It has been such a busy month this April: getting to grips with some of the business side of Creatively Yours, creating new samplers for further classes, building the CreativiTEA community at Taunton and then spending a lovely Easter in Cambridge with my husband’s side of the family. I even managed to fit in a class there too!
So… what have I been making this month? Well, first of all, I finished the Swiss Darning (Knitting) sampler that I started last month. I wanted to create a unique knitting class which not only looks at the basic techniques of knitting suitable for beginners but also includes an easy way to create patterns and images on the piece.
It was a real opportunity to create something that reflected a part of my own childhood when I lived in Switzerland, near Zurich. As a child, my mother would take myself and my brother walking up (and back down) the mountains. At the time, we never thought twice as to how far that actually was but, looking back, I am amazed to think of the many miles we walked at such a young age! The skies were clear blue, the grass so lusciously green and in the distance was the sound of cow bells. Reaching the top and seeing the stunning views gave such a great sense of freedom and awe at a new perspective of life.
When we came back to England, still as a young child, it was a completely new experience to hear cows ‘moo’. It was something we never really heard them do in Switzerland – so much so that, when asked what noise a cow makes as children, we would answer “ding ding ding!”
I loved the idea of creating a piece that was also a part of my story as well.
My next make of the month – continuing the Swiss theme – is the Swiss Embroidered tea towels. It is also known as gingham embroidery and is another perfect beginner’s embroidery project, especially as the checks of the gingham makes it much easier to create even embroidery stitches. I chose to get tea towels in red and white (colours of the Swiss flag) and used the edelweiss flower as one of the main features which is often reflected in the traditional folk costumes in Switzerland.
The one thing I really like about Swiss embroidery is that it often resembles lace, particularly when worked in white or cream, and yet it uses some of the simplest stitches which anyone can learn.
The third creation was the silk ribbon embroidered daffodils for the Cambridge class in mid April. The one pictured is actually the second I made, since I gave the first to my grandmother last month for her birthday. It did mean I was then without a sampler for the class I was going to teach, but stitching a second piece was even more enjoyable than the first (and it ended up coming out even nicer as I used more of a variety of greens to give the piece more depth). The class wasn’t one of my cultural crafts but a seasonal Easter one, and was incredibly enjoyable to teach. Daffodils are a symbol of rebirth and new life, so they are the perfect flower to represent Easter.
I have definitely got my love of seasonal things through my mother, who has always loved the colours and textures that differentiate between each time of year. Spring is probably her favourite, with her love of the bright spring colours that burst from the ground after a dark (and often seeming long) winter.
Betsy, my mother’s guide dog is the sweetest little thing and kept me company while I stitched away… Love her!
Finally, I finished a Russian pearl embroidery piece, which I started last month and had to pause until I had completed the daffodils. I am super pleased with this piece, partly because I think the combination of pearls, gold and the rich blue is so striking, but also because I probably wouldn’t have thought to try this technique just because it’s not what I would consider my usual style (being bigger and bolder than my usual tiny work!).
But I love it, even to the point that I have decided to create a second piece! It will use the same technique but, instead of just a piece that could be used as a wall hanging… I was inspired by how the Russians would use ornate pearl embroidery in their headdresses and created a statement piece that could be worn today. I have chosen to design a statement necklace, which will probably be an intermediate class. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it will turn out because, again, I don’t usually wear or make big and bold designs. It’s definitely taking me out of my usual comfort zone and spreading my wings a little!
Well, I think that’s mostly it. I have a few personal projects which are slow growers, but I’ll leave those for another blog post. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what I have been making and that it has inspired you too. Keep an eye out on the website and Facebook for updates on when these classes will be starting.
Have you been making anything this month? Show us what you’ve been up to on Instagram using the hashtag #creativelyyourscrafts or show us a photo in the comments below!