Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year Bookmark

Sunny Flowers
Welcome to this New Year of 2011. I am back now in normal mode having recovered from the worst jet lag I have experienced to date! Our holiday period was fantastic with some great family get-togethers and lots of games with my grandsons. I think all the little storycloth presents were well received. It certainly gave me satisfaction to give them. It was not a warm few weeks in Australia but we did get to the beach once and have returned to Winter here with a slight tan.

I made this bookmark around New Years Eve in the midst of post travel dizziness. I am using it myself and derive pleasure everytime I take it out of the book I am reading, put it back in, or just notice the flowers poking out of the book as I walk past. The black fabric is some sort of grosgrain tape that I had lying around - it feels a little synthetic and I won't use it again. But the overall effect is very cheery and striking.

I made a minor New Year's resolve pertaining to clothwork. After I had finished the Sunny Flower's bookmark and realised that the feel of the tape was not that pleasing I decided that this year I will not use any fabric that I know will detrimentally effect the completed article. As a consequence I began work on a small linen storycloth, the first piece for 2011, using a similar flower theme as the bookmark but in different colours. I will post this as soon as it is completed.

I have also been thinking about another perspective on creating storycloths. This time inspired by my four year old grandson. He constructs very complex lego designs using book length instruction guides. He will not budge on replacing the exact required piece with another, rather he will search for the 'right' piece. He knows every piece of lego in his enormous collection. He describes his process like this: "I always follow instructions". As he grows older he may become more flexible, which I am sure he would be even now in an emergency! But his approach, and his dedication to his approach, gives me cause for contemplation as I have always been the opposite. I have historically felt constrained by instructions, thinking that I am not being creative if I follow them. But I have realised that there is a place for deriving satisfaction from following instructions well. Doing something 'right'. Firmly establishing a base of knowledge and experience from which I can later experiment. I mean, in the case of recipes for example, there is something to be said for following an expert's recipe closely, being able to repeat a wonderful culinary experience time and time again. Likewise, perhaps, following cloth making instructions from an expert, from someone who knows how to make certain effects with cloth, is manifestly satisfying. For me, maybe creativity can be found in the dedication to learning an art well, humbling myself enough to learn deeply, exactly, thoroughly from another.

At close of needle yesterday I had outlined the vase on my first storycloth for 2011.

Happy stitching everyone. I will be getting around to blogs in the next few days. Thankyou for the comments on my last post for 2010. It is really great  to read over them.



  1. sounds like you had a good holiday. you were missed. your 4 year old grandson sounds like he's got it right...start out with the instructions and then deviate. love your bookmark. i'm into bookmats right now. don't have much use for bookmarks as i read mostly on my kindle. welcome home.

  2. yes...welcome home! looking forward to
    your new work....

  3. Happy New Year! Nice to read you! You remind me of the days way back when our art teachers made us copy the masters practically stroke for stroke.

  4. Hi again Gilly, Just wondering if you have tried that smocking machine yet.

  5. Your grandson's approach is quite amazing, but I guess not so unusual, because children tend to creating their own rituals and rules. I did. It makes such a difference whether these rules are self-given or if they come from outside; I have never welcomed the outer kind, but still stick to the self-invented ones.
    The bookmark is charming!
    Looks like hand quilting enhances a sensitivity for material; my experience with synthetics is much the same.

  6. Hi dear Gilli, and a happy new year to you as well!
    First: don't worry about "following" me: you are a follower already from the very beginning ;-))
    So good that your self-made presents were recieved well (but that's normal I have experienced)
    Great to hear the story about your grandson and his drive for lego: it gives him enormous self esteem that he can follow the "official" instructions. I think he is well capable of doing "his own thing" !!! (My grandson is almost 7 (this month) but I see the same things ;-) )
    Lovely bookmark (why not make one for every month / or every mood ?!?)
    The feeling of cloth .... I think that's Jude's doing .... ;-)))

  7. Hi Gilly...I'm glad your holiday went so well. I really like your bookmark and how well the fabric, even though you weren't keen on it, responded. Looking forward to the vase storycloth!

  8. Hi Gilly,

    I just wanted to tell you how much you inspire me with your story cloths. I have just tagged you with an award. Please visit and check it out.

  9. Hi Deanna - thanks, it is great to be back. What exactly is the function of a book-mat? It sounds delightful but I 'm not sure what it is.

    Hullo Grace - will visit you soon.

    Penny - I haven't used the smocking machine yet- but thanks for the reminder.

    Hi Eva - yes haha I haven't ever welcomed the outer kind either - that is why this is a new way of thinking for me!

    Hi Els - thank you for such a thoughtful comment. Having grandsons is an immediate bond. I agree about jude and fabric and I think she is also pretty responsible for this lovely group of bloggers! A lot to thank her for.

    Susanna - great to be in communication with you this happy new year!

    Sujata - what a lovely compliment you have paid me. I will visit your blog properly soon. Thank you so very much. You have encouraged me and I can't wait to finish the next little cloth for posting.


  10. Oh I really hope you are over your jet lag. I didn't sleep properly for weeks when we came back from San Francisco, Australia must be even worse!!

  11. Hi karen - yes thankfully, it is a couple of weeks now and I feel really good - but I know sometimes it is debilitating for weeks. Gilly

  12. welcome back! sounds like you had a fabu holiday! i'm not good with jet lag either. at my age i just let it be what it is... i can always read or stitch. i loved your grandson's story with the legos. it brought back memories... my granddaughter now has the boys legos and she still plays with them with her dad! but i am cut from a different cloth, i think... i want to be free to do what i want and follow my intuition. i never could follow instructions...well i could but i didn't like it! so now in this period of my life that i consider 'my time', i let myself create the way i want... and it sounds like you are doing the same in your own way!

  13. Happy New Year!! I am here via The Root Connections suggestion and I just love the sweet softness of your story cloths! I took a class with Janet Bolton in Sisters, OR and am wondering if/how she has influenced you? In class she modeled playing for a long time with her fabrics to find just the right one. She said at home she has been known to play for days! Interesting how her idea of play - searching for the right piece - ties into the play of your grandson and his legos. Happy playing! I look forward to checking back in. I made one of my first postings about my class with Janet at

  14. Love your bookmark Gilly and thank you so much for the kind comments on my blog recently. I have more trees there. I find great satisfaction giving gifts that I've made. I am inclined to be like you also .. which is not to follow instructions so specifically but I agree with Eva that if you are the one that decides to follow them it can be satisfying to follow directions and have an outcome that pleases you. I think that following the suggestions of someone with more experience allows you to learn a skill perhaps and then you can use the knowledge to do your own thing which can sometimes lead you in a whole new direction. Anyway I look forward to peeking in to your blog and seeing what you are up too. Happy New Year to you also. Tammy :)