On my 30th birthday this year I decided to take on a 365 project, I knew that 30 was a special year to me, over the past few months I had really grown into myself, I was starting to better understand who I am, what I want from life, and what makes me truly happy. I wanted to commemorate that by recording the thing that drew me the most each day. It could be a sketch, a doodle, a painting, I just wanted to create each day to remember this year.
I merrily set about drawing my first drawing, and my second, and then it happened. I hit a snag.
I learnt something new about myself within days of starting my project, I learnt that I get stage fright when it comes to sharing what I create on Instagram. There is something about sharing online which creates enough pressure that I am scared to put onto paper what I want. It felt like I was performing in some way and I just could not get past it. I promptly decided that perhaps sharing online wasn't the way forward for me.
There is always this discussion in the online art community about "accountability" and using Instagram to make you do something, I decided that day that I don't need to be accountable to anyone but myself, and that I would go forward how I wanted. When I feel under pressure I run away from it, it loses its fun and becomes a chore, where as when there is no pressure I will sketch and doodle to my heart's content.
I had also made a little plan for myself whereby I would work through my sketchbooks one by one, filling each page in turn and seeing my progression through the pages. That fast went out the window too. I am not a one book kinda gal. I love paper, I will not philosophise about it too much as it could completely take over this post, but I love paper, and notebooks, and using whichever one I fancy for however long I feel, before moving on. It is the way I am with notebooks and planners, and evidently with sketchbooks. I couldn't force myself to stay in just one sketchbook, so I decided not to, I have my sketchbook for random bits, and ideas, and proper pieces of work, and I supplement that with my journals. I've just got into Traveler's notebooks, more on that in a post soon, but I have found them the perfect place to journal, or do single little drawings for when the whim takes me.
So, what of my 365? I still try to draw everyday, it may take me 400 or 500 days to complete my 365, but I really couldn't care less. I like that I record things when there are things to record, and I am not just drawing for drawing's sake. I work full time on top of running my shop, so some days the inclination is just not there and that is A-OK!
I like to think that rather than pushing for 365 days of drawing and risking burn out, I am instead fostering a healthy habit. I still post my occasional doodles onto my feed, but it isn't an everyday thing, and that makes me happy.
Today's March Meet the Maker prompt is achievements, and it got me thinking about what i would consider to be my biggest achievement so far. I've not made a secret of the fact that my art journey has been a tumultuous one. If you had told me at 18 that I would open a shop with illustrated products that i had made myself I would laugh in your face, albeit nervously, as a teenager I was discouraged from an artistic path to the point where I shied away from it, so for me my biggest achievement is this, my presence on the internet where I share my creativity.
As a child I loved to create, my favourite TV show growing up was Art Attack with Neil Buchanan (I wasn't so fond of The Head though, he was creepy) I loved watching Neil make things, paint and draw and always had a plentiful supply of art materials to hand. Coloured pencils were my absolute favourite.
When I moved up to senior school however that all changed. I went from having great fun creating things, to painting and drawing creating anxiety over what my teacher would say. From my very first piece of homework my teacher was negative, her comments full of derision, she would draw big lines through my work ruining the good bits as well as the not so good. At the time we had just moved back up to Lincolnshire after a couple of years in Northamptonshire, I was at a new school with very few friends and I was also put in a random group because they didn't have my SATs results yet, that first piece of homework was done at my Grandma's where we were staying while we were waiting for the people we had bought our house from to move out (they were being difficult!) and I worked really hard on it, so her big red lines were heartbreaking. It continued over the next 3 years, I remember feeling the dread in my third year that i had the same teacher yet again, and the only respite I remember having was when we briefly had substitutes cover her classes.
When it came time to choose GCSE topics she said i would be wasting my time taking art, and that i would never make anything of my lack of skill. I soon gave up and listened to her, I must not be any good. I dropped doodling, I stopped watching art shows (I couldn't bear to watch Art Attack or Smart anymore) and I feigned disinterest. Secretly I still yearned to create, to play with colour and line and produce something that I at least thought was good, but her voice was always there, critiquing. I would visit my friends who were working on their GCSE projects and feel mournful that I just wasn't good enough, but i'd look at theirs and fail to see where mine fell down.
