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8 Embroidery Instagram Accounts We Adore

Embroidery on Instagram

Instagram is a powerful tool to find artists and makers who inspire you. In fact, this is one of the main reasons I love Instagram, I use it to “bookmark” people whose work I want to learn more about. It also makes it a perfect place to find beautiful art you love and see what is happening at the cutting edge of makery.

You could call embroidery an evergreen craft, it has been consistently popular and likely always will. However, this doesn’t mean that the styles stay the same (although you can be sure that everything goes around, even 90’s double denim)! Even the way we display or use embroidery is different to 30 years ago. Now we tend to display embroidery in hoops – a ready made super quick frame that happens to look amazing on the wall. Another use is to embroider our clothes, which is a much more traditional use, but we use modern designs.

Embroidery is thriving among all ages and is something you can start relatively cheaply; learn as you go and can easily take anywhere to do.  Therefore there is no reason we can possibly think of not to start!

These accounts on Instagram are brilliant places to explore and get the bug or find the type of embroidery that suits you! Some like @petronella.art and @_charleshenry_ also lead online embroidery courses if you love their style and want to learn more about their process.


So here are the 8 embroidery accounts on Instagram we adore:

@petronella.art

Who is she: Originally from Falsterbo in Sweden, Elin Petronella now lives mostly in France and embroiders buildings, landscapes and landmarks that she sees on her everyday travels. She hand draws out an intricate sketch and then converts that drawing into an embroidery pattern to stitch. She travels with her fiance, another embroidery artist called Charles Henry and together they have a website called Le Kadre. From Le Kadre you can buy finished pieces, patterns and online courses; they also have a joint Instagram account as well, @thetravellingartists.

Embroidery Style: Architectural embroidery of street scenes, landscapes and landmarks. She uses vibrant colours and a strong outline with particular attention often paid to objects like bikes or vegetation which add to the structure of the scene. Her pieces are almost always created and displayed in wooden hoops and are designed with a circle viewpoint in mind. 

Instagram Style: Expect beautiful photos of her travels with both urban and coastal landscapes; gorgeous progress photos of embroidered pieces being made and videos of her process. You will also be treated to amazingly envy making photos of places she sits to relax and embroider such as sun-drenched beaches or in front of stunning landmarks. You won’t just find embroidery though as she also knits and makes her own clothes and bags.  She also regularly posts about her life with Charles Henry (see below) as they work and travel together. 

Why should you follow her: If you love architectural style embroidery and beautiful photos of France and the Continent then this is your sort of account. Her account has a very happy vibe and is a perfect place to learn more about architectural embroidery.

 

Links

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/petronella.art/?hl=en

Instagram for The Travelling Artists: https://www.instagram.com/thetravellingartists/?hl=en

Facebook page for Le Kadre: https://www.facebook.com/lekadre/

Le Kadre website: https://lekadre.com/

 

@_charleshenry_

Who is he: He is a Paris born embroidery and illustration artist who like his fiance, @petronella.art, embroiders landmarks and street scenes, he also stitches portraits. As the other half of Le Kadre, they lead workshops, create patterns and sell their work all over Europe and beyond. He hand draws out the pattern first and these sketches are usually just as brilliant as the finished embroidered piece. 

Embroidery Style: His pieces switch between black/blue line stitched outline embroidery with no other colour apart from vivid multicolour skies or seas. His other embroidery style being architectural where he uses many colours and lots of texture. Like @petronella.art he uses hoops to display his pieces but sometimes he also converts stitched pieces into prints.

Instagram Style: Similar in style to @petronella.art in that you can expect lots of beautiful embroidery pieces in progress interspersed with photos of him stitching in front of beaches or famous landmarks. He also shows what life as half of a travelling artist couple is like with regular photos of the two of them. Both of their feeds show a deep appreciation that we should all try to love the little things in life and he often posts positive messages or something to make you think.

Why should you follow him: You will be seeing real-life scenes and people being literally sewn in front of your eyes though progress shots and videos. It is also really good that both he and @petronella.art show the location or scene they are stitching as well as the finished piece as it gives you a real insight into the finished likeness. and can get a really good feel of what architectural embroidery consists of. You will also love (and suffer huge jealousy pangs for) the shots of him stitching in front of gorgeous locations.

🌞 The embroidery is finished !☄🎨❤ It's not easy to finish a piece, I always had this problem in art school or even in my old job, I was never satisfied with my work. After 1 month and a half to embroider on this piece, I'm happy but there are always details that can bother me. With the experience I learned to hold my choices and to know how to say stop, the piece is finished. This piece was a memory of Paris, my hometown, which I was happy to leave for new adventures, it will always remain a city of my heart, and we will come there from time to time because my mother lives there. Each city has its own state of mind, that's how it is, that's why we often have preconception about the people who live there. I have tried it but I never really had the spirit of #Paris. Nature, the ocean, the small communities is more my kind of spirit. But without Paris maybe Elin and I would not be here at the moment of today making our passion a lifestyle. This #embroidery is located at Quai des Orfèvres not far from the Pont-Neuf, it is a place known for this large anti-criminal police station, and also known for its history and its majestic architecture. I now feel ready for the next piece, full of ideas in mind, I hope you'll be there! If you are interested in purchasing "Quai des Orfèvres" please email : hello@lekadre.com 🌻 . . . #lekadre #broderie #bordado #handembroidery #handmade #needlework #needlepainting #diy #closeup #manbroidery #artistofinstagram #artstudio #artforsale #embroideryartist #seineriver #sky #paintingoftheday #artoftoday #contemporaryartist #needleart #patienceiskey #dmcembroidery #vangogh #tribute #menstyle #detailedart #finearts #fineartist

