block busted!

Last week I was bemoaning a creative block but in the last few days I find myself once again with several projects under consideration, such as –

  • a wall hanging based on one of second son’s book illustrations
  • taking my basic tatting skills to the next level and actually tatting more than just simple circles
  • adding machine embroidery to the bottom edge of a silk scarf
  • making quilting sandwiches and then practising stitches from Leah Day’s excellent quilting website

Until I typed them out, I wasn’t fully aware that three of the four ideas are sewing projects. I have more than just dabbled in many other hobby pursuits but it would be true to say that since I was first taught to sew around the age of six, I have been addicted to it and ever since then, my leisure time has indeed mainly centred around fabric, needles, and thread. It’s never really occurred to me before that whilst other hobbies are tried and discarded (sometimes for good), I always come back to sewing in one form or another for the satisfaction and challenges it provides.

Family and friends would no doubt look at me askance to hear that, and remark that it was more than obvious that sewing was my main creative outlet but I think I’ve always thought of it as no more special a hobby than any other. It’s just one that I happen to have done for longer than any other.

At the age of ten or eleven, my grandmother’s ancient Singer treadle machine appeared in our home to fascinate and beguile me and since then, no matter where I have lived, I have always had a sewing machine and not to have one would be a form of torture for me. When the Singer machine that I’d had for almost forty years gave up the ghost, I almost wept.

I think that what I recently referred to as a creative block was because the Bernina was faulty and I didn’t want to use it until the fault had been rectified. In other words, my choice to sew or not to sew was taken from me and I was in a place where I didn’t want to be. Now that she’s back and fully functional once more (oh, yes, it’s definitely ‘she’), the ideas have been flowing once more and when I’ve done what small amount of work I need to do today, I’ll be back sorting out fabric and threading up the Bernina!

1907, treadle-operated Singer sewing machine.

This is pretty much the same machine as my grandmother’s but it looks as if this one has had a motor added. (Image from

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