I’ve been drawing florals for some time now, it’s a stable design element that sells well, but I’ve been interested in drawing ocean life for some time too and am only now starting to get into drawing and designing with that idea.

I’ve sketched some seahorses, and since this months Make it in design live hub is on the half-drop repeat I’ve come up with a simple half drop repeat design using the seahorses I’ve sketched.

So here’s a short runthrough of how I turned some sketches into a finished design…

I sketched several elements on both paper and procreate in black and white. I like to sketch in black ink then use illustrator to turn the sketch into a vector image.

A hand drawn seahorse

I sometimes put the vector image into photoshop or procreate and colour it in to see how that looks coloured in.

Coloured in Photoshop

I can use Photoshop or Illustrator to make the pattern, both have their different uses, but if the image is mainly line art I use Illustrator.

The finished half-drop repeat pattern

Once the pattern is finished I put it onto the Spoonflower website shop where you can order fabric with the prints on.

I use a couple other print on demand sites too, but all fabric patterns go to Spoonflower. I then use mockups to create an image showing the pattern on a product. This mockup came from the Spoonflower website, but you can buy them ready to use or make your own.

The final job is to come up with a name for the pattern, this one I simply called Seahorses.

Mousey Mouse

Recently I was able to update my Ipad to one that supports the apple pencil, what a difference it makes.

Anyway, I started sketching some little mice on Procreate that I thought I’d share, maybe they could be a pattern at some point.

Mouse and Bee
The Pied Piper
Mousey Housey

A Continuous Line

I’ve been setting myself the goal of completing the weekly spoonflower challenge.

The challenge for the 10th December is to create a pattern with a continuous line. I’d already created a pattern like this…

Faces Pattern

Unfortunately each challenge has to be a brand new design, I added a few more faces, this time women’s faces, then added a pair of lips. It’s a bit darker than what’s becoming my current trend of floral patterns but it fits the challenge.

Faces in the crowd

It’s not yet available on spoonflower, but will be soon.

Vintage Florals

I was looking at some Liberty prints on pinterest the other day, I love the way they fill the pattern with florals.

The English Garden – Emily silhouette

I particularly liked this print by Emily Silhouette with its limited colour scheme and the lighter colour being the motif colour rather than the background colour.

I decided to use my own growing collection of hand drawn florals to create something inspired by this print.

Vintage Florals V1

At first I decided to stop with a striped pattern, I saved it in CMYK, hence the odd colour variation on the web. I thought, Wow! striped florals, how lovely, but then after a cup of tea I figured it might be better filled in.

Vintage Florals Final

This time I also changed it to an RGB image for web. It reminds me of 1970s bedding and curtains.

It’s in the spoonflower shop:

You can buy it as a fabric or have spoonflower turn it into a variety of homeware items including bedding!

Vintage Floral Duvet Cover from Spoonflower

Fundraising Face Masks

I’ve made my last face mask!

It got to the stage where I was grumbling about making them and I decided it was well and truly time to stop. I’m not a face mask maker, I sew for fun and I learned some time ago there’s a difference between crafts for fun and crafts for work.

But I also know that many people wanted the masks that I made because of the fabric I used. I printed fabric with Salvation Army red shield on, just for the Salvos who felt a bit naked without a uniform of some sort.

A Red Shield Face Mask

The shield didn’t have the Salvation Army wording on, but I was then asked by a corps if I would make the official logo on fabric and so I did…

Salvo Logo Fabric

Oh the wonders of Photoshop! I also have another Salvation Army themed fabric I’m working on that you can see above on the left.

I know, many of the folk who have bought a face mask from me will be wanting the official shield pattern and be a bit miffed that I won’t be making any.

The fabric is printed by Spoonflower, in case you wanted to make your own masks and raise funds for your corps or favourite Army project. This link should take you straight to the page where you can buy the fabric…

Obviously, because it’s printed to order and in small batches (you can buy as little as a fat quarter) it’s a bit more than the fabric you buy in shops which is mass produced. I get about 12 masks from a yard of fabric, but I use a plain cotton fabric for the inner layers.

The elastic ribbon I buy from Ebay, around 5mm width is ideal, you have to shop around, some have raised their prices, but you can still buy is on Ebay for less than £1 a yard and I think I get four masks from a yard (8″ lengths times 2 per mask).

The pattern I use is the Olson nurse mask, and there are free patterns out there to download. However the need for masks has created other designs including ones with clear pockets for those who need to lip read.

