Can you believe it?? The FOURTH year we have done Sewing Buddies. That’s crazy town! I can hardly even think about how much has happened in those four years, and I am so excited to see another round of Sewing Buddies get paired up. I very clearly remember sitting on a sofa we no longer have in a basement we no longer own reading through emails and matching up that very first group of Buddies–over 200 of them. And every year since, I have had the pleasure and privilege of going through the process again with a new batch of folks, and then seeing where those relationships bloom.
The Sewing Buddy Project began in 2010 in response to an informal survey I sent out, asking people to examine what it is that prevents us from reaching our sewing goals, and looking for ways to surmount those obstacles and achieve Sewing Greatness in 2010. Each year since then, we’ve worked on the same ideas and continued to build–and the most popular of those is the Sewing Buddy Project, the idea that a pen pal who loves sewing as much as you do will keep you motivated and on-task, and give you encouragement and inspiration to get the sewing done that you most want to do! The Sewing Buddy Project has always been FREE, and is largely a service I provide to match people up to one another–where you go with your Buddy after that is totally up to the two of you!
Last year was the first year we did Sewing Buddy Challenges. The idea behind the Sewing Buddy Challenges was that once each quarter, every three months, I would present a sewing task for Buddies to accept, using a theme or concept. I wanted a way for us to build community that had a time frame and a deadline–there are lots of ways to jump in and get to know one another, but something that’s got a firm end date tends to get our creative juices going, right? And what better way to get to know someone than by working with them! The entries were posted to Flickr, and winners were chosen with prizes and everything. This year, I had planned three, but we ended up doing only two–the first was amazingly awesome with tons of participation and excitement.
The second was a little more subdued, as we got into the summer months and our days got busy and sewing wasn’t always a top priority. Which is a shame, because I loved the idea behind it, and loved seeing the Sewing Buddy projects come in–all the sewn projects in the photos in this post were made by Sewing Buddies in 2012! Something wasn’t quite gelling, though, which is fine–I think in any endeavor, the most important thing is to listen to feedback and work to make it better. Sewing Buddies is a project that I truly believe is worth tweaking and making better.
So this year, I’m asking for those of you who want to sign up to be a Sewing Buddy in 2013 to suggest ideas for how we can all interact with one another this year. As part of your comment, you’ll include ONE suggestion for a project, outreach, bee, challenge, ______along, or what-have-you that might be appropriate for the Sewing Buddies for this year! See the two challenges from 2012 for ideas, but keep in mind that I’m looking for three really GREAT suggestions for the later months of 2013–I already have an idea for the first quarter, which we’ll roll out in February once all the Buddies are matched up. I’ll select three suggestions from all the Buddy comments, and we’ll be on our way into a new year with new Buddies to inspire our sewing!
Additionally, I’m bringing back the Sewing Buddy Inspiration e-mails! That’s right: all my 2013 Sewing Buddies will be added to the list to receive my Sewing Inspiration emails, and will receive a monthly message of stitchy motivation, right in their inbox, complete with ideas and techniques to help you really bring your A-game to the current quarter’s sewing challenge. You have to participate to get the email, though. Doesn’t that totally make you want to play along??
As in the past, it all begins with you throwing your name in the hat, so let’s get started!
Guidelines for 2013 Sewing Buddy Project participation:
- Agree that you will leave no email from your Sewing Buddy un-answered. A Sewing Buddy is a pen pal who loves to sew, and pen paling with your pen pal is the best way to get that all going–remember what Gramma said: to have a friend, you have to BE a friend. Simply replying to each message as they go back and forth will build your commitment and resolve. If your Sewing Buddy-ness goes no further than encouraging emails once a week, that’s awesome! It will keep you on-track to meet some goals or to challenge yourself in a way you might not have otherwise. If you both decide to start your own Flickr group or joint blog or do some mail exchanges, even better. At a minimum, though, resolve to always answer your Buddy’s emails–any other participation in challenges or contests is completely voluntary.
- Branch out and get a new Sewing Buddy, even if you’ve already been rocking it with your 2010 or 2011 or 2012 Buddy. You can never have too many friends who sew! You can keep your other Buddies and learn great stuff from a new one. Isn’t friendship awesome?
- Sewing Buddies can be at any skill level and do any type of sewing. We welcome beginners, intermediates, advanced and lots of mixy types at in-between-y skill levels. Don’t quilt? Maybe your Buddy can help you learn! Don’t sew garments? Maybe the two of you will start together! The only requirement is that you’re willing to communicate and interact with one another. That’s it!
- Sewing Buddies can be from anywhere in the world, as long as you’re willing to communicate in English. We’ve had folks from Britain, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Canada, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand and a host of other nations participate, and you can, too! I can’t promise you’ll get a Buddy who is geographically near to you, but isn’t that part of the fun, that discovery? Hooray for international diplomacy!
- Be on the lookout for contests, challenges, secret passwords, and even (gasp!) meet-ups designed just for Sewing Buddies! We’ll have our quarterly sewing “activity”, TBA based on your suggestions, but there is plenty more that we can do–and I’ve taken suggestions and comments from past Sewing Buddies very seriously as I work to make this the coolest pen pal experience you’ve ever had!
That’s it! I’ll begin matching names in the magic whirly-bin of Sewing Buddy Science on January 15, 2013. Sign-ups will close February 1, 2013 at midnight. Pairs will be notified no later than February 2, 2013 and the first Sewing Buddy activity will be announced the same day!
To participate in the 2013 Sewing Buddy Project:
- To add your name to the list to be matched with a Buddy, simply leave a comment below–that’s it! Include a working email address that you check (this will be captured when you leave your name, so it isn’t necessary to leave it in the body of your comment).
- You’ll receive an email from me asking you to (1) confirm your participation and (2) name a favorite color and a number between 1 and 10. I’ll also ask you to suggest an “activity” for Sewing Buddies to participate in during one quarter in 2013–these suggestions are wide open, and a have no bearing on what Buddy you get; they’re for research purposes only, I promise. These emails will go out in batches beginning January 20; Buddies will be matched from within each batch.
- I’ll use the responses to the emails I receive along with a super-scientific system here at the Whipstitch Labs to match you to the PERFECT Sewing Buddy based on a four-fold formula that’s much too complicated to write about here but that is really awesome and time-y wime-y space-y.
- I’ll send an email to the both of you giving introductions in proper Victorian style (a lady never spends time with someone to whom she has not been properly introduced), and then like a mother whose chicks are leaving the nest, I’ll step back and watch as the friendship flourishes.
- You and your Buddy will make the initial contact and see where it leads you! Contests? Maybe. Inspiration? Certainly. Life-long friendship? Golly, I hope so.
That’s it! I’m really looking forward to hearing more from all of you this year, can am so pleased so many of you are looking to continue the Sewing Buddy love. Hooray!