Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blog Hoppery

Hello all!

Something a little different today; last week I was nominated by the lovely Marie of Ree Sewn to take part in a blog hop that's making the rounds at the moment. I've really been enjoying the posts on this I've come across - it's a great way to learn a little more about other sew-ers/sewists (insert noun of choice here), and I'm always fascinated to see how the creative process varies between different people. For those who are interested in mine, read on! (For the record, we're away on a family holiday at the moment, so not many photos on hand, I'm afraid :) )

1. What am I working on?

I have to confess, I typically tend to have several projects on the go at once. Usually there's at least one fairly easy make, whether a simple pattern or one I'm really familiar with, for a fast sewing fix (especially for those times life gets busy). At the moment that's two Maria Denmark Kimono tees cut out and waiting. Both are using up leftovers from previous projects, so doubly satisfying :)

I usually also have a more complicated make in progress also, one that requires more time, thought and effort. Right now that's a Style Arc Ziggi jacket. 

I also often have 2-3 (3 at the moment) that are set aside for Further Thought. I don't think of these as UFOs, though that smacks a little of self-justification, I admit! These are pieces that have hit an unexpected hurdle, and need some reworking. Almost always I find coming back to a piece with fresh eyes after a break means the solution comes much more easily. In this category there's currently a rayon shirt  (supposed to have flat piping, but the fabric is refusing to have anything to do with that) a dress that I cut out last May (!), and actually forgot about (just found it again two weeks ago) and a sari-to-top refashion which has been the most wretchedly uncooperative project I've ever experienced. I've never not finished a garment in the end, which is why I maintain these are not UFOs!

I don't often sew at night, unless there's a looming deadline of course... I love to curl up with a knitting project of an evening; it's more companionable. The only time there's more than one of these on the go is if I'm making something for me, and then decide to knit up a gift - that one takes precedence then.

Right now that's a jumper for my Dad's birthday. (last week, but we're away so I get two weeks' grace...) This is Terry's Pullover by Carol Feller, in Bendigo's Luxury 10 ply Blue Denim. I really like this pattern; it has just enough detail to be interesting, but not so much that too fussy for a man ;) That collar's going to be a shawl one, by the way. It's been a joy to knit, except I'm just at that anxious stage of desperately hoping I've got enough yarn to finish. I bought up the last balls in the shop so it kind of has to be enough...

As for selfish knitting, I'm working on a colourwork jumper, the pattern of which I've kind of designed myself. It's using the yarn frogged from the unmitigated disaster that was my Still Life Tunic below...

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

To be honest, I've found this a really difficult question to answer! I don't feel it is very different in and of itself, apart from the way that every writer injects something of her/his own style, methods and taste into their blog.

Actually, since I only have one Real Life Sewing Friend, I'm far more interested in the similarities between blogs, the shared enthusiasm and encouragement that the online sewing community generates. I make no claim to be any kind of fashionista, guru or stylist, so I don't aspire to be filling any kind of niche in the blogosphere. I just love to make clothes! 

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

That sounds a two part question to me, so here's a two part answer:

I create what I do because I love the creative outlet that sewing is, the challenge of making something beautiful and functional well, and because I'm fed up with the exploitation and emptiness of the global fast fashion industry. 

I write about it on a public platform like this because 
  • (unlike Maree and her fantastic notebooks) I'm usually extremely undisciplined in recording  Important Notes to Remember For Next Time otherwise. It's excellent accountability and I've found it really helpful to be able to go back and check what I did through previous posts rather than relying on memory. 
  • I'd found other blogs such a rich source of assistance and inspiration that I thought it was time I actually started contributing also (even though it felt like such an insignificant contribution!)
  • I find it's given me a confidence in the garments I make. Before blogging I found it really intimidating to wear my makes in public (someone might see ;) ) The fact that strangers would take the time to comment on and compliment what I've made has given me a pride in them I hadn't experienced before.

4. How does my writing/creative process work?

I feel like my creative process has been very haphazard up till now. Last year, my first of both concerted garment sewing for myself and of blogging, was very much about discovering the online community, and on reflection there was very little cohesion or planning in my projects overall. This year has been quite interrupted with costume sewing, so goals are less advanced than I'd hoped. But I think I'm starting to concentrate more on what I like and what suits me/my lifestyle and have been trying to build up my skills to accommodate these things (eg, sewing with knits). I'm less inclined to be swayed by the The Next Big Pattern, or by how fabulous a particular style looks on another blogger. So my creative process is starting to be informed by that, which can only be a positive thing.

The writing process is very much subject to the creative one. I try now to jot down notes as I go, especially regarding difficulties or problems, since I've found that so helpful on other blogs. I don't include much, if anything, on life outside sewing/knitting/refashioning, since that's not what I started blogging for. I appreciate that some may find that a bit impersonal, but I'm ok with that. Frankly, for an introvert posting photos is plenty personal enough! Plus I assume that the sewing etc content is actually why people are reading this blog anyhow. I guess that's the beauty of having such a varied community; if one blog is not quite to your taste it's easy to find another that caters for it more. Vive la difference!

So, that's me. In turn, the two other bloggers I'd like to nominate to share their take on those questions are Helen of Grosgrain Green and Philippa of Gloria and Me.  Helen's was one of the first sewing blogs I discovered. She makes beautiful clothes (and children!), blogs with real warmth and enthusiasm and her comments on other blogs too are unfailingly generous and supportive.  I really admire Philippa's style and commitment to sustainable sewing. Her posts are always insightful and thought-provoking. If you haven't come across either of these women and their blogs, you're in for a real treat!  

Until next time,



  1. Aah, thanks Danielle! Here comes another generous and supportive comment! �� But really, I do so much enjoy reading your blog. I'd love to read more about your life, because I am nosey, but I respect that it's not for you. I find your makes really inspirational, not least because you manage Style Arc patterns which quite frankly, terrify me with their lack of instructions. Thank you for sharing this, and thank you for the nomination! Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Xx

    1. Thanks Helen! Looking forward to reading your answers :) oxo

  2. Great post! I don't usually share anything other than sewing stuff on my blog either. But it is neat to learn a little more about each other from time to time. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. It can be a little hard to know what/how much to share, can't it? I think that's why I enjoy hops like these - it's a "safe" way to do it!

  3. I've enjoyed reading all these posts, too. My only IRL sewing friend moved away recently and that connection with others with the same interest is my reason for blogging as well :) I like that blogging has given you confidence in what you make as well. You should have confidence! I will write my answers in a bit when I've got over the amount I shared on my last post!!

    1. Looking forward to it! There's no deadline ;)

  4. It’s so nice to discover what drives other blogger/sewists … It builds a sense of comunity and it’s inspiring. Thank you for sharing Danielle :)

    1. I agree - the sense of community is one of the things I appreciate most about blogging and following. :)

  5. Oh you always write so beautifully and thoughtfully. I hope you're having a great holiday. And if you run out of yarn let me know - I'm making a jumper in the same yarn and I think I'll have some left over, hopefully it's the same batch - I only bought it in May I think....

    1. Oh, you're lovely! Actually I just finished it, and by casting off two rows early I JUST had enough. Good thing I left fairly long tails to seam it with....

  6. I'm so glad you hopped ;) I think I agree with your reasons for writing too - and I've also been enjoying all of these posts ;)