top of page
  • Writer's pictureJanice Gill

When a Demon Attacks your Day

Mallard Duck on still water reflecting an overcast sky.
Mallard Duck, RSPB reserve Newport, Wales - Photo by Janice Gill

Today, nothing has gone to plan.

That's not exactly true; taking the grandchildren to gymnastics this morning went as planned. Except, I forgot my phone and a huge sack of hedge trimmings that was meant to go to the recycling centre just around the corner from the gymnastics school.

The hedge still needs more trimming - it's been neglected for years and has grown out as well as up. The previous tenant fenced the area off and ignored it. The space is perfect for the new shed my daughter needs, so I'm helping her clear it. Just not this afternoon as planned. The weather foiled our attempts to get outside with lashings of rain.

A hoodie under construction with brown front, grey sleeves and flashes of teal at cuffs and waist.
Mallard Hoodie under creation by Janice Gill

Instead, I decided to finish the sewing project I dreamed up and started a few days ago.

This is the stage I was at before I started working on it. Three hours later, it was still the same. Not that I'd been idle all that time. Everything I did went wrong.

For the front, I made a kangaroo pocket on which I planned to applique two duckling motifs. Problems started immediately. My sewing machine doesn't produce a zig-zag stitch of less than 0.5 mm in length. This doesn't satisfy me as a satin stitch, where the stitches should sit neatly next to each other, entirely encasing the edge of the applique. Instead, it produced an untidy zig-zag. Sometimes, it really is the tools that are to blame.

The fabric for the duckling was stabilised with interfacing, but I didn't stabilise the pocket fabric. Big mistake! The whole thing was a mess. So after three hours of creating, I dumped the pocket piece and two hand-crafted motifs in the bin.

By now, it was time to look after the grandchildren while their Mum cooked tea. All I can say is it's a good job she was cooking, or I'd have burnt everything and then dashed to the Chippy!

By the evening, I'm supposed to be writing. Guess what - change of plan. I needed to progress on the Mallard Hoodie. It was gnawing away in my head, letting me know how useless I was. When the children headed for bed, I headed to the source of my torture.

The pocket is now firmly attached, ready for me to add two new motifs, I'll be hand-sewing them on with blanket stitch. The hood is almost made. There had to be one last thing to go wrong, I broke the needle in the machine while topstitching the front edge of the hood, so it has the shortest of seams to finish. It was the final straw for tonight, so I'll attach the hood tomorrow.

Of course, whatever demon has been plaguing my day, it wasn't finished with me yet. At 9 pm, I finally sat down with my laptop to write today's blog post. Only - nothing. I sifted through my photos, looking for inspiration, but there was none. I checked through my notebooks for things I'd been planning - well, that wasn't going to work today.

Instead, you get to share in my pain and maybe wonder at my perseverance and commitment as I struggle into the last half hour of the day.

Here's a happy frog to enjoy.

Smiling Tree Frog, by Janice Gill

Please, kids, don't wake me till after 7 am.

7 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Jul 20, 2023

That hoodie you are designing is so cool!! And well, you got a great blog post out in the end.. - Vidya


Jul 19, 2023

Janice, I used to sew a lot- a LOT- and how well I remember Those Days! For what it's worth, I am sorry for the frustrations of your day. And thanks for the smiley tree frog! He made me smile. It's 6 pm here, and I want to make the most of the next 3 hours. Will I? Or will I judge myself? You're doing your best! And that's all each of us can do

bottom of page