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Sewing Buddy Project

LAST CALL for a 2016 Sewing Buddy!

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I am deep in the trenches of hand-matching our Sewing Buddies for 2016!!  If you haven’t signed up yet but would like to join us, TODAY is the very last day to do so–get in under the wire and find yourself a sewing pen pal for the year!

If you ARE registered, please be certain to complete the survey, which you can find on the main Buddy page.  The survey results are what I use to match you with your Buddy, so if you don’t complete it, you won’t get a Buddy!

I am beyond excited to see so many familiar faces back this year, and just as many brand-new folks looking to make a sewing friend.  I have some really fun monthly posts ready to go for you all, and can hardly wait to see what all of you will accomplish this year!

Sewing Buddy Project Now OPEN for 2016!

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The Sewing Buddy Project is BACK!!

Registration is open NOW through January 30, 2016.  All Buddy pair matches will be emailed out no later than February 1, 2016.

The Sewing Buddy Project is a pen pal program.  People from all over the world register, and are matched with a personal pen pal who will communicate with them via email.  You won’t know who your Buddy is or where they’re from until you’re matched, and then the rest is up to you!  This is a year-long commitment to communicate with another person who loves to sew, as simple as that.  For the price of a couple of cups of coffee, you get to meet a new friend and sew together, as much or as little as you like!

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UPDATED: Last Day for Sewing Buddies 2015!

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***Registration extended!!  I’ve had a special request from a dear friend who wants to spread the word about the Sewing Buddies!  I’m extending registration until April 1 at noon Eastern to allow folks to get all signed up and ready to go.  Matches will go out on the same schedule as previously announced.  If you HAVE NOT filled out the survey form, Buddies, make sure you get it done by April 1!!

Today at midnight TOMORROW AT NOON registration will CLOSE for the 2015 Sewing Buddy Project!!  We’ve got a great, amazing group of folks who are looking for YOU to come play along with us.  We’ll be sharing videos, project ideas, downloadables, charity sewing, and community ALL YEAR LONG.  I can’t wait to see everything you’ll make and all the friendships that will be formed in our online group space.

Register to join the group, fill out the online form, and you’ll be on your way!  Registration closes at MIDNIGHT Eastern time tonight Wednesday at NOON, and all matches will be mailed out no later than April 2, 2015.  Can’t wait to introduce you to your Buddy!!

2015 Sewing Buddy Project: Sign-Ups OPEN!

SewingBuddy

Short version: The Sewing Buddies are BACK!!  Sign up here for 2015.

Long(er) version:  I started the Sewing Buddy Project six (!!) years ago in response to a survey I conducted here on the blog that seemed to indicate that one of the biggest things that would help most of us get more of our sewing goals met was to have a friend who would sew alongside us (literally or figuratively) and keep us motivated and excited about our sewing projects.  Sewing Buddies were my answer: a system of pen pals who all love to sew and want to get to know other sewing folks.

I never imagined it would last so long or be such a big hit.

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Sewing Buddy Challenge WINNERS, plus Challenge #2!

In 2012, there are over 100 pair of Sewing Buddies, and they have been going like gangbusters since the spring!  These folks are virtual pen pals, sharing their sewing skillz and inspiration with one another, sometimes learning and sometimes teaching, and seriously, making me so excited to see how just the simple act of sewing can take us beyond geographic boundaries and age and even style, bring people together who otherwise might never get to know one another, and make them fast friends.

In April, I set a challenge for our Sewing Buddies, and they totally stepped up to the plate with some really awesome sewn projects.  The challenge asked each pair of Buddies to create two final stitched pieces: one for a male and one for a female.  Those were the only guidelines–they could have been boy/girl gifts or he/she sets, anything so long as both Buddies did some of the sewing and the final projects were he/she themed.

I loved, loved, loved seeing the photos come through on Flickr, and was genuinely inspired by the ways that the challenge was interpreted–how cool to think that most of these Buddies have never met in person, and are using the World Wide Internet Web to communicate and plan and execute these projects!!  In the end, though, there can only be one.  Winner, that is.

Announcing: the Sewing Buddy Challenge #1 WINNERS!

