For the past year or so, I have had an odd feeling that as I sew, there are people watching my progress. Not like "I see dead people", more like "I must do a good job because so and so expects it" This phenomenon of maintaining a reputation is probably a common affliction but I was surprised to see it pop up in an online format. After serious thought about this character challenge (defect?), I realized that I do all my work by myself, and share the results online almost exclusively. This is not the way the real world works. Most of us struggle in public, and share our successes and our failures. For example, today I took big Nick to the arena to lunge him. He was amped up and ripped the line right out of my hands...away he went, the naughty goober. People saw my inability to hold him, and my annoyance, and my slogging through the sand to chase him around until he wanted to come back to me. Thread nests, equestrian style.
When I began sewing seriously some years back, there was very little support and community online for those of us struggling with thread nests and zippers. I had friends who had sewn in the past but were too busy with their careers, family or other hobbies to sew. One of my friends, the lovely Cathy V., attended Design Outside the Lines and came back full of fire. She is a potter, beekeeper, rider, teacher (retired), sewist and much more. Anyway, we drove over the mountain to visit Marcy Tilton and it was Marcy who said to me "Oh, you must look into PatternReview".
PatternReview was my lifeline to information, collaboration, and a sense of accomplishment as I taught myself to sew correctly. I soaked up information, bought far too many patterns just because I loved someone's dress, and made some good friendships. Since that time, I have branched out to other places online and find myself happy enough to post a picture and a short summary of my work, knowing that others will see it quickly as they too scroll through the projects.
While PR is a valuable community and I will continue to add to the database of pattern reviews, I appreciate the other ways to build community. Here is a list of some of the places online which I visit. I have not included blogs-that is a whole 'nother issue.
Here is the main point of this long and rambling post-we do our work by ourselves, and can share it or not. While online communities provide some support and collaboration, we should approach with some caution. It is all too easy for the community to become the reason we sew, rather than the work of our hands.