July 24, 2015

Picking and packing projects to take on holiday

I love sewing.

It has enriched my life is so many ways – not only through the act itself but the way it has opened me up to meet new people, it has totally awoken my creative side and has given me so much more than I could have ever imagined.

I have been thinking a lot about that lately, why I do it, what I get from it. As we head into the school holidays I know that sewing time will be much more limited, not much time will be spent at the studio over the next six weeks (none at all in the next three). That in itself poses a bit of a problem for me – I know that it is a vital part of my ‘looking after myself’ mentality. Just like being outdoors as much as I can, taking the time to sew and create is something that is really important to me.

Recently I have come across a few posts that really resonated with me and I wanted to share them with you. The first was one called Building Momentum – written by Mary Huey – a guest post for ‘On the Windy Side’ as part of the Finish Along 2015 series. Some things I cannot do, like leaving my projects out so they are easy to pick up (although that is what the studio is perfect for) but I love the idea of just doing 15-20 minutes of something every day – progress can be made quite quickly when you just do a little each time. The post is really about getting the momentum to finish those works in progress but my favourite thing I took away from it was the idea of a sewing journal. And so I have started recording everything I do and everything I have been working on before I got to sleep each night. I just know I will love to look back at it in the future.

However, this idea of focusing on getting projects finished is something that actually I am coming round to the idea that perhaps it is necessaritly the most important thing. Yes it is nice to make something for someone and for them to like it, but at times it is the actual process that is the important part. I sew because I love it, I am good at it, but most of all when I am sewing the whole world falls away and I am focused and completely in control. In a life where I find that lacking most of the time you can see why this is so important to me. And as Mollie says in this post – Making is the point of Making – process not product.

In that post she references a post by Diane Gilleland: A Patchwork Map (side note: NEED her book, All Points Patchwork) which is the post that I loved the most. I urge you to read the whole post but in it she says:

I always have at least one project going that will take me months or years to finish — to me, projects like these are an important form of self-care. When life moves like a whirlwind, it becomes a real blessing to have this slow-moving creation-in-progress to return to at day’s end. Even if ten minutes is all I can spare, that ten minutes has a deeply calming effect.

I always have a ‘hand’ project on the go – at the moment it is my Spring Stitching Club quilt, and I have started crocheting flowers for Flowers for Memories at Yarndale this year. These are the projects that I pick up at the end of the day and spend a little time on while I watch TV, or take with me when I go to Brighton Sewing Bee, or round to friends. I no longer feel weird pulling a project out of my bag and making a little progress on it as I chat to friends or enjoy a cuppa in a cafe.

And so, over the summer when proper alone sewing time is rare I am going to spend my time on slow stitching. Embroidery, English Paper Piecing, Crochet. The things that keep my hands busy and my mind clear. And I am going to share my progress – maybe here, most likely on Instagram with my hashtag #slowstitchingsummer.

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  • Reply Emily July 25, 2015 at 8:01 am

    This is such an interesting post. As you know I recently ripped out a completed body of a cardigan and as a result of now doing it right and wanting to catch up, I have been trying to pick it up in small moments and that is so lovely. I must do it more.
    I am finding it harder to make for other people these days. Firstly there is so much I want to make for me and my family and also, as soon as I have a deadline I find it stressful. Maybe I need long deadlines.
    I really wish I was better at having more than one project on the go. I’m quite monogamous, but perhaps this would be a way to make a start on those bigger projects, like blankets on the hook and some new things, like embroidery in between.

    • Reply Kelly August 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      I am going to try and do a bit more now we are home in the sometimes quieter moments – late afternoon we usually watch tv and I have always avoided sewing when the children were around because they want to fiddle and join in. But I think that they are old enough now to ignore me. I always have too many things on the go – the complete opposite to you!!

  • Reply Caroljs July 25, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Over the past few months I have a few projects on the go which I can pick up depending on what time I have. I have baby blankets ready for a new niece/nephew that are really handy to pick up when I have 5 mins peace while the girls play as I don’t have to think about it and then I normally have a few smaller bits on the go. I am making strawberries for a charity sale and they are more fiddly but great to do in front of the TV. I’m excited to try new crafts this year as well and work on my sewing.

    • Reply Kelly August 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      I can’t wait to see what you make. I loved the strawberries, so cute.

  • Reply snafflesmummmy July 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    What a beautifully inspiring photograph. Crafting helps my mind stay clear too. Small, come and go projects are so handy when you have a busy life and small people . I prefer projects without a time restraint so that I am not working to a deadline.

    • Reply Kelly August 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      I like deadlines because otherwise nothing ever gets finished, I just start new things! I’ve always been a last minute kind of person, I work so much better when I am focused on getting to the end in a set time.

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