Friday 12 September 2014

Crafty Ladies: Meet Carina Envoldsen-Harris

Time to meet another Crafty Lady! Today I'm introducing you to Carina of Polka & Bloom.

Carina writes a cheerful blog about her life and her crafty projects, and sells pretty, colourful embroidery patterns in her shop. She's also the author of the lovely embroidery book "Stitched Blooms", which I reviewed last year and she's part of the team behind &Stitches.


Carina and stitching

Ahoy-hoy! Nice to meet you. :-)

My name is Carina and I live in Essex in England, although I am actually Danish. I met an English guy and, long story short, that’s how I ended up here in 2005. We live in a small house with a blossom tree and sometimes a very cute neighbour cat comes to visit. We moved into our house last year and I could finally fulfill my dream of having a separate work place.

Carina's Studio

I design embroidery patterns and sometimes I contribute stitchy stuff to books and magazines. Last year my (first, but hopefully not last) book was published, it’s called Stitched Blooms and is full of, well, flowers! :-)

I blog at Carina’s Craftblog where I share the crafty projects I work on: embroidery, quilting, drawing, the occasional crochet and knitting project. I also share tutorials and vegan recipes. I am mad about colour and I love stitching things by hand.

Some of my patterns

Recently I’ve been making… 

I recently finished a quilt where I used only fabrics with clouds, so I call it the Cloud Quilt. I’m so happy with how it turned out. I sleep under the clouds! I love clouds. Like, a lot. I'm even a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. This doesn't take up much of my time, apart from telling my husband about how I love clouds. A lot.

FO Cloud Quilt

Lately I have also finished a fun fruity tropical embroidery pattern, Tropical Frutti Paradise. I like thinking up names for my embroidery patterns, but for this one I asked my blog readers to help me with name suggestions. They were so much fun to read. I love the internet brain. :-)

Quilts for my niece and nephew

A recent project that I am really happy with, and which means a lot to me, is a pair of quilts I made for my sister. She (and her husband) are having twins later this month, and of course auntie had to make something for the little ones! ;-) Sadly, my sister lives in the US, so I won’t be handing over the quilts myself.

I’ve been working on…

Technically, I did the work last year, but a cute pattern/project I made is included in the new Mollie Makes Embroidery book. I’m really chuffed about that because it’s a really nice book. And I'd say that even if I didn't have a project in the book.

Alphabet Motif Club

At the beginning of September I started the Alphabet Motif Club where each week we stitch 1 or 2 letters of the alphabet. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s so much fun. And the letters can be used for sooo many things which I’m really excited about.

I’ve been blogging about…

For a while I have been kinda obsessed with blackwork embroidery and especially stitching it on regular fabrics (normally you’d use cross stitch type fabric) and for that I use waste canvas. this stuff is genius; if you’re unfamiliar with it, I wrote a tutorial about waste canvas recently.

 The quilts I made for my sister’s twins didn’t turn out how I had first thought I’d make it. And I am ok with that. I like serendipity in crafting. A project can be perfect even if it all goes wrong or there are challenges along the way. That's how we learn, right? 

Waste Canvas Tutorial 1

There is a lot of work to be done still in our little house, but we have made over the bathroom, bedroom and the porch so far. This makes me very happy. Every little thing that makes the house more ours. :-)

Porch after

I’ve been reading…

 I recently read I Just Like to Make Things which was quite inspiring and made me think about my work in a different way. And I have a pile of crafty books I am reading through on different topics. My tastes are nothing if not diverse. ;-) I have just started reading Market Yourself by Tara Swiger. I haven't got terribly far in it yet, but there's a lot of food for thought and inspiration.

A pile o' books

Sadly, I don’t read as much fiction as I’d like, but I usually have some kind of historical fiction on the go in the Kindle reader on my mobile. I recently finished A King’s Ransom by Sharon Penman. I love historical fiction. And especially if it's set in England because it helps me get to know the history of the country I live in now.

Flower Crown Reverie embroidery pattern

I was going to say that I read a lot of blogs, but the truth is I mostly zoom through them in my feed reader (Inoreader – I can highly recommend it!), but a lot of the blogs I subscribe to are mainly for the eye candy/inspiration, so I guess it’s ok. ;-)

Sometimes I do take the time to read blog posts properly and here are a few that have stuck with me recently: Three Tips for Faster Blogging; Making A Mark; Brain Pickings: 7 Lessons from 7 Years.

While I sew I’ve been watching... 

Although I sometimes ‘watch’ TV while stitching, I prefer listening to podcasts while I embroider, because I don’t need to look at the screen. These are three current favourite podcasts: After the Jump by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge. Explore Your Enthusiasm by Tara Swiger. Ted Talks.

Sometimes I listen to music instead and these are a few of the artists on my play list at the moment: Gabrielle Aplin, Florence and the Machine, Kent, R.E.M. (RIP) and Allie Moss. When I do have the TV on it is usually some kind of documentary, West Wing or Star Wars. ;-)

Embroidered jacket WIP

Carina’s 3 Top Tips for Embroidery 

1. If you are working on a project where you will use the same colour a lot, thread several needles at a time so you don't have to stop as often to re-thread.

2. On a similar note, use a shorter thread than you might think. Approximately from the tip of your fingers to your elbow. If the thread is too long it will get frayed at the end and you will spend more time pulling the thread out of the fabric than actually making the stitches.

3. Some stitches will make your thread start to twist slightly, French knots and chain stitch for example. When that happens, hold up your work and let the needle and thread dangle from it. The needle will start to untwist the thread. It will, try it!

Embroidery tip: thread multiple needles

Click here to visit Carina's Craftblog, and here to visit the Polka & Bloom shop. You can also find Carina on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr

Click here for the Crafty Ladies archive!

Please note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.


Moois van mie said...

I really like what she did with that jacket !

Silly Little Sheep said...

I love the bright colours she uses, she certainly does have a unique style!

Bugs and Fishes said...

moois van me - it's amazing, isn't it? :)

Silly Little Sheep - I am dead jealous of how confidently she uses colours in her patterns, they always look so great!