Anyway, last year when my sewing room was being photographed for a magazine, I decided I should actually have something, anything, on my design wall and the flower rosette got taken off the very best of shelves and put on the very worst of design walls, where two skylight windows directly opposite aggressively bleach the colours from anything that's placed on it (there was a reason it had been empty before the photoshoot). But afterwards, I so enjoyed having all my works-in-progress pinned up on the wall, that I decided to take a risk and leave them there - it was October and heading towards a dark English winter and I thought the damage was likely to be minimal.
This was the result - the rosette at the bottom of this photo is the one that I made in 2017...the top three are the ones I made in 2019. Sadly, the difference in colour meant that 'Rosette Mark I' has had to be returned to the very best of shelves and couldn't be incorporated into this piece. This doesn't really explain how I have gone from having only vague plans for this, to re-sewing it and then making many more until I had an actual 'thing'. I'm not sure I actually have an explanation for it, so I'm looking forward to a built-by-me house also magically appearing some time soon too.
All I can say is that I have enjoyed making all the little components for this piece immensely! It's a project that's seemed to have a wonderful rhythm to it and hasn't been in danger of stalling at any point once it go going again, even if at times I have become distracted by photographing the various components hanging on teacups...
...and resting on my palm. For me, a project is only really worthy of the label Extreme Fun, if it has been as much fun to photograph as it has to sew. This one was.
I wrote in my book about particular fabrics having a habit of reappearing over the lifetime of a stitcher's work, and the ones here are favourites that often seem to creep into mine. There is something about these china blues, alongside my very favourite shade of pink, that I can't get enough of. A few people on Instagram commented on it looking like pieces of broken china and that's what it reminded me off too - both in colour and in how fractured the pattern looks, hence the name.
Moving onto the vital statistics: in total, the finished piece measures just less than 8.5" square and contains 408 pieces. The pieces don't feel anything like as small as those in my Miniature Ripple Effect (which crams 200 pieces into a circle measuring 5.5"), but a few were still challenging - most especially those pesky little plain blue triangles. The pattern for the main pink rosettes is from my Eight Dials English paper piecing pattern, but I designed a different block to link them all together, so the end result looks very different.
I have really small hands (and badly-maintained nails, I now see), but this maybe gives a vague sense of scale. Random question: are the joints on the hand that you sew and write with far bigger than those on your other hand? I haven't worn rings for years*, but on the rare occasions when I try them on, I've realised I can no longer get them over the finger joints on my right hand, although they still fit loosely on my left. It's odd to think that all those little stitches may be like body-building for fingers! If you're wearing one, do let me know (although please forgive me if this results in you having the ring sawn from your finger in Casualty).
For this project, I've focused on flattening it beneath a big hardback book more often than pressing it with an iron, but it feels a real compromise - I LOVE pressing things with an iron! I thought of making the paper pieces from thin, heat-proof plastic (templar), but I know the points would end up damaging the fabric once it was wrapped around it - lawn is fine and plastic is just that bit more spiky than card and it would be a disaster. And sanding the plastic first isn't an option at this scale - the smallest amount of sanding would alter the shape. So, my question is: do you have any other ideas of things I could use to wrap my papers around? I need to be able to iron it, bend it, wrap it, and preferably print on it too. I don't think there's a viable alternative, but I'm so often surprised by the ingenious suggestions I receive when I ask a question here or Instagram, that I thought I'd ask anyway.
I feel set up for the week after watching nearly five hours of TEDx talks with my parents on Saturday - I'd thought I'd struggle with so many hours sat with still hands, but it was the most incredible event, full of stories and ideas. We laughed, were inspired, and even cried a little too - admittedly, we're an easy-to-cry family, but I can't imagine many people in the 1000-seater theatre hall who didn't sit in the dark with tears silently streaming down their face as they listened to Sophie Sabbage, who lives with terminal cancer, talk about the way we handle grief and loss - not just in relation to death, but also lost friendships, lost hopes etc - it was one of the most moving and impactful talks I've heard - I'll share a link when it comes online, but in the meantime, if you're interested, Sophie's book, Life Shocks, looks excellent.
The rest of the weekend was spent with my son listening to episodes of The Moth, the podcast of The Moth's live storytelling events, while I sewed and he did his GCSE Art coursework, and playing board games with my husband and a friend. My weekend activities feel serendipitously appropriate given that National Storytelling Week began on Saturday (TED and The Moth, not the board games), although I didn't realise until this morning.
I hope you're having a wonderful start to the week. It is crisp and chilly here, and I have all my fingers crossed for snow (the type that is a foot thick, stays for weeks, and then disappears overnight without any slush or ice, at exactly the moment when everyone has had enough of it - some would say, the very best of snow).
* There are so many times when the other thoughts around the thought I'm writing about, end up being too cumbersome to fit neatly in brackets and so have to either be lost or moved to the end of a post. But the * is to say that, mostly, I like my hands to feel entirely utilitarian, and don't even enjoy wearing nail polish. This feels quite odd when I'm a ridiculously sentimental creature - so should enjoy wearing rings - and also love all other forms of make-up, so should enjoy wearing polish...but both just feel irritating when I'm trying to bake/sew/type/clean etc. Any ring/polish preferences of your own? That makes this a post of three questions! Feel free to answer any of them, or just make up your own if you want to chat about something entirely different in the comments. x