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Missing: SewJo

It’s all too easy for my SewJo (Sewing Mojo) to just up and leave me in the lurch. I currently have 7 projects running with no real deadlines between them. But I can’t just leave things all over the place. I can’t even sit in my comfy chair because the painted sky of my Tree of Life is draped over it (not dramatically, just that the paint doesn’t seem to like being creased). If you follow my Instagram you’ll notice I just finished my Bookcase miniature quilt. A feat that has only been in the works for a year…. and it only measures 12″ x 12″.

So how do you get it back? Well, you should probably look at why you stopped.

  • Did you lose the love for the project you are in the middle of?
  • Did life get in the way?
  • Have you run out of projects?

Safe to say that you probably didn’t run out of projects but it’s a thought. Maybe you just finished something and have no immediate idea to get started on. However life is probably the main reason. For me, life (not just my 9to5 job or my Guide unit) gets between me and lengthy bouts at the sewing machine. So sometimes I don’t even bother trying and that can turn into months. I didn’t sew a stitch for nearly 2 months. I have even longer breaks between blog spots. Then I made myself finish the mini Bookcase because it was the closest to being finished. Which brings me to this post. How do you get started again?

First of all you have not, I repeat, NOT lost the love for the craft. It’s just in a lesser strength than usual.

So it’s just a case of getting out of that ‘not doing’ rut you have found yourself in. I don’t have a quick fix because in the same way that you realised that you haven’t picked a needle or pencil for weeks, you won’t suddenly find that insatiable need to create everything return in an instant.

What you can do –

  • Take a class – learn a new or different skill
  • Try something different – pick up a paintbrush or pencil for a change
  • Ditch the machine for hand sewing, or machine sew a block
  • Don’t spend too long on Pinterest (it’s not going to bring back your sewing mojo, in fact it may make it worse as you look at projects and you fall down a rabbit hole off not doing)
  • Keep reading magazines and books, visiting shows and museums, going outside… You never know where your inspiration will strike.

If none of these work, then simply give it time. The love isn’t gone and you will return to your craft. Mine always comes back. Yours will too.

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

State of the Union 2018

No, not the Donald Trump speech mutterings of a madman but an idea of were Little Hippo Sews one year on.

Finished projects – Since this time last year….
The Crazy Ticket Quilt (that made it to the Scottish Quilt Show just last week)


2 Baby Quilts
My recycled hoodie quilt
A remake of my Harry Potter cloak for Halloween complete with a Liberty fabric lined hood.


…and I did enter Festival of Quilts but the less said about that the better probably. I do love my quilted frame but it wasn’t up to quality and it wasn’t displayed correctly.

Current projects –
The Quilter’s Planner Sampler Quilt – although I’m currently a month behind on my miniaturised edition. At the piecing stage.
My miniature bookcase quilt – now being hand quilted. It might go to competition or I might just pet it.
Grace’s Tree of Paradise – I’ve developed an obsession with Alias Grace (book by Margaret Atwood, TV show by Netflix; read it, watch it, you WILL love it). It has many quilt references including a tree of paradise at the very end which I’ve sketched out as a mini.
Tree of Life – An experiment with acrylic paint and quilting. Not sure where this one is going but it’s quite large scale and I would need to paint outside since I’ve discovered that a meter and a half square board is too big for the sewing room.

You have maybe noticed a trend there. (Not trees, that’s just a coincidence) I have developed a bit of love for the smallest of the quilt groups. This might be where my quilting goes for awhile. It’s actually quite exciting because I’ve been all over the place after my 3D creation ideas dried up a little. Sadly 3D creations can’t go very far and the world of quilting is so vast.

Social Media – Instagram isn’t so bad I’m trying to keep up with everything. Facebook is a little sparse but I’m working on that too.
Blog – Well that has been dire. I apologise. I will try harder this year.
Etsy – 1 sale. Shop in holiday mode. I’m going to bring it back to life this year by adding patterns for the baby quilts that I have made recently.

The Important Thing About Equipment 

I’ll let you into a secret….. You don’t need the most expensive gear to get a result. Really. I’m currently breaking in a replacement pair of walking boots. Cost £35. Okay, they wouldn’t be enough if I was going to the Antarctic but I’m not. They need to survive a bit of rain and probably a couple of muddy camps and they will do that. If I properly take up Munro bagging (that habit of all good mountaineers where it’s a proper challenge to climb every Munro height [over 3000 feet] molehill in Scotland [there’s 282 of them]) then yes I will invest in something maybe a little more robust.

