Why I took an accidental hiatus

Well, hello there.

What do you mean, That’s a fine way to start?

Oh. Right. Because it’s been well over a month since I posted here. And almost two months since I posted my last video. That.

It does need a bit of an explanation, doesn’t it? Luckily, that’s precisely why I’m here today! Read on to find out where I’ve been and what I’ve learnt in the last month or so.

Why did I take a break?

Searching for inspiration in my tea.

The break was completely unintentional.

I fully intended to record my second podcast the week after my first, but I ran into a slight problem: I’d come down with something and I had absolutely no voice. And while it could have been a fun challenge to record a video using improvised sign language and interpretive dance, I thought I’d simply wait until I could talk again.

The next week, it rained so hard we could barely hear ourselves think.

I was beginning to think interpretive dance might be the way of the future…

And before I knew it, I was out of the habit. It was that simple and it was scarily easy, which made me wonder if it was actually something I needed to do but hadn’t realised until I accidentally stopped. So I listened and I went with what felt right and I’ve learnt a thing or two along the way.

What did I learn from taking a break?

There’s so much pressure to be busy these days. Every now and then, I wonder if I’m doing something wrong because I’m not rushing from event to event or breathlessly explaining to someone that I’m so busy as I rush to the next big thing.

Then I remember that I’m an introvert and I’m fine with that and you can keep your crowded events to yourself, thanks. I’ll be here with my knitting and my cuppa and probably both cats on my lap instead.

So it’s nice to take a break from the noise. I love that our YouTube sewing community is growing by the second. Every time you turn around, there’s a new face with new ideas and new excitement to share and I love it.

But it’s an awful lot to keep up with. And I couldn’t help wondering if my voice was still needed in that chorus when it seemed to be growing like crazy. The sewing and knitting revival is thriving and that makes me happy.

It just so happened I’ve been happier to watch from afar for the last few weeks. While sewing. Or knitting. Or taking photos of my sewing and knitting.

Pleats! Definitely worth all the hand-basting.

Unfortunately, there’s one type of photography I absolutely can’t do: outfit photos. My lovely subscribers are always asking (quite rightly) for a chance to see my finished projects on me rather than my mannequin, Madam.

I’d love to oblige you all, but I’m just rubbish at it.

No, it’s true and I’m OK with it. I’m pretty good at photography but when it comes to turning the camera on myself, it all goes to poo. Have I given up, though? Nope! In fact, I’m toying with setting myself a self-portrait challenge next month (which also happens to be Me Made May, so that could be a fortuitous union).

But why would outfit photos prompt me to take a break? Quite simply, I realised I was putting too much pressure on myself to take outfit photos that never work out.

Which led me to subsequently realise that they probably don’t work out because I’m putting too much pressure on myself.

So the plan is to remove myself from that pressure and work out how to take good photos of myself by starting with a whole bunch of bad ones. There’s nothing wrong with failure, provided you take lessons from it!

Finally, I’ve learnt that it’s good to be selfish every now and then. This is coming from someone who is almost exclusively a selfish sewer and knitter, too! It seems all of my selflessness goes in to creating vlogs and it is something I love to do. If you are part of this community, you know that it takes time to create a vlog or put together a blog post – and we’re happy to do it, because we’re rewarded with lovely comments and connections and a feeling of being part of the community.

But it is a lot of work and it can be awfully good for you to step away and be self-indulgent for a while.

A creative break can be good for you

I’ve done a lot more sewing during my break! Instead of talking about what I’m planning to sew, I’ve actually been sewing it instead. Full confession: this means I’ve started the wrap skirt I was going to sew on my Singer Blue Magic sewing machine. It was meant to be a sew-with-me video, but I never really got set up properly for it. So every time I thought I’d make a start on the skirt, I’d hold myself back because I’d have to set up the video and put on some nice clothes and in the end, it just seemed like too much work.

So even though I really want to do some ‘sew vintage with me’ videos, I don’t think they’re going to happen. You’re most welcome to come to my place and watch me, though! Bonus points if you bring your own vintage sewing machine with you.

Sewing my 1970s wrap skirt on my mum’s Husqvarna.

Almost as soon as I started my accidental break, I felt the pressure vanish. This was not external pressure – not at all. No-one has been banging on my door, demanding podcasts and blog posts. No-one’s been giving me the side-eye and looking impatiently at their watch. Or calendar. Or sundial… whatever’s closest.

No – I’ve been the one causing this pressure, so I’m the only one who can put a stop to it. I’ve always been a crazy perfectionist and I’m trying to take a step back from that by embracing Instagram stories. Yes, an odd place to start, but it works because the whole point of insta stories is that they are raw and unedited and those are two things I do not like my images to be.

