NY-Lon2014: regarding meetups

i’ve been thinking a lot – perhaps too much – about the sewing community in the week since i have been back from ny-lon2014. because, really, it bears thinking about.

you know what i mean: how is it that people so consistently get together, get along, and make real friends at these meetups? what are we doing by participating in this act of blogging? how does it help us, what does it mean?

and from thence to the larger questions of life, the universe and everything. obvi.

i think about these things because yesterday at lunch it became clear to me that my adorable, loving, doting father was actually quite clueless about why i had gone to london – who with, what for, and how it had come about. “but you don’t even know these people,” was not actually a phrase used, but implied.

but don’t i? what are we doing, when we blog, when we share our style, our outfits, our thoughts, our sewing, if not presenting an authentic and true self? behind every elaborate persona, pseudonym, beverage selfie, chopped off head is still a person sharing his or her creations with the wider world. a fully formed person, with their own society/family/circle of friends in their “real” life and therefore free to share some of the most intimate things – by which i mean their creations – with us, their “internet” or “fake” friends. and when we see those creations and comment on them and appreciate the work you put into them, we are already accepting and admiring that most fundamental thing about you – what you create (or, if you prefer, how you express yourself).

so how can i not know these people, these “internet” friends turned “real life” friends, when i already know so much? maybe i do not know the details – the education, the socio-economic details, the religion, how “cool” they are perceived to be (or not) in “real life” – but those details are immaterial to the person i already know.

when we create a blog and start writing and sharing photographs and creations and ideas and inspiration, we are putting ourselves out there. i have come to consider it a genuine act of courage – your work, your self, is out there for all to see. and when we meet in person, in “real life”, you either show yourself to be that person or you don’t.

you put up or you shut up.

and sewists, i find, put up. we are lucky, because we share this innate interest in creating things. and because we know how much effort goes into each garment, we are, by and large, a respectful lot. respectful of people’s time, and ambitions, and skills, and style. we learn about different types of life by learning to appreciate the myriad styles represented across the blogging community – different shapes, and bodies, and colors, and religions, and traditions. beliefs about modesty or sexiness. balancing work life and home life and children and families.

so why would i not go to meet these people? i always think of kelli (of true bias) telling me how she had explained it to her husband: “of course i am going. these people think i am cool.”

and we do. because you are cool, kelli.  (and you have magic hair.)

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45 Responses to NY-Lon2014: regarding meetups

  1. Heather Lou says:

    Love this post. And Kelli’s response is so true – I have way more cred online than in real life! So wish I could have joined you guys…. next time!

    • puu says:

      i agree about the cred – i feel like it is because i feel freer to geek out about the things i like to geek out about, without the expectations/pressures/what-have-you, preconceptions all, that i might feel around my “real” friends. p.s., i think some of the NY contingent, after spending five delightful days with a fellow montreal-er, are considering a northern invasion. you have been warned.

  2. gingermakes says:

    I love everything about this. Wise words, friend!

  3. maddie says:

    Great conversation!

    I used to be embarrassed that I had online friends, and that in some cases, I liked them better than my real life friends. My opinion changed when I took an Ecourse for blogging on A Beautiful Mess. In it, she wrote that her bridesmaids were women she met through her blog. Because of the internet, we are now able to find others who share the same interests as us. I hope that on my wedding day, my bridesmaids are women I met through my blog as well. The only difference being that each is wearing me-made 🙂

    • puu says:

      maddie, i agree with you. i had a similar conversation with some of the sewists in london – generally like this: “this is so much easier/more fun/less hassle than traveling with my ‘real’ friends.” interesting, right? i wonder about the stigma of online relationships, especially in a day and time when so many people are meeting their spouses and partners online, using airbnb, and craigslist.

  4. What a great conversation and even more interesting comments! I do believe it’s because we all have that common interest, sewing, which gives us an innate understanding of what really makes us “tick”!

    • puu says:

      right? it is insane how many great conversations start off with some digression about interfacing and end up becoming about vital life choices.

  5. Clio says:

    If we didn’t “know” each other, I’d worry that you might not understand what I meant when I said “42”.

    I had a similar convo with my mom last night, although I think she is more amused/impressed than baffled. Honestly, I think she’s happy that sewing isn’t solitary.It’s been amazing to have new people in my life when it’s become harder and harder to get together with my “real” friends because they are having babies like there’s a people shortage.

  6. anothersewingscientist says:

    YES TO A MONTREAL MEETUP! If I manage to glamour you NYers up here, my work as a sewing blogger will be done! (I’ll start cleaning up my basement right now for the mega-sleepover. And stocking the liquor cabinet.)

    I never would have gone to London this spring (even though I’ve been desperately wanting to visit for more than a year) if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of all of you, just like I probably wouldn’t have gone to the Bridge School Benefit in San Francisco last fall if it weren’t for Loran, or NYC if it weren’t for the MPB and Sew Weekly crew, and Toronto if it weren’t for Gillian et al. Y’all are my excuse / inspiration to see and do more, rather than sinking into a suburban funk after being domesticated by kids 😉 heheh

  7. Sarahphim says:

    YES. I’m still tangentially lurking in a pre-internet club that is dying, slowly, and those that are left keep wondering why. I think it’s because the basic value proposition of the Society for Creative Anachronism was “here’s a way to find others interested in niches related to yours so you can play together.” (There’s local chapters, with regional events every so often, and people travel and camp, and do medieval stuff.) Now, the internet provides ways to find those folks, and enables as many different structures to get together as people can think of, which renders particular rigid official 501-3C organizations irrelevant. I’m going to read Slackonomics, because Google Books tells me that pg 75-76 talks about how GenXers have evolved the Bowling Alone worry (social and civic engagement has been dropping for quite some time, pre-WWW), and ‘the kids are all right’.

