More on Maker's Bingo Cards

It speaks to my current state of indecisiveness that only a few days in, I have already changed my 2019 making plans. I realised there was going to be a problem since the first project I started this new year was not on my list of twenty-four potential projects. Oops.

I decided to give myself four more “Free Space” tiles so that I could count some of the non-selfish making I might do and because I will probably keep thinking of other things I want to make over the year. My card now looks like this:

2019-Maker's-Bingo-Card_AY_v2-1.jpg

Anyhow. As I was rethinking my Maker’s Bingo card arrangement, a few people expressed some interest in playing and it started me thinking about all the ways you can play Maker’s Bingo. I am not fond of rules when it comes to making future plans, mainly because I can’t stick to them. So, no rules are involved except the ones you make for yourself and in the spirit of making this a super-flexible and light-handed way to motivate yourself to get some stuff made this year, I offer a few thoughts on ways you can use these bingo cards:

  1. Play with friends—first person to get BINGO perhaps wins dinner on the other players, or just good old bragging rights

  2. Go au solitaire—personal challenges are sometimes the best kind. I’m sort of in between. I am playing alone for now, but I’m following the #2019makenine tag on Instagram for something like company, but company you aren’t obligated to make conversation with. (As predicted, my #2019makersbingo tag is currently all by its lonesome.) You can add a little motivation for yourself in the form of rewards. I would suggest yarn, but if you are like me and on a stash diet, maybe something less dangerous might be in order. For myself, I imagine there will be chocolate involved (which is also dangerous, but delicious.)

  3. Make new bingo cards as the year progresses or when you get BINGO. You can remove completed projects or start from scratch each time

  4. Put five free spaces in a line. I put all my free spaces on different lines because I didn’t want to make it too easy for myself, but if a row of free spaces is going to work better for you, go for it!

  5. Increase your odds of getting bingo and make multiple cards to play all at once by giving each card its own category. For instance, one card can just name yarns/fabrics/materials and another card can just be actual patterns or types of patterns. Other cards could list things like techniques, favourite pattern designers…you name it

  6. If playing with friends, try “inverted bingo”. The winner is the person who fills in the most squares without getting bingo

  7. Combine this with your Make Nine Challenge or any other make-a-long you signed up for. This works if some or all of your projects are not completely set in stone. You may not have chosen the yarn, fabric, or pattern so you can list the possibilities on the bingo card. Again, you can play with or without friends although beating your friends might be good motivation too, if you’re the competitive type

On a related note, I have made a small change to the website since I have actually started to see something I will call “traffic” but with the understanding that 300% of next to nothing does not really amount to much. I made a new tab (upper right corner) called Printables where I’ll be putting direct links to my knitterly printable graphics from now on. This is where you’ll find blank Maker’s Bingo cards (a version with one free space, another with five! free spaces). I have a PDF version and a JPEG version of each, depending on whether you want to print the graphic (letter-size paper) or you want a digital image to use on an online platform.

This might be the year I finally put some real effort into this website so a little organization might be in order!

E2a: I’ll be (trying to) update my progress with this Bingo card here

Let me know if you’re playing or if you have other ways to play Maker’s Bingo!



2019 Maker’s Bingo

Last Christmas, I dusted off my sewing machines and got reacquainted with them by making some simple dresses for a friend’s little girls (both of whom I would declare are the two most delightful children I have ever met. I’m sure it’s entirely coincidental that they are also the two most appreciative of the things I make them.) It was such a great feeling being in front of my machines again that I really wanted to make more time for the simple pleasure of making things with my hands. I decided to join in on the #2018makenine challenge hosted by Rochelle of Home Row Fiber Co. because I thought I could use the inspiration and motivation. To my surprise, I did complete most of my Make Nine projects and made several more things in addition to that. Seeing as I suspected I would abandon ship mid-year, I’m pretty good with how it went, but in this new year, I’m going to change it up a little.

I think I’d like to have a little more latitude in choosing my projects this year instead of laying out a list of nine projects at the start of the year that may lose their shine in several month’s time. I still don’t want to be completely rudderless, so I decided to draw up a Maker’s Bingo Card with 24 possible projects I can choose from (all using stashed fabrics or yarns, because, yeah, to my shame, I have more than 24 projects’ worth) and one (traditional) “Free Space” for an unspecified project of my choice. Am I going to regret giving myself too many options once I get mired in indecision? Maybe, but this year, I haven’t got a list of nine must-make items, just a lot of stash and a few gaps in my wardrobe that I’d like to fill, if the opportunity arises.

