing catch-up to compensate my negligent youth.
As a side note, Slow Fashion October has inspired me greatly to learn to make my own clothes (especially knitting), so here's hoping I'll be singing a different tune come next October.
But I do wear and love handmade items. In fact, one good point raised in the discussions online this week was that every item we wear is handmade by someone, somewhere, whether they were paid well or had access to adequate food, water, shelter, healthcare, or safe working conditions or not.
And I especially love my maker friends who create beautiful pieces themselves.
That's why this week's post is by my sweet friend Hannah from The Beauty of Process Blog.
More on our adventures in the wilderness later (see Hannah's post about our day here).
Take it away, Hannah!
Hi I’m Hannah!
I’m a huge fan of all things creative! I believe that being creative is an essential key to process. Allow me to explain.
I love to crochet. The process of watching a skein of yarn become a product of my own work is so rewarding. When I first began learning to crochet, I knew one stitch and made a baby blanket for just about everyone I knew. It took me quite a long time to master a single stitch, but when I finally did, I quickly moved on to learn a new stitch.
With a few key stitches, patterns, and handmade items tucked in my back pocket, I went on with my life. Sometimes I created new things, sometimes I stuck to the old patterns. However, I made sure to practice often enough so as not to lose the skill I had worked so hard to learn. I am so thankful I did that because the ability to create things with my own hands has come in handy many, many times since.
For me, the process of creating has rendered two main rewards. The first is simply a practical reason (but none the less valid): it saves money. There have been plenty of times that I was low on money but really wanted to gift someone with something meaningful. But what’s more meaningful than something you took the time to create with your own hands in order to bless someone?! I’d say spending time creating a gift is of much more value than spending money on an item. It’s just not as personal.
Another example of that instance is the headband shown here! I kept seeing these adorable headbands in boutiques and shops but they were priced from anywhere between $20 and $35—a price I was unwilling to pay! One day as I contemplated whether it was worth the $25 or not, a thought suddenly popped in my head. “Hey! I bet I could make this!” And guess what? I did! I found the yarn for under five dollars and got to work! After a little trial and error, I came up with a pattern I liked and started creating these little beauties! Perfect, practical, and cheap!
The second thing I love about the creative process of making my own things is that crocheting is so therapeutic to me. There have been multiple times where I locked myself in my room and furiously crocheted something to calm down and simply release some emotion. Typically, I don’t even have an end result in mind when I sit down to process life in this way. However, something beautiful always comes from it.
My fondest memory of this example came from when I was about fourteen. A leader I loved and respected from my church unexpectedly contracted a disease and passed away within a week. I had no idea he had even been in the hospital until my friend called to let me know that he had passed. My heart hurt. I cried for a while and then knew I needed to do something that would help me collect my thoughts and sort through my emotions. I pulled out my crocheting and started a new piece that quickly formed into one of my most favorite scarves I’ve ever made. The rhythmic flow of the needle going in and out of the yarn allowed me to process in a very collected and therapeutic way.
Now do you see what I mean by a process within the creative process?! By going through the process of creating and making things with my hands, I was able to go through a greater, more intense process—the process of life!
Friends, I encourage you to find a creative habit and use it both to process and simply for the pure joy and satisfaction of creating! I mean, it’s pretty cool to wear something YOU made! It makes a person feel accomplished. I think we could all use a little more of that encouragement in our lives!
It has been an honor and privilege to be with you all today! I pray that you are all blessed with an incredible, practical, beautiful creative process!