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Spring 2022 Craftpod

The long awaited Spring Craftpod is here! Even though the subscription is quarterly with one box per season, the wait between the Winter and Spring boxes always seems the longest, although that may just have something to do with the weather! As usual there were two lovely seasonal projects to complete; the Sweet Violet glasses case, and the Little Lamb soft sculpture.

Included in the kit was:

• Embroidery thread x6 (dark green, light green, dark purple, light purple, black, white)
• Black linen
• Interfacing
• Calico
• Wadding
• Transfer paper
• White felt
• Pink felt
• White wool fleece
• Pipe cleaners x2
• Black elastic
• Wooden button
• Needle
• Pins
• Paper template
• Herb garden notebook and postcard
• Teabag

Although the Little Lamb soft sculpture looked difficult as it was so small I would say that the glasses case project was the more complex of the two as you had to ensure all the layers were in the right order when sewing them together. There were two design options that you could choose from to embroider onto the case, but as I like to give everything a go I decided to do both designs, one on each side of the case. The instructions included in the box were for the sweet violet design, which was probably the more complicated of the two. The instructions for the herb garden design were available on the Craftpod blog which was easy to find via the website. The designs were transferred from the paper template to the black linen fabric using the white transfer paper which worked well, but you did have to be careful not to handle it too much otherwise it would fade and eventually rub off.

The Little Lamb sculpture was quite fiddly as the pieces were so small, requiring delicate stitching. The actual piecing together of the body parts was straightforward though, especially if you took your time at the cutting stage. I found this quite a quick project to complete and I liked the use of the pipe cleaners to fill the legs and give structure and support to the sculpture to enable it to stand freely.

I’m definitely in the mood for Spring now I’ve completed these projects and I’m even ready to head into Summer with my new sunglasses case!

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Winter Owl Craftpod

Starting the crafting year with my favourite of all the subscription boxes I’ve tried, it’s Craftpod of course! The Winter box this year is no exception delivering three lovely projects to complete. The theme of the box is owls, with the major project being an appliqué embroidery of an owl soaring through a cold starry sky. The second project is an owl shaped case for a pair of embroidery scissors, and lastly a paper garland to cut out and hang in your home.

Included in the box was:

  • Felt (navy, white, beige, brown)
  • Calico
  • Iron-on interfacing
  • Embroidery thread x6 (white, ginger, pale brown, dark brown, yellow, green)
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Needle
  • Card pictures (to cut out for garland)
  • Twine
  • Mini wooden pegs

I started the appliqué embroidery first as it looked like the most complicated and time-consuming piece. I really like the composition of the design and it’s quite different to other pieces I’ve sewn. Although the owl was strengthened with the iron-on interfacing it was definitely the trickiest part of the project as the edges still frayed a lot when the initial border was sewn round to keep it in place. Once this was completed it did get a lot easier to manage, and of course it eventually gives the owl his feathery look. I liked the use of the interfacing on the back of the felt to get an accurate crescent for the moon and also the dusting of tiny stitches around it to give it its glow.

The scissor case was a much quicker project which I did all in one evening. Once the cutting out and sewing the feathery details on the front panel were done then the rest was just construction. The instructions were really easy to follow and I especially like the way the eyes were done. It’s a much safer way to carry my scissors around, rather than just loose in my bag!

The paper garland was a fun little project which took all of ten minutes to cut out the images and peg them to the twine. I felt like this box kept me entertained and occupied for many evenings of enjoyment. As always I’m looking forward to seeing what the spring box brings in a few months!

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Craftpod – Autumn 2021

The autumn Craftpod has arrived containing two projects, both giving out very seasonal vibes! The larger project is usually my favourite in this subscription box, but this quarter the smaller mini hoops project definitely won top spot for me. The designs were just so cute and fun to sew.

Included in the box was: 

  • Printed fabric
  • Plain fabric
  • Embroidery threads x5 (dark brown, light brown, red, yellow, white)
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Superglue
  • Mini embroidery hoop frames kit
  • Rose hip enamel pin
  • Teabag

Although the mini autumn embroideries seem like the secondary project in the box I decided to do them first as you needed the large embroidery hoop for sewing the designs and I knew I wouldn’t want to take the larger project back out of the hoop once it was finished. The mini embroideries were my favourite part of this box. They weren’t so small that they were fiddly and they were quick to complete. The designs are simple but very effective. I also love the tiny embroidery hoops, I just need to decide what to turn them into. The instructions have lots of suggestions such as tree decorations, adding to chain to turn them into necklaces, adding brooch backs, or just displaying them on the wall. I like the idea of displaying them as tiny artwork, but I also quite like the idea of turning them into keyrings.

