I’m back!

Well I haven’t go myself a new proper website from which to pedal my wares as at because designing a scarf a month turned out to be a bit ambitious! So in the meantime I thought I’d catch y’all up with all things printy.

Here is my first test scarf;





I was so relieved and excited to get this through I can tell you. It’s sans having the edges finished as that would have been a further 3 weeks and I was too impatient. My fear had been that given the delicacy of my drawings, I wouldn’t get good ‘through-print’ (a scarf needs to be reversible as you see flashes of the back) but as you can see in the first picture, the top half is the reverse and you can hardly tell. Whoot.

It’s 90 x 90 and it’s given me a good insight into how a scarf works on the neck. Whilst I don’t want anything too fussy, I do need to add some more detail around the edges of the scarf as you do really see those. I’m not totally happy with my central bird so she might go. It just needs a bit of tinkering.

I’ve learnt a lot this past year and it’s been a strangely more emotional journey that I expected to be. It’s the first time I’ve done something which really is totally creative and done it independently. I didn’t have the luxury of going back to school to train to be a textile designer (full-time for 3 years, eating up my savings; no thanks) so have fitted this around my job. It’s fair to say when I was teaching myself the computer aided design software I was totally aimless. I didn’t really know how I’d make money from it so I took the ‘How to Make it in Design’ course. This had a wealth of information about all the different options as a textile designer; freelancing, art licensing, trade fairs, nuts and bolts of own business financially. It made me think realistically about myself and what would work for me even if it meant accepting bit of my personality I’m not necessarily that proud of;

  • I’m aesthetically stubborn. Massively. I thought about working to briefs from clients. Not going to happen.
  • I’ve no interest in the twee end of the market. Which erm, a lot of surface design is for homeware etc
  • Working for anyone, interning. Was I straight of uni then yes, but I’ve done that for 20 years and I’m done with it.

Great I thought. You stubborn, un-realistic, pain in the backside. How is this ever going to work. But I decided to go back to basics and do some drawing. Just because once I’d taught myself CAD I wanted to see if I could incorporate my own stuff. Thank ^%$£ I did. That is what I am good at although I don’t trust in it at all. Trust me, I am as surprised as everyone else when I sit down to draw and come out with something beautiful. I have no idea how that happens.  It’s where my OCD is actually useful; “no not quite right…still not right…”. The penny dropped. Yes I’m stubborn, everytime I start a picture I doubt it will come out nicely, but I’m also lucky to have a good eye and a natural ability; not everyone has that. I’m fine at working independently, being self directed and I want to make something that sits between art and pattern. Scarves.

If I went into Dragons Den they would tear me apart. I don’t know what my market will be, I have no projected turnover – any of that. But I do believe I can slowly but surely create decent scarves. I’ve got a clear idea of how I want the brand, know I need to understand how to get places to stock etc but you learn, explore and adapt as you go.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional side. Jesus. I know why artists go and group together and work in studios. It’s far too isolating working on your own. I can’t do that at present as I have a full time job. I actually wept when I got my first small test print back. I felt vindicated that there was something I did actually want to do. I’ve spent years feeling like one massive, anxious, clumsy square peg pretending I want to fit into a round hole. I never had the slightest clue about what job to do because to me they all sounded a bit shit. I realise now it’s because I’m a creative so for me, they would be a bit shit. My mind, if it’s not working at making things, expressing itself, challenging itself, just turns inwards and eats itself in a bevvy of OCD. (The irony here of course being when it does that, my life gets more and more limited thereby preventing me from doing things that make me feel better. Bah) If it wasn’t scarves it would need to be academia; writing.

Finding out what your passion is and then following it is not easy. The self-doubt, the fact I’m massively risk averse and the power of inertia. But in there is that shaft (oo err) of steely stubborness. I’m trusting that aspect, accompanied with my ability, will eventually win out over the self doubt. Keep plugging on.


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Endings and beginnings…

I do like huggiedoeshomespun. I carved my miniscule corner of the crafting bloggy world back in 2011 when I was actually experiencing an annus horrribilis. It’s charted a 3 year journey of crafting exploration  (in my usual evasive, light-hearted manner) and ultimate discovery of what I’d like to do thanks very much. I started out sewing (then realised actually I am not that interested in it) but it gave me an appreciation of different fabrics and garment construction. It charted my meteoric rise to knitting greatness ;-). It’s charted what was just a interested thought, to a conviction as to what I’d at least like to try and make a partial living from.

