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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Saturday, March 28, 2009

I forgot to say why it mattered

On the subject of why to do a cultural/sewing audit. The point of doing this exercise is to see if the artifacts, values and assumptions all line up - if they don't nothing is going to work out the way it should.

For example an organization that has the value "Our people are our greatest asset" but doesn't have family friendly policies or operates under the assumption that personal and work lives should be separate to the point that you have to call in to say you are sick when it really is your child, might lose its best assets in its people.

Make sense?

Try this on your sewing life.

School work

Rascal is waiting for a long walk and so this has to be efficient.

As you know the lines between my life and my sewing are pretty blurred. Often what I do in one area seems to help me understand another.

Take cultural audits. I teach a management class and one of the things students do is conduct an audit of an organizational culture. There are three things they look for:

Artifacts (the stuff - how people answer to phone, right down to the training manuals)
Values (what the organization says about itself - Our customers/patients/clients come first)
Assumptions (what lies below the conscious talk but powerfully determines behaviour, in the past things like women would always quit work to have a family and therefore were not worth promoting, and one that is my favourite this year from an African-Canadian student "there will never be a Black president of the United States in my lifetime" .... Well assumptions are pretty hard to change and people will cling to them even when it is not productive, even when it cuts them off from talent and progress).

So how does this apply to sewing?

OK here is my list:

Artifacts: Pfaff 7570, 4862 serger, 4 other older machines - 8 boxes of fabric, a lifetime supply of random notions, about 30 active patterns, 40 sewing books.

Values- I sew to achieve a better quality wardrobe that fits and is original.

Assumptions - it is possible for me to sew all my own clothes, to have them all be beautiful, flattering and fit. I have time to sew to the limits of my ability on every garment. I can make better than I can buy. The list goes on and examining whether or not my assumptions are enabling or hindering my enjoyment of sewing and my product are something Rascal and I are going to discuss on our walk.

What is your sewing culture?

Sisterhood awards

Do any of you ever find yourselves in a situation where you want to do something but want to do it well, and because you are time pressed, let it go too late?

Well the Sisterhood Awards have been like that for me.

A while ago Karen, who writes a wonderful blog, nominated me for this one, and it was up to me to pass it on. I was pleased with this award and understand the role these awards play in recognizing blogs we enjoy, identify with, and learn from. So often I will stay up late at night decompressing by reading blogs I like and most of the time I don't leave comments, even though the thoughts the blogger shares with me can stay with me all the next day, or longer.

These are conversations and in their own way the bloggers we read become friends, and who says that these friends have to live across the street? And the fact they don't, come to think of it, is even better because these virtual relationships are based on compatibility and shared interests, not convenience or geography.

I also realized that one of the things that was holding me up was that I felt I had to nominate someone who hadn't been nominated before, but that gets too complicated and really I add to my personal blog roll when I discover a blog I know I will go back to on a regular basis, because, well because, I feel sisterhood with this sewer, or sometimes knitter. That's why the blog list on my sidebar is so short, I really list only those blogs I personally keep up with. So here is my list for women I read and why:

1. For inspiration, to see new patterns tested (to help me decide if I want to make them too), for beautiful skillful sewing, even if I personally will not be making anything this complex anytime soon:

Marji (an artist and a thoughtful writer)
Cennetta (always so sharp and put together -the word is polished)
Liana (a master seamstress and a very creative and gracious lady)
Erica Bunker (a fashion forward scout with the most beautiful pictures)

2. For excellent sewers who make clothes that I might myself be making very soon. Those who show me how to inject some style into my real life:

Carolyn (inspired us all to work with TNT and find the creativity inside us)
Shannon (in her vintage SWAP days Shannon's clothes were strictly eye candy for me so I love her new direction with Loes Hinse)
Sew4Fun (a new discovery for me, this Australian sewer makes the most beautiful knit top and gives the most useful and detailed sewing advice)

3. For human talk about life and sewing, in addition to the wonderful projects:

Karen (a late night cup of tea read for me, dogs, life and an honest view of the world)
Robin (I think we are at the same stage in our lives and so much of what she has written, I could have too)

4. To make me laugh. All of the above also fall into this category but Crazy Aunt Purl (author f or Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair) has provided me with quick knitting projects and more than a few smiles. A wonderful writer.