The larger project was embellishing the pre-printed design with a range of stitches. Whilst I liked the design and especially enjoyed creating the trunks of the silver birch trees, I felt that it was quite a simplistic project. I have come to think of Craftpod as a subscription box for embroidery lovers who are more advanced than beginner level, but this felt quite basic compared to other projects I have completed from their boxes. When I first saw a picture of the design I thought that the layers were going to be built up with appliqué, which would have added an extra dimension to the project and I was slightly disappointed when I realised that the design was already printed onto the fabric.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the box overall and both the projects were great for doing in front of the TV in the evenings. I think I am slightly addicted to the mini embroidery hoops and might just have to do some designs of my own! I find autumn to be a particularly inspirational time of year so now is the perfect time.

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Craftpod – Wild Rose and Strawberry Embroidery

I’ve been enjoying the summer Craftpod this week with two lovely projects to complete; the wild rose and strawberry embroidery, and the Liberty fabric bookmark.

Included in the box was:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Printed fabric
  • Liberty fabric
  • Interfacing
  • Embroidery thread x7 
  • Card bookmark template
  • Notebook
  • Postcard
  • Teabag

One of my favourite things about Craftpod is that the projects always seem to have a very tranquil vibe and the wild rose and strawberry embroidery definitely made me think of lying in a sunny meadow, picking and eating wild strawberries straight from the bushes…or maybe that’s just wishful thinking as we’ve been having such dreadful weather so far this summer! Either way, this was a really relaxing embroidery to complete, especially the larger wild roses as you could really get into a rhythm with the stitches. The majority of the piece was completed in statin stitch, but I liked the use of the French knots for the centres of the flowers to give a different texture and the long and short stitch for the strawberries gave them a nice raised effect.

Whilst the embroidery was a slow, mindful project, I found the Liberty fabric bookmark a nice quick make to fit into a Sunday afternoon. I think the whole project only took me about an hour to an hour and a half to finish. The interfacing was ironed on to the back of the fabric and then the shapes for the bookmark cut out using the card template. The two sides were sewn together with blanket stitch and then a hole was cut and blanket stitched ready for the tassel.

I found the instructions for making the tassel really clear, although I wish I’d used a slightly longer piece of thread for tying up the top of the tassel than the instructions recommended. I also found that the suggested metre of thread didn’t give enough body to my tassel so I added a second metre, but to be honest I could have used more. Now I need to give my Kindle a rest and find a real book to read so I can use my new bookmark!

I was actually a bit sad when all the projects in this box were over because I was enjoying them so much. Autumn feels a long way off still before the next Craftpod arrives, but I definitely don’t want to wish the summer away and I hope we get some sunshine to enjoy before that!

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Craftpod – Mimosa Embroidery

Another lovely kit from Craftpod for Spring, this time inspired by the Mimosa tree with it’s fluffy yellow flowers. There were two projects in the kit; an embroidered needle book, and a greenfinch cross stitch.

Included in the box was:

  • Pre-printed fabric
  • Felt (green and cream)
  • Cross stitch canvas
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery thread x6 (dark green, light green, yellow, grey green, pink, and black)
  • Pins
  • Needles
  • Button
  • Cardboard bobbins
  • Stickers
  • Tea bag

I started off with the needle book as I have never made one before. I thought it looked quite complicated but it was actually surprisingly easy to make! Starting off with the pre-printed fabric in the hoop I followed the design using mainly one strand of thread for back stitch and split stitch for the stems and leaves and French knots to create the little flowers. Once the embroidery was finished I cut around the border to create a little rectangular patch. I then cut the rest of the white fabric away from the green and trimmed the cream felt to size so I had all the pieces ready to start construction.

Stitching the embroidered patch onto the green rectangle I was a bit worried that the fabric would fray too much, but as I sewed around it I felt like the stitches would keep it in place and the raw edges give it quite a nice rustic feel. Adding the button finished off the front of the book nicely.

