Quitches Be Crazy 2

Welcome to the second instalment of Quitches Be Crazy, if you missed the intro to the series read all about it here and be sure to check out nbnq 's answers....

1) Photo: Let's have a sneaky peek in your ideas/sketchbook

2) Linky: When the urge to comfort shop overwhelms you where do you go (either online, on foot or both)?

I have never got the hang of clothes or shoes shopping when I need to feel better. I always end up feeling too tall, or too wide, or just not right, so for me comfort seems to come in the form of fabric or stationery.

I am too impatient to wait for things to be delivered so most of my impulse buying happens in person and sadly there is a decided lack of shops to indulge this need in Hereford. I usually find myself in one of the Doughty's shops stroking fabric and yarn imagining that I have all the time in the world to start yet another project. I am even getting a reputation in the quilt shop. There seems to be a collective good natured sigh when I walk in and say "so I'm thinking of....."

In my previous Oxford life I would happily while away comfort shopping times in Darn it and Stitch. This is a gem of a shop which still stands in my mind as the gold standard of crafty joy that I can only dream of emulating. It is owned and run by Jo (seen with tea below) whom I could write a shameless fan girl post about, but I wont - it'll just embarrass us all and rely far too much on the phrase inspiring! Let's just say if you are in Oxford take some time to visit this emporium of joy.

3) Text: What do you most love and most hate in/about blogs? 

This could be such a long answer that I am going to try and keep it simple. I am an irrepressibly curious person. I love learning about other people, looking through (metaphorical) windows into their lives. Blogs allow me to do this internationally! Crafty blogs were one of the things that added to the tide of reasons for quitting my grown up job and coming to art school. I was so inspired seeing all of these people living their lives creatively, some full time, others part time, it helped me see that if they could do it then so could I!  I particularly enjoy watching this blogging positively changing people's lives. There seems to be a spate of blogs I read getting book deals and secret projects they can't talk about which is intriguing and exciting.

I love people's blogrolls which direct me to new and exciting blogs I would never have found otherwise. I have discovered so many new internet places this way that it would be almost embarrassing to try and work out how many days I have spent flicking through other people's links. Yet despite loving this on other people's blogs I have yet to sort one out for my own blog *makes to-do note* bad blogger. Everytime I find a new blog I follow the same routine. I'll read the first few posts on the home page, looking to see how often the posts are, what sort of subjects cover, do I like the writing, the pictures, the general feeling of the blog? If so I usually skip to the November and December posts. I am a winter lady, I love the cosy nights, big jumpers, tights, boots and hot chocolate consumption of the season and all the blogs I love share this winter joy. So I head to the deepest winter posts to get lost in the pre-holidays sparkle. When I do get bitten by the smitten kitten bug I can lose hours exploring people's archives, following links, exploring their little worlds.  Its a dreadful habit I know but it is a wonderfully comforting way to get lost on a dull day.

I also love finding out that people I know in real life have blogs. This has started happening more and more this year, in fact just yesterday I found out about Caramel latte kiss, my friend George's blog. 

As for the things I most hate about blogs.... well there are style things which frustrate me. I hate a three column blog - it just offends my eyes, or the use of a hard to read font - what's wrong with a nicely designed, well spaced, web friendly font?! But generally if there is something about the blog I don't like I stop reading, there are too many good blogs in the world for me to waste my time on ones I am frustrated by. 

4) WIP? 

Sadly there has been very little sock progress. Instead I have been focussing on a college related quilty project. I am working with light and quilting again so I've been littering my studio window with samples this week. 

Remember to leave a link to your post if you are playing along with the Quitches and if you want to join in next week we'll be tweeting next weeks questions on Wednesday just follow either me @catsizerats or @nbnqnbnq . I look forward to your posts and discovering some new blog rabbit holes to fall down.

Tuesday workshop

On Friday I ran my first proper workshop as part of the programme at the Courtyard. is run across Hereford each year with artists exhibiting work all over the county and holding open studios or running workshops, which is what I was asked to do. I only had an hour and as quilting is a very s-l-o-w endeavour I needed a small, portable, quick and addictive subject.

The answer of course was paper piecing! Those little fabric hexagons are truly addictive - just ask nbnq. I was a bag full of nerves before I started but once we got going people seemed to enjoy the session. Everyone took away a little bag of paper templates and the start of a quilt top, or a cushion for those with less patience....

It was a good experience and I have even had an enquiry about running another set of workshops! All very exciting and scary in equal measures. I have a few secret projects on the go at the moment that are taking up quite a bit of my time. I'd would love to tell you all about but I need to wait a little bit longer until they are all confirmed and I can reveal all. But I have managed to get round to sorting out a proper blog for my stitch and bitch group Craft Cwtch. Go and check it out, and more importantly if you are in Hereford and fancy a stitch-y evening come and join us on 2nd October. 


Quitches be Crazy 1

Welcome to the first instalment of Quitches Be Crazy, if you missed the intro to the series read all about it here and be sure to check out nbnq 's answers....

