Let’s Stereotype!

One of my favourite things about the internet is that everywhere, you can find articles, posts and memes about different kinds of people.

Right? You’ve seen a million of these.

Now I am going to embark on my own gross over-generalization:

There are two kinds of sewing bloggers:

Sewing bloggers who like to sew.

Sewing bloggers who like to make things.

Sewing bloggers only sew. Their sewing may even be incredibly specific: authentic medieval costumes, say. Cosplay outfits for conventions. Knit t-shirts.

Sewing-bloggers-who-like-to-make-things may blog primarily or exclusively about their sewing, but if you visited their home, you’d see an enormous crafting stash for everything from candle-making to wood-carving to books on constructing custom rocket-ships for “someday.” Do I get to make it with my hands? Does it involve fun toys and the chance to accumulate highly specialized tools you can really only use for one thing? Fantastic! Sign me up!

I am part of the second crowd. I cook, bake, make candles, sew, embroider, occasionally refinish furniture, make cards, carve stamps, draw, paint, make things out of old books, take photographs, do calligraphy and hand-lettering from time to time, crochet, have sadly neglected knitting supplies, dye things, etc. Basically, if it’s an object that can be made by hand rather than by machine, I’d prefer to.

It’s really fairly hopeless.

There are also two kinds of sewing blog readers, I’ve found.

Those who are only interested in reading about sewing. They will turn away if a blogger starts blogging about something other than sewing, or even something other than sewing what they used to sew (such as when a sewing blogger has a baby and starts sewing baby clothes).

Those who are mostly interested in the person doing the sewing, and will happily keep reading even when sewing is not the only subject of posts.

Which are you, Dear Readers? What do you look for in your bloggingness, either as a blogger or reader (or both)?

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30 thoughts on “Let’s Stereotype!”

  1. I am your biggest fan.I will read anything you blog about. Some things I don’t understand but I what I do know is that I love every aspect of who you are.

  2. I’m not sure how I was introduced to your blog, probably through another sewing blog but got hooked through your social commentary posts. I like to think about the world while I’m sewing.
    In the sewing/blogging world as according to Andrea, I live in the grey area. I am a maker, sewing is my favourite hobby but I also love learning to make things, almost anything. But I only subscribe to sewing blogs, too many creative influences overwhelm me with ideas.
    Though I do really enjoy your social commentary.

  3. I am a quilter and I don’t do other crafts. I don’t make clothes and don’t want to, and I don’t care a lot about blogs that talk about making clothes or other sewn things. But in fact it really depends on what the blog is about. If it is ABOUT sewing clothes, then I probably won’t read it. Worse yet, if it is ABOUT how cute the blogger’s baby or grandbaby is, or that the son and DIL are coming for dinner (with the cute grandbabies), I really really don’t care.

    OTOH, if it is about a range of topics, including why and how we make decisions or connect ideas, I may well be interested. Even quilting blogs that only show a new finished quilt or quilt in process every few days, but don’t talk about how and why, are boring. Quilt blogs that aren’t about quilting but are about what the blogger bought for her ever-building stash, those are boring to me. But when the blogger discusses a new process she/he is trying, or why this fabric reminds her of … , or how she switches over from a quilting studio to a painting studio, depending on what class she’s taking… Or when she has a thoughtful review of a book or technique or product, or why she won’t buy from X because it goes against her values, those are posts that are more interesting. Those are blogs I’m likely to follow.

    This may well be clear as mud, eh? I like a range of topics but how, why, and what we might think about that, that’s what I like best.

    1. No, it’s perfectly clear and a great comment. It sounds like you’re talking about a connection with who the blogger is–not just what the blogger is making, but how it connects with who they are. And I know what you mean. Pure acquisitiveness–“here is my stuff”–does get boring. Even when it’s stuff someone’s made, if there’s no reason given to care about why they made it or what they got out of making/having it. I do follow blogs like that, but I admit I rarely click through to read the full posts.

      That’s interesting. Now I have some more overthinking to do about blogging. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. And this from your sidebar: “The people getting the money, in many cases, haven’t earned it; the people with valuable skills to share don’t have the platform to do so; ” The audience, the platform, is more important than the expertise. YES. I could go on about this, too.

