Saturday, February 12, 2011

Me-Made-May '11 -- join us!

That Zoe, she's at it again and inspiring ever more participants to flaunt their handmade goodies, whip up new treasures, and mix up our daily wear to include more me-made beauties. Because as many of us have discovered, if there's something you've sewn and feel "meh" about, if you can get to Wear #3 or 4, chances are you'll discover you love it after all, and those pesky little "meh" details fade into the background. The trick is to get to Wear #3. Enter Me-Made-March 2011!

[OK, this is from May 2010. When I get my act together I will photograph my March 2011 wardrobe options]

I, Jessica of ayenforcraft, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March '11. I will wear one item of handmade/refashioned clothing or accessories each day for the duration of March 2011, and twice each week I will wear at least two handmade/refashioned goodies. I have no intention of creating handmade bras, underwear, socks, leggings, tights, or shoes, and therefore exclude those from the list.

And now, having said that, I foresee a massive knitted sock/knee sock obsession appearing. Sigh. I really need to learn when to not tempt the fates with those "famous last words."

I'm pretty excited. Last year, I participated in Me-Made-May but had to bow out of Self-Stitched-September because 1) I was feeling a little burnt out from MMM, and 2) I knew I lacked sufficient warm-ish weather clothing to get me through the month, and really didn't want to push my luck. Therein lies the careful balancing act I always find myself performing when taking on these sorts of challenges. On the one hand, I do love me a good challenge. On the other hand, I have the opposite problem that others in the crafting blogosphere experience - I have a pretty strong sense of personal style and what I like, but because putting together outfits is something that I really enjoy, I find that these challenges can agitate me if I don't feel like I have enough variety in clothing choices to put together a range of outfits that represent Jessica and how Jessica feels on 31 consecutive occasions.

I'm not sure if I'm making sense. Essentially, with Me-Made-May last year, my sense of pride/creativity in putting together fun outfits collided head-on with the limitations in my self-stitched wardrobe. For many, they view a handmade wardrobe in the context of a larger ethical statement about learning to live with less and to shop with intention, making a statement against unethical or ecologically unsustainable fashion practices. I'm with you on that one, but I'm vain, too. I want to feel cute/fun/playful/whimsical in what I'm wearing. Worse yet, I hate repeating myself, which means I want variety, too. Want, want, want.

Crafting is one hobby that I am deathly protective of. I never want to burn myself out from crafting. I admire people for whom crafting serves a larger purpose. For me, it does too, but the problem is that it also serves my very selfish, very personal ends of creativity, self-expression, stress release, fun, personal growth, and learning. And I still haven't reached a point where I'm willing to sacrifice those personal gains for the larger ethical purpose. I've also loved putting together outfits for as long as I can remember, and unfortunately, again, if forced to choose between that piece of vanity and the larger ethical purpose of crafting, vanity wins out.

Boy, I sound like a downer, don't I? But the upside should be that, nearly 10 months later, it looks like I'm ready to dip my toe back in the water! What gives? [And if you're totally bored by this point, I don't blame you. But Zoe was curious why any MMM/SSS veterans were returning, and clearly what I've written so far would go WAY over the word limit on Blogger's commenting system. Feel free to tune out 'til next time, when I show off even more selfish knitting FO's ... although I do have a refashion for you, too!]

A couple things. One, I have knit myself soooooooo many sweaters these past 2 years that I could probably scrape by on sweaters alone and be fine, albeit not with as much variety as my vain little heart desires. Two, because I started making/refashioning clothing when I was on the East Coast, most of my efforts were directed towards a winter wardrobe, therefore I have way more handmade winter goodies than summer stuff, so I'm feeling pretty confident that I can handle a challenge as such while the weather is still winter-y. The goal this time will be to dress as close to Regular Jessica while adhering to the MMM'11 rules, which I think is the ultimate goal. I don't want MMM to be something that's a chore, I hope it can be a proof of concept that dressing this way is sustainable.

We'll see. I have a sneaking suspicion that a couple "Lite" days are going to pop up [i.e. Jessica throws on some tiny knitted accessory and calls it a MMM-day], but I'm hoping to keep those to a minimum.

It must be optimism that keeps me coming back for more, optimism with a heavy dose of amnesia. I think that's a combination that every idealist needs though, don't you? We can but keep trying in this life, keep trying and trying and reminding ourselves that it is a big world and a long life. Sometimes it is best not to push it but rather to stay open to the opportunity reappearing in new form, and when it does, baby, you just jump on it like there's no tomorrow (except, of course, there almost always is.)


Zoe said...

Hi lady! Thanks so much for sending me the link to this, and for taking the time to outline your (ever perceptive) thoughts and feelings on this challenge. I hope you can find a compromise between having enough variety that you feel able to fully express yourself, but also that you can adhere to your sustainable aims. I'm sure you will. Maybes all you need is quantity, and considering you're clearly on a creative roll these days, it can't be far off til you have enough me-made and refashions?

Unlike you, I'm not very good at mixing and matching my garments into new combinations for variety. For me these challenges actually force me to think more creatively in this vein, and not just grab my favoured combos.

I'm sure you are going to rock mmmar'11 hard! You always look awesome and create deeply wearable things. I think your participation will bring so much to the other participants who, as you acknowledged, may not have such a set sense of style. Your participation is greatly appreciated and, even if you feel frustrated at times during the month, I'm sure the inspiration you will be giving to others will be creating lots of positivity.
Zoe xxxx

Zonnah said...

The last paragraph was well put!

Roobeedoo said...

I think I am feeling about MMM the way you did about SSS. March is a bit too early for short sleeves here, and I would run out of long on day two... but I am tempted.