craft kit

Inner Canvas – Abstractus

As you probably know I am currently subscribed to quite a few monthly craft boxes and have been considering cancelling some and swapping them for others to make sure I’m trying out a variety of things and not just getting stuck in a rut. It’s hard to cancel any of them though as I’m always excited to see what will come next and I do feel as though I’m sampling a good range of crafts. However, on the hunt for new craft subscription boxes I came across Inner Canvas. I had a look at the website and scrolled through the past boxes to see what kinds of things were included. Most of the crafts I had tried before, but the designs looked unique and the kits looked well curated. The thing that made me do a happy dance was that you could buy past kits on a one off basis! I love it when subscription box services do this as it means you can dip in and out of the kits without committing to a full subscription, which comes with the danger of receiving crafts you aren’t that interested in. I have several boxes stacked up down in my studio that I haven’t got around to making because I’m just not that excited about the contents.

I was attracted to Inner Canvas via Instagram where Nadia, the lady who runs the show, was posting about their latest box, an embroidery entitled ‘Abstractus’. The design is inspired by geodes and features embellishments of Czech glass beads and Aventurine beads – a semi-precious gemstone.  

Included in the kit was:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Aventurine gemstones
  • Czech glass beads
  • Calico fabric
  • Embroidery thread
  • Embroidery needle
  • Beading needle
  • Carbon paper
  • Paper template
  • Metal keyring blank
  • Metal hook (for hanging embroidery)
  • Care package (tealights and a tea bag)

Also included was a ‘Therapist Approved’ journal that included some self-reflective exercises to help reduce anxiety and improve the mindfulness associated with crafting and creativity. I haven’t had a chance to complete any of the exercises yet (to be honest I find crafting mindful enough), but they do look good and a journal is included with every kit.

The instructions that came with the kit were quite basic, just a paper template for transferring the design over to the fabric using the carbon paper and a photograph of the finished piece with a key to show which stitch and colour embroidery thread, or beads should go in which section. The photograph was really clear and easy to use. More detailed instructions were provided via a video link sent in an email. I was really impressed with the video, the steps were demonstrated well and the voiceover was well-paced and easy to understand. Although I already know how to do the two stitches I thought the step-by-step instructions showed how to do them both clearly, especially the two options for getting the satin stitch to go round a curve, which is sometimes tricky for beginners to get to grips with. 

There was a second instructional video for the bonus keyring project that was just as well created as the main video. The keyring was made first so you could ensure you would have enough fabric for both projects and it was nice to have a practice go at the satin stitch and attaching the beads before moving onto the main one.

I thought the design of the embroidery was really unique and I liked how you could really feel where the inspiration came from. I was also impressed at how what is a fairly simple design using only two stitches and the addition of the beads can have such an impact as a finished piece. It just goes to show that less definitely can be more!

I thoroughly enjoyed this craft kit and am keen to see what projects Inner Canvas bring out in the future. I will definitely be keeping an eye on their Instagram feed and will be ordering any kits that look exciting. I have already ordered another of their past kits, the Abstract Air Dry Clay Ceramic kit. I’m hoping to get the chance to have a play around with that one very soon as it’s been a while since I did any clay work and I’m hoping that I will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed this one.

subscription box

Craftiosity – Embroidered Moon Tea Towel

Back to embroidery for me this week with the moon tea towel from Craftiosity. I really like the idea behind the design of this embroidery of the waxing moon representing a period of building energy and achieving goals. Nice to have a reminder of this in the kitchen whilst I’m doing the washing up!

Included in the kit was:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Cotton tea towel
  • Embroidery thread x4 (dark grey, mid blue, light blue, dusky pink)
  • Needle
  • Paper template
  • Inspirational postcards

The template was used to trace the design lightly onto the tea towel using a pencil and a dotted line rather than a solid line for the clouds as they wouldn’t be filled in completely. The instructions said to only trace the clouds first and then put the outline of the moon and foliage in later, but I doubted my ability to line up the pattern again so I just traced it all at once!

I really liked the use of the different stitches and coloured thread to fill the clouds. It was quite repetitive doing the seed stitch, cross stitch and French knots, but in a mindful and meditative way. I tied off the thread after doing each little grey star as I didn’t want to waste the thread and I didn’t want the stitches on the back to show through to the front. 

The moon was stitched in satin stitch using all six strands of the thread and the leaves were meant to be the same, but I felt as though I didn’t have enough left to complete them so I changed to only using three strands for the leaves. As the area of the leaves was a lot smaller than the moon it didn’t really make a difference to the overall look. 

I’m looking forward to using this and having it hanging in my kitchen, inspiring me to grow and work towards me goals!

subscription box

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.

workshop

Mindful Embroidery with Sew Yeah Social Club

Last Thursday I had such a relaxing evening! I went to the Love Crafts headquarters (https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/) to attend a workshop run by Christine Leech from the Sew Yeah Social Club (https://sewyeah.co.uk/). Christine has an extensive background in the craft world with job titles ranging from author to illustrator, maker to stylist. She’s a bit of a craft guru!

Anyway, I went along to the office in Holborn to take part in a Mindful Embroidery workshop. As we walked in the table looked so colourful. It was laid out with plenty of embroidery thread, piles of vinyl, different types of fabric and lots of example of what we would be making. The idea was to use the iron-on vinyl to create an abstract pattern which we could then embroider over the top of. Christine talked through some of her examples and showed us how some of them had stayed quite random but others had developed into a design where her eye had caught different shapes amongst the randomness.

I made one that was random, although the pieces I chose were in complementary colours, but my other piece was a bit more literal. I couldn’t help myself! My mind just likes to create order even when I’m telling it to be chaotic! I found a piece of vinyl that looked like the top of an umbrella to me so I gave it a handle and created a little rainy scene, cutting clouds out of some glittery blue vinyl and adding some raindrops. Once we had decided on our patterns Christine showed us how to use the iron to attach the vinyl on to our chosen fabric. 

Once we had done that it was time for some embroidery. There were some pre-printed hoops with various stitches on for beginners or just for practice and a handy how-to guide. I’m pretty confident with my embroidery so I didn’t use mine, but I thought it was a great tool for beginners. One of the best things about the workshop was that there was no pressure to do a certain thing or to keep up with the rest of the group. You could just work at your own pace, having fun creating something pretty, and Christine was on hand to help when you needed her.

I just had such a great evening being creative and chatting with other crafty people. It was nice to relax and create something with no pressure on it having to be perfect. I’m looking forward to seeing what Christine’s next workshop will be because I will definitely be signing up!