Anyway, I’ve 2 masks left and a bit of offcut fabric. The offcut is currently on Ebay and I think I just might find a free home for the last two masks. If you feel up to making masks it’s a great way to raise funds while helping people get masks.

From Bristol with Love

A few posts ago I wrote about the Bristol quilt, a quilt made by one person who saw an article about the quilting project and wanted to make a quilt for us.

Margaret made a whole quilt to be used by vulnerable women, then she arranged for the quilt to be blessed in Bristol before posting it to me.

This week I took the quilt to the Joanna house, home of our first quilt of hope, where it has pride of place in their quiet room.

The Joanna Project works in Leeds with women caught up in street prostitution, outside of this crazy current world of restrictions, they go into Leeds managed red light area and serve the women working on the streets, they visit the women in the daytime and work with them in whatever capacity the women need to help them improve their situation.

You can find out about the project here:

Our current quilt is being made for the Salvation Army’s Faith House in Kings Cross, London. They run a similar project to the Joanna Project. We are in desperate need of squares for this quilt so if you feel you could make a square for us please do so, it’s a wonderful way of doing some good with basic sewing skills.

Here is a link to how to make the squares…

How to make a Square

Sindy’s Beach Set

Yay! I’ve completed the perfect pattern for the upcoming bank holiday weekend.

Sindy’s Beach Set

This little pattern is quick to make, I made it in two evenings. It consists of a t-shirt, shorts, bag and hat. The pattern is mostly knitted, with the hat being crocheted.

The pattern worked out well, apart from the hat. As you can see, the yellow hat, made from the pattern just sat on top of the head, rather that fitted properly.

So, I re-worked the hat. This time I used a 3mm hook. I also added two additional plain rounds before the colour change of the hat body.

If I made it again I might just add an additional 2 rounds and not work the final colour changed rim. I’d also work the last round with no increases to take away some of the bend and make the hat look more like a straw hat.

Anyway, the pattern is free, because it’s a small pattern and comes from a book rather than be a stand alone pattern. Also the pdf isn’t perfect, but that’s the way it is with vintage patterns sometimes.

Download the pattern here:

Dolls of Worth

So, here it is, an idea I’ve been thinking about and playing with for some time, which I think can become something useful.

My biggest problem though is how to explain what’s in my mind… but here goes.

I think it started with these beaded brooches…

You can read about the beaded brooches here:

Beaded Women of Worth

Then I made this image as part of my application to university to study for my masters in Art Psychotherapy…

And you can read about this image here:

Woman of Worth

The image was an attempt at art therapy during a difficult time. I’ve removed some of the picture, but around the edge I had written the things I struggled with at the time. My parents being ill, my difficult family situation, months of not sleeping, then sleeping too much. There was so much going on that it felt overwhelming, then added to that was the start of this blooming virus, not being able to visit my parents, dropping snacks off to mum in a care home and not getting to see her, and at the end not saying goodbye and a whole host of hurts that went along with months and months of struggle.

So I sat down and I wrote out everything I was struggling with. Then, when I had exhausted my list I sat and waited.

I thought about who I was as a woman and who I was as a child of God.

Then, inside the figure I wrote what came to mind. Even though I was going through one of the toughest times of my life I knew that God was with me, I’d prayed several times over the months that Jesus would wrap his arms around me, so I wrote that I was wrapped in safety and comfort.

As other thoughts (and songs) came to mind I wrote them down and it was a powerful experience reminding me that, even in the valley of the shadow of death, I have nothing to fear and I am not alone.

I wanted to take this idea of using a figure as a way of reminding women who they are in Christ to a new level and I’d been reading a book on healing through dolls. I decided I’d design a figure that could be decorated in the same way that the painting was and see how that would look.

So, a lot of sewing later I made a figure I was happy with and started testing out the dolls.

So, my first two tests.

Doll 1 on the left is Eve, I wanted to create a woman from the Bible, and I wanted to see how the dolls would work as a less therapeutic form. She’s painted using Inktense blocks, which works well, but can bleed a little. I’m still working on them both, currently embroidering leaves over the body. They also have arms, but I didn’t attach them so it would be easier to decorate the body.

The doll on the right was done after listening to someone talking about gratitude. She is painted with acrylic paint, which is less messy, but leaves the fabric with a tough feel and it’s a little hard to sew into afterwards. I beaded onto this doll, but stopped halfway across because the beads would hide the boat and birds image.

Ideally, I’d like to sell the blank dolls for people to design their own, and I’d like to send them with a booklet with instructions and some art pages to help get the creativity started.

