I will start with a story
I was lamenting that I needed to go shopping for clothes, something I really don’t enjoy and a friend suggested I go to a well known budget fashion store as everything there was so cheap you could buy more. Like some how it was better to have three of the same top. I’m not going to go into how well made the stuff might be, or how they come to be made so cheaply, the real question is ‘for what purpose?’ What do we achieve by collecting more of stuff we don’t actually need?
That is one of wonderful by-products if you like of making. It brings us closer to the truth of things. If you a have knitted each and every stitch of a sweater, it is thus imbued with a value. If a small hole appears, you fix it, you don’t throw it away. Once you have hand knitted a thing, other, non hand knitted things can also hold that value. That’s not to say I don’t buy a cheap sweater, but I do so with knowledge, I buy only what I need, I repair things. In addition, once you have hand knitted something, you don’t usually go knit half a dozen more because the yarn was cheap. You spend your time wisely, knitting stuff that you will love. And it doesn’t stop with hand crafts.
Another story – I was having a tea party and decided to cook some millionaires shortbread, you know, shortbread, covered with caramel, covered with chocolate. It took 2 packs of butter, over half a large bag of sugar and a of couple cans of condensed milk. They were lush. I enjoyed every mouthful. But each mouthful contained a truth. After physically putting all the ingredients together it was impossible to not realise, to not know exactly how full of fat and sugar these wonderful little sticky melt in the mouth moments actually were. That’s not to say you don’t eat them, but you eat them knowing, really knowing the truth of them.
Modern day life means that we are often disconnected from the truths of our life, the clothes we wear, the food we eat. We buy throw away clothes, eat pre-prepared meals, have the heating on full in winter so we can wear a t shirt around the house, we waste stuff, we lie to ourselves about the impact of this on our lives. By getting closer to the truth of things we can better know ourselves, which may not always be comfortable, but it also brings with it a freedom. Making stuff, not just knitted stuff, brings with it the opportunity to get closer to these truths and with that a simpler life. And for me, that has to be a good thing.
So that’s one of the many reasons I make things I love, why I unravel things to make more things I love, that I think others will love. It makes life better.