Sunday, 31 October 2010

Skeletons in the (sewing) Cupboard

Booo! Happy Halloween! At first I was simply looking for a textile or vintage image I could use as a Halloween graphic for this blog post but then this incredible knitted skeleton by artist Ben Cuevas got me thinking about the phrase 'skeletons in the cupboard'... and the sewing cupboard in particular

If you are anything like me, you'll have a cupboard full of half finished items that are wondering what they did wrong to have been abandoned for so long. Or a pile of projects waiting to be started.. a pile that grows larger by the day as my mind comes up with new ideas, clothes to be altered, gifts to be made

Projects like this not only take up room in your home but also in your mind.. cluttering up your brain (albeit subconsciously) with the nagging thought of "oh, I really should get that finished". This is such a drain on your energy; doesn't it feel great when you eventually do get that project finished? Don't you love that sense of satisfaction? That feeling of completion? And of course, once a project is finished you have a space in your cupboard for something new... after all, space invariably has a habit of being filled!

The same applies to your mind... removing items from your mental to-do list allows your subconscious to stop worrying about it. It creates a space in your thoughts and allows room for something new. And we all know how good and exciting it feels when we have something new to think about. Keeping the flow going is energising, experiencing a sense of achievement is motivating; it allows you to feel good about yourself. And that is always a good thing, right?

So, time to 'fess up. What's on your should-do list right now? What projects lie lurking in your cupboard that would free up both physical and mental space? I've decided to list mine below; more as a name-it-and-reclaim-it than a name-it-and-shame-it exercise.
I began this patchwork quilt about 6 years ago. I got as far as completing the central log cabin with flying geese section, and then..... patchwork tumbleweed.
I bought this fabulous Isabell Kristensen brocade skirt in the sales - it is about 3 sizes too large for me, which involves delicately unpicking pretty much everything, hence it has sat in the to-alter pile for several seasons

My log basket project is only about 9 months old - it was supposed to be finished well before we needed logs again up in the lounge. hmmmm 'nough said
And finally, my new (vintage 80's mega high waisted) leather trousers need a new button and the jodhpur shaped hips taking in to be skinny fitting

 So how do you tackle this without feeling overwhelmed?

The key is to firstly identify everything that needs tackling - make a list. Then set yourself some time aside regularly - weekly (or daily of you wish) and no more than a couple of hours (so that you don't get burned out) - and simply take action. Start with the easiest first - that way you experience a sense of completion as soon as possible. If you need to, break each project into step by step tasks - it really doesn't mater how long it takes you to get through your list; the key is that you are making progress. Keep at it. Showing up at your scheduled time and doing something is a step in the direction of accomplishment. Team up with a friend if it helps motivate you both - accountability is a great way to get things done.

So tell me, what skeletons do YOU have in your sewing cupboard?

Lisa x x

{Knitted skeleton by Ben Cuevas in Trancending Materials, all other photos by Lisa Pocklington for Smitten With It All}


  1. There are definitely skeletons in my sewing cupboard representing past lives and abandoned dreams and you are so right about how these unfinished projects are like having an emotional energy leak. Before I understood the power of letting go, those well-intentioned starts felt burdensome. It wasn't until I noticed I was avoiding not only the cupboard but the spare room it was in that I knew it was time to do something. I spent an afternoon sorting and saying good-bye to those things I knew I'd never complete (like the baby clothes needing a fix so the next baby could benefit that were still there as my four babies headed to high-school!) I immediately felt freer. It may be time to do it again with what is left. Thanks for the eloquent reminder.

  2. you're very welcome Gail, thanks for sharing your story. I think it's probably a good thing that I don't have a spare room..
    Lisa x

  3. Project update: the log basket is now complete! We took delivery of this year's log supply last weekend & it was the proverbial kick in the pants that I needed. It took about half an hour! Why, why, why had I left it so long??

    Lisa x

  4. Project update: super high waisted leather trousers are also now complete - I wore them to a New Year's party with a sequined dress over top & my gorgeous gold sling-backs

    Progress is also being made - albeit very slowly - on the patchwork quilt!

    Lisa x


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