Have a Cuppa

Have a Cuppa

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Settle down for a a cuppa as I have a few bits and pieces to write about before taking a blogging break for the season.

Take it Further challenge News
I have just updated the Take it Further challenge page and the sign up period is now closed. There are a few stragglers that I am waiting on for a web addresses for. I have a number of people who have not got back to me with this question and I am now working on the assumption that people have changed their minds if I have not had a return email with their web addy to list, in 48 hours. Sorry folks I simply can’t chase you all up constantly.

At the moment the number of participants is at 273 277 I want to thank everyone who helped spread the word as this sort of number is a good starting point for a challenge. Inevitably there will be drop outs but even with these there is now a large enough number to keep a good group dynamic going and make for an interesting and successful challenge.

On the 1st of each month I will post the challenge which means the first challenge will be posted on January 1 the day I get back form my little blogging holiday.

A few thinks …
In response to my ideas on slow cloth and slow craft, Carol-Anne of Threads across the Web has written a very thoughtful piece about the philosophy behind Japanese embroidery and how it might relate to slow cloth in Why do we feel the need for speed?

On the same topic Debra Spincic in her post When Opportunities Arise has suggested that if the opportunity arises to teach someone and don’t dumb down the project. This is a very practical approach to the dumbing down of craft practice and one of the reasons I delight in seeing people write tutorials and post them to blogs. Even if it is as simple as a knot like this the information is invaluable for anyone who does not have the skill.

Sequana dropped me an email to point me to SusyJack which in turn was pointing to an article in the New York Times about contemporary craft titled Handmade 2.0. It’s an article well worth reading because I think many of us sense that the scope and meaning of craft activity has shifted and has been re-energised in the last few years.

Jo of No Matter Where I go I Always Meet Myself There came up with a clear definition of slow cloth in this post
” SLOW CLOTH is what it is all about, taking the time, and care to create something, with thought, with some individuality, and with a genuine interest for the process, as well as the result.”

Elaine Lipson of Red Thread Studio has defined her ideas more here. Kay Susan of S’mockery has seen the debate from a different angle again here
Allison Aller has told the story of one of her slow pieces and Christine of Lady Janes Journal has also dusted off a slow cloth. Mara of Applique and Embroidery in Beijing has also made some good points. I particularly was interested in point about the loss of skills

On another note the idea of slow textile practice tied to the slow movement is part of the Whip Up philosophy look at their manifesto. To quote them “Whipup is for the slow movement, slow cooking, slow living, slow schooling, slow sundays, slowly enjoying life. By living life out of the fast lane we will hopefully notice more, learn more, enjoy our children, friends and family, enjoy our time doing the things we love.”

As you can see slow craft is not about machine versus hand or even the art craft debate but a philosophy about where your values sit. The strength of the ideals behind slow craft is that it does not set a dichotomy between this or that point of view but introduces a way of thinking about craft practice.

There is a shift in craft practice and I have been thinking about a definition of craft that addresses the highly creative DIY community. Certainly this is craft or crafting, just not craft as we think we know it. Hobby Princess in writing of this shift summarized the change “…it’d be a mistake to shrug crafters off as clueless. Below the innocent appearance they are planting the seeds of change. Without making a big deal about boycotting big brands or saving the environment, crafting changes the way we consume. It exposes us to the original ideals of William Morris: the preference of creativity, sincerity, good materials and sound workmanship over wasteful mass-production.” Related to the topic of the shift in how we think about craft practice is an article in Craft Research titled Craft 2.0

As you can see I have been poking around and thinking the notion of a slow cloth has lead me to trying to define for myself what craft practice is in the early 21st century. I hope in the New Year you can bear with me as I tease away and untangle this topic a little further as for me the slow movement also reacts our culture of consumption and consumerism and considers our environment. It is a topic I am going to give more thought to and feel free to chip in with comments or write a blog post about what you think.

Late Edit Take a look at Misa’s thoughts  on the subject of Slow Craft as she has ‘got it’ in other words understand she perfectly understands what I mean by slow craft

A few links
I have a few odd links today which I have either been meaning to post or develop into longer posts. I thought I would put them out there for your enjoyment
Once again I encountered again Freda’s Photos on Flickr. She has photographs of the most fantastic crazy quilt up. No doubt the discussion lists found it and delighted in the eye candy but I missed it and was delighted at seeing this quilt so I thought I would share it with you

While on Flickr I found this group for Button Wreaths, Trees, Balls and Flowers. Then I got stuck on this flickr group for vintage buttons and then I discovered this flickr group for button jewelry and accessories As you can see Flickr can be a huge time sink for me if I am not careful

With the New year around the corner many of us take stock and look at where our life is going and what we are doing. It’s the time of year that we set goals for the future and look back on the previous year.