This was such an incredibly hard decision–I loved something about every one of the entries, for real.  In the end, though, it was a question of which projects did the best job of embracing the challenge and making a real PAIR of projects, showcasing the skill and work-togetherness of the Buddies.  I did, however, decide to give prizes for first, second and third place, so I could brag on more of you Buddies out there!

THIRD PLACE WINNERS:  Nicole and Jennie with their Adventure Bags!

These are so, so cute and show not just how the ladies came up with projects that fit the theme, but also worked together to choose fabrics and style their sewing.  Great job!  Both of you will receive a fat quarter bundle of fabrics (pot luck, my choice) delivered right to your door!

SECOND PLACE WINNERS:  Elisabeth and Rebekah with their dolls!

The sewing on these is so lovely, the detailing so sweet, and the way these Buddies planned out the dolls to look as though they could be hanging out together is just awesome.  I adore these two!  Congrats, ladies!  You’ll both receive a half-yard bundle of fabrics (pot luck, my choice), delivered right to your door!

FIRST PLACE WINNERS:  Penny and Kristy with their Camping Outfits!

These two take the cake–they’re just so much fun!  These Buddies used great co-ordinating fabrics, chose complementary pattern styles, and really thought through what project they could sew that would embrace the whole theme.  Everyone who has seen them has ooohed and aaahed over them, and deservedly so.  I’m so pleased you’re both winners!  You’ll both receive a $30 gift certificate to the shop, to use as you please!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:  There were so many really fabulous projects that I can’t resist showcasing some honorable mentions:

These giraffe quilts are darling, and make great use of the theme–they’re the same pattern, but use their variation in fabric to make them boy/girl friendly.

These HST pillows also use the same design and mix things up with the colors and prints they’ve chosen–I love these!

I adore these outfits (and the acorn fabric that they’re made with!), and would totally be proud to send my children out of the house wearing these.  Aren’t they crazy detailed and super cute?  Love!

The car seat quilts here are delicious–I love that they’re made with the same fabric collection, but that they’re matching without being too matchy-matchy, and that these Buddies worked totally bi-coastally!

Spectacular work, all you Buddies.  I am having SO much fun seeing what you all have been up to, and LOVING the motivation that these challenges are providing.  I can’t get over how quickly so many of you have gotten to be friends over the Interwebs, and how cool the sewing is that’s springing from that!  And so…

Sewing Buddy Challenge #2

The next big announcement: the SECOND Sewing Buddy Challenge!  This time, we’re focusing on COLOR as our theme.  Sewing Buddies, your task–should you choose to accept it–is to create two projects that coordinate or reference one another through the use of color.  I’m leaving that pretty open for how you’d like to interpret it–you can make two projects using the same color palette; make two projects where one piece is in a color that complements the other piece (say, one of you makes a blouse that’s orange and the other makes a skirt that’s green, because those colors are opposite one another on the color wheel); make the same project using different colors on each one, but in a planned manner to accentuate the pattern or design; or create a color-based theme that runs between two sewn items.  I’m leaving the specifics up to your very creative Sewing Buddy minds, but the theme of the challenge is COLOR.

Get to it, Buddies!  Challenge #2 opens today, and the deadline to submit entries is September 20, 2012.  Winners will be announced on or around October 1, along with the final 2012 Sewing Buddy Challenge!  Best wishes to all of you!*

*Non-Sewing Buddies are always welcome to participate!  Just make your project using the theme and add it to the Sewing Buddy Flickr group–with a note saying “just for fun.”  We’ll all be inspired by what you’ve created, and will hope that you’ll dive in and get a Buddy next year!

The Sewing Buddy Project 2012: Challenge 1!

Hello, Sewing Buddies!  I have been typing my little fingers to the bone the past week or so matching up folks from near and far, playing yenta so that stitchers here and there (and sometimes way over there) can connect and share ideas and get inspired and maybe even find the encouragement to make those projects that have been languishing and begging to be sewn.  This is one of my favorite things that I do, and each year it has gotten to be more fun and exciting to see who finds a perfect match and what they do with it!  I’ve heard from dozens of Sewing Buddies from the past two years who are still going strong, and I am super excited to see where 2012 will take us.