I’m still deciding how I want to fill out the 24 squares, but here’s a possible card:

aMusingyarns_2019MakersBingoCard.jpg

So far, I have some specific projects, some general ideas for projects, and some specific stash (mainly just skeins of sock yarn for easy, portable projects). My criteria for drawing up this list was that everything on it would be made with fabric or yarn that I already have. I’m continuing my efforts to reduce my consumption, so the plan here is to identify items that I could really make use of but that don’t require me to do any real shopping beyond small notions or possibly patterns. I don’t urgently need all 24 items on this list (and I seriously don’t think I’ll make even half of them, if that!) but some of the projects are really more about expanding some of my skills in addition to making useful items. I haven’t picked out any specific patterns this year because although I know it could potentially save me a lot of time, again, I just want the flexibility of choice.

I’ll still be following the #2019makenine tag on IG because I think #makersbingo is going to be as lonely a hashtag as my #mendormodifynine which even I couldn’t trouble myself to keep up because it would have necessitated taking photos of fairly boring things.* If, by some chance, Maker’s Bingo is of interest to you, here’s a blank bingo card for you to print and fill in. Of course, it’s a pretty simple thing to sketch on paper so you can always just draw a 5x5 grid of your own in your own style, but for those of you who prefer low-resistance, this is for you!

You can list anything you like. For example, you can just identify a yarn or fabric (or whatever material your particular making hobby uses), specific patterns, general categories, techniques, or clearly defined projects and arrange them anyway you like in the grid. You can even cut small samples of fabrics and yarns and affix them to the card, or sketch a design in the square. I tried to make sure that none of my potential projects overlapped with another square on the same grid, such as having a specific yarn in one square and a project like “mittens” that might be made with the aforementioned yarn. I suppose making multiple cards could help with avoiding overlap. For instance, one card could list fabrics or yarns and another could have patterns, or techniques you’d like to practice. The goal is to call bingo this year so more cards could increase your chances!

Now that’s done, I should probably stop avoiding making actual New Year’s resolutions for 2019. So far, I’ve got: buy less stuff and keep a real-time record of which WIPs my various knitting needles are buried with or else I’ll have to keep buying more stuff.

UPDATE (jan-06): It didn’t take long for me to realise I could use a few more free spaces on my personal bingo card. My revised card along with some further thoughts on how to play Maker’s Bingo with friends and/or in conjunction with other make-a-longs you’re participating in this year can be found in the post: More on Maker’s Bingo. Also, I have added another blank card with extra free spaces and I now have a tab in the top right corner for all the printables I make available on this site!


Footnotes:

*My mend or modify project actually was mostly a successful endeavour for me—I just couldn’t make myself photograph everything because I am highly resistant to photographing myself. However, I plan to continue with this project and I’m going to make more of an effort to document it because I sometimes feel like I’m just talking about what I bought and what new things I made, as if having more new things is a goal in itself. My real goal is to balance my making hobbies with my efforts to consume less by only making what I need and making the things I have last as long as possible.

#mendormodifynine

I've been quietly participating in the #2018makenine challenge and I am sort of surprised by how nice it is to follow along on Instagram.  I give a little mental hurrah! for every finished project I see in this feed because I know part of what that finished project would have entailed and the resulting spark of happiness it brings.  I like knowing there are people out there making joy.

I mentioned in my previous post that my #2018makenine is pretty unambitious, at least comparatively.  I have all the materials and patterns in my stash already so there isn't any time being spent on sourcing, some of my projects are WiPs, and several others are of the small and simple variety (which is not why I have suddenly taken an interest in sock knitting).  (See previous post.)

However, the operative word is "comparatively".  As far as I'm concerned, my list presents a decent challenge for me since I am good at making lists and not so good at making time.  It probably doesn't help that I seem to lay down multiple obstacles to my making of anything for a variety of reasons, one of which is guilt--the guilt that I "should be doing more important things".  Which is entirely true, but if I actually got right down to doing those important things instead of finding some other unrelated task to work on (such as blogging or surfing), I'd probably have time left over to indulge my love of knitting and sewing, right?

