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Starting again

I’m inspired to blog again and record my thoughts as I stitch. A journal, intended primarily for me, and secondarily for anyone else who might be interested. No rules for myself except one: to relax about this. And just do.

So here are my latest stitching learnings. New techniques and ways of thinking about stitching from Jude Hill’s spirit cloth teachings in Feel Free.

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She advises using soft, light, open cloths that are easy to stitch. So I tested some of mine with running stitch. Some work, others not. But I enjoyed just making them and lining them up. Gives me ideas. 🙂

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In her class she suggests using a nine patch as a simple grid to frame the design. I couldn’t help but want to break that a little.

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And so I played and learned. And just holding cloth to stitch, no hoop, it felt good.

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I have lots of ideas now, and a pallets of techniques to practice. Until the techniques become soft and pliable like the cloth.

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And now I’m bursting with it.

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Getting over myself

Photo 10-11-2014 7 14 34 pm
Photo 10-11-2014 5 07 43 pm

I’ve been playing with my new coton a broder threads: they are delightful, glossy and strong and bright. I bought a handful of colours and some lovely linen twill from Hedgehog handworks. They took a while to fly their way here from the US, but it’s all so beautiful. I doodled some little test ideas on a small piece of cloth, but now I’m in flight on something slightly more substantial.

But I’ve also decided that it’s time that some of my doodling was my actual work, and my work was doodling. I’ve been overplanning… even procrastinating starting because I’ve been afraid that my work won’t be perfect. This has to stop.

I’ve always worn my “Hello my name is A Perfectionist” badge with an air of pride. I now realise that this is foolish, as it’s stopping me from doing what I enjoy: stitching, blogging, everything. It’s time for creating to be a joy again: an act of experimentation and learning. I need to *stop* saying “I can’t start until it’s all planned out”. I need to be spontaneous. I need to be improvisational. I need to play.

A few things have lead me to this place. Strangely it was discovering Iris Grace‘s art work that started the cracks in my facade. No fear, no inhibitions. Joy, playfulness, beauty. Why couldn’t I do this?

One thing led to another and I was reading Robin Atkin‘s free book “One bead at a time” and it resonated within me. The cracks grew.

The next and chink fell when I discovered Karen Ruane‘s amazing embroidery. It was an epiphany for me. Spontaneous, playful, beautiful work could still be structured. I can still create coherent pieces that speak to me as they grow that have the order, rhythm and repetition I crave as I work.

And finally today, this article from the Slow Stitching Movement appeared on my blog feed “Letting go of Perfect and Jumping into Creative” (via Nuts about Needlepoint). The camel’s back may have found its straw.

So. Back to my current piece. I’d been putting off starting for so long as I didn’t have the perfect ‘circuit board’ in mind, sketched, charted, planned. After days of procrastination my partner finally suggested I just lay the components out as if they were decsontructed: pullled out from a circuit. “Then you can lay them out however you want” he said.

“Then you can lay them out however you want.” This shouldn’t be a revelation, but it is. So I’ve started. I’ve roughly tacked out some areas to guide me, but I’ve already ignored them a couple of times when they didn’t suit me. I’ve stopped when I feel like ‘that’s enough’, and changed colours on a whim. Just because. I’m enjoying the satin stitch capacitors so much I may make a lot of them. Maybe hundreds. We’ll see where the piece takes me.

I’m enjoying stiching again.

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Pintangle: Take a stitch Tuesday

I just discovered this glorious embroidery challenge: Take-a-stitch-Tuesday. I know, I’m VERY late on the scene 🙂

For anyone else new, it’s run by sharonb over at PinTangle, and the idea is to create a space where embroiderers can try out new stitches or push the envelope a little on stitches they already know. It has a group on flickr that form part of the record of the group’s creativity, as well as a web ring and regular spotlights from sharonb on PinTangle. I recommend you check it all out!

I think it’s a wonderful idea, I’m inspired just by reading through the entries. Part of me is tempted to jump on board at week one and stitch up a storm… but I don’t want to derail my current project, I’m trying to be disciplined about how many things I have on the go.

So my plan is to refer to the challenge in bits and pieces on my side-cloth as I see the opportunity. And maybe when Jack’s complete I can throw myself at the challenge from the beginning.

*twitchy needle hand* 😉

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How to find an image’s real source

Sometimes when I’m browsing the beautiful crafty images on tumblr or pinterest, I come across images without the original source acknowledged.  I like the originator of a beautiful piece to be credited, so I when I reblog/repin, I add the source at least in the comments when I can.

