Sometimes it's really hard to resist a skein of beautiful thread, even when you know you can't possibly thread it through the eye of a needle never mind pull it through the cloth, so in this week's blog we are going to explore couching and find out how you can use beautiful but too-thick-to-stitch-with threads.
We've had a busy week getting the online shop organised (more later...) with not a lot of time for creativity. So here's a really quick and easy idea to help you make the most of every opportunity and record more about what you see on your regular walk. Wherever that may be - your garden, city streets, your local park or woodland, lakeside, canal or coast.
When I go for walks I often take a sketchbook with me so that I can jot down visual notes about what I see and experience. If I’m on my own I might have time to do a detailed sketch,
but often in the past I’ve been with someone else or it might be cold so the notes can be quite --- well, sketchy.
They might include a rough sketch, notes about colour (I’ve usually only got a fairly indestructible biro or fine-line pen with me), sounds, lists and anything else I have observed or how I feel. Sometimes I add colour once I'm back at home.
It's still pretty weird out there in the big wide world, but at least when we are in the studio we are surrounded by the familiar and the colourful. The studio may be student less at the moment but it's still a hive of activity as we busily wind, dye, process and label miles and miles of threads!
As we mentioned last week we have taken the bull by the horns/ risen to the lockdown challenge/gone where the angels fear to tread....take your pick! and have finally stopped prevaricating and decided that now was the time was right to open an online shop. After all if you can't come to us at the moment then we shall have come to you!
Before you stop reading and rush, clutching your credit card in hand, to find the shop link you will have to wait just a teeny weeny little longer - we had no idea how much time and effort it would take to set up. Fingers crossed all will be ready for a launch sometime next week!
Until then, get yourself a nice cup of tea, pick up your stitching and join me as we explore blanket stitch.
Welcome to our now weekly #institchescreative2020 blog. We are still planning to alternate paper and stitch, so this week is a quick paper-based project. Meanwhile exciting things are happening behind the scenes in the studio: we’ve been dyeing threads and, as Hazel mentioned last week, learning how to set up an online shop so we can bring them direct to you in your sewing room.
Negative space drawing
I realise this sounds technical, and indeed this exercise is often done by serious artists wanting to learn how to make better drawings, but today we are just going to use it as a different way of drawing. You may remember that I told you about our brains’ shorthand back in April when we were drawing without looking:
By slowing right down and forcing our eyes to follow the outline of the object we are drawing, we actually begin to see the details. The shape of the top of the mug, the angle of the sides, how the handle joins at the top, and the bottom, how wide the handle is and does it taper. All of these details usually just disappear in your brain’s shorthand: '
Well, this is another exercise in looking. This time we are trying to shut the analytical side of our brain up by confusing it. We are not attempting to draw an object that the left side of the brain can classify and describe, so it cannot take over and stop us from seeing what is really there. Instead we are trying to draw the spaces around that object, and if we want, with practice that can make us better at drawing complex things accurately.
Or we can just ignore all that, have fun and have a go at drawing voided shapes to fill with detail or pattern later.
If you follow InStitches on either Instagram or Facebook you will have seen a recent post about my 10 year old niece Isla. Along with many of the world's children, Isla and her two sisters are in lockdown. So, no school, no meeting up and playing with friends, no visiting their beloved grandparents, Auntie (me!!) or cousins.
I often forward her the Terry's paper blogs and she in turn WhatsApp's her creations back. Here's what she said about this week's one on spirals:
I did one of the exercises on your website, but I did it with my eyes closed and listening to music! Thank you so much, it really relaxed and calmed me! I picked random colours, and it actually turned out alright!
Children are resilient and adaptable but looking after their mental health is just as important as looking after ours. We hope over the last 6 weeks we have managed to bring a spark of creative joy and that you have been able to take a moment to stop, slow down and make time to appreciate the smaller pleasures in life.
So, settle down, pull out your stitching basket, pick up your needle and thread and come fly away with me...
Welcome to our blog! Here you'll find out what's been going on, plus plenty of ideas and inspiration and the odd cake recipe!
Check back often to see what we're up to - it's great to have you along
Hazel & Terry
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