I took the path of working towards a career in books or science, aced my English exams, went on to do A Levels and a degree and in that time I drew one picture. One. It was a sketch of a teddy bear which I had received for my 21st birthday. I never showed that picture to anyone, because there inside my head was that voice again, critiquing.
By the time i finished my degree I needed a new creative outlet, so I started knitting and created this blog, I ventured into sewing and then decided I wanted to print my own fabrics to turn into knitting bags, if you look back far enough you can find them. To design fabric I needed to draw, so I bit the bullet and bought a tiny sketchbook and started to put pencil to paper. I designed some Alice in Wonderland patterns that I loved, but when it came to the idea of selling them I just couldn't do it. That little voice kept telling me they weren't good enough, my Dad encouraged me to open a shop (the original iteration of my current Etsy shop) but I chickened out, parents are always supposed to think your stuff is great right?!
Fast forward to 2015, my life had gone through some major upheavals and I needed an outlet, something to do that allowed my creativity to grow. My natural instinct is and has always been to reach for the art materials when I felt troubled but I had always shrugged off what I was doing like I was ashamed. I had started drawing little pictures in my filofax, the changes to my life had been so great that at that point, the little voice in my head was critiquing everything I did so I was less bothered about it picking apart my art (Newsflash, that was my anxiety in my head there). I'd draw things I'd eaten or done or bought that day. My cousin had bought me a beautiful notebook which had handmade paper inside and I decided to keep my recipe planning for this blog in there, complete with drawing the process and the finished article. Determined to get over my mental block I shared a drawing I had done for my kitchenaid mixer in a planner facebook group, it was a new toy that I wanted to make a note of using in my filofax and Bake Off had just started back on the telly so I wanted to mark that too. It blew up! I got requests to turn that drawing into stickers, so I started doing some more drawings, banners, florals, envelopes and more, and sharing them. The overwhelming positive response from the planner community finally made that woman's voice die, people loved my little drawings and the shame fell away. I only wish I had shared something sooner.
From there it has taken me a while (2 years to be exact) to get to a point where I was happy to create art, call it art, and sell it as art, Last year i tentatively posted my prints in my shop and made my first sale. My first sale of a piece of art from someone who doesn't know me, isn't obliged by being family to say something is worthy of putting on the wall. The feeling was euphoric! It is from there that my rebrand has stemmed. No longer am I just The Librarian, and my shop The Library Designs, I am embracing the direction my creative path is leading and rebranding my shop to be Georgina The Librarian, Illustration. Over the next few weeks you will slowly start to see my new branding appear over on etsy to fall in line with this website. I'm very excited about this new direction, it finally feels like I am embracing something I have hidden from for years.
This is a big leap for me, but I have never been so sure of the step i needed to take. And to that teacher, *blows raspberry*!
So it has taken me an embarrassingly long amount of time to do this, and this page isn't perfect by any means, there are still bits I want to change (like do a snazzy toggle for that realllllly long archive list) but I have decided to take this Wordpress version of my blog live.
I miss posting about the little things in life that make me smile, and I don't want to miss out on spring and summer blogging just because I haven't quite got this page to be perfect, so here it is! I hope you like it, it is quite a bit more colourful than the last one, mainly because I am a much more colourful person in myself (I wore bright yellow the other day, no joke!)
You will no doubt notice things move around the place as I make tweaks and sometimes things might just completely disappear, but I hope you will bear with me as I am immensely proud to say that I have coded this site more or less from the ground up. Photoshopped my own elements, read Jon Duckett's books on html, css and java from front to back (and broken the spines repeatedly, highly recommend these volumes if you are interested in how to build your own Wordpress theme)
I hope you are having a wonderful Easter weekend, and that you will join me as I share what looks to be a brilliant Spring/Summer 2015!
A while ago I tweeted about how difficult it is to find a decent camera bag. I had been on the look out for one which wasn't huge and had a bit of style to it, I didn't want to look like an intrepid reporter, I simply wanted a small bag to carry my camera and a lens around in. You would think that this wouldn't be so much to ask, but it seems that if you are in the habit of using a system camera (be it a DSLR or a Compact system camera) you will want to be carrying all of your lenses around at all time so will need to look like a tortoise. Well I would like to say a big "not true camera bag makers!" I have been using my sister's DSLR while she has been at uni, and I carry it around with the kit lens, thats all, and it has been doing fine.