This year, we’ll be doing a couple of things that I haven’t done in years past.  First and foremost, Sewing Buddies will be eligible to win fabulous prizes by taking part in three quarterly challenges over the course of the remaining months in 2012: one begins TODAY and runs through June; one begins July 1 and runs through September; and one begins October 1 and runs through December.  Each will be different, but each will rely on the shared efforts of Sewing Buddies to win!  (Note: non-Sewing Buddies are more than welcome to participate–that would be awesome!  But only Sewing Buddies are eligible to win prizes.)

Challenge #1

The first challenge begins today.  Hooray!  Sewing Buddies, your task is simple: work together to complete the challenge.  These challenges are all completely optional, and if you and your Buddy determine that you’d like to skip one, no worries!  But what a fun way to win prizes, yes?  By communicating through email or snail mail, coming up with a plan and sharing skills and techniques and ideas, you’re sure to stretch your sewing at the same time that you work toward world sewing domination.

The task: Create a boy/girl project using coordinating fabrics in any sewn format you choose. 

The finished project will include TWO sewn pieces: one for a boy and one for a girl (or one for a man and one for a woman, if you prefer a grown-up version).  These can be stitched independently (one Buddy makes one while the other Buddy makes the other) or they can be stitched collaboratively (by shipping the pieces back and forth between you, with one person doing part of the project and the other doing the rest).  “Coordinating fabrics” can be a particular fabric collection, or colors that work together, or fabrics with a particular design theme.  Format can be clothing, quilting, home decor, bags, toys, wall art, embroidery, anything you can think of that involves needle and thread.

For example:

  • I am currently obsessed with brother/sister outfits, which would be great for this challenge–maybe one of you makes on and the other makes the other?
  • mini-quilts are spectacular for a challenge like this, and if you wanted, you could ship them between you with one Buddy doing the piecing and the other doing the quilting
  • a framed embroidery piece is lovely, and an unusual solution to making matching male/female pieces
  • what about baby toys?  that would work!

Remember, these do NOT have to be for children, though they can be, there is no required size, and this first challenge is specifically designed to be do-able regardless of geography–if you don’t want to ship anything to your Buddy, no worries!  The only requirement is that one sewn project is male-centric, and the other is female-centric.  Deadline for all prize-eligible entries is June 15, 2012.

I know you’ll do awesome things, and I can’t wait to see them.  Y’all should have all received your Sewing Buddy introductions by now, so use these next few days to cogitate and come up with a plan that suits you both!  In two weeks, I’ll set up a Flickr group for Sewing Buddies to which you can upload your photos as you get to know one another better.  In the meantime, be on the lookout for Sewing Buddy emails and periodic blog posts with tips and treats just for you!

I am REALLY excited about spending 2012 with all of you–nearly 175 Buddies this year!  Let’s get sewing, y’all.

Checking in with the Sewing Buddies

We’re back from our vacation (I promise to bore you with wayyyyy too many photos later this week), and settling into our new (rental) house.  The studio space is smaller than my last place (seen here, boxed up just before the move), but I think in a lot of ways it will work better for me.  Well, except that I haven’t quite figured out yet where the ironing board is going to go, and it really derails me to have to drag it out every time I need it instead of leaving it up all the time.

Actually, at this point, a LOT is derailing me.  It’s hard to have half your belongings still in boxes and not know where everything is and still be motivated to get Real Work done.  Except that I have at least two major deadlines coming up, along with two or three smaller ones, plus my regular actual life to live, and I could use some motivation.  Which made me automatically think of the Sewing Buddies.*

The folks I have met online who sew and craft are endlessly inspiring to me, and have become people whose opinons and feedback and influence I value much more highly than I would have thought.  If you had told me five years ago that some of my closest friends would be people who I have never met in person, or that I could get to know someone as well through their blog and emails as I knew my best friend in the ninth grade, I would never have believed you.  But there it is, these women (mostly) who have so substantially altered the way I see the world and what I consider to be possible, who constantly encourage me to push beyond what I think I can create to cast a vision for something bigger.  It’s amazing, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

That’s what I hope having a Sewing Buddy has done for some folks.  I hear back occasionally about Buddies meeting up in person, mailing one another packages, participating in online bees together, arranging charity sewing with one another.  It constantly amazes me.  I know that not all the Buddy pairings worked perfectly–and that’s OK.  We’re not all meant to be besties with every person we meet.  But the proportion of Buddies who have really hit it off and who have found excitement and support and inspiration through one another is pretty astounding.

