With frosty mornings to wake up to and porridge bubbling on the Aga, I love this time of year. This autumn seems to have been a particularly pretty late one too, with low lazy sunshine flooding the Yorkshire valleys around us with a golden haze. The colours have been spectacular and perhaps I have appreciated them more because the exceptionally dry summer parched the landscape around us and even wild flowers struggled to bloom. We have had magnificent sunsets in vanilla skies and the woodlands and hedgerows around our way have had pretty berries and golden foliage that you want to preserve. For some reason, even the crispy crunchy leaves on the walkways remind me of my childhood more than usual. I grew up in a street that was formed into an oval, the houses built around it and tall lime trees guarding the edge of an elongated circlet of green. At this time of year, on fine days, all the children played outside gathering the leaves into huge piles and running and jumping into soft mounds of earthy smelling autumnal litter. Sadly it seems hard to imagine kids doing this these days. Inspired by this glorious autumn and being essentially a winter girl at heart, I am looking forward to the sparkling winter landscapes of the Yorkshire hills. My mind turns to baking and knitting and making things to cheer the chilly winter months ahead. I wanted to work on an embroidery project that would encompass some of this feeling and be useful too and my new ‘Winter Solstice project bag’ is a just that.
Earlier in the year, I made a project bag inspired by one featured in a magazine. I absolutely love this and wanted to make my own version that I could offer as a pattern and a kit. As you know I am always championing embroidery as a more modern medium to making super pretty things and encouraging mindfulness and an escape from this endless crazy techno life. This idea was easy for me to catch from my imagination. Perhaps due to our time living in Sweden, I find the summer and winter solstices rather fascinating. I especially loved the idea of the garlands of wild flowers that the young girls wear in their hair while dining at out door tables laden with summer feasts. Circlets of flowers have been used as crowns for ever - the winner of a race, the bride or just as a celebration of nature. They were also used as wreaths to decorate the hearth and mark the seasons. Ancient greek and roman statues often wear intricately wound laurel wreaths as a sign of honour and glory. They feature in poetry, ballads and stories of ancient folklore. A transient but very beautiful thing. Luckily this one is a keeper and it’s fun to make too.
To find out more about this project and how it is made, I am making a little video. It is first one I have ever made, so please do not expect a cinematic marvel, but rather a more amateur chat about how I made it. I hope though, that the tips and tricks will help. This will hopefully be up on the website soon, after the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching show this week. This pattern will be available in pdf form, as well as a paper pattern and there will be a kit available with everything you need to make the project. Check the shop for updates on this, but I will have a limited number of kits at the show this week.
If you are a maker, you probably have multiple projects going on and having bags like this are wonderful to keep everything together. It is pretty thing to take out and about with you if you are travelling or holidaying and want to take a little handwork with you. It is also a lovely gift for someone, either as a kit or made and customised for them.
Perhaps I will use mine for the handmade socks project that I have been threatening to make for the last 10 years and never quite get around to…
Hope to see you at the Harrogate show - come and say hello if you are there on Stand C210.