I’ve been really looking forward to getting stuck in to some craft kits since finishing my final diploma project and, about a week before I finished, the summer Craftpod dropped through my letterbox. Although I have lots of older boxes waiting in my studio, I just knew this was the one I was going to dive back in with! The theme of this season’s box is inspired by dreamy sunny days around a lily pond. There were two projects included; a dragonfly embroidery, and a lily pad pin cushion.
I started with the dragonfly embroidery which as usual had easy-to-follow instructions. I would say that the Craftpod projects are pitched at embroiderers that have some experience rather than complete beginners as although the stitches are fairly simple they are nearly all worked with only one strand of thread, which can be fiddly and difficult for a beginner. I really liked using the heat erasable pen. I was a bit sceptical at first because I have used ones in the past that can be tricky to get rid of, but this one was great. The markings disappeared almost as soon as the iron touched the fabric! Not all of the lines for the wings could be drawn on at first as they were so fine and close together that you might have ended up with a big old mess, so the main lines were drawn on and sewn with the option to add extra lines to the wings later, following the paper pattern provided.
The second project was the lily pad pin cushion. I thought it looked really effective, especially with the little felt flower on the top. The only bit I was unsure about was sewing the bulrushes around the sides of the pin cushion. There wasn’t any indication in the instructions of how many to sew and what gap to leave between each one. My spatial awareness isn’t the best so I was worried I would end up with not enough room or a big gap at one end. I estimated as well as I could from the pictures that were included and it did work out fine, although I can’t guarantee that my spacing is totally even all the way round!
This box was so relaxing to complete, especially as I was imagining sitting by a lovely pond the whole time I was sewing. I even put the water feature on in my garden to provide sound effects! The kit is still available on the Craftpod website and in their Etsy shop along with other past boxes. As always I’m looking forward to next season’s box already!
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 thread x7
Card bookmark template
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!
The main project was an embroidery hoop designed by embroiderer Emillie Ferris. The design was called ‘Sweet Bee’ and features a bee inside a wreath of flowers. After fixing the fabric in the embroidery hoop you had to trace the design onto the fabric using the template provided. Then, following Emillie’s instructions, you built up the image using the embroidery thread provided. This is the most intricate sewing I have ever done. Each piece was sewn using only one strand of the thread and using tiny stitches to create smooth lines and curves. A lot of the outlines were done using a split stitch; bringing the needle up through the middle of the previous stitch. This can be quite tricky when you are only working with one strand of thread! The other part that I found to be very fiddly were the French knots. The centre of each of the flowers and all the flower buds were created using loads of tiny French knots placed very close together and again using only one strand of thread. There were times during this project when I had to stop because my eyes were hurting or my back was aching, but as I completed each stage I felt really proud of myself!
The second project was a recipe for a honey and ricotta cheesecake. I’ve never made a cheesecake before so I was really excited to see how it turned out! It was a baked cheesecake and there was a moment when I took it out the oven when I wasn’t sure if it was done. You have leave a slight jiggle in the mixture, but I wasn’t sure if I had too much jiggle! I was also worried that it had just turned into scrambled eggs and that my base was way too crumbly, but I should have just had faith because it all turned out fine in the end. I made it for my family and they all agreed that it was delicious and that the flavour of the honey really came through. My favourite bit was the nut clusters on the top. They were really easy and quick to make and tasted like sweets. I would actually consider making them just to snack on in the future! There was supposed to be real honeycomb and edible marigolds on the top but I couldn’t get hold of either of those so I added some honeycomb from my local sweet shop instead.
I haven’t used my notebook or worn my pin yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed this box. It was full of great things and it’s so nice to have that drop through your door each season. I also like to have an ongoing project to work on in front of the TV in the evenings or if I have a spare couple of hours in the day and this embroidery project provided just that. I can’t wait for the next one to come through my letter box. Roll on Autumn!