Must have been 3 years ago now I did the course at St Martins – Silk screen printing. It looked like fun and I like making things  It was at the end of that she explained; “you can also get things printed digitally”. A little switch went ON. I WANT TO DESIGN MY OWN FABRIC FOR DRESSES. So slowly but surely I taught myself to do it and um, well I can (quite proud of myself actually, all this round a full-time job and penchant for sleeping). The past year or so has been more about getting to grips with computer aided design and exploring what my style might be but I’ve got a sense if it now and ideas for how I might start to blend hand drawn stuff with computer type stuff. It’s time to get creative. Doing this course at present I realised there are real opportunities via art licensing to sell designs. Like…you know…..actually possible (like the stuff I’ve already done), not pie-in-the-sky. Pattern in everywhere; stationary, home furnishings, wallpaper and fabric. You can design for all if you like.

Wierd how something could be staring me in the face my entire life and I totally missed it. Good at art? yup, art teacher said I’d be a good textile designer – ignored that comment, creative person? yup, obsessed with colour and pattern? yup. My wardrobe is AWASH with colourful patterned dresses, my object d’art usually involve pattern and I’m aesthetically ruthless. I have the strongest opinions about what is beautiful and ugly which I hold with utter conviction.

I have also learnt (although to be honest I kind of knew it), I have no interest in teaching or sharing the hows or whys. I just like the doing and penning the odd funny word. I’ve enjoyed sharing my crafty shizzle with the small gaggle of you that read this and it’s given me a warm non-sex&al glow thinking I’m a small part of a community…

But it’s about to be time to get serious. I’m going to need a proper website, so people don’t go to look at my designs and have to wade through pictures of my ‘tits in knits’. A site where I don’t say things like ‘tits in knits’ , where I make it look like butter wouldn’t melt versus having the WORST potty mouth. I’m going to have to save the ranty diatribes for The Weekly Portia’. I need to create a brand (ugh)…in short it’s time to start thinking professional. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Innit.

So, huggiedoeshomespun is going to be replaced. I’m not really a blogger anyway; let’s face it, it’s a comedy on-line craft journal. So we are probably on wind-down I think. Endings/beginnings…


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Dis ‘ere be me latest

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So this ‘ere little number is kind of liberty inspired. Small delicate ditsy floral. Good for a tea dress or something. Bleedin nora this took a while. I finished it off interspersed with playing Candy Crush. Addictive does not come close. You can’t tell here but my repeat is totally seamless on this baby. Skills.


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How do I make a buck from this stuff?!

So I decided to do this course: MONESTISING YOUR DESIGNS

Now I tend towards the erm..’over rich fantasy life/ stubborn’ so when I started with this fabric design malarkey I had a very clear idea what I wanted to do. I wanted to give Erdem a run for his money. OK so I’m not quite as deluded as thinking I can be a world acclaimed fashion designer but you know….that was the print I liked. ‘Designs for silk dresses’. End of. Wrapping paper? NOPE!!

Eventually a touch of reality creeps in and I decided that just perhaps it was more sensible to just you know, explore options given that I ostensibly had no experience in the fashion industry whatsoever and have a full time job. So this looked like a good start. Admittedly the designers on MOYO have a different aesthetic to mine but hellz, looks like a good course and might help me work out how I can eventually make a penny or two from this stuff. Maybe it’s a good thing being a bit different.

There is coursework. I have no idea how long the lessons are. It’s fine – who needs sleep.

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Ta daaaaaa!!!!! At last, a print came out with the colours I wanted. BOOYAR!

This was a blinking relief I can tell you. I liked how my last design looked on the screen but when printed it killed the detail and the colour. Here, they are as expected and it’s the sort of thing I’ve been working towards. Of course this is not a winter type pattern, this colour scheme is un-ashamedly spring-summer.

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Not very autumnal

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Not that autumnal really! Well I suppose the yellows and red are but….this is plainly a more summery shindig. Not red and Navy for once whoooaaaaa

I have become aware of drawing tablets. I know I know – hardly news but I wasn’t that familiar with the digital design arsenal not working in that field ‘n all. Well I tell you, I couldn’t BE more excited about the thought of having one of these to use. The problem with drawing and then scanning in is that it’s hard to copy it without getting white edges etc so this would be avoided with one of these babies. The possibilities are endless. Think I’ll get a WACOM Intuous. The CINTIQ looks even better but at £1500 that’s probably an investment if I ever go professional; a little excessive for now I think. It’s also a bit large. I’m slightly nervous about the amount of stuff I have. There is no a chance I’d ever fit it all into a one bed place anymore. So massive great cintiq…no.

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First up, if my bestmate is reading this – still smiling from your little story ;-) …’You can take the girl outta Macc, but you can’t take Macc out of the girl’

A week from design to sample, cor blimey guv. As you can see, comes out nowhere near as bright as the jpeg although the greyness is less so in real life. I still like it but I’ll need to try and work out how to address that. This is when it get’s frustrating having no-one to ask ! Next up I’m going to try a collage type design with a lot of different colours without such a dark background and see how that comes out…

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