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I am a mother, a new 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 first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Saturday, May 14, 2011

A hobby gene?

When my dear stepdaughter and her sweetheart, who are both in the toy soldier business and doing very well,  were here we had some interesting conversations about what people do in their non-working lives.

Here is what they had to say:

There is a difference between a past time and a hobby. A past time, like listening to music, reading, or reading online, is enjoyable but isn't a hobby.

In fact they say that in their industry they talk about something called the "hobby gene" something some people have, and some don't. 

The hobby gene has the following characteristics:

1. It involves commitment, of time, and active effort, that has nothing to do with pleasing anyone else or in financial reward. You just do it and do it a lot because you just have to.

2. It usually involves some element of collecting.

3. Someone in your life has passed this on to you (hence gene). You watched a relative, teacher, or friend do it and caught their enthusiasm. They also validated the idea of a hobby as a good use of your time.

4. If you have this gene chances are you have more than one interest, beside your passion. You may have sub hobbies

I found this all very interesting. 

I definitely and obviously have this gene and just as definitely know people who don't. 

As I look around Florida I see many old guys who are retired and sitting on balconies in lace up shoes, dark socks, and shorts staring gloomily across the street to the "New York Style Deli" signs. I can hear the voices of the kids in my head "If only dad had a hobby."

I would suggest the hobby gene has to be in your bones - you don't catch it when you retire.

So what about you? These are my questions:

Do you have the hobby gene?

What else, apart from sewing, do you do?

Who got you interested in your hobby?

Is collecting a big part of your hobby?

What is your story?


Bunny said...

I definitely have the gene. My father was a very serious philatelist and numismatist. I remember whatching him so enjoy spending hours perusing his stamps and coins. The collection has been in the family for generations so this gene precedes he and I. Add to that fact that one grandmother, the one who provided a lot of my upbringing, was always stitching and knitting. She had a closet full of fabrics that she would let me "shop". I would pick out what I wanted for fabric, trims, buttons, etc. and then we would discuss the style. After that it seemed to me she had some sort of magic in her that would turn my choices into darling little dresses, underwear, all sorts of clothing. Its no wonder I have this hobby. Actually, its beyond that. I think its an avocation.

knitmachinequeen (KMQ) said...

I have the hobby gene. Not only do I sew I also machine knit and do scrapbooking and cardmaking. I came from a family of sewers. My mother always made me mark her patterns. I hated it but didn't have any choice. I also guess that when I came along she was not very patient and never took the time to teach me to sew. I never took sewing in school but would sneek and use hers when she wasn't home. My grandmother, aunt, and sister all sew as well. We won't even talk about my 7 knitting machine, yarn and scrapbooking supplies. While I have sold my crafts at some point my purpose is not usually to do so for the sole purpose of making a profit. I actually usually try to price my things to deter such! I craft for me and me alone and I love it.

Karin said...

Hobby gene - tick!
I'll try anything crafty (basket weaving, cloth weaving, knitting, crochet, etc.) But for me, sewing is the best. I do some gardening and some jam making as well. (The garden produces a lot of fruit!) I have jam jars squirreled away everywhere, and fabric stashed all over the place.

Jodie said...

I must have it too, and looking to my mother and maternal grandmother, it came down through them. I'm a Home Economist (teaching jr. high) and am following in my grandmother's foot steps. My mother, who taught me the basics and all the organizational stuff (how to work full time and raise a family and find time for myself) could have been a home economist herself.
As well as sewing (which I love), I've also dabbled in other crafts; knitting, embroidery, card making, etc. I also love to cook and am discovering canning....My grandma would be so proud of me!

Really enjoying your "Florida" posts. Hope you are having a wonderful time,

The Hojnackes said...

