Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crafting and the Fulfillment Curve

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “enough.” What is enough fabric? Enough detail on a handmade item? And for that matter, what is enough crafting?

I first came across the concept of the fulfillment curve in the book Your Money Or Your Life. I remember curling up under the sheets in my wallpapered bedroom in my parents house, reading about how satisfaction does not follow a linear relationship, but rather starts off strong, gradually tapers before peaking at the point of “just enough,” and then produces diminishing returns thereafter. And I remember thinking, “WOW.”

Like many others, that book changed how I viewed money. Spending. Lifestyle. Values and priorities, both trying to discern your own, and trying to live a life that is true to them. Valuing your own time and self worth. Being conscientious about where we invest our time and energy, our spirits, our hearts.

I have always loved crafting. My aunt taught me to sew at 9, I taught myself to crochet right around then as well. Growing up, my favorite books were always 1) set in nature, 2) involved great amounts of making of the DIY variety, 3) creative and inspirational. But at 17, I made the conscious decision to stop sewing, and except for periodic bouts of scarf-making in college and one great push to finish the Ten Year Project, all knitting and crochet ceased as well.

When I started up again I was in a much different place in life. And crafting has been integral to this latest phase of my life – the one that postdates Your Money Or Your Life, the one about conscious living and greater appreciation for each moment in the day – that it is hard to imagine life without it. Yet at the same time, one cannot wonder if making 16 skirts in the course of as many months (I miscounted last time) does not count as tipping beyond the point of “just enough.”* Or showering the same set of friends with handmade gift upon handmade gift. Or even that stack of quilts that is slowly collecting at my parent’s house. We love each and every one of them, and I get a small thrill every time I put on a handmade piece of clothing or use one of my cloth napkins, but perhaps it is time for a little break.

This is not to say that I will stop crafting entirely (for sanity’s sake I hope not, with school starting in half a week I certainly hope not!), but that I may be less present on this site. Or maybe I’ll switch over to knitting for awhile, as I have been itching to do since the middle of summer. I have the strangest desire to handknit myself a pair of self-striping knee socks on size 0 needles. I know not where these urges stem, although I strongly suspect this photo is largely to blame for my latest obsession. I’m sure I’ll still be sewing. But I want to take the pressure off of the To Do List, which might better be termed the Crafty Want List. This needs to be fun again. And it needs to be about the desire to craft well-made items, from the heart, in a responsible and conscientious way, instead of merely a substitution for materialism and Wantingness of beautiful items.

That said, I still have a couple finished objects to show here once I photograph them properly, so the apparently productivity (at least in the near term) should stay relatively the same.

*Note: Not that I think this is a particularly unreasonable number. I just happen to have a wardrobe full of clothes that I already love which includes a number of beautiful skirts, and I really think I need to just take some time to enjoy what I already have, instead of constantly trying to create more.


Zonnah said...

I can't wait to see what ever you post about :)

Antoinette said...

Do what feels right and we will all stick with you. Thanks for letting us know and, even if you're posting less frequently, I hope you won't be a stranger in Blogland! :)

Kristine Hanson said...

Jessica...I just realized you left me a thank are welcome! I have more of the kerchief girl in those 3 color ways if you would like a bit...a little goes a long way...this was the first time I tried the "wonky" style log cabin...I did not intend for the quilt to turn out more like a table runner! You are so welcome for the socks too...I love that look, very cute!