The same is true about sewing. I started with remnants of fabrics and hand sewing. Now I have 2 machines and a stash of fabrics. When the west of America was still wild, women would make their quilts with fabrics to hand, some bought in for the purpose but also seed bags or feed sacks. I’m not kidding – Google books If they can do it so can you. Please don’t be fooled or put off by the amount of gear people have. Some of my most useful items are cheap or not even made with sewing in mind at all, like my squared jotter for creating the layouts of quilts. 

Believe in yourself and try.

I have a confession….

My name is Claire.

I’m 32 years old and have been sewing since I was a kid.

I hate the word sewist.

I am a quilter, embroider, an artist, a crafty person but I do not and never will call myself a sewist.

In all fairness it might be how it sounds in my Glaswegian accent but I really just don’t like the word. It feels too general. Be a tailor or tailoress, seamstress, quilter (or whatever branch of quilting you love – art, modern, miniature), embroider… Be whatever you want to be, there will be a lovely name for it and a band of people who will love you and your work. There is a converse to my argument saying that one word will band us together but to me I would rather be called something much more specific. I’m not much of a dressmaker and don’t want to take the shine away from those amazing people who can do a set-in sleeve. So why lump us together?

The Story of the Festival of Quilts Entry

I’ve been super busy with family and the 9-5 recently, although I haven’t stopped sewing. One decision I did have to make was my entry for Festival of Quilts. Yes I said entry not entries.

Originally I did have 2 but I’ve made the decision to cut back so that my lack of time won’t impact on the quality of the entry that is nowhere near finished at the moment. That does mean that I can show you photos of it now.

This is Crazy year and it was destined for this year’s Festival, now maybe you will get to see it next year. At this point it isn’t yet up to the right size. The minimum is for a side of a meter and the main central area is only about 60cm (or 2 foot in old money).

Almost assembled quilt top
Currently it has an extra white border which actually helps balance it out and shoves it over the minimum. I love the pieced squares and I do have 52 left over blocks of 4 which may, or may not, end up as the back. Considering it is a wall hanging quilt I’m not fussy about what will be on the back other than the label…oh and the orphan block which didn’t make it on to the front. Crazy year is still awaiting hand embroidery and machine quilting. That’s mostly why it’s on hold, the time needed to make the best of every block isn’t going to be a feature of my life any time soon. There’s even a tub of buttons waiting to be added to it. So Crazy year will be finished, I can promise you that.

The Jess Glynne ticket block

Pet Shop Boys – not the final lanyard placement

All the blocks in one of the trial layouts before I added ribbon/lanyard/wristband.

The raw edges before cutting down. Final block is 3.5 x 6.5 inches.

Selfish Sewing

In all fairness to my sewing it’s nearly all done for my own pleasure. However when I’m in the middle of big projects with deadlines (that are not in the super near future) I almost lose the will to go on…. Sometimes I stop all together but then I struggle to start again. 

This time at least I’m still at my machine. In between sessions with the 2 projects for Festival of Quilts, I’ve been working on a needle book. I hope it will have enough space for my (stupidly) large needle collection. Plus pocket with clear PVC and a scissor pocket. Besides I have been doing demos of hand embroidery so the wool felt squares I have chosen to make up the pages are doing double duty. When it’s finished it will become a reasonable example of lots of different hand stitches. 

Side note – I’m getting to play with my teflon foot 😃

Apologies For The Radio Silence

I’ve been a bad blogger for the last 2 months (when I went off on a rant about craft fairs). It’s not an excuse but I have been busy…

My 2 Festival of Quilts entries for this year have consumed my time and as usual I have nothing to publicly show for it. Also I may actually be mad for attempting 2 – one for Quilt Creations and 1 for… well actually I can’t quite figure out what class this one will end up in. It’s either meant to be “art quilt” or “contemporary”. Mostly it’s a Claire special and has no real category. But it is flat so that’s a new one.

However something else has consumed my time – 

I took the plunge and have started Little Hippo Sews properly. The local agricultural show had space for more stands and I got in. It’s all very official now – I have insurance and everything. 

So I am available to teach sewing machine basics, hand embroidery and quilting. 

Hopefully you’ll see me out and about. I’m thinking of doing ‘make and takes’ next time.