But it’s been an awful lot of fun to share raw and unedited images so far. I also like the way you can only comment on insta stories by sending messages – it’s a lovely way to start a conversation with people. This is helpful if you happen to be completely rubbish at starting conversations, ie. me.

The break has also allowed me to focus on something I’ve been bad at since I left my job: self-discipline. It was much more fun to plan videos or update my graphics for my channel than to look at my much-neglected personal website. With vlogs off the agenda for a while, I was able to focus on work that needed to be done and to get to grips with building a more professional personal website.

Although, I have to be honest: I’ve mostly built that professional-looking website in my imagination, but I’ll be making a start on the real thing today.

But there’s always a down side…

I miss the community. It does feel as though everyone is powering ahead without me, but I’m sure that’s just FOMO speaking. And there’s an up side to the down side because I’ve been making an effort to contact people directly. For example, I sent a couple of emails to my old colleagues yesterday and now I have two invitations to go out for coffee and a chat.

That’s a win, in my book!

Will I come back to Vlogging?

The short answer?

Yes!

The long answer?

But I don’t know when that will be!

One of the biggest lessons I learnt during my break was that it’s important to try new things. So be prepared: I may be trying new things, whether it’s experimenting with going live or approaching my videos in a whole new way. I don’t know and it’s exciting that I don’t know. We’ll be going into the great unknown together!

Have you ever taken an accidental break from your blog or your vlog? What did you learn from it? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you.

30 thoughts on “Why I took an accidental hiatus

  1. Hi Katie, it’s nice to hear your voice again, because it is unique, but you need to do what is best for you. Take the time you need, that’s the most important thing, we will still be here when you are ready to come back.

  2. I tend to take three years between posts, so one month is nothing! It’s always wonderful to read or watch something by you.

    Good to see that you have plans! I wish I could make it that far – I’m still at intentions.

    1. I will still happily read any blog post you care to write – your insights are always entertaining and enjoyable.

      There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy on the whole plans front. Intentions are one step ahead of vague intentions, so that’s something!

  3. I’ve been unintentionally neglecting my blog for over a year now. Between starting uni, getting pregnant, and now being a mother to a tiny human, there just isn’t enough time to sew and blog about it as there was when I was just working. I’m hoping to get back to it one day, and hopefully I won’t turn into one of those mummy bloggers. Perhaps when I finish my degree in a few years…….

    1. There really aren’t enough hours in the day, are there? I think the desire to blog never really leaves us, even when we might leave it for a little while. It’s such so much fun! I love seeing glimpses of your tiny human on instagram. 🙂

  4. You mean we are not going to get a video with improvised sign language and interpretive dance- bummer! I always enjoy your vlogs and obviously want you to enjoy making them too so I am happy to wait patiently for your next episode. Whenever it is it will come as a delightful surprise.

  5. great to hear you are well ! miss watching you and I definitely do hear you!!
    .I find you a refreshing change from YouTubers who sew the same popular patterns or use the same fabrics, you opened my mind to the thoughts of vintage patyerns. i wish i cold knit as your lovely knitting is beautiful. I hope to see you again! but as an introvert I fully appreciate home and tea and taking time out ! sending blessings!

    1. Thanks, Nicola. 🙂 I do love being old-fashioned in a lot of things, so it’s been great to be able to share that love with people who appreciate it. And vlogs are a great way for an introvert to connect with people. 🙂

    1. It’s OK – the only one putting pressure on me is me! I am hoping that Me Made May will give me a chance to improve my outfit photography. It can only get better!

  6. Weve missed you, but its great that you are well and are having some creative time. Just a thought, could you chat randomly while you sew on your blog? I love playing videos like this in my sewing room as it feels like I’m sewing along with you and it has a relaxed feel to it. I also pick up and learn so much just watching how other people approach their own sewing projecrs.

  7. I must admit that this is the thing I like about blogging / vlogging the most. It is perfectly fine to go off and do you’re own thing for a bit. And there are always times in anyone’s life when there is too much to do and it’s fine to step back from our social media – we all understand. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t miss you!

    As far as photography is concerned I can say that I find this a really difficult aspect of my blogging too. I use all sorts of excuses (mostly the weather) for when I think the photos are below par. I have noticed though that I need to get my son (12 years old) to take more of the photos. He just turns the camera to “sports” mode and snaps away. Somewhere in the odd hundred photos he takes there are always some good ones!

    Can’t wait for the “sew vintage with me” vlogs!

    1. You are quite right – it’s OK to take a break whenever you need to. If only I could stop feeling so guilty about it!

      It would help so much if I could split myself in two and take my outfit photos. Tim has taken a couple for me, but it’s hard to direct people to take the photo you want and he’s quite tall, which means he’s looking down at me and this makes me look kind of short and stumpy. Then add in the fact that I have no idea how to pose properly or even just look like a normal person in photographs. It’s so frustrating!

