Friday, 26 September 2014

Five on Friday

Another very busy week, busy doing and learning lots of different things - but I can honestly say that this week has been "life changing". Apologies in advance, I'm a bit excitable this morning and using too many capital letters...

1. On Saturday, I took a workshop with Carole Waddle, "anything weaves". And so it does. These are her samples:

But this is mine. I didn't get very far (as is the way with workshops)

but I learnt all about HALF HITCHES and BUTTERFLIES. I had to shout that, as I'm so EXCITED about this! We warped up our frames and used a lot of half-hitch knots. Excellent, nothing ground breaking there. Until we started to talk about the weaving itself - and to stop your threads trailing, you can use a bobbin - not really like these beautiful ones I found in France at Easter, a bit more pointy:

And (this is the life changing bit) to stop your thread falling off the bobbin, you use - you guessed it - a half-hitch knot. The thread still unravels, but the knot keeps it from falling off. That is so clever!

Then we talked about what to do if you don't have any fancy schmancy bobbins - so apparently you can make thread butterflies. WHO KNEW?? Well, lots of people probably - every needlewoman and man out there but me, it seems. Not everyone on the course could actually do them, but they all knew about them. Apart from me.


When I stitch braids and cords on the machine, I can only do them in 3m lengths because I have to drape the thread around my shoulders and across the furniture - any longer, and I get in a huge muddle. NO MORE!

So now my loose threads in my thread basket are all going to be in little butterflies, and when I put a bobbin or loose spool of thread aside - something without a notch to anchor the thread - I'm going to put in a half-hitch and be very very smug.

2. I've been reading "59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot" by Richard Wiseman (love that, when someone's name describes their occupation, in this case Professor) and I've just got to the bit about motivating children...and finally, I think I understand why my beautiful, talented daughter finds it such a struggle to get going a lot of the time, and  why we feel like banging our heads against the wall with frustration. We struggle to see any self-motivation for playing her musical instruments (even though she loves them), with homework, with so many things - and these are all things she enjoys and is good at...yes, yes, we've a teenager on our hands, but still. Something wasn't right.

According to the research, trying to motivate people by saying they are talented and clever, is a complete no-no. It leads to perfectionism, a lack of perseverance, an avoidance of challenge, and a feeling of hopelessness when something goes wrong. WHY DON'T THEY TELL PARENTS THIS STUFF? For 13 years, we've been doing it all WRONG!

You are supposed to praise EFFORT, as well as concentration and organisational skills. This leads to a willingness to face challenges, put in the hard work, a feeling of achievement with success and an ability to shrug off and rationalise more disappointing results. Gah!

3. I continue to stitch my teaching samples for the coming year, and I'm loving every minute.

I'm not working for the Local Authority any more, just me - so instead of sitting in front of a computer writing out pages of planning documents, I'm STITCHING my scheme of work! Hooray!

4. Our EG chairman gave me a marrow. Here it is, lurking ominously in the fridge:

I successfully dodged one after the committee meeting, but she got me in the end. Cake? Three of the darn things, baking right now.

I'm going to freeze a lot, but we'll be eating this for months. I've only used a third of the torpedo! There was no call for baked stuffed marrow this week, and we don't really eat that much chutney...

5. I've been very good so far this term. I've been using my pomodoro to get my work done, and I've been able to shut up my cupboard at the end of the day. So we go from this (see the whippet? Bin lorry outside...scary, but must look to brain...)

to this:

No heaps of stuff on the end of the table! We've turned the table around, so I lost my corner for stacking stuff* - and I have to shut my desk cupboard so that the Girl can eat her dinner in her place at the table. My head feels so much clearer, because I start each day fresh, and don't work in the detritus of the day before. Ha! Let's see how long it lasts...

* confession: since drafting this post, there seems to be a bit of a mini heap at the far end of the's started


  1. Hi Isobel, The weaving looks really amazing. I have been messing about with weaving raffia and wool to use as possible backgrounds for stitching. I've got a long way to go yet and need a lot more practice before I have anything I'm happy to use. What sort of loom did you use? I used a wooden frame for silk printing but found it was not ideal. I don't really want to spend a lot of money and have to find a home for something else in already straining cupboards! Any advice? Fiona x

    1. Hi Fiona! We used artists stretcher frames (for stretching artists...) and cotton warp. Except I only had the silk painting types, so I found a charity shop picture frame with a flattish profile. I'll show you next time I see you x

  2. My detritus is starting to take over again... *sigh*. Love the weaving!

  3. All that knots malarkey sounds a bit like sailing to me! Nothing wrong with sailing but I find the knots scary!

    And, marrow and ginger jam - the best!!! No marrows this year from the allotment ( the other half has produced lovely Beetroot though, and there's a jam opportunity there too) but marrow and ginger jam is just the best. Forget the chutney! Jam!!!

    And detritus - I've got detritus ( everywhere - shhhhh)

    H xxx

  4. Welcome to the world of weaving so glad you are enjoying it. There really are no rights or wrongs once you have a warp.
    Love the seedheads. Marrow soup works really well, we had marrow overload this year and as above marrow and ginger jam or chutney delish.

  5. I love your weaving, I didn't know any of that either. Piles of stuff accumulate behind me too ;-)


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