If you and your Sewing Buddy are looking for some things you can do to enhance your Buddy relationship, check out these ideas from last summer.  If you and your Buddy have already been having adventures, leave a comment and let me know! I feel a little out-of-touch with you all, and am anxious to be inspired by you to get off my rump and get back to my machine.

*Every once in a while, I have a typo and write “Sewing Biddies,” which totally makes me laugh.

Sewing Buddy Project: Round 2 for 2011! CLOSED

Alrighty, folks!  The Sewing Buddy Project is in full effect.  If you’re in the market for a Buddy, and are looking for someone to encourage you and support you in your sewing in 2011, today is your day!  Sewing Buddies are virtual pen pals who sew together–nothing more complicated than that.  This is a great chance to meet someone who is creative and cool and looking to share their ideas and get motivated to sew more this year.  You can be that inspiration, and get the same in return!

If you signed up for a Buddy already in 2011, and you’re thinking that your first match wasn’t The One for this year–do me a favor, and write a quick email to your original Buddy before signing up again.  Try the sample email below:

Dear Sewing Buddy:

You are super awesome.  I’m so grateful that you were willing to take the plunge this year and sign up to be my Sewing Buddy.  Now that spring is here, I’m re-evaluating my sewing needs, and I’ve decided that our partnership could do with some changes.  It’s not you, it’s me.  I wanted to do you the courtesy of writing to let you know that I’ll be leaving the Sewing Buddy program/asking for a new Sewing Buddy/giving all my sewing supplies away to charity/moving to Timbuktu/stalking you until June/taking a break from our partnership.

Thanks again for signing up, and I wish you all the best in all your sewing in the future!

Signed sincerely,

Your (former) Sewing Buddy

If you missed out on Round 1, and don’t currently have a Buddy, this will be your last chance in 2011 to sign up and get matched with the super coolest pen pal you’ll ever hope to have!

The Sewing Buddy Project doesn’t have a whole lot of rules–just a whole lot of like-minded folks who want to meet others who love to sew, and who have a few minutes once or twice a week to write an encouraging email or upload a photo or work on a project together.  See the icon in the right sidebar for more details on what Sewing Buddies have been up to, and to see back posts from 2010 and earlier this year.  And when you’re ready to join us, follow the directions below!  Resistance is futile, y’all.  You will be a-SEW-milated.*

To Participate:

  • Leave a comment.  That’s it!  (Be sure to include a working email address where you can be contacted.)
  • Wait for the invitation email.
  • Reply to the email with the requested info, which will be placed in the Sewing Buddy Match-a-Lot Hopper of Love to find your perfect match.
  • Get matched with your Buddy and make sewing history!

Looking forward to seeing some of you again and others for the first time.  Don’t doubt that our super-scientific Buddy matching formula produces wondrous results–you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with a Buddy in your corner! This is the FINAL round of matching for 2011; sign-ups will close at midnight EST on April 11 and will not re-open until 2012.

*Wow.

UPDATED TO ADD:  Registration for 2011 is now closed.  Super huge thanks to all of you who are participating.  Looking forward to seeing all of you and more in 2012!

Y'all. Seriously. We Can Totally Do Better Than This.

You guys.  I checked in on the Spring Swap Flickr page I posted about not too long ago, and what I found is just sad.  Embarrassing, really.  Are y’all telling me you REALLY don’t have a bunch of bits and pieces sitting around that you’d like to swap??  Truly??  I mean, I know if I just stuck my hand in the closet I could find something that I’d be willing to part with that would surely be good stuff for another stitcher out there!

