Thursday, May 14, 2009

Manage Expectations

I was on a conference call earlier this morning, and the project leader said, (in a firm, no nonsense tone that I really should learn how to imitate, it would be so useful!) "We need to manage the customer expectations on this one." and while I was waiting for my cue I sat thinking, hmm, isn't that true of every project in life? That we need to manage expectations? For instance, sewing. I buy a pattern for many reasons. I think it looks cute, I don't want to spend ten years of work drafting my own pattern, I might actually make it. In the olden days (before I had any kind of pattern-sense) I would buy patterns that I thought were awesome but that I would never make in real life because I am truly not a ball gown wearing kind of girl. Which explains why I have one whole entire drawer of gorgeous dress patterns yet wear a dress about three times a year. Shouldn't I have managed my expectations? How many times will I wear ball gowns? How many balls do the rest of you go to? That many? I thought so.
Same with cookbooks. A couple years ago I realized that I had almost five hundred cookbooks. FIVE HUNDRED! That was crazy - there aren't even that many recipes in the world! So I went through each and every one and thought, "Will I ever use this? Will I ever really make this?" and reduced the collection by half. I gave the books to BSE and BBE and they kept what they wanted and sold the rest on half.com or ebay, I forget which. And you know what? It made me happy to have the space, and not have all those books lurking around eyeing me resentfully. In my heart of hearts, I know that I will never make croissants from scratch or learn how to make German food. It just is NOT going to happen.
Which leads me to the fabric collection. I stopped buying fabric over a year ago because I just had too much and needed to sew down the collection a little. And in that year I have realized that my fabric stash and I don't get along any more. I think I have out grown some of it or it, me...anyway I've changed or it has and we just don't even know each other any more. Now I want suddenly cool old retro prints for quilting purposes and clothing, and I have crazy modern hand dyes and batiks instead. Silks and velvet and brocades. But I want floral lawns, and polka dots and stripes. I've got wild and crazy knit prints instead. Has this ever happened to you? Has anyone else grown apart from their stash? Will the stash insist on custody of the patterns that they were bought for? And now that we don't love each other any more, how do we move on to new partners?

5 comments:

Myra said...

Post it for sale! Ebay, etsy or whatever you want, if you know it won't be used.

Lindsay T said...

I'm still at the point where my stash is small, having only returned to sewing full-on three years ago. I just donated a lot of my cookbooks to a children's fund rummage sale. I live in too small of a house to accumulate anything.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I gave all of my stash that I had outgrown but was still useable to the DC Threads Sewing Lounge, where hopefully it will find new life. It was SO GREAT to have it out of my house, so that it wasn't staring at me resentfully anymore, as you say. Of course, ahem, I'm sure I could take some of that fabric off your hands. heh.

A large pattern stash of which I will sew, realistically, maybe 5%, doesn't bother me as much, perhaps because it takes up less room and can be closed into drawers! I like having an aspirational collection.

lsaspacey said...

Yes, I know what you mean. I go through these phases where I feel I have to finish all of those patterns that I bought specific fabric for. But what I find is that I've lost the excitement for the item by then so what joy comes from finishing that project? None, it's just something I can check off the list. Still love the fabric just have to find a new pattern that gets me excited again. So only buying fabric for things I'm going to make NOW/\immediate future from now on.

gwensews said...

I hear ya'. I have fabric that's 15 years old. Now come on--if I haven't sewn it yet--I'm not going to! Some of it, I look at and wonder "where was my head"? or "what was in my head"?