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Makerly – Mandala Dotting

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been slowly working my way through the mandala dotting Makerly box from last month. This craft trend seems to have completely taken off recently and it seems like a lot of people are doing it at the moment. It certainly has quite a mindful quality to it, whilst at the same time requiring concentration and precision. 

Included in the kit was:

  • Dotting tools
  • Paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Stencils
  • White pencil
  • Black card
  • Round mandala canvases
  • Plastic stand
  • Self-adhesive acrylic gems
  • Rock

The first step was to try out all the different sized dotting tools and have a play around with positioning the dots to create patterns. I much preferred the ball shaped metal tools to the flat plastic ones. I found the flat ones left a texture on the dot, whereas the ball ones gave a much smoother, more precise dot.

There were several stencils included in the kit of varying sizes and spacing which were very helpful for creating even patterns. For my first test pattern I drew lines in the template but I then found that the lines were still visible as I didn’t completely cover them with my dots and they didn’t rub out nicely, so for my next designs I just made dots at each of the intersections. For my second design I ‘dotted’ but then joined the dots with a pattern I copied from the instructions as I knew that if I didn’t have the lines I would make a mistake.

In a typically ‘me’ fashion my first design actually turned out to be my best! Although I did like the design I ended up with on my mandala canvas, especially the limited colour scheme, I managed to go a bit wonky which kind of spoils the effect of the whole piece. 

Lastly I painted my rock. This seems to be the biggest craft trend at the moment, but now I have a painted rock I’m not really sure what to do with it! I started by painting a black circle on the rock and then once it was dry I did my dotting. I kept it quite simple as it’s a lot smaller than the card or canvas and kept to a limited colour palette as well. 

I’m not sure if this craft is for me, but I’m really glad that I had a go at it. I will definitely be using the basic principles of mandala creation for my future embroidery projects and I think the tools will come in handy for other projects too.

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Craftiosity – Needlepoint Journal

There was a very mindful craft from Craftiosity (https://craftiosity.co.uk/) this month, stitching a needlepoint cover for a notebook. It was quite a simple and repetitive design, but very relaxing to do. I actually did mine whilst watching my favourite Disney films!

Included in the box was:

  • Yarn x2 (golden yellow and parchment)
  • Needlepoint canvas
  • Needle
  • Notebook

There was an issue with the supplier who had packed some boxes with 8 holes-per-inch canvas rather than 7 holes-per-inch, which affected the design, however an email was sent out alerting all subscribers to this as soon as they found out. I received my email only a couple of days after I received the box. A new set of instructions and pattern was sent out to accommodate the different canvas, as well as a method for determining which canvas you had. I actually had the larger size, so was pleased that I hadn’t started the project as soon as it arrived!

Once that had been sorted the process of making the cover was very straightforward. Starting with cutting the canvas to size, you needed four pieces to make the cover. Then the sewing could begin. The pattern was stitched as diagonal squares in an alternating pattern with the stitches slanting first to the right and then to the left. I decided to stitch all the parchment coloured yarn first and then go back and fill in the golden colour, but I think you could do it row by row if you were happy to keep swapping colours as you got further down the pattern.

This process was completed twice, once for the front and once for the back cover. The two smaller pieces of canvas were then joined to the larger ones to create a pocket for the covers of the notebook to sit in. This was done using a binding stitch. I thought it was going to be a basic whip stitch but it was actually more complicated than that and gave a nice solid finish to the edge of the cover. The notebook could then be slotted into the separate covers and lastly it was sewn together using the binding stitch up the spine of the book. 

I really enjoyed this project as it was so relaxing and could be done whilst watching the TV or listening to a podcast and the end result is something that can be used day to day.

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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!