  5. Hrmmm… may I add another binary system? 1. Blogs whose writer’s personality and writing speaks to me, and 2. blogs I read (well, view, really) for pure making-stuff inspiration. With the first category of bloggers, they can write about almost anything and I’ll read eagerly (like your blog, although I don’t always feel informed enough to comment on the political / environmental posts). If the second category of blog veers into a topic I don’t care about much, I drift away. Of course, this is more of a spectrum than a binary for me. I view everything on a spectrum, though, and would place myself somewhere nearer the “make everything” side of of the categories you discuss above, although I’ve had a laser focus on sewing for over six years. But like you, above all I’m compelled by the possibilities of making things by hand. My other/past diversions include screen printing, shibori dyeing, drawing, piano/keyboard/singing, quilting (as a scrap-busting necessity), gardening, cooking, baking. Recently, I’ve been getting re-interested in knitting and I just know I’m going to fall prey to embroidery one of these days.

    1. No, you may not. Stereotypes and mass over-generalizations are based on reducing everything to their simplest and smallest parts. Another binary system would muck it up and add complexity, which is not stereotyping. (Kidding–of course you can add as many binary systems as you like.)

      See, if I could maintain laser focus on any hobby for six years (except reading, which is more like it has a laser focus on me) I’d be making things a whole lot better than I currently do. I focus, and then drift, and then come back, and drift again. I admire and kind of envy anyone who can focus on one hobby or craft for such a long time!

      I think I know what you mean, though. It sounds a bit like what Melanie was talking about–there needs to be something there besides stuff.

      If I can ever claim any credit in getting you into embroidery, I will be very pleased.

      1. Melanie nailed it. Somehow I didn’t see her comment when I first read your post. The hows and whys are incredibly important; supplies or even a handmade object ultimately aren’t sufficient, although I love a good technical post. Sorry for trying to shoe-horn in complexity, btw 🙂 I won’t do it again.

        Like knitting and hand-quilting the slow aspect of embroidery is seductive and intimidating at the same time. I do want to make a western-style shirt this year, which would be a great canvas for embroidery… and you could definitely take the credit. Do you have any suggestions for building proficiency? I’ve got this book, too: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/114975.Dictionary_of_Embroidery_Stitches

      2. Like knitting (but I suspect unlike hand-quilting) embroidery is also incredibly portable. That’s one of the things I love about it–stick in my work bag, plug away on lunch.

        An embroidered western shirt would be fabulous (and now you know exactly how to get it to fit just right 🙂 ). And I’ve heard great things about that book.

        Honestly I think it’s just like anything else. The advice is always to start with something very small and basic (like cross-stitch) and work on to greater complexity and harder stitches. But then when I really got into embroidery in grade 9 or 10 I bought a fairly large cross-stitch pattern and just plugged away at it with cheerful over-confidence. In retrospect I made a bunch of mistakes and it wasn’t as nicely finished as it could have been, but I had a great time. So ideally probably start with something small and basic, like a kit or small pattern, something that can be done in less than ten hours (just in case you hate it–nothing less motivating than putting ten hours into a 3″ x 3″ project you never want to look at again). On the other hand, maybe just find a pattern or kit you love and figure it out as you go. Or start a sampler–those don’t need patterns (though there are hundreds of patterns if you want one), you just do a row of each stitch to practice them.

      3. Some magazines (Inspirations and Cross Stitcher are both really good)
        Lots of books (I have a shelf on goodreads–it’s maybe a little OTT. Some are instructional and some are pattern books.)
        Some websites (Needle’n’Thread is a great place to start–not only is she an excellent embroiderer in her own right, but she’s constantly reviewing patterns and books by other embroiderers)
        And when I’m feeling adventurous, making my own from a photograph

  6. Oh can I be in the middle PLEEEEEEASE?! 🙂

    I have a few people who I like a lot and would like to sit and have coffee (or tea) and snacks with. So when they blog kids’ projects or other crafts, I don’t turn away.

    But when sewing blogs start inching into “Lifestyle Blog” territory well…I become the former type of bloggist. I can only take so much talk about home remodeling or recipes or refashions…Knitting is okay. I miss knitting and live vicariously through those sewing blogger friends who also knit.

    On type of sewer…all my life people have told me I am crafty. But I don’t think I am. For me, the crafty folks are more like artists. They’re creative and come up with fantastic things right from their brains! I’m not a creative. I AM technical — I can execute ‘task A’ like nobody’s business!!! — but I’m not creative/artistic.

    I like the technical aspect. I like to sew and have unique-to-me garments. I like when people ask “Where did you get that?!”. 🙂

    1. Ugh. Lifestyle blogging is its own special kind of awful. I used to love TreeHugger for their green news, and now they’re doing all of this unrelated parenting stuff and it’s irritating me so much. It wouldn’t be so bad if the parenting stuff had some kind of environmental connection, even a small one, but it’s just standard sanctimonious crap like “good moms use slings instead of strollers (click on this link and get a discount on our favourite brand!).” What the hell. I hope they go back to their core mission, and soon.