1. What item that you could hold with one hand is your most precious? 

2. What's the best album/ playlist to craft to?

I am an audio book lover so for me they are the best thing to craft to. My current quilting company comes in the form of the Rivers of London series of books by Ben Aaronvitch 


3. What's your favourite motto(s) or quotes to keep buoyed and or making? 

Behind my desk/sewing table I have a whole lot of quotes and motto's which keep me making

1. 'Make it work. Carry on' I bought this print on etsy a few years ago and it is a quote from one of my favourite TV guilty pleasures Project Runway. It is the advice that mentor Tim Gunn always gives to the designers who are going off track. It reminds me that even if the thing I am working on is looking crazy at the moment I have to 'carry on'  because there is a point in every project that it just looks awful but if I carry on going I can usually make it work. It also reminds me that I am exactly where I want to be - at art school - something I didn't even dare to dream all those years ago when I was watching Project Runway at my parents house all those years ago. 

2. 'if you wanted a 0.05 tolerance, don't use fabric' This piece of advice came from my friend JC. Fabric is a trixy mistress and my work is deceptively simple and involves a lot of linear sewing - something that it is far to easy to get disheartened by. It is almost impossible to sew hundreds of perfectly parallel, straight lines so it is this bit of advice that has saved me from many a meltdown. Fabric isn't precision engineering. It doesn't matter if one of my seams is 0.05mm out, it isn't a bridge or a building, people aren't going to die if my measuring is wrong. Fabric isn't metal, it doesn't work that way. Threads warp and slip and get eaten by my sometimes blunt rotary cutter, no one will notice in the final piece. 

3. 'You've got to be kind to yourself' this is a card from Art Equals Happy featuring a lyric from the She and Him song 'Me and You'. It is the best advice I can look at when I am creating. Things don't always go right and when making it work or being at one with the limitations of my materials just doesn't work and it all goes wrong this motto helps me pick myself back up off the floor and start again. You wont always get everything right no matter how hard you try, some ideas are truly awful once you have realised them and you cannot spend your time beating yourself up about this stuff. You gotta be kind to yourself and learn from your mistakes. And possibly drown your sorrows in doughnuts. 

4. What is your current Work In Progress?

I have a shamefully long list of WIP's but this is the one which receives the most consistent attention. These socks are so nearly finished I am hoping they will be finished at some point this week and on my feet keeping my toes warm just in time for Autumn.


Quitches Be Crazy

There is to be  new feature here at Rats As Big As Cats, in fact my first feature! I am working with my good friend nearlybutnotquite and as if often the way her description of the series is much better than mine. Please check the original post over on her blog nearlybutnotquite

Quitches Be Crazy 

Quitches (noun): 
Meaning: Hardcore ladies who quilt 
Rhymes with: Witches and Bitches
Example sentance: I went to pick up my quilt from the show but the Quitches elbowed me in the ribs, pushed in front of me and sneered at it because of the modern use of colour. 

Quitches Be Crazy is a new feature which I am sharing with my dear friend Rats as Big as CatsWe're not like the other Quitches and are enjoying some learning about and inspiring each other whilst living far apart nowadays. We are in fact having a frenaissance, (yes it's a Friends' reference), where we get to know each other better again, after big changes in each of our lives. We are also encouraging one-another to blog-up too. Since we are thoroughly modern ladies we are going multimedia with this thing a mix of photos, words, links, and sounds to answer questions each week. 

If you want to play too we've got a button. We will pick our questions by Wednesday and post on a Monday. To go full linky do post in the comments here. It's a first for us and we're keen to learn from it. So feedback to me is very welcome. 

You can email me (nearlybutnotquite [at] rocketmail [dot] com, comment here or find me on twitter (as nbnqnbnq). 


Next week there are going to be some changes in the Rats house. They will mean there will be even less time to spend with BorderlineStraggler but we are both excited to be taking on new challenges. Our conflicting schedules will mean that batch cooking is going to be embraced and any tips or recipes for your favourite meals that can be frozen in one person sized portions will be gratefully recieved or I am going to be living on stuffed pasta and cereal again!

BS and I have spent some time this weekend talking about our worries about this coming academic year and at one point he said 'I don't think you realise how stressful you find being a student, how difficult you find the actual process of having your ideas and beliefs questioned and challenged'. It was said in the context of a wider conversation but I can't stop thinking about this. It is very true. I don't like having the foundations of who I am questioned when I don't have the answers. It exhausts me. Building up confidence in my work, the ideas behind it and the value of it have been massive struggles for me resulting in more tears and tantrums than I care to remember. This summer I haven't managed to keep up with all of my ambitious goals, I don't have a stack of finished quilts, or sketchbooks filled with new ideas or even a fully researched dissertation, but I do have a few moments of realisation that I am going to keep with me, some long after I have finished college, and some that are more pressing including this newest one from BS.

This is probably the only time in my life when I am going to have the opportunity to be challenged and to experiment with my ideas and beliefs like this. In 10 months time I will be a graduate and hopefully carving out a new place in a creative world professionally. I don't want to waste any of that student time stressing about being questioned, I need to stop worrying about how scary the process of questioning is and focus on the answers and what I can learn from figuring them out.

So wish me luck, this year will be listening and thinking not just talking and defending.


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