  8. I’m just pleased to hear your ok. I was concerned that something had happened – bad I mean. Thanks for the update. You know it really is wise to re-evaluate your life every now and then. It’s like ‘checking in’ with yourself. What, when, why am I doing this for again please, I’ve forgotten? How would I rather be spending my time, money, life? Nothing like clearing the decks, to have some space to think. Reconnect with your joy in life. Keep what you want and pack up and ship off that which no longer serves you. I started a Quilting Facebook group that after awhile I gave away to a member, because it seemed to become work and time consuming and taking my joy out of sewing, which was crazy. Obligation and quilt is a self imposed sentence, give yourself a ‘case dismissed through lack of evidence’ and Just be good to you. Take care x

    1. Thank-you, Deborah. Sorry to cause concern! Most of my pressures and frustrations were definitely self-imposed, as you say – and it’s weird the way you can almost convince yourself you’re doing a lot of something just because you’re talking about it on the internet a lot. I’ve done so much more sewing since I took my accidental break!

      I anticipate spending a lot of time on this blog (and instagram, too). It combines my main loves: writing and photography, so it’s a sure bet that I’ll be coming here regularly until I get back in front of the camera.

      Thank-you again for sharing your thoughts, Deborah. I appreciate it so much.

  9. Oh Katie, I have missed you so that I came looking for you. I was concerned that something had happened to you! I admit that I am quite the mother hen when I enjoy someone. I love your knitting and Op shopping, and seeing things of old that remind me of times long gone and more than anything how much joy they bring you. I have even started trying to find beautiful old patterns. Oh and BTW I have even started to try to learn how to crochet or knit. I know I will never be prolific the way you are but maybe some new skill. I have taken a break from life, like you it wasn’t intentional it just sort of happened. For me it’s time to get back to living so I am redoing my sewing studio and hopefully I can get the inspiration to start and more importantly finish projects. OK enough, I just wanted to touch base and let you know that I missed you.

    1. Hello Angela. Sorry to cause any concern – all is well, apart from suddenly discovering I needed to take a break! I’m so glad to hear you’ve taken up a new skill. It’s so exciting to learn something new! If you are looking for some tutorials on knitting and crochet, I highly recommend Very Pink Knits on YouTube. She does great videos and explains everything clearly as well as demonstrating techniques from all angles. I hope your sewing studio is coming along well, too.

      It feels like it might be time to get in front of the camera again, so keep an eye on YouTube – I may be back soon. 🙂

  10. Hope you’re feeling better Katie. Knitting with a cup of tea and two cats sounds pretty much idyllic to me. I love the photo of your cat’s paws on the fabric. I only have to put a piece of material down and I turn round to find my cat’s curled up fast asleep on it 😊

    1. Thank-you, Jane. 🙂 Cats seem to have a special sense that tells them when fabric has appeared. They all seem to think it’s incomplete without a thorough coating of fur.

  11. I just thought that it has been ages since we have heard from Katie!! And I miss seeing what she has found at the thrift store..and then I thought well maybe i am just not getting the reminders that she has a new video up…nope!!
    LOL I read through your reasons… and thanks for telling us…your audience!! Some just leave and you miss them…but don’t know why!! And all sorts of awful things run through your mind…busy…longer still….maybe they’re sick…longer still …yikes maybe something awful…accident….YIKES!! I totally understand your reasoning…and take alllllll the time you want…Just want you to know….You are missed!!! lol ;0) i too love to thrift…fabric..pyrex…sewing machines…etc…!!!

    1. Thank-you so much for your words, Rita. 🙂 I certainly didn’t want anyone to worry because I know what it fees like when people suddenly go missing – you always wonder what’s happened and if they’re OK. At this stage, I’m not sure when I’ll get back to YouTube. It may only be whenever I have the time, rather than on a weekly basis. But I do miss everyone – it’s fun to be part of that huge sewing community.

      I hope your thrifting is going well! It’s so much fun to walk into a shop and wonder what treasures you’re going to find. 😀

  12. Hi Katie. Glad you are ok and taking a break for the right reasons. Just wanted to say that I I loooooove your v logs on YouTube. I feel that you are on my level and will laugh with me rather than at me with my wonky seams. Th3n tell me in normal language what I’m doing wrong, then show me a cat. Lol Come back soon, your voice is needed for defo. Love from uk

    1. Thank-you for dropping by and leaving a message. 🙂 Not only will I laugh with you, I’ll share my tips on hiding all the mistakes I inevitably make along the way. You have really made my day with your lovely words and encouragement.

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