One evening last week I braved our Metro system to go to an event at Stitch Sew Shop, a fairly new sewing store in Old Town Alexandria totally geared towards people who want make their own clothing. The event was an opportunity to meet Lisa Comfort, the sewing genius behind London company Sew Over It. Lisa’s goal with her shop is to teach as many people to sew as possible, and the store offers classes, patterns, online classes, and I believe has expanded to other cities. Her patterns have both a modern and a vintage feel. There were maybe a dozen other women who had traveled from all over the DC region (Tyson’s, Bethesda) to see Lisa and to talk sewing. Our conversation ranged from the fall of good fabric stores to why dressmaking seems more popular in the UK to how do we teach our husbands to be better photographers?! I bought some fabric and a pattern, and returned home feeling a bit euphoric.
The evening got me thinking about the different hobbies and interests I have, and the different tribes therein. There is the bicycling world, the sewing world, and now, the bunny world. I’ve been in the bike world for several years know, admittedly on the periphery, and my interactions with the sewing world has been primarily online. And I’ve just dipped a toe in the rabbit world since adopting Gaston a month ago. And I’ve discovered something interesting.
The sewing world seems to be the most supportive and accepting. I think this is because it is the only one of these hobbies where there truly is no wrong way to do things. That’s what makes it so great – everyone’s personality and creativity is celebrated by all of us. Through blogs, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, I have found a group of people who are creative, who constantly strive to try new things, and who cheer on each other, even if the project isn’t their style. No “you shouldn’t put *those* sleeves into *that* bodice,” or “That fabric isn’t suitable for that outfit.” Nope, we are all exploring with what we love, and everyone is okay with that.In the bicycling world, I still observe a lot of “you are doing it wrong!” attitudes, many “You aren’t doing that *my* way, therefore it’s wrong,” articles and commentary. Okay, there are some things that you shouldn’t do, like biking the wrong way in a one-way bike lane. But I hear stories from new (or not so new) cyclists about how they were treated by others on bikes, and it makes me sad that we can’t support each other’s choices. Why have some of us in the bicycle community still not learned that biking slow/short distances/old bikes/upright bikes/in street clothing/cautiously/casually is still GOOD biking? Yelling at a new rider or buzzing too close to pass them is *not* how to encourage them to keep them biking. Daily I am grateful, though, for the conscientious, supportive bike people I know. Without them, I would have left long ago. I’m learning that bunny ownership is probably similar to parenthood – lots of people think they know best and want to make sure you know their way is best. And there are legitimately some things that you can do incorrectly with a rabbit including feeding it the wrong things (not enough hay. never enough hay), bad cages, and so on. Luckily I not only have past experience, I have a trusted source. But I also know enough to keep this group at arm’s length. Too many negative experiences in the bike world to want to get too close to this group. As we interact with others who have similar interests and hobbies, I hope we can all remember to take a breath and not jump down their throats for doing whatever it is in a different manner (assuming it’s safe and legal, etc.). Really, it’s okay to be different. It’s what makes us all interesting people.