once upon a thread: the dot

July 8th, 2011

posting a guest post I did for Katy:

When Katy asked me to be a part of Once Upon a Thread, I immediately said yes! yes! and then I drew a complete blank. I could not think of a single book that made me want to make something, which is silly because I love children’s books and I love making things.  You would think this project would be easy peasy. And that’s what I thought, but suddenly nothing was inspiring me to sew.

I looked through my kids’ books, I looked through some of my friend’s collections, I looked in the library, but the more I looked the worse it got. I had maker’s block. The more I tried to force myself to think creatively the worse my ideas became.  The horrible ideas made me feel like I wasn’t creative enough or clever enough or much of a seamstress or all of those at once.

My big crabby, self defeatist attitude reminded me of a little children’s book we’ve picked up from the library a few times called The Dot by Peter Reynolds. It’s a simple story about a little girl who is frustrated because she can’t draw. Her teacher asks if she will at least make a mark on the page. So the girl slams her marker down and makes a dot.

“Now sign it,” the teacher says.

So she signs it, Vasha. And the next day her dot is hanging, framed, in the front of the room.  Seeing it, Vasha thinks, “Well I can make a better dot than that.” And she does and much crazy dot painting ensues: big dot, small dots, dots made of dots, dots made from the absence of dots. It’s a beautifully illustration (literally) of the lesson I often try to teach my children: stop saying I can’t and just try. A lesson I obviously hadn’t learned myself.

For a while now, I have been dreaming of making my own fabric. The hand dyed and hand printed fabrics (and the beautiful projects made from them ) always appeal to me, but I am rather terrified of dying  my own fabric–my bathtub still shows the signs of a botched dip dying experiment. I will try dying again, but the book made me think that there might be other ways to make a mark.  Down in the basement, I scrounged some spray paint and an old white sheet. Then on my snow covered picnic table I drew some dots.

So there. I did it. Made fabric. It wasn’t perfect, it was scratchy and pilled a bit in the dryer, but hey! I made it. Then I made something out of it: a little peasant top.  And it looked better than the fabric did–I made a better dot! And now I want to make more, with fabric paint this time or maybe even dye.

It is so easy not to do something new. It’s cliche that we get stuck in our old ways, but we do! And then constantly tell our children to get off the couch! stop whining! try it! you might like it! Listen to your mother, go try it. Go make your dot. Do whatever ridiculous thing pops in your head–you’re children always do.

Posted in craft.

6 Responses to once upon a thread: the dot

  1. jess says:

    So good, and a great reminder to stick to it. I love this!

  2. Tanya M. says:

    That top is beautiful!

  3. Vicki says:

    Very modern and fun:) I love it!

  4. Tori says:

    Such a pretty idea I love the whole painterly look!


  5. Danielle says:

    I LOVE that book and I LOVE that it gave you the courage to paint on fabric.

    That book speaks to me on such a personal level. I wish it hadn’t taken until adulthood for me to realize that I can make dots of my own. That I am an artist in my own right.

  6. merrilee says:

    completely love this!