More a day for reflection than for stitching. And my reflection leads me to believe that scaling back on my current purchases while using the wealth of stash I have accumulated over the years is the right thing to do on a number of levels.
To be so fixated on the accumulation of stuff, however lovely and satisfying, can distract me from more important things in life: faith, family, friends, community [both local and global]. I tend to think of myself as a rather socially conscious person but I have noticed as I age I have drawn in on myself more and more. And stitching is a very solitary experience for me, rather like reading, my other favorite leisure activity. I need to expand the scope of my people-centered experiences. Given my personality type, I could easily turn into a hermit once I retire in a few years. Not a good thing!
I probably have enough stash to keep me well occupied for the next five years. To continue to accumulate charts, fabric and floss at the rate I have been over the past ten years would be just plain greedy and acquisitive in the worst sense. This is not to say that I am planning to cease buying craft supplies completely ... I do believe I was meant to enjoy life ... my God does not require that I live a life of sackcloth and ashes. So, for the past year or so I have been trying to limit my purchases of charts to five a year. In 2009, I blew that number out of the water, purchasing 12 charts and receiving another 12 as gifts from family who consulted my wish list and another 12 or so in goodie bags and giveaways at one of Sue Donnelly's Stitcher's Hideaway and yet another 10 or so charts I won in a blogging giveaway. That's another year's worth of stitching right there. In 2010, I am trying to be a little more selective and so far have ordered only one chart: Blackbird Designs Bird in Hand. I have not entered any other blogger's giveaways, even though the impulse has been there. We shall see how well I do in future months. And, maybe, just maybe, some of the money saved can be diverted to some worthy causes.
Those who have been following my blog know that my mother, in an impulse that was 50% generosity and 50% cunning, cleaned out her entire craft stash into a full carload of stuff dumped on little old me. I spent the better part of the first three months of 2010 cataloging, photographing and giving away all of her stuff. I have spent a small fortune on postage getting this stuff to people who can use it ... whatever is still leftover at the end of April will go to a local nursing home or to the local Girl Scout council. I don't want to do the same thing to my daughter. Hence my monthly giveaway of gently used charts. I also have taken to going through my binders of free charts and have been discarding those I know I will never stitch or have stitched and will never stitch again. My new rule is simplify-simplify-simplify! Though my daughter also stitches, her taste is somewhat different from mine. When she inherits my stash, it is my hope that it will be predominantly fabric and fiber and those fantasy charts we both enjoy.
Part of my problem is that ten years ago I discovered online needlework shopping. Prior to that, I found needlework shops [the brick and mortar kind] only when I traveled on vacation. Though I would purchase liberally at such times, there was a built-in limit ... I couldn't spend more than I had at the time. Online shopping is a whole different ball game: a little at a time doesn't break the budget at any given time but does add up to a substantial amount over the course of a year. And online shopping is another solitary activity ... see my comments above about avoiding turning into a hermit. I must have, in my stitching center, over 200 purchased charts yet to be stitched and that doesn't count free charts or charts in the magazines to which I subscribe. That should be more than enough for anyone. Five purchases of new charts each year will keep me in touch with new trends and new designers; the rest of my stitching purchases will go to buying the necessary fiber and fabric to stitch charts already in my possession. So, I will still be doing my bit to support the stitching industry and I will try to make most of my purchases at genuine needlework shops, the brick and mortar kind that have an online presence, or at my favorite online only shop, 123stitch. I recently read a persausive blog entry detailing how big-box stores like AC Moore, Michael's and Hobby Lobby are undercutting the stitching industry by selling DMC below wholesale and luring stitchers away from LNSs ... cutting into the business of the LNSs we all depend on for charts/fabric and high end flosses and supplies ... by diverting shoppers who need just a few skeins of DMC, thereby costing the LNS the average $12-$15 of impulse purchases that usually accompany such a trip ... dollars that mean the difference between survival and closing to most LNS owners.
Well, those are my reflections on stitching and social justice ... who knew the two topics were connected!?!