I myself am in the market for a CSC at some point, I like that there isn't a big old mirror to break in them, and have been looking for a little bag that will keep my sisters camera safe for now and be perfect for when I get a CSC. I spent ages trying to find a bag that didn't look too manly, but equally wasn't a handbag with a camera storage compartment, I still wanted a good dose of practicality. Another factor I was considering was price, I really love the Billingham Hadley, but I wasn't willing to cough up that much money when I haven't even got the camera I want yet.
Eventually I came across this one by Goji while actually browsing in Currys, it fitted the bill. The design is quite simple without being too plain, it doesn't have a brand emblazoned across the front advertising what it contains, but also isn't so style driven that it isn't practical, and it came in two colours.
It was labelled as a CSC case, but on their website they also have it under being suitable for DSLR's so I could use it for both. The fabric is hard wearing and wipe clean so would sustain being carted about a bit, and it has both a shorter hand holding strap and an over the shoulder strap too.
The best bit? The price, this bag was only £24.99 so it didn't break the bank.
The bag itself is made up of one large compartment which both zips and clips closed, I often just have it clipped while walking about in case I need to get to anything inside. This main compartment came with two velcro dividers so that you can separate out your body and your lenses. While I have been using it with the DSLR I have only really used one separator because I am lazy and leave the lens on, but the extra space has been handy for my sunglasses case!
The front of the bag also has a small zipped pocket, where I generally keep my card reader, but if I am out and about and don't want to carry another bag with me (such as the trip to Snetterton a few weeks ago) I have popped cash, tissues, phone and all sorts in this pocket so that I don't need my handbag too.
For a bargain bag this one has been great, I have only one fault with it and that is that there is no padding on the long shoulder strap, I would have happily paid a little more for that feature. All round though this is a great little bag for if you don't want to be a pack horse just because you like being a shutterbug.
I believe I have issues with the colour purple, not the book, but yarn dyed the colour purple. See that there? that is a ball of Malabrigo Sock in Abril, it is beautiful (if you ignore the ball winder injury sustained on the right) but I cannot knit it.
There is something about purple that is making me shy from patterns, nothing is quite right, nothing quite fits how I want my finished project to look, nothing suits the colour variegation in the skein, nothing is darn good enough.
I have so far tried to knit 2 patterns from this skein, Travelling Woman and Kleio, both beautiful patterns in themselves, but thank god this yarn is great at keeping its tension when it has been frogged because otherwise I would have wasted £12. I want to knit a scarfy/shawly thing that I can wear to work, I want it to have a considerable amount of lace with a minimal amount of block stockinette or garter stitch because I really am not fond of variegated yarns in blocks of standard knitting, the pooling never seems to look nice to me.
I have trawled the Ravelry project pages for this particular shade of Malabrigo Sock, a favourite past time of mine when I haven't a clue what to knit a lovely yarn into, and nothing is jumping out at me. Despite my rules I am tempted to try a 'holey' wingspan shawl as project number 3, or buy another skein in a complimentary colour and knit either Colour Affection or Stripe Study Shawl (I could always use that periwinkle yarn I couldn't knit before I suppose) all of which could result in more pooling vomit and frogging.
I could of course simply give in and make some socks.
One can never have too many socks.
So I finished Ishbel last week, it is currently blocking on my living room floor. Man was it a pain in the bum to get that thing pinned out!
I am not sure if it was the Noro that I used to knit it, or just the pattern, but it did not want to stretch evenly, I managed to get it as close to even as I could and have left it, it will just have to be whatever shape it comes out as.
Now that it is finished I am not entirely sure how much I will wear it with it being so bright, but I am glad that the yarn has been used for such a pretty pattern as it really has knit up beautifully.
Maybe when I embrace my bright colourful side it will get some use, but in the meantime once it has been blocked there will be a Finished Object report.
I thought it was about time I gave you an update on the current state of my Ishbel shawl, mainly because it is the only project that is currently on the needles which I would call "active" (I haven't knit any for a few weeks now, but I am slogging away on it slowly)
I am also on holiday from workplace number 1 this week as it is my birthday on wednesday, so I am hoping to get it finished. That should give you an idea of where I am with it.