While in such a mood you may like to take a look at The Life of Riley. Olive is 108 and with the help of Mike keeps a blog. This blog is not on the topic of textiles but it certainly is about life and not to be missed

Whats coming up in the new year?

I will be back in the new year with the Take it Further challenge, my usual links to resources, my have a cuppa type posts

I plan to regularly add a tutorial round up as there is some great resources being produced by bloggers.

Also I have noticed I have a good few new readers who are new to blogs and the internet. This has come to my attention during the sign ups for the Take it Further challenge. I have had to answer emails on some real basics like what a web address is and how to leave a comment on blogs, the fact that blogs change daily or weekly and even how to bookmark a site. So I will return to writing tips and tricks on how to use the technology of the web and blogging at a basic level. These will be either tutorials written by me or along the lines of my post on RSS feeds the other day. It is too easily assumed that people know this stuff and they often don’t. I do keep Mindtracks which is about this but many readers here do not follow that blog and it is possibly too technical for them.

Also next year I hope you can bear with me as I document more of my work in progress. I do actually stitch!

My personal challenge for next year is to get quite a few projects done. Readers will hopefully enjoy watching me blitze my work room and weigh everything in my stash as I am going on a fiber diet next year so swing back here for what I am sure will be an amusing sight. After my weigh in I am going to set about clearing the decks, sorting out, de-cluttering, de-stash, finish projects and start new projects I have been thinking about. At the end of the year I am going to weigh everything again and see how much weight I have lost.

I hope readers will enjoy what I have planned but until then I want to wish everyone my best for the season and the new year. Thank you for returning day after day to read what I dash off here. This blog brings me great satisfaction but without readers and your constant input it would not be what it is. So here I am waving and I hope to see you in the new year as I am off on a much needed no blogging holiday.


  1. Hi,
    I’m not sure whether I am in or not. I originally emailed back in mid December, set up a blog site and received a confirmation email from you. However I do not see myself listed among the challengers. Not sure whether it is a deadline thing, me being a techno-dweeb and not doing something right, me not responding back with some key info. When you get time, could you please either email me or comment on my blog and let me know where I stand.
    Thanks, and Happy New Year!

  2. Hi Sharon, hope you are enjoying your vacation time as much as I am. We’ll be back to it before we know it. As I’m contemplating a format for the Take It Further Challenge, I wonder if you have some resources for Fabric Books – tutorials, published books etc. It sounds like a wonderful way to display what I have accomplished, but I don’t know much about the book binding aspect. New Year’s wishes to you and your family!

  3. Hi Sharon, I am waiting pariently for you to write tips and tricks on how to use the technology of the web and blogging at a basic level. When I started to blog I decided on wordpress because that is what you use. If Sharon uses it, it must be good.
    But I still have not figured out how to put pictures on the side column. If this is not to advanced I hope to see it in the tutorial at some stage. Thank you for all you have done for everyone. Happy Stitching Hugs

  4. I’ve just spent a couple hours looking at links on the list of challenge participants. Add that to a couple hours a few days ago, and I’m almost up to 100. Lots of eye candy!

    There are so many multi-talented people signed up for this, that the results promise to be wonderful. I’m looking forward to the first challenge – in just a week.

  5. Carolyn
    you asked “May I use some of your images for my ‘Inspiration’ introduction to this class? I would also like to use your site as a reference for students to use as part of their own research for assignments etc.”
    Yes you can use some of the images as long as you credit me as the person who made them and provide a link to my website which contains the stitch dictionary
    and blog which contains general references
    Please associate this information with every image. Thanks

  6. Merry Christmas to you, and merry Christmas to me! I have just signed on for your class as a xmas present to myself. Looking forward to it a LOT(and not only because it coincides with the end of the school holidays!)

  7. I am sitting at the computer trying to find inspiration for my year 9 Textiles class for 2008 and have discovered your site. May I use some of your images for my ‘Inspiration’ introduction to this class? I would also like to use your site as a reference for students to use as part of their own research for assignments etc.

    It is so great to find another who combines textiles and technology.

    Have a great holiday

  8. I was delighted to discover your site, your many interests, and your classes this year. The challenge should be interesting.

