Namespiration

Honey Hi was inspired by one of my favourite bands, Fleetwood Mac.

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My First Curtains! Sanderson Dandelion Clocks

I have wanted to know how to make a good set of curtains for a long time and have been planning to teach myself. However, my lovely friend who runs a bespoke soft furnishings store in Edinburgh said that she would teach me. I am so grateful as she has taught me so many skills I would have never learned had I tried to do them myself, including how to properly measure a window!

Once measured up, the fabric was ordered and she taught me about positioning the pattern correctly and ensuring that all of the curtains matched! Luckily, I was allowed to use my friend’s cutting table as I haven’t got a space large enough in my house.

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After cutting we hemmed the main fabric, turning up a double 3 inch hem and hand stitching it. We then cut the blackout lining machine stitched a double 2 inch hem. I was a bit annoyed about my stitching on this as the machine tension must have been a bit out as the stitches were all different sizes. I didn’t want to unpick it though as it would leave holes in the blackout lining and allow light to seep through. I’ll just have to live with the irritation! Following the hemming, we positioned the blackout lining on the main fabric and folded the sides of the curtains in to cover all raw edges. This was all hand stitched too.

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We added the header tape and pressed the final curtains ready to hang in my craft room! I completely loved the process of making these curtains and I’m even happier to see them hung up! I’ve got another set to make for the second window but here we are with the first window!

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2015, Here I Come!

Like everybody else, I am starting 2015 by setting some goals. I don’t want to call them resoloutions as I feel it’s a bit more positive to achieve a goal bit by bit, rather than achieving or not a promise you make to yourself. I have always made a mental resolution in the past but usually, I’ve not stuck to them. I feel like actually writing down some goals and sharing them may help to ensure I achieve these goals.

Anyway, here we go for my 2015 goals.

1. Be Nicer to Myself: Like everybody else, I completely over indulged on rich foods and alcohol! I’m feeling completely unhealthy and ready to be kind to myself with some more fruits and veggies, moving a bit more and just replacing prosecco with water! I also want to ensure that I am not just kinder to my body, I also want to be kinder to myself in general. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to being self critical and piling on the stress. I want to try and change this behaviour, seeing the learning elements of mistakes and trying to reduce the stress in my life, by taking on fewer negative projects and replacing them with positive projects that give pleasure, rather than stress!

2. Be More Focussed: I love to start new projects, learn new skills and develop my experiences. However, my attention span can be a little goldfish-y and I have a mountain of unfinished projects. This year I want to really develop a coherent portfolio of completed projects. I also want to improve my non craft skills, using my blog and social media more effectively to share what I’m up to. I want to open and populate my Etsy shop.

3. Be More Frugal: I feel like I can be a bit wasteful. Whether that’s allowing food to go bad in the fridge, buying clothes and shoes I don’t need or being frivolous when I’m shopping, buying lots of cheap things I don’t need. This year I want to focus on buying and making quality, rather than quantity. If I need to buy something, ensuring it is well made and will last me a long time.

4.Do More of What Interests Me: This relates to Goal 1 a bit. I am guilty of agreeing to do things that don’t make me happy in order to keep the peace or make other people feel good. This year I want to be a bit stricter about what I agree to get involved in, if it doesn’t make me happy I want to avoid it. I know this isn’t always possible and obligations are always going to be there but I certainly want to cut down the amount of negative or unproductive things I have to do.

5.Be More Grateful: I’m not an ungrateful person but I want to look more at the positives in life. I want to take a little time each day to write at least one positive thing that happened or I felt that day. Even on the worst days I want to find one good thing to appreciate, no matter how small. I am hoping that in the long run, this will help me to have a more positive outlook on life.
What are your goals for 2015? How do you go about achieving your goals?

 

Simplicity Pattern 1609 Shift Dress

I’ve been a bit lazy on the old dressmaking front recently, a few iffy and unfinished projects turned me off it. I missed making my own clothes though so I decided to ease myself into it with a nice easy pattern; Simplicity 1609. I got all my bits and bobs ready and cut out the pieces I needed to make view B of the pattern.

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I used a lovely piece of Amy Butler Henna Paisley to make the dress, I figured it would layer up nicely in the cold weather and brighten up dark days but would also make a sweet summer dress.

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The pattern came together beautifully and was a dream to make up. The trickiest part was matching up the facing but even then, I just needed a bit of patience.

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(The light was going here a bit so the pictures aren’t great).

I managed the whole dress in an afternoon and wore it out to meet friends in Glasgow last night. I got a lot of compliments and will definitely be running up a few more of these staples! Last night I teamed this with a turquoise short sleeved sweater (with the bow popping out at the neck line), turquoise tights and navy blue shoes and bag. I felt very bright!