To keep the book shut you had to finger knit a crochet chain. I couldn’t quite remember how to do this from my previous crocheting attempts so I used the video tutorial on the Craftpod YouTube channel to remind myself. The video was really demonstrative and I picked it up straight away. The only thing I found was that they didn’t show how to cast off to keep your chain secure, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out! This chain was sewn to the back of the book, allowing enough give to go around the button once the book was shut with all the felt layers inside.

After sewing the green felt to the cream with some back stitch down the middle to create the ‘pages’ of the needle book, the cream felt was then attached to the completed cover using blanket stitch. As the edges of the green fabric had also been left raw this added to the rustic aesthetic of the book.

The second project was the cross stitch of the greenfinch sitting on a Mimosa branch. I love all the colours in this embroidery, it’s so bright and Spring-like. I thought it was going to take me a really long time as cross stitches usually do, but it was actually quite quick. The design is fairly small and the stitch chart was very easy to follow. I also liked the use of a French knot for the eye, rather than just another cross stitch, it seems to bring the design to life.

Another very enjoyable box from Craftpod. I liked that neither of the projects were too time consuming, and they were both things that could be put down and picked up at leisure, there was no need to dedicate hours to them all in one go. I particularly liked the needle book, although it’s not really my usual style it will actually be really useful and I will definitely be filling it up and putting it in my sewing box.

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Craftpod – Winter Swans

The winter Craftpod was such a beautiful kit! I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but there’s just something so magical about the Craftpod kits. The projects are always so delicate and well thought out. The theme for this season was swans and there were three projects to complete; swan and wreath embroidery, felt swans, and a recipe for pine cone ginger biscuits. 

Included in the box was:

  • Pre-printed swan fabric
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery thread x6 (brown, white, gold, orange, light green, dark green)
  • White felt
  • Brown felt
  • Fleece (for stuffing)
  • Tea bag
  • Swan needle minder

The image for the swan and wreath embroidery was created by illustrator Gordy Wright, who also did the design for my favourite ever Craftpod and the first subscription box I ever did and reviewed for this blog, Blackbird’s Nest! The design for this one was quite simple and the stitches were all very straightforward. The thing that sets it apart for me is the 3D element of the pine cones. I like the way they are cut out of the brown felt and appliquéd on to the wreath with long crisscrossing stitches to give the impression of the pine cone’s spines. I also like the gold crown to give it a little magical touch.

The felt swans were quite fiddly and a lot smaller than I thought they would be from the pictures! I decided to make mine in a production line style, completing each step on all three of the swans before moving onto the next step. I think this stopped me from having that ‘starting again from the top’ feeling and made me more efficient. Getting the fleece in the head and neck was quite tricky and required some patience, but the results are lovely. I liked that there was different options for the wing designs. I chose to do one of each design, but I think they would look nice all the same too. I also liked the option to either leave them as ornaments or add a string for them to hang on the Christmas tree. I decided to leave mine as ornaments as I already have so much going on on the tree! They will take pride of place on the mantelpiece.

Lastly the recipe for the pine cone ginger biscuits. It was such a simple recipe and didn’t require any ingredients I didn’t already have in the cupboard. It was really quick to make too, the longest part being the chill time in the freezer for 30 mins, but in that time I carried on stitching my swans. The idea of creating the pine cone effect by indenting the clay with the back of the knife was great, however my biscuits did quite a lot of spreading in the oven and rather lost the effect…they still tasted delicious though! If I were to make them again I might let them chill for another half hour in the fridge after shaping them and before baking, to help them hold their shape a bit more. 

I always sign up for a yearly subscription with Craftpod as I know I will enjoy all the projects. The Winter box was the last one in my subscription, so I must remember to sign up again as soon as they open for Spring. The boxes individually are £25 and the yearly subscription is now £92 (https://www.craftpod.co.uk/). Although this is a lot upfront it means I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the year, aside from getting excited for them to drop through my letterbox!

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Craftpod – Enchanted Woodland

This year’s autumn box from Craftpod (https://www.craftpod.co.uk/) had an ‘Enchanted Woodland’ theme featuring toadstools and an extremely cute badger! Included in the box was:

  • Printed toadstool design fabric
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery threads x7
  • Stuffing
  • Felt (grey, black and white)
  • Interfacing
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Eyes
  • Paper templates
  • Toadstool pin
  • Woodland stickers
  • English Breakfast tea bag

The first project was an embroidery of a Fly Agaric toadstool, a typical fairytale style red with white spots. Although the majority of the embroidery was made up of long and short stitch, which is one of my least favourite stitches, I still absolutely loved this project! Firstly, it was quite small so it felt really achievable, but the thing I loved about it the most was how effectively the stitches and thread colours were arranged to create the highlights and shadows making the whole piece look really 3D. The addition of the French knots as the warts of the toadstool, which of course are raised off the fabric, made it really special. I also liked that it was done on black fabric. Not only did it make the design really stand out, but it was nice to work on something other than white or cream!