    In the topic of “slowness,” I found this nice on http://www.slowLab.net

    “Slowness is not time-based. It doesn’t refer to how long it takes to make or do something, but rather describes the individual’s elevated state of awareness in the process of creation, the quality of its tangible outcomes and a richer experience for the community it engages. “

    Have a lovely holiday.


  9. Many thanks to you Sharon for all you do for the world of crazy quilting. Your blog helps so many discover the joy and beauty of CQ’ing!

    Hope you and Jerry have a very Merry Christmas and that you get your stash under control next year. I will be joining you in that effort and I know it will be a big task.

    Thanks again for TAST — I followed along each week in spirit and stitched when I could. I’m ready to start the new year with a needle in hand!

  10. Being that I always feel I am at choice
    I am planning to “Take It Further” and destash at the same time perhaps by using whatever challenge theme you suggest.
    The real challenge for me will be sharing it.
    I am still debating whether or not I will “weigh in” if I do I will share the experience.
    I am new to sharing my creative side…unless it just leaks out by accident. Don’t have the time to figure that out.
    Thanks again Sharon for all your fantastic energetic playful work.
    I am breathing in the courage you have to share so freely. In admiration and appreciation. ~Kate from Vermont

  11. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, I will be looking forward to the challenge. And I want to Thank You for the video clip about feeds. You are correct some of us don’t understand all this blog lingo. And A Happy New Year.

  12. Thanks, Sharon.
    I’m going to be checking out the links you’ve given on slow cloth and continuing my reflections. I had hoped to make some more comments before this, but am finishing up last minute projects. I hope the discussion will continue

    Have a great break. I’m so looking forward to Take it Further.


  13. Waving here Karen You ask “but you have not stated whether or not you will be doing the challenge as well. ” As I said when I first suggested a challenge I could post ideas for a challenge but I wont be stitching along
    actually I will be working through a personal challenge that I first proposed here
    people did not take to idea so I asked for other suggestions. The idea of a design challenge was proposed which it was suggested by one of my readers that I could simply think of the challenge , and post it monthly
    Some of my challenge thoughts are here

    So I put it to readers you can read about it here in the comments etc

    Personally I will be destashing and trying to get a lot of projects done as TAST took away a lot of personal stitching time this year and I really feel the need to clear the decks finish off stuff and do some of my own stitching. I will be blogging it

    So the short answer is no – I have set up the challenge because others wanted to do it rather than me doing it – I will be doing my own thing and blogging the process
    I will however fun watching what people do (teachers are a bit like that)

    MaryJo – People often think that my WISPs (Work in slow Progress)are UFO’s but they are not for me a UFO is something not worked on for a year or so whereas a WISP is something that is fairly constantly picked up and put down my current crazy quilt (of diamond shaped blocks) is a bit like that

    Thanks everyone for the comments about this last year as I appreciate them and realise it takes time to write them

  14. Sharon, I wanted to say thank you for the TAST posts over the past year. That was an enourmous job. I didn’t sign up for the challenge, and I haven’t taken a stitch yet, but I saved the posts, and hope to work on a sort of band sampler, using all the stitches, in the near future. I think your influence goes farther than you imagine, even among those of us who just enjoy listening to the conversation.
    Thank you again,
    Jane from Illinois

    Jane Compeau
  15. Thanks you Sharon for all the hard work you’ve put in with TAST over the past year and I look forward to the new challenge where hopefully I can use some of the new stitches I’ve learnt. Enjoy your well earned rest have a Happy Christmas and see you in 2008.

  16. “Also next year I hope you can bear with me as I document more of my work in progress. I do actually stitch!”

    You mean you can find time to stitch amongst everything else you do, LOL! Have a wonderful (slow) Christmas and I look forward to seeing more of your work in the New Year.


  17. Hi Sharon, have a lovely break. You have certainly been very busy this year.
    One thing I want to ask, hope it isn’t a “dumb” sort of question, but you have not stated whether or not you will be doing the challenge as well. We could all sit around in a big circle, gossiping and nattering, with a cuppa (is it okay if I drink coffee rather than tea?) and getting our work done together. I wrote about this on bilum. lol

  18. Dear Sharon: I was thanking you profusely when I started putting Take it Further Challenge blog sites into a RSS reader … whew — what a lot of work you do for “us.”

    Thank you also for all the links to the thoughtful “slow cloth” articles both here in the US and elsewhere …. and then I had a giggle. Do loved and old UFO’s count as slow cloths? I lovingly hold onto some things, and do eventually enjoy getting them out and finishing them. I have a drawer of embroidery items that still need the “final touch,” and quilt blocks, too.
    Happy and healthy holidays! MaryjoO


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