I wondered if the source is often uncreditted because people don’t know how to find out. It only takes a few minutes (at most) and google images, and a little deductive reasoning, but here’s what I do:

Step 1. Save a copy of the image onto your computer (I usually just dump it on my desktop).

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Step 2.  Open Google, and navigate to the images page. You want an ’empty’ search box. You can then drag your saved image over the search box and drop it in. It will change to a “Search by image” box when you’re in the right spot.

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Step 3. You should now have a heap of search results that look like your image. If you don’t, you can add some words in the search box to help (like ‘socks’, or ‘awesome’. Okay, possibly only ‘socks’ will help here 😉

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Step 4. Sherlock time. This is the bit that requires some deduction. Which one is the original?

Things to look for:

  • Image size
  • Source web site
  • Image date (where available – the earliest one should be the first!)

In the search above, you can see that the original image I searched with was 500×615 pixels. Usually, the originator of the image will be the person who holds the highest resolution version, so you’re looking for an image that’s at least as large as the one you’re using to search. In this case, none of the first page image results are large.

So onto page 2…

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On page 2 I can see an image that matches in size. But it’s on tumblr. Normally, I’d ignore search results that are on tumblr or pinterest, as they are most likely reblogs/repins. Results that are on a personal blog or flickr are the first places I look… because that’s usually where crafty images are placed by the creator. (But again, not always.)

So I checked out the bad magpie flickr result first, but it was actually from her favourites list, and a quick scroll through didn’t enlighten me, so I went back to the google search.

In this case, the Belle Atelier tumblr result is my best remaining option.

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Hurrah, Belle Atelier lists the source. A quick click to check it out:

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And it links to the crafty Beth Buhnuh on flickr. Who also has lots of other lovely craft things to look at…

Step 5. Acknowledgement time! At this point I usually just reblog/repin the image, and add the original source (in this case it would be the image page on Beth’s flickr) in a link in my comments.

My instructions are fairly long winded, but usually it’s a 3o second process. Simple!

You have the power, go forth and acknowledge! Crafters everywhere will thank you 🙂

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Thoughts. Maybe food for inspiration.

Imagine all of the people you brush against during your day, all of the hundreds, maybe thousands. You speak with a handful of them. Maybe when you order a coffee, perhaps when you pick up your mail, or even just when buying a carton of milk. It’s probably just a ‘hello’ and a ‘thank you’ sandwiching the business deal, and you walk on. You may even give your name to your order, but it’s not personal, it’s business.

When the interaction is daily, the punctuation can evolve into a sentence: “How are you today?” may over the weeks morph into “How was your barbecue on Saturday?” A small set of in-jokes might emerge, or a shared story.

Now a leap. One of those stories gives you a deeper insight. Directions to a journal, a daily public recording of one person’s creative thoughts, inspirations and musings. Suddenly, you see the inner workings of the external face. A simple cup of coffee and a hello, but also the creativity and thinkingness behind the daily routine.

A beautiful, burning, vital soul exposed through writing and art, but totally veiled in face-to-face reality. She would like that I think: the social construction of her own reality.

I think I need to create something that describes this better. An embroidery maybe?

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Tumblr radar

ZOMG! *deep breath* My Jupiter embroidery is on the Tumblr radar!

I knew something weird was up. I checked my mail after watching some Grand Designs (as you do) and I suddenly had a heap of new followers. A little digging and I found this:

Woot, radared! (is that a word? Too excited for vocabulary :-)
Radared! (is that a word? Too excited for vocabulary 🙂

So, now I do the pathetic thing and refresh the page and watch the note count go up. Don’t judge me! (Okay, you can judge me, it’s childish! :0)

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It begins (again)

It’s time to sink my teeth into blogging about my craft. I’ve blogged for years about my adventures in video games, but now that I’m not gaming as much, I’ve stopped blogging there. And I miss it.

But I’ve always *made* things. I’ve always had three projects on the go, and 400 more lined up in my mind. So I’m hoping to use this place as an informal documentation of my work, and my ideas: to keep track of it all.

I was diligent/regular in my last blog, posting two or three times a week. But as it got more popular I started to get bogged down in trying to make it perfect; investing hours in every post. The aim for this crafting blog is for it to be more of a sketch book: quick posts to record progress, to chart my ideas and inspiration, and take little snaps of finished objects.

Looking forward to filling this space with handmade 🙂