And that’s where I’m at!

I’m actually surprised I explained it as well as I did, I’d be really interested in what people think of the idea.

Sindy’s casual wardrobe

Another vintage knitting pattern tested!

Sindy Casuals – Mariner 1987

This is another pattern I remember from my childhood, but not one I remember mum knitting.

Again, because 4-ply isn’t available everywhere I used Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which is great for small doll projects because it comes in 25g balls and the colour range is incredible.

My colour scheme

I changed the colours, the difference doesn’t show except in the knitted jacket where I replaced the different colours for a striped sock yarn, it gave a much more subtle effect which I prefered. I also left the sleeves off of the jacket.

Jacket with self striping sock wool

I made the skirt shorter too and instead of making it a slip on skirt I changed it to add a hook fastener, which means it won’t stretch as much over time.

Outfit 1

The shorter skirt comes just above the knee, but the pattern skirt would have been much too long for a modern doll.

The Aran jumper I think was a bit too large and perhaps needed a size smaller needle.

Aran suit

The trousers fit well, but I made a mistake reading the pattern and made them a bit too short, although the shorter length means they fit my Blythe doll quite well.

The boots, if you’re interested, I bought for the Blythe doll. I’ve discovered some Blythe shoes fit Sindy.

I closed the jumper with a hook and eye fastening, but a snap fastening on the neck rib would have been better. The jumper has a back opening to fit onto the doll and needs a fastening on the rib to pull the neck in, otherwise the neck looks too wide.

Mind you, the jumper worn back to front does look like a V-neck with collar, so you could wear it that way.

Jumper Dress

Finally the Jumper dress. I don’t think it’s meant to be a dress, but the length is so long it would be crazy to not use it this way.

The dress, like the Aran jumper, looks slightly too big and might be worth missing out a few stitches on the front and back. The pattern also has a belt pulling in the dress, but I didn’t want that.

So, the pattern is finished. I think the pattern is one that still works today, perhaps with minor adjustments in length, but a nice pattern.

I’ve decided to sell these patterns in my Etsy shop, but for £1. Very affordable I think.

In His hands

I haven’t posted anything for a while, but I’ve been busy making things and working on a few projects, maybe too busy.

I’ve had a sense of… hmmm… maybe uncomfortableness about my crafting ‘career’ and where I’m going and I’ve been struggling with what to do about it.

What made it more difficult is realising just how big a part my mum played in my crafts.

My mum bought me my first handmade rag doll, a topsy-turvy Cinderella who still takes pride of place over 40 years later. She took me to my first craft fair and introduced me to a lady who taught me my first craft, quilling.

When she was making cakes she would sit me down to help her make flowers from fondant and it was mum who encouraged me with endless craft supplies. When I had stalls at craft fairs she would turn up and sit for hours dealing with customers and it was mum who told endless people about the things I made.

It’s only now she’s gone that I really recognise how big a part of my crafting world she played. Whenever I made something I was proud of, the first thing I did was go and show my mum. When I was deciding which options to choose for university it was mum who I discussed it with, and now I’m in a place where I feel uncomfortable in my craft world and my confidant isn’t here.

And so, I’ve been quiet, trying to figure out my next steps in a different way.

I was listening to the Phil Laeger version of I’m in his hands earlier.

Phil Laeger, I’m in His hands

When I describe my crafting as unfortableness, I think it’s really a newness.

I could say that God spoke to me about a new way last week, but it’s been a gradual moving towards something new that’s been going on for some years, to this final ‘reveal’ I guess.

From the quilting sessions at university in the second year, the regular thoughts of giving my crafts to God in the third year. The quilting project, then the growing thoughts on craft groups in churches and how they could be used as a ministry.

Making the boundless salvation quilt, meeting someone who instead of just saying “No”, told me I would carve my own path.

Most recently the zoom craft group, the enabled craft sessions, having the right courses and professionals come into my life at the right time, meeting someone who pointed me in the right direction for the Art therapy course.

All the little coincidences (God-incidences?) that bring me here and now with a plan or vision for where I’m going next.

What I always thought was a journey between mum and me has, all along included a third person, who is constant, who is on our side and who has a plan for us that far outweighs any idea or dream we could make up for ourselves.

This is a panel for my next quilt, you might recognise the image from a few posts ago, well this is the machine embroidered panel.

It’s based on the words of the Salvation Army song

Then how much more shall God, our Father, in love forgive.

Which is from the musical based on the story of Hosea.

How much More
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