Thursday, 1 March 2012


I've been reading up about procrastination lately
(and crying with laughter reading through that website - which in itself was procrastination - go figure, as they say).
I used to think I was perpetually "blocked" and when I wasn't blocked, I was too busy - things to do - people to feed, dogs to walk, house to clean, garden to erm, weed? anything anything, I will find a busy thing to do - just not stitching.  Mr Gonecycling finds it all a bit bemusing, and says that ever since he's known me I've always complained "I want to make something but I don't know what or where to even start".
(my general-purpose carry-all bag, that I've miraculously finished de-and re-constructing...)
But it's slowly been dawning on me (these things take a while) that I'm not perpetually blocked, I'm perpetually procrastinating, and have done my entire life.  Apparently it's something that is quite common to those with overbearing and controlling parents - ha!  Thanks Dad...
The reason why I have a shed-load of samples and pieces to show my students, is because I spent 10 years doing City & Guilds, and I had the deadlines to meet, but now?  Procrastinating heaven.
Partly it's a perfectionist thing (again, Father....) but mostly it's a crushing and paralysing FEAR.  Of what, I'm not sure, or I do know but haven't admitted to it....
(close up of bag front, for some light-relief from the introspection...)
But this week, since starting this no-added-sugar thing, has been a real eye-opener to just how ingrained my bad habits are.  On Monday I had a free morning, I'd finished my book experiments and my bag, and obviously didn't know what to stitch next.  Or where to start.  At all.  Previously I may have footled with some mild chore-ing until 11am, then had a piece of the weekend's cake..pootled some more, then oh look it's lunchtime, dogwalk etc....
But of course I can't do that now.  Oh dear.  (I hadn't realised I was that easily distracted or inclined to eat randomly - interesting, interesting...)
So instead of wandering into the kitchen, I had to just start SOMETHING.
I started with my sketchbook, and felt OH SO SILLY I just didn't know what to draw.  So I got that out of my system for starters:
and then started to doodle - anything, just to be doing SOMETHING

and then I got a bit bold, and added some colour

Thus inspired, I grabbed this little bit of collage I made last year, had a think and stitched a leaf (my default leaf, if you like): 
Then I stitched another two leaves on another bit of collage. 
Then I cut out bits.  And added some trailing leaves.  And next I'm going to add some handstitching and beads and whatnot.  I don't know what they're destined to be, but what's important is that I DID something new.
I loved the colours, and as they were just sitting on my desk still, I grabbed a bit of time later on to try another book-related experiment

I own several books on how to make handmade books, including one on embroidered books, but can't find any instructions anywhere for exactly HOW to attach a stitched cover - without using glue on everything.

I had a go at stitching the above to a piece of fabric-covered card, and added tapes, to pretend it was for a book with a taped/stitched spine, but I've no idea how anyone else goes about doing this!

Anyway the point is, I know it's not much, compared to what I could have achieved in the time, but it was the first time - I think ever, really - that I've been aware of how I was FEELING while I was creating. 

And doing those leaves, I felt physically sick - my stomach was churning (and not from hunger or thinking about cake!), I was was horrendous.  But I carried on despite it, and I think I've made a bit of a breakthrough.

I had no idea things had got that bad, and I was that scared. 


  1. I love the bag! Keep it going...

  2. I can identify totally with this post - you could have been writing about me!
    All your leaves are gorgeous, I especially like the one with the two on.
    Keep on keeping on!

  3. The bag is great as are the samples. Giving up sugar becomes much easier.

  4. I really like the look of your sketch book.

    I often feel blocked and sometimes it can really feel like a physical thing. When there are lots of demands on our time I think it is very understandable, but you do seem to have 'cracked it'.


    ps the Whippet X is worried you might let the dog walks slip!

  5. Wow, you've been so brave!!!! & you've done some lovely work ;) A sketchbook is yours & you can do ANYthing in it & there lies one of the (many) problems ;) Too much choice! I try to prioritise...& try & try. Keep being brave!

    Inspired by you I'm making more books this week...I think. I was wondering only yesterday, how people stitch thru cardboard? It must be one of the many weights of (craft) Vilene I guess ;) If I find out I'll let you know!

  6. I'm an appalling procrastinator (and had a similar-sounding father to yours - hmmm). I am always too busy or too tired or too .... This post *may* have sparked off something though1 Love your leaves :)

  7. I am mightily impressed by your perseverence... and the results. I think we are mostly all the same.

  8. Congratulations on doing so much - lovely bag & collage leaf pieces!
    You have to keep going - your results are so worth it.
    I think most people suffer similar things at least some of the time.

  9. This post has made me smile because I can really relate to this, I am exactly like this if I'm between projects, but once I've started something I am more focused. I love the leaves you've been working on... keep going...x

  10. Well done. It's hard to face ourselves and see what is happening. Keep up the good work

  11. Iz,

    If I wasn't reading this post on your blog, I would have sworn that I'd written the first part. I've become a huge procrastinator because I often don't know how to start.

    I like that you worked in spite of the fear and anxiety. Hopefully it will get easier with time! I'll have to try this approach, too. <3

  12. I love re- reading your older posts - its like looking in a mirror - if that makes sense - I just see myself procrastinating too lol


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