Monday, February 22, 2010

The pursuit of perfection – or taking it a bit too far?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a plastic canvas box. It’s taken me longer than I expected – it’s my own design and that design keeps changing as I try different things. This time, however, I’ve come up against what is, to me, a major design flaw. Just when I thought I’d finished the actual stitching on the box and was putting all the bits together.

My starting point was this.

Winter Snowflakes

Winter Snowflakes from Kick Back and Stitch. I stitched it a while ago, but it’s never been finish finished as I couldn’t think how to do it in a way that would show it off the way I wanted to. Then, a few weeks ago, I saw this post on Craftypod and all of a sudden things clicked together in my mind and I came up with the idea of making a plastic canvas box with my Winter Snowflakes in the lid. And I could use the many of the same threads, stitches and so on in stitching the box that I used in the original design. I still think it sounds like a fantastic idea!

So, first of all, I made this for the base of the box. It’s far too nice for the base of a box, but hey-ho that’s what it’s for.

Plastic canvas box base

Then I made some box sides.

Box lid side

The diagonal stitch pattern used here (can't remember what the stitch is called) appears in the Winter Snowflakes design, but I’ve used my own choice of colours. Then I decided that the box sides weren’t going to be tall enough for the type of box I wanted to try. So the box sides became the sides of a box lid.

And when Winter Snowflakes was mounted on some stiff card and fitted into the lid, it was perfect!

Box lid with needlepoint insert

So I stitched some different, taller box sides, stitched them to the base and stitched up the sides.


Then, full of anticipation, I popped on the lid.

Plastic canvas box

Looks OK in this photo, but it’s not perfect! The lid doesn’t come as far down the sides as I’d planned – it’s supposed to come down to the darker area between the two horizontal bands. And the box is now just too tall for what I wanted!

The bit that annoys me

So I’m not sure at the moment what the next step is. I suspect it will involve dismantling the box sides and possibly stitching something completely different. But all this stitching on plastic canvas used a mountain of thread and I’ve run out of the dark blue #5 pearl cotton I’d been using. I don’t know, if I completely frog the sides, whether the threads will be re-usable. And I’ve also run out of one of the colours of metallic braid I was using too and I really didn’t want to spend a small fortune on making this!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cake, anyone? You're all invited!

Come in, come in and welcome! Take your coat off and make yourself at home. There's plenty of birthday cake to go round. Soft drinks and crispy nibbles are in the corner over there by the window. Kettle's on so tea and coffee will be just a minute.

Welcome to my virtual stitchy birthday party! What are you stitching on today? I'm still plodding along on my latest project - you'll see a little sneak peek later. My slump took a downturn at the start of the week- too many interesting things to stitch and seemingly little point in doing any of it. Fortunately things seem to be picking up now.

I had a lovely surprise from the postman about 10 days ago when this gorgeous fob arrived from Anne, as I was a winner in her blogaversary draw.

You can see it there modelling my current project. Spot the plastic canvas. Although, the plastic canvas is rather a means to an end rather than the end in itself. I'll explain better another time.

When my fob arrived, Iona thought it was maybe a bracelet, and had to try it on first. Unfortunately for her, it was too big and luckily for me, it's been living on my favourite pair of scissors ever since!

Anyway, I have to get back to work now. Feel free to stay as long as you like and eat all the cake. I'll pop back later to tidy up.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Why blog? A spot of rambling

For some reason, ‘Why blog?’ is a question that keeps bothering me at the moment. Sometimes blogging is easy, I’m full of thoughts and ideas I want to share. Other times, the ideas are few and far between, I struggle to find something to say, and I can’t think of a good reason why I should say anything.

Similarly, when I’m in a bit of a blogging slump, I also go into a blog reading slump. Not that I stop reading blogs, I just struggle to find them as interesting or inspirational as I do when I’m not in a slump. It’s not that I can’t admire beautiful needlework, it just doesn’t inspire me as it does at other times.

So I’m in a bit of a slump at the moment and wondering why I blog and why so many of the blogs I read just don’t grab me in the way they used to.

As to why I blog, I’ve come up with 3 main reasons, some of which give some insight into what I want from the blogs I read.

  • To share my needlework
  • To ‘meet’ people with similar interests
  • To discuss the stitching process –from choosing what to stitch to finish finishing, what I learn from stitching a particular piece, what I particularly enjoy (or not), what I find inspirational in my stitching and what puts me off, why we do the things we do, stitch the pieces we stitch

The last point is particularly relevant to my blog reading. I’d rather read a blog that discusses the stitching process than one that simply parades an endless array of finishes as if to say ‘look how clever I am’. And I think the discussion is important to bring meaning and context to the finishes themselves – after all, it’s the blood, sweat and tears that go into stitching and/or finishing a piece that really give it a personal significance to us as stitchers.

And I’ll hold my hands up here and say that I completely forgot to include the process bit to my post on my SB finishes - it can be far too easy to get distracted and forget!

And while I’m on about it, can I have a moan about smug bloggers? There’s one particular blog I read (which shall definitely remain nameless) where the smug tone is just driving me nuts at the moment! I keep reading as I love the things she makes and she has some fantastic ideas. But the endless perfect photos and smug rambling about how perfect her life and family are just drive me up the wall at times! Can anyone’s life be that perfect all the time? Like the blood, sweat and tears of stitching, it’s the trials and tribulations of life that make us who we are and give us the opportunity to learn and to grow and are reflected in the things we choose to do and to make.

It’s not that I want to know all the gory details of other people’s personal problems – personally, I’d much prefer not to, although I know we all like the chance to let off steam every now and again. We just don’t do our stitching in a vacuum and real life interferes sometimes, often more than we might want. It’s important to acknowledge where the stitching and real life do collide. And that then influences the stitching process – the what, when, how and why.

And back to my blogging slump – I suppose there are other things in my life (like being unexpectedly pregnant) that have greater priority than blogging. And I admit that I still have days when the completely unexpected part of my pregnancy still gets to me and I’d rather spend time and effort doing other things. Sometimes I do resent the fact that I can’t chase Iona round the house the way I’d like to and join in all the silly games, but from May, I’ll have a lot more time just to be with her.

And it’s annoying me that I can’t think of any baby names I really like!