I have the hobby gene. I sew and I love to bake. Some people may not consider baking a hobby, but I do! It definitely involves time and effort and has no financial reward. I collect so much bakeware. One of my friends is always excited to ask me for pans or utensils for baking because she thinks I have everything. Sadly, I don't (but it probably seems like it to someone who doesn't bake). I guess I got it from my mother, although she only really baked bread (I also got the sewing from her). I collect all sorts of things for my sewing hobby as well. I love my hobbies- I just wish cleaning up after was one of them! :)

Anonymous said...

I also have the hobby gene:) Besides sewing, I also love to crochet. Still relatively new to this, I love to pick out yarn and experiment. Really like to make beanies (hats). They are a good beginners project:)ovents

Shelly said...

I too have the 'hobby gene'. Apart from sewing I like to read, especially about fashion, but I also dabble into things like cardmaking, jewellry making, knitting, quilting, embroidery/cross stitch and the likes. I think my 'hobby gene comes from both my parents, mostly my mum as she was always sewing, knitting or reading.

Mae said...

I love to bake, but I've given it up as part of my effort to stay an out-of-the-envelope BMV size 12. I still make elaborately decorated mini cupcakes for afternoon teas with guests and whenever I attend a "bring a plate" function. I've been collecting the paraphernalia for making icing flowers, and studying blogs to improve my skills. I sew, and as well as keeping a supply of fabric on hand (I refuse to call it a stash) I collect textiles I have no intention of ever cutting, mainly Indonesian batiks and ikats. Living in the tropics, I have no excuse to knit!
My mother raised four girls on a limited budget, but I class her sewing as a hobby because I don't recall her ever making "useful" clothes for us. She made dresses we were only allowed to wear to church and birthday parties. I wanted to wear these beautiful dresses all the time, which caused some conflict. She used beautiful fabrics, and embellished our dresses with smocking, embroidery or applique. Our dresses always closed with buttons, no zippers, and the buttonholes were beautifully handworked. I remember each lovely dress vividly, and I remember watching her work on them in the evenings. Hello, Bunny! This is why I love your blog. To me, a hobby is done only for pleasure, not because you are producing something you need, and illustrates the saying "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing."

Karen in VA said...

Yep, I've got it... Sometimes I think I have adult ADD since I'm interested in so many things. Any fiber arts - sewing, knitting, crocheting, art quilts, embroidery. I think this comes from my maternal grandmother who raised 3 kids on her own, sewed beautifully, crocheted ant tatted. Wish I had appreciated it more while she was alive as I never had a chance to learn tatting - she also made beautiful cards incorporating her tatted pieces..

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying reading your blog. I also enjoyed reading the other comments on this post, and would love to join in the fun.

I have the hobby gene. I got it from my mum who used to knit and now quilts, who got it from her mum, who used to knit. I presume my mum's mum got it from her mum?

I always come back to dressmaking, but am perfectly happy to try out any other handcraft. Decoupage and crochet have also become surprisingly enduring hobbies too. I also dance. Sewing and craft works in well for dance. I am a well-dressed dancer ... :-)

LinB said...

What an interesting question! Hobby gene: yes. And I have a whole community of enablers, who pass along things they "just couldn't bear to throw away" when clearing out houses of dead relatives; or scavenged from sidewalks at the end of every furniture show in High Point, NC. Sigh. I keep the natural fiber fabric and yarn, and ALL of the paper patterns, and many of the sewing notions. The rest goes to Goodwill, or Habitat for Humanity's ReStore. Or to my sister's house, lol.

Kristen said...

As the Step-Daughter in question, it's delightful to read all of these testimonials from people blessed with the Hobby Gene!

The wonderful irony of this whole discussion is that spending time with Barbara and my dad in Florida has stirred my sleeping Hobby Gene! I have rediscovered my love of knitting with some help from Barbara, Ravelry and YouTube. I have spent the last three weeks collecting more needles, yarn and notions than I could ever hope to use and my head swims with future projects.

So there you go Barbara. Our hypothesis has proven itself! The Hobby Gene exists!

Lots of love to you and Dad and Rascal,
Kristen x