Monday, 4 February 2013

A Love Story: Coats, Carrots and Cake

I was commissioned to make this Snug as a wedding present. As with the last piece I showed you, there was an array of information that I was given about the happy couple in question that was to be included in this new tea cosy. This time there was not one but two people to consider in the overall design.

The bride is an avid baker and a lover of clothes and fashion. The groom is outdoorsy and a grower of vegetables. I wanted to make these things the centre of my design for this Snug. Red, cream and brown are the colours of their kitchen and I was asked to make these the base colours of the piece. I knit the body in broad stripes of each colour. The stripes were to act as an individual background to each of the couple’s interests.

I had been given an amazing book for my birthday from a friend of mine. It is called “Jan Messent’s Knitted Gardens”. It is published by Search Press. As is suggested by the title, it is a whole book of different garden patterns. It is full of everything you can think of, from plants, trees and flowers to the gardeners themselves. It has knitted cottages, greenhouses and even bee hives. Luckily for me, there is a section on vegetable patterns. I don’t imagine I will ever knit a full garden but these kinds of resource books are great for little gems like knitted radishes. Who would have thought you could get your hands on such a thing. I could happily look at this book for hours.

I picked a selection of vegetables from the patterns provided and got my knitting needles out. I was delighted with the outcome of my garden experiments and when they were all finished I added beads and sequins to the woolly veg to bring them even more to life.

For the fashion stripe I made miniature clothes and shoes out of felt and again, embroidered them with extra details to make them stand out.

I am a baker myself so I took great pleasure in making the tiny cupcakes that decorate this last section of the tea cosy. I looked through my own cookery books for inspiration in colours, shapes and sizes. I love to sew and embroider things in miniature. I love picking the coloured threads and waxing them to help stop them tangling as I sew. I love trimming the ends and threading the needle. I love how the piece can be transformed by using the needle and thread to “draw” on your fabric, to create definition and tone and to add detail to these small creations. I love to tell the story of the piece with long and short stitches.

To complete this Snug I decided I would add a little romance; this was a wedding present after all. I settled on a pair of love birds to nestle on top of the cosy; a symbol of the couple coming together to bring two lives into one new home. I am very pleased with these two little fellows. I feel they bring the love and the heart to this striped design.

There is a lot to look at on this tea cosy. Your eye tends to jump around, trying to take in all the different elements and details. When something is this busy sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. But for me, this Snug is lively and full of character. It is a Snug that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a gesture of love, of friendship and of well wishes for a happy and fulfilled future.

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