We can do better than this.  Sewing Buddies, I’m especially talking to you: let’s all throw some photos up and see what we’re stashing away that might be someone else’s treasure!  I’ve already primed the pump and added some fat quarter stacks from new collections–Max & Whiskers, which just came out, and Momo’s new collection, Just Wing It, which hasn’t even been released yet!  I’d love to see y’all do the same. It’s straight swapping here, folks: can’t take something  if you don’t offer something, too.  Are you in?

Sewing Buddies: unite!  Swappers: swap!  Upload images to the Spring Swap Flickr group, browse the other images, and make some love matches that suit this spring season.

Spring Swap: Calling All Sewing Buddies!

Every year, I have this startled revelation as soon as it turns March again: spring is coming!  I mean, obviously it comes every year (at least, so far), but it always seems like this delightful surprise to see blooms and buds.  And even though I know that the warm weather we’re wallowing in right this minute is doomed to pass into a lion of a March, with freezing temps and frosted flowers at least once more before Easter rolls around (happens every year), I’m still letting that Spring Fever kick in a bit and get me excited about the coming allergy season.  Woot!

I was getting in the car yesterday and glanced over and saw this little fella:

That’s Mr. O’s Easter basket from last year.  It was supposed to be his Easter basket again this year.  Except for the fact that he’s been defiled.  See what’s missing?

That’s right: arms.  Poor little robot.  No wonder he has that look on his face.  Our son’s superhero name is The Destroyer.  Appendages ripped from Mr. Roboto’s digitized body over the course of a long, cruel winter.  And now he’s bound to be replaced by some cowboy Easter basket.  Isn’t that always the way?

So, somehow on our ridiculously long car pool drive this morning, these thoughts all coalesced for me: doomed Easter basket; spring is near; Sewing Buddies are jonesing for projects.  Hey!  Let’s throw all that in a bowl and see what happens!

How’s about these two words for you: Spring Swap.

This one’s a couples skate, y’all.

I love me some spring sewing, especially if I actually get it started in time to wear/use/enjoy it before summer comes around.  Let’s get all you Sewing Buddies going and stitching up something seasonal for a nice swap, shall we?

This isn’t super complicated.  Simple steps to follow:

  • Contact your Sewing Buddy. Hopefully, this is something you have already done.  If you have a Sewing Buddy, but haven’t contacted him/her yet, shame on you.  Don’t let this spring fly by and bail out on your newest friend.  Send a simple email.  If you’ve lost your Buddy’s contact info, email me and I’ll hook you back up.
  • Tell your Sewing Buddy you’d like to be part of the Spring Swap. That part’s pretty straight-forward.
  • Give your Buddy ONE limitation on what you’d like to swap with them. They get to interpret the rest, but you get to place a parameter.  Maybe you’d like to make one another a spring accessory–you each get to choose what kind of accessory to make for your Buddy.  Maybe you’d like to swap fabric–you get to choose what fabric you Buddy gets, and vice versa.  Maybe you’d like to make one another 12″ quilt blocks–they get to choose the design you’ll receive.  Maybe you both have unfinished objects floating around and you’d like to trade sewing jobs to finish each other’s.  Maybe you’d like to send one another a sewing pattern you love to sew–you see where I’m going here.  Give your Buddy an idea of what you’re thinking (and be flexible–life is about working together, after all).
  • Get sewing! Once you’ve made your plans, do please follow through.  Swaps are a TON of fun (and if you’ve never done one, I should let you know they can be addictive!) but only work when both sides are rowing the boat.
  • Upload a quick pic to Flickr. The rest of us want to Swap with you, but vicariously–let us see what you’re Swapping!  (Don’t have a Flickr account?  Get a free one here!)
  • Ship your finished object. Once you’re ready to ship, make sure your Buddy knows where to send it!  That’s it!  (I should note that I think shipping costs ought to be the responsibility of the shipper, but I totally get that some of you live super far away from one another and that shipping can be prohibitive.  If you want to work out with your Buddy to pay for shipping, that’s cool with me.  Just remember to take care of that privately, as Flickr doesn’t allow sales through their site.)

I, for one, would LOVE to go to the mailbox one day and find a package with my name on it stuffed with a fabric flower pin or bundles of scrap fabric or new-to-me vintage patterns or a fabulous quilt block.  Oh, happy day!  Or even better:  if my Buddy stitched up a new (and less sad) Easter basket for my boy.  That would be the gift that keeps on giving and saves me time I don’t have to craft a new one.

