Monday, 30 June 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Good morning!

I was so so pleased to be asked by Gilly of gilly makes to take part in this blog-hop. I've never done one like this before and it has really made me think! Go visit Gilly - her blog is full of lovely makes and finds. 

Next up for taking part are:

Nickie from Meadow Orchard who despite a high pressure job and city centre apartment in Brussels, is exploring how she can live slowly and mindfully. Her journey is fascinating: join her to explore yogurt making, decluttering to an eye-watering degree, and finding the joy in washing up.

Jo from The Good Life and Through the Key Hole - yes, that would be two great blogs that she finds time for. One is a diary of her family life, finds, makes and bakes. The other is all about her successes (and a few failures) in her garden and allotment, and includes a monthly visit to another garden. 

Jacqui from Living with Ethel  takes commissions for knits, makes lovely fabric art and is experimenting with deliberately visible mending. 

All three will be posting their Around the World Blog Hop post in the next week or so.

So the idea is that I answer some questions about my 'creative process' and makes. It all sounds very grand, but when I started thinking about it I realised that I do have a creative process! 

What am I working on?

Well along side lots of little and not so little projects I have been working on my Persian Sweetie Shop Blanket for the last 18 months. I do a bit, then I do something else, then I do a bit...

The something elses are often presents for other people so I either blog about them after they have been given, or I forget. Since our departure from St Helena is looming, I have been working on quite a few Goodbye and Thank you presents which I am still keeping under my hat for the moment...

How does my writing/creating process work ?

I usually start with an idea. I rarely follow patterns to the letter but I often lift techniques or small pieces of a pattern and combine them with my own ideas. This blanket started with a visit to a carpet shop. There was a shop in our town in England that we drove past every day. It advertised itself as stocking carpets and rugs but it had no windows being a sort of dilapidated warehouse in a car park that also was home to a diy car wash. One day we went in and there were loads of rugs of every sort you could imagine. We weren't in a position to buy - we were really preparing to come here, but I was mulling over the kind of project that I could bring to St Helena in case crafty supplies were hard to come by and crafty people were thin on the ground, and the shapes and details in those rugs stuck in my thoughts.

Next usually comes a drawing of some sort. My artistic skills are minimal but I use a drawing to plan. To do the maths on sizes and shapes and quantities.

In this case I also roughly planned out the colours I would use. I bought the yarn before we came but I needed to know where I was going to use each colour.

I swatched a few ideas too, although, lots of the finished elements of the blanket came about by trial and error. Lots of ripping back!

In parts I have followed the 'design' quite closely, but else where I have altered it to suit my whim, or as a result of seeing how things worked out.

I have tried to keep notes of what I did as I went along, but I am a bit rubbish at this and there are so many crossings out and alterations in the scrawl that I am hard pressed to make sense of what I have written.

You see, in my head I see my making like this: well ordered, nicely presented, photogenic and blog-worthy.

In reality, it is more like this: jumbled up, shoved in a plastic bag and stored in a corner under the bookcase.

So, here is where I have got to so far: it is a little smaller at this stage than I had planned, measuring 58 inches along one side when the plans say it should be 64 inches by now. I need to decide whether to add some stripes to make it bigger, or crack on with the plan for what to do next (132 two inch squares - eek!). If it is to be the planned 72 inches squared then I am a paltry 56% of the way there...

I have to say that I am loving it! Loving the thinking and the planning and the doing and the way it is coming together.

For once I have been organised to keep a record of the yarn I used and where I bought it.

Looking at my other simpler makes I have realised that the idea - drawing - maths - making process seems to run through many of them.

How does my work differ from others of its genre ?

Well, my inability to follow a pattern, and my determination to know better, means that my makes are certainly unique! I think my making is characterised by a certain fearlessness. My mantra seems to be 'how hard can it be?'. If I get an idea I consult a few books/blogs/websites, work out where to start and from there it it trial and error all the way. 

Because many of my makes are for other people, I don't tend to stick exclusively to one style, instead I try to make things to their tastes. Whether I succeed or not I can't say! Having said that, my lack of planning means that I mostly make from my stash rather than buying fabric or yarn specially. My stash is made up of things I have picked up because they appeal to me or that people have given to me because they think I might find them useful so the resulting makes are influenced by what is available.

Makes for myself tend to include my favorite colour combination of pink and green. I just can't get away from it - it is what I gravitate to first!

Why do I create what I do ?

Because I have to. It is my sanity, my fulfillment, my ability to do the dull and the mundane. I am somewhere between and 'ideas man' and a 'completer-finisher', neither of which suit the role I have taken on as home maker and mother. The home is never made and the Smalls are never grown. Washing/shopping/cleaning/cooking are all cyclical and never completed or finished. Making gives me that. Making gives me things that are ticked off a list. Achievements that let me say to myself: look, I did that today.

I also hope that the people who receive my makes find pleasure in them and understand that my gift is one of time and thought as well as an object.

The Persian Sweetie shop Blanket is all for me though! And I love it.



  1. A loevly idea of having a larger project to work on then little ones in between, I tend to have lots of smaller ones on the go. I'm sure anyone who received a handmade gfit would realise the time, love & effort that had gone in to producing said gift. Your blanket looks fab, so colourful!

  2. Love the glimpse into your working process and that blanket ........ it's a work of art!
    Jacqui xx

  3. A great post, so interesting hearing about your creative process. I love your blanket, that will be something that you treasure and a future heirloom. Thank you for nominating me, I shall carry on the blog hop soon.

  4. I've been enjoying these blog hop posts! It's interesting learning how others express their your colourful blanket! :) x

  5. I found u via A Little Woolie. What a wonderful blog to start following u with! A true and tangible treasure u created for only u! Your blanket is amazingly beautiful:)

    1. Welcome aboard! Thanks for coming by. xx

  6. Lovely! Totally identify with the sanity bit and interesting to see your process. Thanks for including me - looking forward to joining this next week.

  7. Once again I'm behind with my blog reading! Thanks for taking part in the hop, it's so interesting to read about your creative process and I just live your sweetie blanket - what a lovely memory of your time on St Helena that you'll always treasure. I also enjoyed your little reminder that when gifts are made, it's so much about the time and thought, as much as the actual make. Have a happy week, hugs xx

  8. wow your blanket is a stunner and what beautiful colours too, me too keeps me sane...long live creativity...bestest d x

  9. Thanks for all the lovely comments on the blanket. I really love it, and that is the secret don't you think?