Have you ever…?

I am a habitual collector of random images from the internet… usually cat memes and things that tickle my dark sense of humour but I also collect images that inspire and make me feel something. Especially if they ignite that flicker of an idea, slightly intangible at the time but one that moves more and more into a solid idea for a quilt.

I have an external hard drive that is fit to bursting with images, notes for quilts, drafts for book chapters, all my phone and laptop backups and pretty much every picture I’ve ever taken with a digital device. This poor hard drive holds some of that idea intangibility but even though I rarely look at whats actually stored on there I know what’s there. It’s the promise of a design, the pattern potential and the seed of creativity that makes what I do worth getting up in the morning.


Occasionally an idea will stall. It will sit there and be a bit stubborn and doesn’t want to play.

I’ve had an idea for a quilt (more a wall hanging originally but it’s scale isn’t really important in this tale) that incorporates something that I’ve long believed in, practice and aim to improve within myself. It’s not religious although there is spirituality involved and the symbols I’d like to replicate in some way, are meaningful to the belief system. I’ve been looking at these images for months and nothing has jumped out at me to give me the clarification I need.

I have the colours and the fabrics in mind already, I have the designs and the pattern – what eludes me is what technique to use to create them.

Which might sound a little odd considering everything else is ready to go but I assure you that’s usually the stumbling block that most people find they come up against. This is me every now and then – usually when something is important or is laden with some kind of obligation (usually a gift).

So as I imagine my finished piece in all sorts of ways I ask you  –

Have you ever been stuck like this before? How did you get unstuck?

Pop your comments below. 🙂

Marni x

Not sleeping…

Before Christmas and at the moment I’m going through times where I just cannot sleep.

I’m not stressed or restless, occasionally I’m awake from the heat but most of the time its just an inability to fall asleep.

It takes a lot out of a person when you can’t sleep – as sleep deprivation is akin to being drunk – but in saying that I seem to have more motivation in the early hours of the morning more so than I do during the day.

Sleep normally comes naturally to me and I am a good sleeper – head hits the pillow and I’m out and nothing will wake me for 8-9 hours. I like sleep, I like my bed and my pillow and I enjoy the haven I’ve created in my room yet I have these batches of time where sleep eludes me. I’ve tried all sorts of remedies and short of taking heavy duty sleeping pills which I am not comfortable doing I really have no answer.

But when I do have these periods of non-sleep I get stuff done.

I built the 55 Fox Fiasco site one night, was up till 3am tweaking widgets and adjusting the colour scheme, building pages and creating the bios for the team, writing text for all the info pages. I’ve added things since but the bones of the site was easy for the girls and I almost straight away. It felt good to achieve something so tangible in one go.

The biggest problem with not sleeping is that the next day I feel terrible and it does take some time for my sewing mojo to get back into the swing of things. But once I’m moving things happen. I also get more headaches and generally feel pretty crazy.

When I do sleep in these sorts of times I have very vivid dreams and this is where I get a lot of my inspiration from. The almost hallucinatory state I’m in creates a world of colour and pattern that runs through my mind and allows me to draw upon in in my waking hours for matching and designing.

So in a way I’m thankful that I can’t sleep right now. That I know that I will be awake for another 2 hours at least before I drift off… because I get something useful out of it that makes the struggle to nod off worthwhile.

I know that I am not a true insomniac and I would never claim to be one (I’ve lived with one, I know how awful it can be) but I do believe that we all suffer it to some degree. Everyone will have an off night every now and then, maybe a few nights in a row. I have around 5-6 weeks. I think its a cycle of some kind that my body goes through – like a snake sheds its skin. I don’t know why it happens, it doesn’t change anything for me other than I’m tired (more than normal) and I get more stuff done. So I grin and bear it and know there is an end to it.

Do you suffer from something similar? Does it affect your creative skills in any way?

Leave a comment below 🙂


Marni x