This simple swap is a great way to do something nice for your Buddy (and nice for yourself) and can be as quick & easy or as complicated as you’d like.  How about swapping scraps with your Buddy to take part in Stitched in Color’s Bottled Rainbows quilt along?  That wouldn’t take but fifteen minutes of your time, but how fun would it be to quilt along together with your Buddy and share scraps?  Woot!

No Sewing Buddy?  No Problem!

Don’t have a Sewing Buddy this round?  No worries!  You can still take part in the Spring Swap.  Start with Step 3 above: come up with an idea of what you’d like to swap.

  1. Upload your picture to Flickr in the Spring Swap Flickr group, and tag it with any notes you’d like to add.
  2. As other Swappers load their images and get involved, they can contact you via Flickr Mail or by leaving a comment on your image.
  3. Once you’re in touch, make plans to swap and SHIP PROMPTLY.  Let’s all play nice and make sure everyone comes away happy.  It’s not really possible for me to monitor every swap, so I’m putting all of you on the Honor System here.

If you’re hoping for a Sewing Buddy but weren’t part of the initial match-ups, Spring Swap is a great way to get on board and be prepared for the April round!

Can’t wait to see what you’ll all swap.  Welcome, Spring!

Sewing Buddy Powers, Activate! And: Inspired to Sew Winner

Earlier this month, I sent out emails to over TWO HUNDRED Sewing Buddies. That’s 200, y’all.  I’m beyond tickled to see how many folks are jumping in with both feet, sharing ideas and getting motivated and buckling down to finally sew the stuff we’ve all been putting off sewing.  I’m already hearing back some seriously cool stories:

  • Pat and Shari are working together on the Pink Slipper Project (and they’d love to have other Sewing Buddies join them!)
  • Sewing Buddies are blogging and promoting one another’s Etsy shops
  • I’m getting Tweets and emails about how wonderfully suited Buddies are to each other (that science-y system totally works)
  • I’ve even met some Sewing Buddies who happened to be local, and were out and about coffee-ing together!

For those of you who are Buddied up and looking for things to do, check out these ideas from 2010.  Got suggestions for ways for Buddies to connect, like Pam and Shari inviting us all to participate in the Pink Slipper Project?  Leave ’em in the comments!

If, on the other hand, you’ve got a Buddy but the two of you haven’t quite hit it off, or if your Buddy has bailed, or if you missed the sign-ups and have been crying into your soup because you’re so irritated with yourself, FEAR NOT!  Everyone committed to an initial eight weeks of Sewing Buddy love, at which point, we’ll do another round of matches (and re-matches) for those who aren’t feeling the happy:  if you have found that your Buddy just isn’t Your People, that’s cool; we’ll match you each with another Buddy, no hard feelings from anyone. And if you missed out the first time, we can make sure that you get a Buddy the second go-round!  Keep in mind, though, that the next set of matches–set to open April 2, 2011–will be the LAST for this year.  So mark your calendars!

Inspired to Sew by Bari J: Winner!

Whoops!  Was totally supposed to post this winner yesterday, and got so caught up in all my math that I neglected to do so.

*Drumroll*

Congrats to Syd, who said:

I know you’ll love the book!  Shipping out to you ASAP.

Last Day to Sign Up for a Sewing Buddy! CLOSED

Today is the final day to sign up for a Sewing Buddy!  Registrations for 2011 end TONIGHT at midnight, and will re-open only ONCE this year (in eight weeks, for a few days).  Leave a comment on the original post and join the 200 folks already playing along!

Sewing Buddy Project 2011 Sign-Ups… CLOSED

It’s time!!  Today, we open up the list to add names to the Sewing Buddy Project for 2011.  I had SUCH fun hearing all the stories from last year and seeing what all you got up to with your buddies–it’s so cool to think about what two people can encourage one another to achieve in the space of just a few months.  For background on the Project, see the original post here.