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A Look at William Morris

He was ultra-modern, not merely up-to-date, but far ahead of it; his wall papers, his hangings, his tapestries and his printed books have twentieth century in every touch of them” George Bernard Shaw (Abrams, 2003)

William Morris (1834-1896) was a British textile designer, poet, novelist, social activist and translator. He developed a close relationship with the Pre Raphelite Brotherhood and became a forerunner of the Arts and Crafts movement. Morris was a strong advocate of the links between utility and art, he emphasized that design and production should not be separate from one another, the designer should be the maker;

Men whose hands were skilled in fashioning things could not help thinking the while and soon found out that their deft fingers could express some part of the tangle of their thoughts, and that this new pleasure hindered not their daily work, for in their very labour that they lived by lay the material in which their thought could be embodied; and this though they laboured, they laboured somewhat for these pleasure. (Morris, 2001)

Rooted in his social belief that art should not be a practice exclusive to the upper class, Morris emphasized the importance of the craftsman in the design and production of artworks. As in his literature, Morris often relates to a Medieval themes in his analysis of the designer/maker.

Morris further brings through the influence of the Medieval in his designs, many of his textile prints and weaves demonstrate a pastoral identity which show a development of Medieval styles.

In 1881, Morris acquired the Merton Abbey land and outhouses which were modified to become a mill and workhouse for Morris & Co. It was here that Morris was able to experiment with printed textiles and he produced Jasmine Trail;

(allposters.com, 2014)

 

and Tulip & Willow

Furnishing fabric - Tulip and Willow(Collections.vam.ac.uk, 2014)

 

Both of these early printed fabrics showcase beautifully the block printing technique that Morris is famed for.

Morris also created woven fabrics such as Peacock and Dragon

Detail of Peacock and Dragon(William-morris.co.uk, 2014)

 

This is one of my favourite Morris designs, I love the shade of blue used here and the clever interplay of the peacock and dragon motifs. Again, the block design is evident and the richness of the colour and design create depth and interest.

I identify with Morris’s ideal that the designer and maker should not be separated. for me, the act of creating one of my own designs is just as satisfying, If not more so, than the act of designing it in the first place. While many of his designs are not to my personal tastes, I can fully appreciate the innovation, intricacy and talent in the design and production.

And one of these strange choosing cloths was blue,

Wavy and long, and one was cut short and red;

No man could tell the better of the two.  (Morris 1850, quoted in Abrams 2003)

References:

Abrams, M. (2003). Norton anthology of english lit v 2 7th & cdrom. W. W. Norton & Company.

allposters.com, (2014). Jasmine Trail Curtain Design, 1868-70 (Printed Cotton) Giclee Print by William Morris at AllPosters.com. [online] Available at: http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Jasmine-Trail-Curtain-Design-1868-70-Printed-Cotton-Posters_i9043240_.htm [Accessed 19 Dec. 2014].

Collections.vam.ac.uk, (2014). Tulip and Willow | William Morris | V&A Search the Collections. [online] Available at: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O78104/tulip-and-willow-furnishing-fabric-william-morris/ [Accessed 19 Dec. 2014].

Marxists.org, (2014). William Morris – The Arts and Crafts of To-day. [online] Available at: https://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/1889/today.htm [Accessed 18 Dec. 2014].

Morris, W. (2001). The Lesser Arts of Life. London: Electric Book Co.

Vam.ac.uk, (2014). Biography of William Morris – Victoria and Albert Museum. [online] Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/b/biography-of-william-morris/ [Accessed 17 Dec. 2014].

Weinroth, M. (2008). William Morris’s Philosophy of Art. Canadian Aethetics, 15(1496-3140).

William-morris.co.uk, (2014). The Original Morris & Co – Arts and crafts, fabrics and wallpaper designs by William Morris & Company | A Full History | British/UK Fabrics and Wallpapers. [online] Available at: https://www.william-morris.co.uk/a-full-history/ [Accessed 18 Dec. 2014].

Wmgallery.org.uk, (2014). Collection | Themes | Peacock and Dragon | William Morris Gallery. [online] Available at: http://www.wmgallery.org.uk/collection/themes/william-morris/object/peacock-and-dragon-f26e-designed-1878 [Accessed 19 Dec. 2014].

Not-So-Elegant Ballerinas!

I’ve been working on a new project, which in my mind was going to be brilliant! The reality has been a bit different. I started out by sketching ideas out. Some sketches were OK, some needed a bit of work.

After completing a good few sketches, many I was too embarrassed to show here, (yes, they were more awful than some of the examples below!) I decided to make a start on the embroidery. The huge learning curve here was to make damn sure I have nailed all the tricky aspects at the sketching stage because they will look SO much worse when you transfer that to stitched medium! I’m almost too embarrassed to show you this poor ballerina with her witchy face and wonky legs but I’m hoping that sometime soon I’ll be able to triumphantly come back here and show you my finished project with a dainty ballerina and some elegant lettering but in the meantime, here is my shame!

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Poor ballerina with the lengthy arm and giant hand

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Again, I wasn’t super happy with the hands but otherwise I was pretty happy.

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Hands are all wrong again! But I do quite like this, she looks like a pixie.

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This girl has just had her Christmas dinner and seems to have lobster claws for hands. Oh dear!

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What I’m listening to:

Episode 12

 

Psychedelic Embriodery Designs

I’ve been working on a new piece which I finally got finished last night. I’m pleased with a lot of it, I love some of the paisley motifs;

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I also love the colours, the warm reds, yellows and oranges on the blue background really pop! However, there are a couple of stitches and things about the design and layout I’m not overly happy with (is anyone every completely happy?), but all in all I like the finished article.

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What I’m listening to:

Serial Podcast