Now the colours in this are slightly off, because the exposure wasn't quite right when I took the picture. The weather in the UK for the past month has been awful. But, I am hoping you can see how far along the lace I am! I am currently on section C of the pattern, and as I am knitting the small version I have only got section D, the one row section E and the bind off to go. I am rather excited that this is nearly done, but I can't say it is for a good reason. The yarn I am using, Noro Kureyon Sock, while looking pretty feels almost like string while knitting. I am hoping with washing and blocking it will bloom a little so that it isn't horrible to wear, but the way it has been plied (I think) has made it feel very rough as it runs through my fingers, usually resulting in the little bumps I got a few summers ago using very small needles, so a contact rash. The colours themselves however are working up nicely, I am so glad I chopped out the ugly coloured parts because this will make a great vibrant summer scarf now, where as before I know I would have looked at the mucky khaki and felt a little sad. A note on the chart reading, I have been using the magnets method I first used for Marina (though I now have a little notie board instead of a cooking tray) and it is working so far, but I am finding it harder to track with this chart as you move between charts. I have however been introduced to an app called J Knit by Sarah from All Fingers and Thumbs and am going to give it a go with my next project. It is one of the few apps where I wish I could borrow my mum's iPad for it it though, the iPhone is a bit small. Here's to hoping that there will soon be FO report for this one, I want to start on something new!!
I am so glad to have this finished in time for summer, I started it almost two years ago intending to wear it during that summer, and I can finally wear it, yellow like the summer sun, while soaking in the rays :) Pattern: Bon Temps Marina Pattern Name: Marina by Kate Blackburn
Yarn Used: Fresh From the Cauldron Super Wash Sock in Sookie Stackhouse
Needle Size: 2.5mm circular
Problems: Another one where a small needle made it difficult to knit in the heat, and much easier to finish in winter.
Modifications: Knit an extra repeat of chart 2, and modified edging to suit lack of remaining yarn to rows 1, 2, 11 and 12 of the edging chart followed by a standard bind off.
Skills Learnt: The first time I had knit continuous lace in this way, and became confident in reading charts.
Knit Again?: Probably not as it is quite detailed and therefore difficult.
Score: 9/10 I am really looking forward to wearing this!!
Unfortunately I left this to languish in my knitting basket for months and months, and so it didn't get a huge amount of use over the winter. It is fab for keeping my ears warm though! Pattern Name: Ripley by Ysolda Teague
Yarn Used: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
Needle Size: Can't remember :(
Problems: I left this in the basket with just the join on the crochet band left to finish, but forgot how to join it together! So it is a little rough I think, still wearable though.
Modifications: Knit to pattern.
Skills Learnt: That even when i intend something to be a quick little knit, it can take over a year to finish.
Knit Again?: This is the second time I have knit this pattern, and I do love it so who knows, maybe I will do it in a different colour for myself.
Some actual knitting content!
You can expect to see a few of these over the next few weeks as I have finally taken pictures for all my finished objects, I was holding out for pictures with me wearing them, but for now these will have to do I'm afraid. Maybe when I have an available photographer I will add some more :)
Name: Marian by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool in 42
Needle Size: 15mm circulars
Problems: I didn't really have any, though the cast off was a little tight.
Modifications: I doubled the size by using two skeins of yarn, and I didn't knit the twist into the pattern.
Skills Learnt: None
Knit Again?: I really like this, and it has been my go to scarf for the cold winter, so I would probably knit again in a grey colourway.
Score: 8/10, practical and simple!
I don't think I have mentioned it yet, but recently all the volunteering I have done at my local library has started to pay off and I was offered a place on the relief panel for the library service (and hopefully this will lead to permanent hours!) Naturally being a knitter and a bit of a clothing addict, my first thought was the uniform. The corporate colours for the service are black and purple, I have plenty of black clothing, but inexpensively finding something purple for my outfit struck me as a problem, as I really didn't want to just go to Primark and get something really cheap. It occurred to me yesterday that I probably actually have some purple yarn that I could turn into a shawl or scarf or something to give me that pop of purple that I need. After a little Ravelry browse and then a rummage I found this Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Solid in Periwinkle. Now periwinkle is a bit of an odd one, being almost purple, almost blue, and this yarn does look more blue in person then the picture suggests but I think it will be fine for work. Now what to knit with it! I really haven't a clue at the moment. I had planned on turning this into socks originally, so I have two skeins, but I am sure I can get some more (probably not the same dye lot but I will manage) so do I go all out and knit my first cardigan, or stick to a little shawlette/scarf? Hmmm choices choices!
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