Sunday 17 July 2016

June in Pictures: Blanket Squares, Summer Sunshine, Packing Parcels, and Playing with Paint

How is it halfway through July already?? Eek!

I'd better blog about my June Instagram pics before we blink and it's August :)

At the start of June (when it was really rather chilly) I was spending lots of my evenings working on my mini patchwork squares blanket. Whenever I have any double-knit acrylic yarn left over from other projects, I use it to knit mini moss stitch squares (just 10 stitches across) to add to the blanket.

Once I've knitted the leftover yarn into squares, I sew them into blocks (one colour per block). I've been sticking to the same few shapes so the blanket is random but cohesive. This is a slow, labour-intensive process but a really relaxing one!

Once I've sewn the squares into the various shapes, it's time to find a space for them on the blanket. (Sometimes I lay the blanket out before sewing the shapes together so I can sew the squares into the perfect shape to fit a gap but not this time). I'm trying to get a nice mix of colours and shapes across the blanket - so, again, this is a controlled randomness.

As I add the squares, I mark them on the matching chart so I can track my progress. I'm up to 514 squares so far... 386 still to go! 

The finished blanket will have a sweep of colour down the middle and the rest will be white, so I've also been knitting lots of little white squares behind the scenes. Sadly, white squares do not make for very exciting photographs.

All those little squares take a long time to stitch together, and there are a lot of yarn ends to weave in. Every time I share pics of this project there's always someone who recoils in horror at the thought of all that boring stitching but honestly I find it very relaxing and almost meditative. This is definitely not a project I'd recommend embarking on if you can't bear weaving in ends!

It was my birthday at the beginning of the month (yay!), and I was gifted some excellent things including Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton and a book & comic by the always awesome John Allison.

Summer finally decided to show up, so I spent my lunch-breaks reading in the garden - enjoying the sunshine, the flowers and the chirping of birds and buzzing of bees.

What a contrast to later in the month when we had days of sudden thunder and rainstorms! Ah, England I love you but your weather is not reliable.

Back on the crafty front, I made a DIY envelope from an old map. It's so easy to make your own envelopes (you can cheat and use an existing envelope as a template!) and they add some extra specialness to a bit of snail mail.


I de-stressed by spending a few hours playing with paint (I am terrible at painting but this was so much fun!).

I continued to work on my felt flowers - these are old designs I used to sell in my shop that I'm giving a new life as sewing patterns (coming to my shop later this summer!). I've been getting the designs absolutely perfect and taking lots of notes so I can write detailed step-by-step instructions.

I also had a tidy up in my studio, adding last year's magazine features to my "archive" (a fancy word for a few folders on my bookshelf). I worked on lots of fun projects in 2015 but the partridge and pear wreath I designed for Mollie Makes was probably my favourite - not least because it ended up on the cover (very exciting).

During my studio tidy I got as far as writing a list of "things to photograph!" - including these colourful finished projects - but not as far as actually taking the photos. Hopefully I will have actually ticked these things off the list by the end of July! I do so adore these bright colours.

I cleared out lots of crafty supplies and other bits and pieces and held a destash and declutter sale. It takes a long time to sort and weigh and measure and photograph everything for a sale, but it's so good to have made some more space in my studio and to have found new homes for so many things that were sitting around in my home unused and unloved.

After my sale, I had lots of parcels to post! That fab parcel tape is by Hazel Nicholls - I love using decorative tape, it's such a simple way to cheer up the packages I send.

After my destash/declutter sale, I had another sale: this time of lots of samples I'd stitched for craft books.

(The projects pictured are from: Banners, Buntings, Garlands & Pennants; Super-Cute Felt Animals; Mollie Makes Woodland Friends; Mollie Makes Weddings; Tis the Season to be Felt-y; and Craft Camp)

Again, there was lots of weighing and measuring and photographing and parcel packing... but all the work was well worth it as lots of pieces found new homes and I have lots of space for new things in my studio (hurrah!).

I also love this photo I took of samples stitched when working on my second book, Super-Cute Felt Animals. You'll find some of these projects available as free tutorials here and (almost all of) the rest in the book itself.

Finally, no Instagram round-up is complete without our sleepy cat sneaking in somewhere. How he manages to sleep upside down with one leg in the air is a mystery!

You can follow along with all my creative adventures (with the occasional cat photo!) over on Instagram.