Just this past weekend, I heard stories of international sewing cooperation!  bi-coastal inspiration!  photographic motivation! and way more, all from Sewing Buddies who had used the project as a way to light a fire under their behinds and get moving on some plans and hopes and dreams they’d been nursing along for…who knows how long.  Like a pen pal, but for sewing, a Sewing Buddy can be part drill sergeant and part bestest friend, cheering you along as you tackle each sewing challenge in your path.  It doesn’t matter if you’re still learning or if you’re an old hand–sometimes the best pairs are the ones who seem to have so little skill in common!

This year, I’m hoping for even greater things from the Sewing Buddy pairs.  My one disappointment from 2010 was hearing that some of the Buddies had gone AWOL part way through, and hadn’t been following through.  Obviously, that was the exception rather than the rule, but I wanted to bring it up because it really did bum me out and spoil some of the fun for others who were all set to ascend to new sewing heights with their Buddies.  This year, then, I’d like to ask that each of us really go into the Sewing Buddy Project as a way to connect to another stitcher, to reach out further than our immediate sphere of influence, to build relationships beyond the local, and to find a like-minded soul with whom we can share ideas and inspiration.  It’s not a huge time commitment, and it can have a giant impact, if you let it.

There are no real rules for the Sewing Buddy Project.  It’s a pretty free-form gig, a way to introduce you to someone else who shares your passion for fabric and sewing, regardless of your skill level or nationality.  Beginners welcome!  International may apply!  Last year’s participants: come get another Buddy!  I’d love to see lots and lots and lots of folks matched up and stitching happily with one another, no matter where they start or where they’re going.  I did develop a handful of guidelines this year, though, so that no one ends up disappointed.

Guidelines for 2011 Sewing Buddy Project participation:

  • Agree that you’ll commit for eight weeks.  If, after eight weeks, you find that you and your Buddy aren’t a match, we’ll re-match you with a NEW Buddy.  A year might sound like a long time, but anyone can do eight weeks.  If you put some heart into it, I just know we can find you Your People.
  • Agree that you will leave no email from your Sewing Buddy un-answered.  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.
  • Be on the lookout for contests, challenges, secret passwords, and even (gasp!) meet-ups designed just for Sewing Buddies!  I’m working on scheduling one or more of these each month in 2011, and hope that you and your Buddy will participate in ALL of them–they’re golden chances to really ignite the fire of sewing in new ways.

That’s it!  I’ll begin matching names in the magic whirly-bin of Sewing Buddy Science on January 21, 2011.

To participate in the 2011 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.
  • 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 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 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!

Happy New Year, y’all, and welcome to the Sewing Buddy party!

Already Thinking About 2011: A Sewing Buddy Check-Up

Confession:  When I first developed the Sewing Buddy Project, I didn’t really think it would go very far.  I mean, it kinda seemed a little goofy: pen pals? for grown-ups? but with sewing?  I wasn’t really sure anyone would care to participate, and might’ve had a teeny little worry in the back of my head that folks would shake their heads and smirk.

Boy, was I wrong.

Y’all took the Sewing Buddy idea and you RAN. WITH. IT.  I have been a little flattered but mostluy floored to see the excitement and enthusiasm and openness and curiosity with which you have taken to one another and formed friendships and planned outings and done projects and shared ideas–how insanely cool and inspiring to watch, seriously.

From the beginning, the Sewing Buddy Project was intended to be a one-year commitment.  Meet your 2010 Buddy, make deep, lasting friendships, then add another Buddy in 2011.  Like a charm bracelet of epic, stitchy proportions.  So as we head into the frenzy of the holidays and wind up 2010–a crazy, exhausting year for me, I don’t know about you–I’m already thinking about 2011 and the fresh newness that it promises.

I have met a bunch of you, and heard from even more–nearly 150 Sewing Buddies in all!–about how this experience has worked for you.  Before we begin to pair folks up in the New Year, will you share your stories with us?  Leave a comment below and recount your Sewing Buddy moments, and I’ll choose three pairs of Buddies to profile here on the blog in the weeks leading up to the New Year and the new recruits.

Having a Sewing Buddy is pretty awesome.  Pay the love forward and let us all know what you and your Buddy have been up to!