So I’ll finish. . . or maybe not. I’m great at starting, just not so great at finishing. There are various reasons for this. I lose interest in a project usually once I’ve done the ‘interesting’ bit. Sometimes that is the piecing or the basic stitching of an applique; sometimes it is just the designing stage. Occasionally I discover I don’t have a fabric to use as a border because I hadn’t thought that far ahead and then I can’t find a fabric that ‘goes’ or that I like and I don’t have enough left-overs to make a pieced or scrappy border and now and then I realise that I have taken so long over the making the top that I have used the fabric I put on one side for a border in something else.

In the wardrobe are several cloth shopping bags and in the bags are UFOs, WIPs, PhDs and assorted other collections of tops, blocks, and bits awaiting inspiration or inclination. Some of them have been waiting a very long time indeed. Elsewhere are bags and baskets of half-made blocks – these I call my ‘teaching aids’ as they can be useful for showing the steps in making certain units or blocks; but one day I will have to do something with them as they are getting a little tatty around the edges.

I also have files of designs that have never been made or that were started and not finished. When I heard about this month’s blog hop challenge based on flowers I remembered that I had a lot of flower designs in one folder and even some samples. I could hunt them out and write them up and . . . .

But somehow, what with one thing and another I only got as far as hunting them out. I quite liked some of them, others were a bit ‘clunky’, I couldn’t find any instructions I might have written, none of them were on the computer as they were mostly drawn in pre-computer days so I would have to find a way of getting them onto the computer in a printable format and a sensible size, and I would have to make one of them with step-by-step photos. Which one? I couldn’t decide. I didn’t like many of them enough after all to want to make them. The ones I did like I had already made and didn’t particularly want to make again. . . . Hmm. If there’s one thing I am really good at it is procrastination.

And I procrastinated for so long that I missed the boat. So all I have to offer you is a few photos of scribbled sketches, half-made blocks and one or two finished things.

I went on a machine applique course some (oh dear) 35 years ago with Linda Straw when we had to design our own block and then stitch it using the silk (!) fabrics she had brought with her. It was an excellent course and I learnt a lot.

It sparked a flurry of flower drawings (we had been sent out into the gardens to look for our inspiration – I’d used the bluebells under the hedge) and even some stitching. I had a couple of sleeveless jackets at the time which I jazzed up with applique flowers (my baby daughter was promptly sick down the fuchsia one!)

and then made a jacket from scratch with daffodils appliqued on it.

More recently we had a competition at our patchwork group to make a miniature (A4 size) quilt using colours that started with our initials and I made a poppy using carmine, maroon and fern green – or that’s what I said they were!

I think the conclusion from all this rambling is that procrastination is fine. Don’t be put off by the fact that you can’t draw, you can look in books and adapt the designs you find – the daffodils for instance were adapted from an illustration in a Victorian book on design. Try different techniques – it really doesn’t matter if you never finish something, no one will shout at you. It doesn’t matter if your first attempt (or even your twentieth) isn’t ‘perfect’ – there’s no such thing when working with stretchy fabric with a mind of its own – you learn by doing and each attempt will improve on the last. Just have fun trying, enjoy the process of design and stitch, and don’t tie yourself in knots of guilt over making something that isn’t ‘right’, that isn’t ‘perfect’, that isn’t finished . . . just have fun – this is a hobby not a job for most of us and hobbies are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable!

Lecture over! If you fancy using any of my sketches as inspiration for your floral applique, please do – I’m unlikely to do so any time soon.!

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