I have houseguests, this post is an update of an article from 2013 (Consider it to be like MLB games these days, like them I don’t look more than 10 years back).
For the last few months, since the lockdown started, there has been plenty of talk about economic hard times. You knowq people out of work and are told there are millions more. You hear words like “global recession” and “worst since The Great Depression.” Most days an economic headline joins virus and protests is on the front page of our newspapers. People in all walks of life are seriously struggling. And, of course, crafts and hobbies struggle more than many industries, because they are bought using discretionary income. If more and more of your money is going into the necessities (food, clothing, housing, and basic transportation), it should come as no surprise to anyone that hobbies suffer.
But being on a tight budget is not a new thing. But we’ve forgotten something that my parents and grandparents knew — you don’t HAVE to spend lots of money to live well. They talked about champagne on a beer budget, and we talk about living richly. What this means is spending small amounts of money well so that your home, your clothes, your life, and, your needlepoint don’t suffer in looks for the economies you make.
Conspicuous consumption gets jettisoned for “depression chic.” And with that needlepoint has gotten jettisoned by many as well. I think that’s because people think needlepoint is too expensive for them.
Needlepoint doesn’t have to be expensive.
I’m frustrated at the moment because this message hasn’t gotten through. Needlepoint showed a double-digit loss in people doing it in the early 2010’s. While the survey I read didn’t look at why, I think this misperception of needlepoint as being for rich ladies is at the heart of the problem.
I’m going to be even more blunt than that. While I know that shops are struggling, I don’t think they are doing themselves, their customers, or our art any favors by their seeming disregard of more affordable ideas for doing needlepoint over a hand-painted canvas with lots of expensive threads.
The lockdown has forced shops to be more creative in how theyreach us, their customers. And we have responded. But it has also forced us to be more judicious and, prehaps, more cautious in our purchases.
Think about it, when was the last time a shop featured a project that take advantage of what’s in your stash? When was the last time they suggested floss instead of silk for a project? When was the last time they showcased a budget project that cost less than $25 for everything? The difference between 2013 (when this artyicle was first written) and now is that now shops do make those suggestions.
With all of us, designers, thread manfacturers, shops, and consumers facing struggles, scarcity, and restrictions, we have pulled together. We have found innovative ways to use our stashes, to learn, and to stitch together. And that’s important.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful hand-painted canvas and I will gladly spend big bucks on something beautiful. I think surrounding oneself with beautiful things is important. BUT that doesn’t always mean spending lots of money. And both our shops and ourselves as stitchers can be in the forefront of changing this perception.
The big question is how much of this working together will stand once restrictions are lifted and times are better.