excuse me, that's my confidence you've just trampled on

Yes. I've just had a group tutorial. No, it didn't go well. The main focus of this blog is meant to be the ups and downs of being a design crafts student, well today it is going to be the down's. This morning started well enough with an hour in my studio at home, before surprisingly smooth trip to the post office, up to the library for a teeny induction into the world of online journals then back in time for a group tutorial at 11.15. It is now 1.20 and I am at home, despondent.

What went wrong? Well I could sit here and explain about the design brief and my response to it, and what I am struggling with and what I thought I was succeding in, but that is not really very interesting to anyone who isn't a) me, b) BorderlineStraggler who is going to have to hear it all later (at great length), or c) my tutors who were there, so they know. Tutorials and group tutorials are such a big part of the art school ethic that my struggle to deal with bad ones has become a defining part of my college experience. I am not developing a tougher skin, or an appreciation that the opinion expressed is just one persons opinion and that though valid I don't need to listen to it. I still take it personally, and have a cry in the toilets, or drown my sorrows in tea and chocolate, but I am learning that these tutorials are often a turning point. Once I've got over the crushed feeling I either end up more focused and determined to refine my idea and make it work to prove that I am right, or I reflect and end up going in a different direction.

So that is my bit of advice for today. Don't just ignore the bad tutorials. In fact you should listen to the bad tutorials more, they usually hurt the most because someone is telling the truth that you don't want to hear. But also remember that a bit of indignant moping is allowed in this situation. Speaking of which the next hour will be spent on the sofa, with a bit of this:
 and plenty of this:


Hungover in charge of a sewing machine

I went out for a few drinks with ex-colleagues last night. We had a lovely time and a few drinks were consumed. I only had 3 pints but these days I don't drink all that much so I was a little tipsy, which was all fine till this morning. Now don't worry I don't have a headache, or urgent desire to eat sausage and egg batches, I'm just a bit fuzzy. When I am hungover I am quite easily led by the slightest whim and this morning that was a cup of tea. Yes, I am both rock AND roll. I think I had a dream where I drank cups and cups of tea, so this morning I decided to make a pot of tea to keep me company in the studio.
So far so sensible. But then I got it into my head that what I needed was a tea cosy. This is a project I have been putting off for a while but today was The Day. As a result I just spent the last hour making a tea cosy. 

I do love the wood grain fabric. I picked up a metre of it from IKEA last time we were there with no real plans as to what to do with it. I think I am going to have to go back and get some more, I think it will make a lovely cover for a sketchbook. 

Here it is in action keeping my (now cold) teapot cosy.

It's a good thing I got into the studio early, I have a pile of fabric which needs to become a quilt top by Monday. All I need to do now is avoid any more flights of fancy, get on with some cutting and sewing....after I've made a new pot of tea of course.


This week I am making slow progress through my college work. How can I get out of the habit so quickly?

But I am making some progress notes are being made, while I drink tea from my lovely Nick & Gabbi Ward mug:

Colour theory is being put into quilty practise following In Color Order 's great series:

And last night sock progress was made. This is my third pair of socks and my first proper go at cable on anything. It requires a bit more concentration but I'm almost at the not looking point - except for the actual cable-back bit. I am just about ready to turn the heel:


Soothing Stitches

This holiday did not go as planned, but as I am learning that is just how life is. I had planned at this point in my holidays to be ready to go back to college with a pile of samples for my quilt, a finished design and all my written work ready to go. Unfortunately, my granddad was taken into hospital just before Christmas and died on the 29th December. This has meant lots of travelling and time with family and very little time to spend at my sewing machine or get lost in my sketchbook. But at times of stress I can't have idle hands. I suffer from bouts of PTSD from time-to-time which leaves me unable to concentrate on anything challenging - even simple things like reading. However like many people I know, the gentle feeling of yarn on wooden needles calms my mind and gives me space to think. Knitting is one of the only crafts that I can do without looking directly at it so it is great for doing while talking to people, so I have been knitting.

I have been 'Extreme Knitting' 
Extreme or Big Knitting is knitting with giant needles and, in my case, cut up curtain lining and yarn to make a Scandinavian inspired rug, trouble is it meant everywhere I sat to knit ended up looking like this:

I have knitted a cowl which you can see above. It is so snuggly and warm, and most recently I have been sock knitting.
I went on a sock knitting course just before I started at college last year. It was the first class I took at Darn it and Stitch . I had wanted to learn to knit socks since I sat next to an incredibly cool looking crafty lady at a station waiting for a train to appear. She was using such tiny needles, and making such pretty patterns, and as far as I could see wasn't really looking at what she was doing all that much. So I went on a course and made a sock. It then took me a year to make my next pair, and another 6 months to start the next, but this week I have finished a half sock, knitted another complete one and cast on my third pair. For the majority of the time sock knitting is just plain knit all the way round again and again and again, which is easily done while watching all of the Harry Potter movies that you may have bought on DVD for festive viewing, because it's not Christmas without a HP movie.

I am addicted again. I have bought some new yarn, and I am even attempting my first cable project in the form of some cabled socks, which as you can see the difference in scale between these and my giant knitting is ridiculous. I expect I'll have gone more blind by the end of them - it's a good thing I love my glasses!


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