First official day of spring in our half of the world... happy spring, fellow Southern Hemispherites.
This is a project bag I made for a friend who is an accomplished cook and nutritionist. I wanted to make her something to keep her current crochet projects in. My own little kitchen garden inspired me in my botanical embroidery here: I've worked various herbs and some chamomile and nasturtium flowers too, free-form, on some natural linen.
A couple of wintry months ago I bought a daphne plant. The first snippable flower is currently in a miniature bottle on the kitchen table. The scent is so great for such a small thing.
Also pictured above: a finished needlebook on my cluttered worktable. I used some very old linen with top-notch French-knot hand embroidery. When there are lots of things to get done in a week, sitting down and making something with my hands is the best therapy.
I received two packets of sunflower seeds in the post after visiting a really fantastic project just outside of Wellington: Common Unity Aotearoa. I was visiting with camera and notepad for work (I'm a journalist writing about science education when I'm not writing this blog), because i wanted to write an article about teaching sustainability concepts in early primary school and the CUA project is doing amazing work in their community.
The sunflower seeds are from the affiliated Project Sunshine- and the brown paper packets are beautifully decorated by the young farmers who also collect and sort the seed. The article's now published in a teacher's magazine, and my own young farmers and I are ready to get planting. Just need some sunshine and a wind-sheltered spot.
Some primroses I planted in the autumn popped up this week; small bursts of colour in the grey garden. They reminded me of some vintage fabric I found a while back: black with colourful embroidery. Perfect for some springy baby shoes for the shop.
Happy new week to you! Can you believe it's the last week of August already?
Check out my new (old) sewing book: Dressmaking with Liberty by Ann Ladbury, published in 1984. It's so great: it has a pocket with all the patterns needed to make up the clothes, each design beautifully modelled and styled in some pretty full-on 80s Liberty prints. The dress with tie-on collar from the cover is a good example of the garments inside.
I used one of the patterns, for a boxy sort of blouse, to make the top above. No long lengths of Liberty on my shelf, so instead I used some drapey silk that I'd printed a while back with a hand-carved stamp. It was a simple project, but I'm pleased with it: should be handy for wearing over plain dresses, etc for work. Next, to experiment with some other patterns: Liberty-print homemade bikini, anyone?
Thank you to Homespun magazine who included this embroidered needlebook I made a while back in their latest issue. I like the idea of a pinterest page in print- sort of like the opposite of a magazine shown on pinterest.
Before Homespun contacted me, I had completely forgotten about this needlebook. It was one of a pair, made in 2011 from lovely old embroidered linen found at a flea market. I first blogged about them here, along with some other things made from old textiles, like brooches and cushion covers and this birthday set for a niece.
I can also see that around that time I was making a lot of cake, like this peach one. Still love to make that recipe with all kinds of fruit.
I would really love to go to the Greek Islands this week. But I can't see it happening. Instead I'm enjoying this book: Greek Islands Embroidery, by Pauline Johnstone, that Tom bought for me at a second-hand book fair.
The book was published in 1961, and has those beautiful loose colour plates at intervals throughout, and the other photos are in black and white. I didn't know anything about traditional embroidery from Greece before: it's intricate and colourful and very fine. The last photo above is a detail from a white embroidered 'Levkara' piece from Cyprus including drawn-thread, cutwork and satin stitch. The coloured work above is the border of a skirt, featuring birds, flowers and dancing people.
I found some more traditional Greek embroidery here.
We have a junior knitter in the house. One stormy Saturday when her soccer game was called off, Keira and I sat down with needles and yarn and practiced the 'in, over, through, off' pattern until she had it sorted. She had started knitting when she was about 4 or so, but I think it was too early for her because frustrations overtook and the work was abandoned.
So it's been finger-knitting for a few years (nearly all the wool in my stash has been finger-knitted), and now some simple garter stitch. She spent her pocket money last week on yarn for her next project. (I'm proud of her, but it really shows the power of nature and nuture, don't you think?)
First finished project: one beautiful orange scarf, for Arlo's toy monkey, 'Monkey'.