Anyhow, I've been seeing lots of pants and Ginger Jeans popping up in my IG feed and it got me thinking that indeed, I really could use a pair of well-fitting pants and/or jeans.  Pants are a bugbear if you don't have the body of a runway model.  I am not at all trying to suggest we'd all be better off if we'd only been born with a "better" set of genes.  What I mean is that there are so many ways a pair of pants won't fit a female body, and that most manufacturers, in all their wisdom, have chosen their average proportions from the rather narrow segment of the population we have collectively deemed "better looking than the rest of us".  The rest of us just have to squeeze in or cinch or resort to wearing long cardigans or all of the above.

If you've ever attempted drafting a pant pattern for yourself, you would know just how many measurements and calculations are required and unless you are a master pattern drafter, you still have to tweak and tweak again and then some.  But sewing experience isn't at all necessary to have intimate knowledge of the fact that pants are hard to fit.  Trying to buy pants off the rack is a bit of a nightmare for a lot of women and I suspect that's why so many of us have a predilection for bifurcated garments with spandex.

Also, this is the reason I own an entirely ridiculous number of RTW pants.  And why about 80% of them don't get worn.*  I don't sew my own pants anymore (see previous paragraph) so I buy them (entirely too often) but so, SO rarely do they ever fit straight off the rack.  At the very least, they will require hemming.  I'm under average height and since pants usually come with a little extra inseam to not exclude the reasonably tall people among us, I have to hack off a good chunk so that I'm not sporting donuts around my ankles or tripping over my own feet.  (Nowadays, I just say no to flares, for my own safety.)**  But, in truth, many don't even get hemmed because in my heart of hearts, I know that I won't likely wear them because they are bunching a little too much somewhere or sagging a bit elsewhere.  Of course, I don't make that admission until it's well too late for returns or exchanges.

And this is just the pile that I want to start with.  The required modifications here range from simple hemming to over-dyeing to something just shy of a miracle.

And this is just the pile that I want to start with.  The required modifications here range from simple hemming to over-dyeing to something just shy of a miracle.

You'd think that a three-way mirror and my own good sense would have prevented me from repeatedly making this mistake, yet here I am with very few pants to wear and far too many pairs in my closet that are almost wearable.  Clearly, the answer to my troubles is not more shopping.  For a moment, I thought the answer was to buckle down and make my own pants, but every time I open my closet or that particular dresser drawer, I see that stack of clothes (and let's be clear, it's not just pants or just RTW***) which, with a few hours of work and a perhaps a little creativity, could become useful, contributing members of my wardrobe.  Which is where the #mendormodifynine hashtag comes in.

I'm setting this challenge for myself, not to necessarily mend or modify nine articles of clothing in 2018, but to use the remaining nine months of this year to practice.  To practice the arts of mending and modifying and to practice the new decision-making processes that I want to develop when it comes to consuming, hoarding, and discarding material things.  I want to use that time that I practice to think about how I came to have the current consumption habits I have and how I can modify those behaviours to reflect my ideals and my concerns.

When I think about my thought processes for deciding what I wanted and subsequently, what I bought, I'm starting to see how many lies I had to tell myself and how many conclusions I avoided making to justify all those things.  But this challenge isn't about the mea culpas or atonement, although they kind of figure in a little bit because I can't help myself. It's about learning how to go forward with what I have, and learning more about how I can make better decisions as a consumer.  I'd like to make #mendormodify something that I do as a matter of course and not just a single-use hashtag on IG.****


Footnotes

*Full disclosure, not all of that 80% have a fit issue. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I don't stray far from the path of trendiness.  You'd have a hard time getting me to enter a public space wearing a pair of low-rise, whiskered jeans circa 2005

**This isn't really a footnote on the text.  This is just the point in my editing where a few mistaken keystrokes erased about two hours of writing and editing and I uttered a litany of curses upon the House of Squarespace for their evil wysiwyg editor.  Until I reluctantly admitted that it was entirely my fault--this time.  But still, it was way too easy to accidentally erase all that work.  When will I EVER learn to write all the text in a different app, one that has a revision history???

***I don't like to claim that I make my own clothes because they fit better or are nicer than RTW because the evidence (which is jammed into the farthest reaches of my closet) proves otherwise. Sure, I have made items that I love and use, but I have also sewn and knit a number of garments that never made it out the front door.  A few of those are going into the "modify it" queue this year.

****I don't expect this hashtag to catch on since I can safely assume this blog post will just take its place in the food chain of the internet somewhere between plankton and krill.