MadeByGilly lives to see another day... for now.
Recently I have managed to make many things – as ever, lots of baby blankets as #myfriendskeephavingbabies – but also some home furnishings, bags and most excitingly clothes for myself! And whilst the finished products always feel like a real achievement, the two main things that all the crafting over the past 12 months has brought are quite contradictory – stress and sanity.
It feels like my 20’s were primarily for having fun, and that my 30’s are for growing up. Getting married, buying a house, and having lots of friends start families, it feels like a decade of activity has been squeezed into the last 3 years – and whilst all of the grown up activities are super exciting, for me at least these exciting things have been quite exhausting, and have even led to a few dark periods of anxiety and loneliness.
I’ve rambled before about the friendship paranoia, and how knitting keeps me sane – and that has never been truer than in the last year. Amidst a whirlwind of work and life admin, knitting, sewing and crochet have been the self-indulgent activities that give me a little bit of Gilly time, where I’m not worrying about whether my friends have forgotten me, or if I’ll make that looming deadline at the office. Signing up for a course that means I have had dedicated weekends to sit behind a sewing machine alongside like-minded makers has been amazing; and I’m lucky to have a husband who doesn’t mind me hiding in the living room with a box set and my knitting needles for hours at a time. Basically, crafting makes me happy.
However, as much as making things has kept me sane from the stresses of grown up life, I have found that starting this MadeByGilly adventure documenting my crafty endeavours has created a little bit of anxiety of its own.
It’s incredibly hard not to become obsessed by the number of likes and followers on Instagram, or how many views this little corner of the internet has had. I naively opened a (massively unsuccessful) Etsy shop without having any time to dedicate to it, and I’m not sure that the benefits of the “maker community” that is so celebrated on social platforms outweigh the stress of putting yourself out there for the world to judge.
It’s been almost a year since I created this website and started posting my rambles here, and surprisingly I’ve found that I like writing this little online diary. I also love looking through my Instagram page and seeing a visual summary of the things I’ve managed to create from a ball of yarn or meter of fabric. After much thought about whether to continue with MadeByGilly I’ve decided that I will keep my rambling blog online, and keep my Instagram page. But the shop is closing.
My hope is that I can soon return to a place where crafting keeps me sane without causing any stress – I love making things from scratch, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. And if nobody reads this and it is purely a place for me to put my thoughts down on paper (well, a screen); if I have zero followers on Instagram; and if strangers don’t like my photos – who cares.
If crafting halts the friendship paranoia that plagues my adult life; if I enjoy writing down my rambling thoughts and making things; and if my friends like their baby blankets - that’s all that really matters, and for now at least, MadeByGilly will live to see another day.