Dolly Henry is a sewing and design blog for the creative wanderer, where style meets play and making is a lifestyle.

Hi, I'm Megan - owner, designer and writer at Dolly Henry! Join me here as I explore the ins and outs of creativity, dabble in dollmaking and raise my voice on issues facing creative entrepreneurs.

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Reconnecting with Slow Stitches

It has been a slow start to 2019 for me, with a bit of a cold/flu type thing arriving just before Christmas and settling in for the past month, I have had to take things a bit more slowly than usual. Though this has been frustrating, it has also given me a chance to sit back and smell the proverbial roses. The weather has been quite hot in January, which is never very conducive to a lot of creativity. I've found little pockets of making here and there, and I have found myself embracing slow stitching, whether that is in sewing, knitting or crochet. 

Slowness is underrated and I will admit, I am not a naturally patient person. As a beginner I sought to rush through the learning experience, anxious to gain new skills and implement any new ideas. I can still catch myself doing this now if I'm not careful when I come across something new and exciting - I want to try out a new idea RIGHT AWAY. 

The more experience I gain, however, the more I appreciate the time to stop, consider and go slowly. I'm not sure my patience has grown, but perhaps I now appreciate the journey and process a bit more than I once did. An excellent example of this is in my doll making journey - years ago I abandoned making dolls because I found the stuffing process incredibly dull and slow. 

Now I enjoy it, and quite like the opportunity to sit down and drink tea while I sculpt a new little creature. Lots of people like to Netflix while they craft, and while I enjoy watching a good show with some hand stitching or crochet, I also now enjoy the space that sitting quietly and doing my craft allows - it is more mindful (for want of a better, less of the moment word!) and helps me to process new ideas while my hands work.

When I need a break from sewing, knitting or any other form of hand work, I like to spend time drawing, painting and creating my visual journal. Below is a glimpse of my friend Ulla's journal that she has created with beautiful fabrics, magazine pages, travel brochures and more. I particularly loved the paper dolls, and I was inspired to create my own set to use in my journaling, and they are now available as a printable set in my store.

In an attempt to claim back some space in the day, I have started limiting the time I spend online, and on Instagram in particular. I love spending lots of time on there, it's wonderful that we can connect with other people who share like-minded pursuits further afield. However, it can also be a little bit distracting, so I have found not allowing myself to use Instagram until later in the day allows me to have a more productive start. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it has helped me organize my time a little bit more efficiently. I have been meaning to write a blog post on this subject, but that will have to be for another time.

I keep all my dolls, fabrics and extra stock in not very glamorous plastic tubs. They might not look good or aesthetically pleasing, but they keep all my pieces and supplies dust free and away from sunlight. One of the problems with this is that I often feel a bit disconnected from my creations or lose track of what supplies I do own - often a piece of fabric will inspire me - so lately I have taken more time to check in with, and stay familiar with my stash, and creations. 

It's a topic for another time, but so often I find in creative business, due to the often slow nature of production, we forget or neglect to set aside time or a day where you kind of do 'nothing'. 'Nothing' time is invaluable, and I have found spending a bit of time just pottering away a new idea or resorting my supplies is a good way to reconnect to my creativity. 

I read somewhere once upon a time that it's okay to simply be inspired by yourself. I frequently forget this, as so often I look outward for inspiration, rather than spending some time with my own work, looking at my own photos and own creations. 

I did this the other day and tried a different outfit from a different doll on Croissant - putting her into a Liberty dress, headwrap and knitted pinafore. I love this look so much, I feel like it transformed her and I instantly got a new wave of ideas. I had had all my pieces out, taking stock when I got tired and decided to just have a play. 

Trying out something new from what I have already made was so inspiring, I think I need to spend more time looking through my own work rather than suffering the comparison syndrome so often - we all struggle with it now and then, and as someone with perfectionist tendencies, it's safe to say I regularly feel like my work is lacking in some way or another...

Which I know is silly, because I frequently encourage everyone to be brave enough to commit to their own version of creativity, find their voice and accept the style that flows from their own hands, because it unique to them. Nobody ever stood out by being the same as everyone else.

Sunday has become EPP (english paper piecing) day, as every Sunday evening I co-host the #sipteaandepp party on Instagram. This has been a really good way to make sure I get at least one hexagon flower made each week - I do so many other things all week, that little things such as wanting to one day make an EPP hexagon quilt often slips by the wayside, remaining in a pile of 'one day' projects. One Day often doesn't come, so having this little party has certainly helped my chances of success!

I've been mixing my own fabrics together, as they work wonderfully for fussy cutting. 
This is last weeks flower: (and a baby Hazel for company)

Larisa from @stitchingnotes is my co-host and I have been meaning to share this little needle book I made as a gift for someone last year. Larisa creates the most beautiful little stitched pieces, with intricate attention to detail. I made the needlebook below using one of her tutorials as inspiration, suiting the inside of the book to the recipient's needs.

I absolutely love the little fox button! Given my own needlebook isn't as pretty as this one, I might have to make myself one soon! I also love the look of this one by Ann Wood.

Have you embraced slow stitching recently? 

Megan x

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  1. Hi
    First, thanks for hosting the sip tea and epp party. I love epp but there are times that sewing just an hexie feels impossible. But I'll try to epp something at least every Sunday.
    I have to try no check Instagram till night because I feel that I'm checking it all day. Thanks

  2. Lovely post Megan. I’ll have to check out your sip tea and ep party as I have a little project I would like to start!


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