This right here is my version of grown up colouring in books. I can see the pretty pictures, and you’ll never have to convince me of the merits of having lots of pretty coloured pens to hand, but the motivation to sit down and colour in a picture has always eluded me. But give me fabric with a pretty pattern, needles and the most perfectly spring like colours of thread and I need no second invitation.
The Mollie Makes cover kit this month is one of my favourites, possibly ever, and I’ve been itching to get started on it every day that it’s been propped up on my desk at home.
I think it’s the simplicity of it, I don’t need to look at a pattern or count stitches, or overthink it in any way shape or form; this isn’t precision fine art embroidery but good chunky painting with needle and thread, filling in each little leaf step by step until before you realise it there’s a beautiful little heart looking back at you.
It made me wonder whether actually I wasn’t too far off the mark to start with, maybe this was the adult colouring book of its day? The Crinoline Lady in her gardens of flowers first became popular around 1900 and continued to be reissued in all her various forms right through the 1920s and 30s. She got a bit of a slating from the historians for being more artistic than accurate but a trend that lasts 30 years makes colouring in look like a flash in the pan.
The patterns that would turn up over and over again in different colours and layout and I can’t imagine that the conversation between sewers would have changed much from then to any sewing-a-long today: “which bit have you got to?”, “what colour are you doing that bit?”, “I’ve finished the flowers but I’m not so sure I like the colours, do you think I should unpick it?” The more things change….
Fun though I think the crinoline ladies must have been, there’s not quite my style for a finished item (though I loved the Garden Party quilt that Jane Brocket made from cut up embroidered table cloths) so I will happily embrace a bit of brightly coloured scandi style as the up to date version of a hollyhock or two.
I had a plan to take a photo as each leaf or petal was added and make them into an Instagram story; I made the story (and if you’re quick you might just get to see it) but I just kept getting caught up in the sewing and forgetting to take pictures, so there are a few big jumps!
As far as the sewing process goes, it really is just sewing what you want where you want, and though I’ve copied the colours of the pattern mine looks nothing like the one on the cover, nor any of the half dozen others I’ve seen on Instagram. The pink frame came with the kit, it’s a little looser on the fabric than one of my normal wooden hoops so I used a bigger hoop while I was sewing and then sewed the finished heart into the pink frame by running a couple of rounds of gathering stitches around the leftover fabric and pulling it tight on the back and it all sits nice and snug and doesn’t want to go anywhere.
The only real question now is where we’re going to put it; I think both girls would mount a serious campaign for it to be theirs, and I’m wondering whether it would brighten up my very very beige pinboard at work. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time for a little more embroidery.