      The art/craft distinction is so interesting. I know sort of what you mean, though–I don’t feel like I’m being creative when I’m just following directions in a pattern. Like if I do an embroidery project and I get a comment to the effect of “you are an artist,” my response is usually, “balderdash, I just followed the pattern. The person who made the pattern is the artist.” Because it’s not something that came originally from my brain.

      But I don’t mind when people call me crafty. To me that’s a skill word, not an art word.

      (Your technical skills are really good–but you already knew that.)

      1. Thanks 🙂

        And YES, that’s exactly how I mean it!! I am just following the pattern folks…And good point on it being a skill word. I like that.

      2. Well–and then you get into the whole art/craft debate, and how art is used to dismiss craft, and how often art is used to describe what white people/men do, and craft is used to dismiss what non-white people/women do (especially non-white women), and it gets *really* interesting. Guy takes some tubes of colourful oils, smooshes them around on canvas, makes a pretty picture? Art. Put it in a gallery and charge people admission. Woman takes some reeds, dyes them, weaves them into a basket with a pretty picture on the side? Craft. Let’s buy one as a souvenir on vacation.

        Art & craft are really loaded, but it still doesn’t make me anymore comfortable with the big-A word.

  7. I will read your shopping list, because I know you’ll write about why each item is on it. I will read your list of things in your medicine cabinet, because I know you will describe why you keep that bottle of teething soothers around despite the fact that your daughter is well past teething.

    Write whatever you want. I’m here.

  8. I’m the latter, of both types! I love making, and even if I don’t want to make a thing I want to know HOW to make it. Just in case. There are three separate cupboards in the house filled with random crafting supplies and I’ve tried to pare it down but… what if I DO want to take up tatting again??

    In general, I am happy to read almost anything a blog posts, if it’s a person I’m interested in, or their writing is good. Sometimes if a post isn’t relevant to me I skip it, but I never resent that. I sometimes do the same with some sewing posts if it’s a style I would never ever make myself, for instance. I have limited reading time but I do value variety in it. Sometimes, for instance with some of your social commentary posts, I’ll save that one for when I’m in the mood or have time to think about it. Sometimes that means they fall off my radar before I get to them, but speaking for those posts in particular I really like them and would happily read more (although judiciously… I have been known to have actual panic attacks about the state of the environment so I try to limit reading things about it on, for example, the train).

    I wonder about it too because I also post the occasional recipe, or gardening post. I figure people can skip it if they don’t care for it. I have no very clear idea of who is reading my blog anymore, or why! So with a silent audience, I guess I’ll just do what I like…

    1. I am right with you on the panic. Bad environmental news has to come at a time when I know I can sit with it and not need to function very well.

      (So I’ll keep that in mind and think about posting trigger warnings.)

      1. For me, personally, as long as it’s clear what a post or even a paragraph is going to be about, it’s fine. Just thinking about it is fine. Reading about it in detail and THEN thinking about it… I need a paper bag to breathe into and maybe be home where I can look at our solar panels and veggies growing in the backyard and feel like at least I’m trying (it’s not enough, I know, but panicking doesn’t help, either! Well not panicking on its own anyway.)

        Please don’t stop writing about it though, because I really like your perspective and knowledge about it and I find it helpful to have a broad scope of real, useful knowledge rather than whatever the media dishes up (it’s gonna be fine! No wait everything is terrible! But it’s probably fine, run all your air conditioners!).

  9. I usually pass on blogs that have a gazillion pictures of the same project (usually with the blogger wearing it). It strikes me as narcissistic. Three pictures I feel is usually sufficient unless I am your mother.

  10. I will happily read whatever you chose to post, honestly. I enjoy reading about the stuff you make, but I don’t read your blog because of that; I enjoy your political posts, but I don’t read your blog for that; I mostly ready to follow your musings, because you are an interesting woman with interesting thoughts, and I like getting your take on things.

    In other words: what the others have said. 🙂

  11. I absolutely do not mind bloggers posting things other than the subject that drew me to read in the first place. I will stop checking in when the subject totally changes to something I’m not interested in, like all baby sewing/knitting or journaling all the time. Or if it’s all look-at me-in-what-I-made photos and nothing about how/why, what went right or wrong. Or if it turns into shill reviews just to get more free stuff to review.

    Your climate change & political posts don’t bother me, since they are not the main subject of your blog, and they calmly point out where some of the deniers’ logic is off, or leaving out important data parts. Sadly, while what you write often makes sense while reading, I fail to articulate the failings of denier’s logic and statistics later.

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