Monday, 28 May 2012

This is how it is

My youngest daughter has been chastising me again about my blog. She thinks it's too severely edited and doesn't reflect reality. I've told her that the people who read this want to see my creative side and if I wrote about all the other stuff that fills my days no one would visit. She insists I should be more candid - she's worried you think I have a charmed life!! She says I make everything look effortless as though fairies appear in the night and do all the work! It's true that I don't spend my days lounging in a hammock sipping cocktails and if I am wafting around the garden in a caftan it's usually only for a few minutes to take photographs. I do spend a lot of time in the office but when I escape to my workroom I'm a bit of a demon. In an effort to be real I'm going to show the organised chaos I work in. This is how I get the most stuff done in the shortest possible time!

It's only a tiny space so organisation is key. Behind me in this picture is my longarm machine. That's a monster and takes up the whole of the far end of the room but it earns its keep when exhibition deadlines loom. I'm lucky to have a number of sewing machines. They all have different functions and here you see them lined up so I can flit from one to the other. I don't even have to stand up - my chair has wheels and just scoots across the room!

I'm still making an effort to tie up lots of loose ends - you know what I mean, all those unfinished bits that only need a binding or a sleeve or a label. Why do they sit in a heap for ages when all they need is a few minutes of my time? In the picture above I'm attaching a binding to one of my Iris quilts using the straight stitch machine.

 Behind me the embroidery machine is making the label for another quilt. Once the design is loaded I only have to press the odd button or change the thread colour from time to time. I can't tell you how satisfying it is to hear two machines purring away at the same time - the best kind of multi-tasking I know!

The overlocker is kept busy as well - here's my latest jersey T shirt. It's so much easier to get stuff done if the machines are sitting there ready and waiting. I know I'm lucky to have a creative space of my own no matter how small. After many years of working at the kitchen table this little room is now my sanctuary. I feel creative just being in there!

Hope the long days of summer are lifting your spirits and encouraging your creative juices too. Bye for now - Linda


  1. I love it! I have a small shed to work in and I love mine too...but I think I need to cull some of the 'stuff' that hasn't been used in a while. Trouble soon as I toss it I will 'need' it, so the chaos might have to remain!

  2. I actually don't know how you do it all. I know your house doesn't clean itself and I've see your culinary efforts AND you mentor and teach your students as well. I think there may be a faerie or two helping out!

  3. She is right, we want to know Everything!! You are a part of our lives now you know. I've often wondered about all the faces you have on the back wall.

    Great print on the jersey and I really, really must find time to get to grips with my embroidery unit!!

  4. I agree - I just like seeing and hearing about it all - it makes me have a go at lots of different thing - just read your Hydrangea post - I love them too - and I love adding the actual flowers to painted materials with bondaweb and I also attach them to bondaweb to use later on cards as they keep their colour quite well

  5. I agree I liken the embroidery unit going while I am on the other machine as heaven on earth! The best type of multitasking!!

  6. I like the idea of fairies flitting in and out of your space. I'd just like to know how to attract them to my abode. I am grateful that you show your projects and process, not a lot of artists do. So thanks and I hope your week is beautiful and filled with joy.

  7. I guess what your daughter means is that we may need a bit of balance. Possibly she is right. I do tend to think of you and Laura as two superheroes of the fibre world. In reality I am sure your capes are beautiful but get snagged on the rose bush from time to time! I can't decide whether the enormous amount of inspiration you give me should be tempered with the news that you had to rip out three seams and that the dye bath splashed on to something precious. It is a bit like looking at a beautiful country homes magazine, it inspires me to see the rooms look so beautiful, do I want to see the coffee cup ring that is usually there but got cleaned up for the photo :)I guess a little of your not so great days may salve our feelings of never attaining your heights of productivity but in the end this is your blog and I think that means say whatever you want to say and we come or not. I love reading your extra stuff that isn't about fibre, such as the frogs and the flowers, and through your blog I bought Bertinet's book and made his bread. You and Laura enrich my life whether you want to show a few warts or not. Thank you

  8. Hi Linda
    Would love to know which sewing patterns you use. My DD1 is coming after the bank holiday weekend for a 4 day sewathon and i have knit fabrics to use up. Our tastes are very similar and i love it on a Thursday when i go to watch DMTV and we are wearing the same outfit - again!!
    Love the sixties shrimpton style fabric - is that a rag market find? Hope to fit a visit there on one of our sewing days.

  9. I wanna know what vitamins you take - cause I wanna take them too!

  10. Oh dear - looks like I've been neglecting you all. I turn my back for a day or two and there's loads of messages!! Many apologies for the lack of replies, I do love to read your comments so please keep them coming!

    Amanda, you're not the only person to ask about the faces so I've decided to blog about them soon.

    JP, how can anyone not love Hydrangeas? Apparently they aren't fashionable (according to presenters of the Chelsea Flower Show) but that really doesn't bother me. Laura has taken photos of my heavenly blue specimen to create a digital print on fabric. It's not on her website yet but I have to tell you it's gorgeous!

    Chris, I've lent the pattern to my sister so I can't tell you the exact details right now but I do know it's a Vogue pattern. I'm sure you'll be able to track it down online. It has 4 versions of tunic style tops, all of which I love. And yes, the black and white fabric was a £1 Rag Market bargain.

    Thanks for keeping in touch ladies!

  11. ahhh yes I like the reality - but even THAT looks ordered!!!!

  12. Hi Linda,
    I'm curious about why you have a machine just for straight stitch?