Welcome to my Making the Seasons post for June. Everyone ok? We are all good here but hot, tired and busy. We are of course enjoying the beautifully warm weather but also clinging on until the end of term in three weeks. I feel that, at home and at work, we're reaching that point in the school year where each day feels incrementally busier than the one before, until we reach a final week crescendo of lists, gifts, performances, things to remember, things to do, places to be. It's the same each year and my daily dog walks are a welcome escape when life gets like this. I never really want to take Ziggy out until I'm out, and then I always wish I could walk further and for longer. The heat has meant that I've been going out much earlier in the morning and later in the evening than I usually would, and as I walk I have been noticing all the wild flowers that are growing on the paths around us. I am always confused by the difference between a wild flower and a weed but am happy to appreciate them both.
Some crafting based around wildflowers seemed like a nice idea for this month's Making the Seasons post, which is a monthly project my friend Lucy of Attic24 are enjoying. There's no real point or end result to it other than just trying to make some time in our busy lives to focus on small and seasonal creative projects, activities which are achievable yet fulfilling, and in tune with the months of the year. I have a lot of crochet on the go at the moment (blankets) and so a small embroidery project seemed like a refreshing change.
One morning this week I picked a selection of flowers and greenery from our local area and brought it home. My rules around picking wildflowers are that I pick very sparingly and only where something is growing abundantly and what I've picked won't show.
I found some ferns and grasses, daisies (possibly oxeye), an umbellifer of some kind, purple toadflax and a pretty little yellow flowered plant that I couldn't find in my Observer pocket guide.
I love all those different shapes and textures together, the varying heights and colours, and think they look especially lovely in this old earthenware pot. The umbellifer was quickly removed as I was worried it might be poisonous and also it smelled of wee.
A few weeks ago I'd purchased this miniature embroidery hoop necklace kit but couldn't decide what to stitch, so it had been sitting in my craft basket, but suddenly a tiny wildflower design seemed like the perfect use for it. Remembering this cross stitch and how good the flowers looked against a black background, I found some black cotton in my stash and decided to use that.
I roughly sketched out a design on paper then copied it onto the fabric, before putting it in a larger hoop as the 4cm is just too small to work with.
Working on something this small is quite fiddly, but not so much as to make it impossible. I actually quite enjoyed the challenge of trying to make my stitches as small and neat as possible, and the whole thing only took a couple of hours from start to finish.
When you're happy with your design, you cut the fabric roughly to size and place it over the central disc of wood and then fit the hoop edge around that, then you glue the fabric to the back of the disc.
Next you cover the messy back of the work by gluing down the back board....
before finally screwing in the bolts and tightening.
I quite like how it came out. It reminds me a little of a botanical illustration, although not a very accurate one, and the colours really pop against the dark fabric.
But more importantly, the whole process - the walking, picking and arranging the flowers, sewing the tiny stitches - gave me a chance to pause and appreciate the beauty that is around us in midsummer.