The second project was a small stuffed felt badger. As a Hufflepuff I was pretty excited to make this, and it didn’t disappoint. When I saw how small the paper templates were I was a bit concerned that I would be able to complete it without the badger looking like a wonky mess, but actually the way it was constructed meant that there were very few fiddly bits. I really liked the addition of the little toadstool embroidered on his side as it tied the whole box together. I also liked the use of the pipe cleaners in the legs. I have made this style of pattern before and found that the legs are very tricky to fill with stuffing and often end up quite flat, but by bending and inserting the pipe cleaner into the legs it meant that they were filled and also moveable.

I think I have said this before but Craftpod really is one of my favourite craft boxes. If you are into embroidery I would highly recommend it. I always feel that the projects push my skills and the results are so rewarding. The winter box is launching soon and I cannot wait to receive it! This autumn box is still available in the Craftpod Extras shop over on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/868716864/autumn-2020-craftpod?ref=shop_home_feat_2).    

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Craftpod – Summer Meadow Embroidery

A bit of a summer throw back, especially as I know the Autumn Craftpod will shortly be on its way, but I really enjoyed doing this summer meadow embroidery kit. I think the Craftpod kits (https://www.craftpod.co.uk/) might be my favourites because, although they are always embroidery based, I always feel as though I’m doing something new or different. I also like that they are quarterly rather than monthly. Whilst I love getting monthly treats in the post it can get a little overwhelming trying to keep up with all the projects!

Included in the box was:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Square calico x1
  • Rectangular calico x2
  • Rectangular green fabric x2
  • Zip
  • Embroidery threads
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • Cotton thread
  • Paper template
  • Cardboard bobbins
  • Inspirational postcard
  • Bird needle threader
  • Chamomile teabag

There were two projects included in this box; a summer meadow embroidery hoop and an embroidery zip pouch. I started with the hoop which was made up of a floral arrangement inspired by a summer walk in the countryside. Included in the design were chamomile flowers, wild carrots, cornflowers, ferns and lavender. The Craftpod embroidery projects always push me to improve my skills, especially as they are often worked with one strand of embroidery thread. In this project I learned three new stitches. I had done chain stitch before, but this one was done with a method I hadn’t tried so it was great to give that a go. The other two, whipped stitch and bullion stitch, I had never tried before. The whipped stitch was really easy, but it gave the stems more of the 3D effect than plain back or split stitch. The bullion stitch was also quite 3D, but a little more complicated and prone to tangling. I had a few goes on a spare bit of fabric before committing to it on the real thing, but despite a couple of wobbles I think the overall effect is brilliant. I’d love to learn more 3D embroidery techniques as it really brings a piece to life.

The second project was the one I was really interested in! I haven’t put a zip in anything since I was at school so I was really looking forward to re-learning how to do that. I think I sewed a little close to the zip as a bit of the fabric keeps getting caught when I do it up, but it’s a good lesson for next time. You could choose to have the calico or the green on the outside of the pouch and I chose the green as I liked it better, but it meant you couldn’t trace the design onto the fabric before embroidering, so it had to be free hand. This was good as you could do something a little different to the original design, but I think I could have used an outline for my flowers as I felt they came out a bit small! As I’ve mentioned before I like to make useful items so this pouch really appealed to me. It can be used for anything from make-up to pencils or even used as a small clutch bag.

I’m really looking forward to the Autumn Craftpod arriving, especially from the sneak peeks that have been appearing on their Instagram, so I can’t wait for it to drop through my front door!

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Spring Craftpod 2020

When I started my blog almost a year ago one of the first subscription boxes I signed up to was Craftpod (https://www.craftpod.co.uk/). As a quarterly subscription it is themed around the seasons, usually including an embroidery project and another project, sometimes embroidery based, sometimes not! It also always comes with a flavoured teabag and usually a few other treats too including notebooks, postcards and pins. The subscription only lasts for four boxes, so as soon as I realised I wouldn’t automatically be renewed I got straight on the website and signed myself back up for another year! 

