I love this question. Anyone who does handcrafts will be familiar with non-craft people asking this. I’m always curious to know exactly why they are curious, because there seem to be implicit assumptions in the question. In a culture that seems to operate at the speed of light, are they happy to know that something actually took some time and care to be made? Or do they find it more impressive the faster you finished? The latter seems to be the case. Given the ready abundance of instant gratification around us, we do seem to feel that sooner is better. People seem most happy when I nonchalantly mutter something like, “not long, just in my spare time.” The follow-up comment is often, “wow, it would take me forever to do something like that!” indicating that since it didn’t take me forever, they are impressed.
However, since I adore weaving, spinning, and knitting, I often feel that taking forever would be lovely. While having the finished project is certainly a joy, the amount of time it takes doesn’t seem relevant since each and every minute is pleasurable. I’ve even found myself a tiny bit excited when I discover a mistake simply because it will make the project take a little longer!
Is there also an inherent indication that what I’m doing looks really boring to them? Especially when they say, “you must be such a patient person!” I always try to accept what I think they mean as a compliment but I often can’t stop myself asking in return if it takes patience to do the activity they enjoy most? No one ever remarks that you must be a really patient person to watch hours of Netflix!
Yet, despite all of that, I often DO find myself bragging about how fast weaving is or that I finished a queen size coverlet in just ten days. Perhaps it’s a recognition that to people in the past (AND many in the present), such crafts weren’t a “pastime” at all. They had to value speed because it was vital to give their family the warm clothes and coverlets that would see them through the winter. I want always to remember that finding pleasure in taking it slow is a luxury, a blessing. Remembering that is honoring them.
SO…how long did this take? I wove it in just two evenings.