  8. Cindy says:

    Well said! There’s nothing like being able to debate seam finishing with people who understand. Now that there are sites like Meetup, I think people don’t find meeting groups of “strangers” as odd. There’s nothing like meeting up with kindred spirits.

    I always thought that Kelli has Disney princess hair. I need some of her shampoo!

  9. So well written! Thank you! I find it so comforting there is a world with people where sewing isn’t a granny hobby! And there’s only so much sewing talk you can do with people who are not interested 😉

  10. beebeesvintagedress says:

    I totally agree. Especially that we bond over creativity and that makes us respectful of others. I have never met a blogger who hasn’t been exactly who she is in real life as well as on her blog. Everyone is so genuine and wants to celebrate other peoples successes I find it very hard to find people like that in “the real world.” I wouldn’t change my blogging friends for the world and its so awesome that I can now count ladies from all over the world too!

    • puu says:

      i think of lunch last week, our smaller group from the main group, and how easily conversation flowed even though i didn’t know anyone at the table except jen! but it was lovely, and inspiring, and i learned new things and met new people.

  11. This post is brill! Awww, I love you guys 😊

  12. ALSO: your online sewing friends will never, ever ask you to hem their pants — and that is priceless. Great post. So jealous about missing out on all the London fun!

  13. nettie says:

    This post is made of magic!! I love you guys, no matter how we first “met”. I’m lucky that the people whose opinions matter most to me (hubby, sissy, kiddies) think it’s perfectly normal to feel so close to you all. I couldn’t care less what everyone else thinks.

    I know that we have a real connection. As real, or real-er, than people I’ve know for years who don’t know THIS Wanett, this current person who is more content and happy and free thanks to my “internet” community!!

  14. Amanda says:

    Great post! You’re clearly making us all really sad we didn’t go to London hehe (well that, and the mentions of Wagamama on Instagram. I ❤ Wagamama). But seriously, it is great to have met so many wonderful people through this online sewing community. I remember the first meet-up I went to and was able to talk about this pattern and that pattern, and people knew what I was talking about. Or the Craft Industry Happy Hour where we were talking about french seams as naturally as if we were talking about the weather. Also, I love Suzanne's comment about sewing friends never asking to have you hem their pants!! So true. So true.

  15. Very interesting topic! Yes, we really click with our online friends – and I like how we often have a history of being nice to each other (blog comments, tweets etc) and feeling liked by each other even before we meet :). I think we’re so lucky these days – before the internet and social media, if you didn’t know anyone in your social group that shared your interests, well your hobby was going to be a pretty lonely one!

    • puu says:

      it’s funny, that, because i’m good with lonely as well – i’m just struck by how this one common interest can unite so many different types of people and in turn form real social groups…

  16. great post. it is so true. i’m lucky enough to live near london and meet up with the spoolettes as regularly as possible. there’s not one i wouldn’t be happy to spend an evening in the pub with (actually knowing the spoolettes it would be an afternoon in the pub which turned into an evening where dinner reservations were missed to stay in the pub). sewing people are the best! it was so great to meet you all!

  17. angela says:

    Very true, it is hard to explain to people sometimes, why we do this. Sharing and getting to know people is so satisfying, and finding out how cool they are in RL is such a bonus!

  18. megthegrand says:

    YES! Yes to all of this. People always give me side eye when I explain that I am hanging out with bloggers and that’s how we met, but truly, some bloggers have turned into actual real life friends, and the meet-ups are a core part of that.

    I will never forget your red pants from when we first met. I still feel the urge to make those allll the time 🙂

    Also, London 2015. I want to go to there.

  19. powell2317 says:

    Great post & so true!

  20. CarmencitaB says:

    Hear hear! I loved you all before and I love you even more!

  21. Pingback: mmmay day 30 – otome no policy | puu's door of time

  22. Trice says:

    Sewing friends are the best

  23. poppykettle says:

    Kelli does indeed have magic hair. I want to know how the trick works!! haha.
    You’re right though – and it’s probably why I haven’t shared with many people in my ‘outer sphere’ that I blog. Especially people at work. It’s just too much me!
    I remember distinctly going to my very first sewing meetup. I was so very nervous… but after that initial wierdness it was all so easy. Everyone got along with Everyone, and whilst obviously some people gravitate towards some people more by the nature of personalities, on the whole, it was just awesome 🙂 Sewing bloggers and those that sew but haven’t yet made the blogging plunge – are awesome.

  24. besties for life! and thank goodness sewing friends think i’m cool bc no one else does. ha! 😉

  25. Pingback: my completely irrelevant opinion about pattern testing and indie designers | puu's door of time

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