It had snowed on the motorway. As we drove west the rain that had fallen for a solid three days straight, thick, dark and heavy, finally petered out into a dreary mist that moved across us like a thick stage curtain, only occasionally allowing us to peek across the fields to see the dusting of white on the verges of the road build into a flawless winterscape away from the heat and dirt of a bank holiday’s traffic. Winter returned to us once more.
But then we turned the corner to head south and although there was not a single break in the grey sky above us, the sky perceptibly lightened, the fields turned up their saturation as if in proclamation, and the thermometer on the car jumped six degrees in as many miles.
We stand on the cusp of our seasons, a late cusp I grant you, and even I was a little disappointed to see that Spring had only turned up for a settling in session and not to stay for the whole season, and I adore snow, but the warmth is unmistakably returning; those flowers in my garden that survived the repeated plunges into arctic conditions are slowly unfurling their petals and the blossom is peeking out from behind the blankets of its buds to see whether the coast is clear.
And with Spring has come a veritable burst of creative energy, largely channelled into knitting on a cardigan which I’m making for myself out of Jamieson’s Spindrift. It’s a 4ply yarn, with side 3.25mm needles and there’s quite a lot of me so it’s taking a little while but I’m enjoying every stitch. I also squeezed in a little sock knitting, and just as soon as I can get them off their owners’ feet I shall have to take some photos and show them to you all.
I’ve started to pull fabric for a block of the month quilt from the Quilter’s Planner, which I think will be all pinks, purples, peaches and mint, and probably for my littlest girl to match the colours of their bedroom. I don’t really have too many pinks and purples in my fabric stash so I might have to add a few colours as we go through the blocks as I’d love to be able to sew it all without having to buy any more fabric; a true stash busting quilt. In the meantime I shall simply stalk the Instagram hashtag to see what other colour combinations are popping up.
And in between all of that, I’ve been embroidering. One little stitch-painted snapshot of winter, finished before the last snow melted and now sat happily on my mantlepiece, next to my Flowers that Bloom in the Spring hoop just to remind myself of the order we’re trying to go in.
This is December’s Craftpod kit which plopped through the letterbox all the way back before Christmas but which I saved for many a wintery Saturday afternoon at the start of this year. The box came with a kit for cutting rubber stamps which we all loved, as my planner pages, covered with prints of pine cones, kettles and tall trees will testify, some beautiful cards and stickers, which are almost too lovely to use (I’m currently saving them until inspiration strikes), a tiny bar of chocolate, a chai tea bag (which was surprisingly delicious, and I’m not a tea drinker), and this beautiful little hoop.
Almost all of my embroidery to date has been cross stitch; I’ve delved into a few different styles and I’ve taken a few sample classes with the Royal School of Needlework but I’ve always fallen back on cross stitch, so to be stitching virtually freehand was both new and exciting and very relaxing; there’s no such thing as a wrong stitch, it’s just what my tree looks like. That is largely the reason why my branch is slightly sturdier than the original; I was just having too much fun to want to stop.
For a relatively simple design, there’s complexity in the pattern, and I loved learning the padded satin stitch, and choosing the direction of the berries to give the whole piece a 3D effect and a sense of movement.
And perhaps the most telling indication of just how much I loved this stitching is the fact that the Spring Craftpod is currently sat on my chair. I’ve got one more sewing project to finish first and then I’m diving into some very Spring-like botanical stitching and I can’t wait.