The theme of the Spring 2020 box was ‘Serene Spring’, offering a little bit of calm crafting in this crazy world we are living in right now. Included in the box was:

  • Embroidery thread
  • Peach linen
  • Iron-on interfacing
  • Water soluble interfacing
  • Felt
  • Fleece
  • Velvet ribbon
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Washi tape
  • Needle
  • Keyring
  • Notebook and card featuring Harriet Lee Merrion’s illustration
  • Green teabag

As usual there were two projects included in the box both inspired by Harriet Lee Merrion’s illustration. The first project was an embroidery featuring elements from the picture arranged on a shelf. For this I used both interfacings. The iron-on one was cut down to size and ironed on to the back of the peach linen. I then used the washi tape to secure the water soluble interfacing over the template provided and traced it on to the fabric side. Once this was done I then peeled off the paper side to stick it to my fabric. This is my second time using water soluble interfacing and I actually really like it. It’s great for transferring detailed designs. I then had to stitch over the design, but just the outlines, no details. Once that was done I then had to soak off the interfacing to leave the design stitched to my fabric and when it was all gone I ironed it to get out any creases.

After fitting my stitched fabric into the embroidery hoop I could then go about adding all the details. This project was so good for using a range of stitches and I even learnt a couple of new ones, which was great! There were the usual stitches which I am familiar with such as split stitch, back stitch and french knots…and the dreaded long and short stitch, which I really don’t like doing but looks good when it’s done so I shouldn’t complain too much! 

The new stitches were what really made me excited! The first was daisy chain, which I do already know how to do but haven’t used in a really long time. It’s so effective for the leaves of the plant. The second was a weave for the plant pots. I made some long stitches up and down the outline of the pot and then used my needle to weave in and out of them to create this woven basket look. I started with the larger one and it went quite well at first but unfortunately I must have pulled a bit tight near the top as it went a bit wonky. The smaller pot went much better. Lastly was the ribbed spider web to create the fan, which was created by wrapping the thread around each of the spokes in turn. This was my favourite stitch and I’ll definitely be looking for opportunities to use it in future work.

The second project was a felt keyring. Also taking inspiration from the illustration it is a cute little cherry blossom. There was a paper template included to cut out two flowers in the peach felt and a circle for the centre in a darker pink. I started by attaching the circle to one of the flowers by stitching the stamens going out from the centre to each petal using back stitch finished with a french knot. The two sides were attached together using blanket stitch (another lesser used stitch for me!), leaving a 2cm gap to stuff it with the fleece. I looped the velvet ribbon around the keyring and inserted it into the gap before sewing it shut so that it was securely held in place. This little project only took me about an hour and it’s useful as well as pretty!

I’m already looking forward to my Summer Craftpod, even though it’s months away. I always find the projects a bit different, really achievable even if you are a bit short on time, and I always learn a new technique.

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Winter Craftpod 2019

I really enjoyed the winter Craftpod! There were two really great projects included, both something a bit different from previous boxes. There was a Scandinavian style cross stitch hoop designed by Lucy from the blog ‘Attic 24’, and a paper craft project designed by Clover Robin.

Included in the box was:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • Aida fabric
  • Range of coloured paper
  • Card
  • Coloured pencils
  • Inspirational postcard
  • Spiced red fruits teabag

I did the paper craft project first. The instructions were really clear and took you through the order in which to build up the picture. I especially enjoyed creating the pine cones. I really liked the use of the different colours and textures of the paper to create the effect. I also liked using the coloured pencils to embellish the picture at the end by adding some snowy branches onto the trees, the wreaths on the doors of the huts and the little hand drawn trees.

There was a suggestion to scan your finished collage and use it to print your own Christmas cards. I was a bit late for that this year, but that design may well be making an appearance next year!

The cross stitch project was nice to do over a few evenings in front of the TV. There was a great tip to find the centre point and then complete a quarter of the design at a time. I actually found this really helpful to break it down like that and it actually didn’t take me long to complete it at all. 

I’ve put both the finished projects on my mantel piece alongside my advent calendar and they have made me feel really Christmassy! I haven’t been feeling as festive as usual this year, but having completed quite a few Christmas projects over the last few weeks I am now feeling more than ready for the big day! Only two more sleeps to go…