A post shared by CHARLES HENRY (@_charleshenry_) on

 

Links

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_charleshenry_/?hl=en

Instagram for The Travelling Artists: https://www.instagram.com/thetravellingartists/?hl=en

Facebook page for Le Kadre: https://www.facebook.com/lekadre/

Le Kadre website: https://lekadre.com/

 

@kirikipress

Who is she: Kiriki Press started when Michelle Galletta, actually a printmaking graduate from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Canada; wanted to make an embroidered doll for her niece. She couldn’t find a pattern gorgeous enough, with existing ones being either too simplistic or too old-fashioned. After learning how to embroider she then designed and made a trio of embroidered owls. She has featured in a whole host of craft blogs, magazines and books and continues to create new designs featuring embroidered animals, characters and samplers.

Embroidery Style: She uses a myriad of different stitches to create the looks she wants for each character with colours suited to whichever character she is currently embroidering, each of the animals is very realistic and very cute. The simplest creations may only feature a few different stitches while advanced pieces may almost completely cover the fabric to create a fully textured piece.

Instagram Style: As you would imagine it mostly shows her creations in various states of creation and with lovely backgrounds. It also features characters made by people who have followed her patterns to create their own pieces. It is brilliant to see when she shows the original sketches for some of the designs as it is always really interesting to see how people design their work and how it differs or is similar to other artists.

Why should you follow her: If you love cute embroidery and sumptuous backdrops then this is perfect for you. 

 

 

 Links

Website – https://www.kirikipress.com/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kirikipress/?hl=en

Facebook – facebook.com/kirikipress

Twitter – twitter.com/KirikiPress

Pinterest – pinterest.com/kirikipress

 

@brynnandcoshop

Who is she: Amanda Bryde is Canadian by birth but now lives in Queensland, Australia. She runs her business, Brynn & Co, alongside having a young family and working full time. Having always been creative with photography, writing, crochet and sewing; she then fell in love with embroidery and started her business. Her dream is to be able to support her family by selling patterns and kits of her designs alongside sewing aids.

Embroidery Style: Positive words left as blank fabric then beautifully surrounded with embroidered flowers and plants. She also uses occasionally uses black outline stitches with a pop of colour to show off a feature.

Instagram Style: Think clean, beautifully lit and posed photos of her work, both finished and in progress. New ideas for her projects and collaborations with other artists.

Why should you follow her: If you like gorgeous embroidery flatlays and innovative ways to use embroidery in everyday life then this account is perfect.

 

Links

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/brynnandcoshop/?hl=en

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandalbryde/

 

@timesnewromance

I can’t find very much information about this artist but her work is fabulous so enjoy!

Embroidery Style: Brilliant innovative black outline portrait embroidery with hair features added beautifully using threads. Faces are spot on and I just love the texture that the threads give to the hair on the portraits. Some pieces she creates are huge and almost life-sized while others are tiny.

Instagram Style: Pared down images of in-progress and finished work always against simple backgrounds. Occasional shots of her stitching and her inspirations.

Why should you follow her:  So creative and innovative in how she frames, poses and stitches her portraits, it is a joy to see what she does next.

 

 

Links

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/times.new.romance/?hl=en

 

@tessa_perlow

Who is she: Tessa Perlow is from New Jersey in the USA and creates upcycled clothes and textiles by filling them with colourful embroidery art. She sells these pieces as unique one-off clothes.

Embroidery Style: Bold, vibrant and modern embroidery that veers from florals to human hearts and geometric patterns. Each garment or textile she creates is unique from any of her other pieces and all are brilliant. She also stitches hoop art, mostly featuring eyes in some way.

Instagram Style: You can expect lots of vibrant in-progress and finished images of her upcycled pieces with her either wearing them or in the hoop being created. Images of her gorgeous cats, plus dreamy photos from her trips.

Why should you follow her: The sheer variety and imagination of her work mean each piece is different and it’s exciting to see what her next design will be. If you love bold, modern embroidery and upcycling then this is perfect for you.

 

~Pure heart contour tee~ #embroidery

A post shared by ⚡️Tessa⚡️ (@tessa_perlow) on

Links: 

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tessa_perlow/?hl=en

 

 

@rachelwinters_sewing

Who is she: Rachel Winters is from Georgia in the USA and creates flower-rich embroidery hoop art. She sells her designs as PDF patterns and as finished hoop art.

Embroidery Style: She uses a variety of different stitches to create gorgeous floral pieces, sometimes with beautifully stitched birds, both for hoop art and for embroidering on clothes. Love the way she creates brilliant texture on some of the flowers using longer lengths of thread.

Instagram Style: Gorgeous close-ups and flatlays of her embroidery both finished and in progress plus sketches of her designs being created.

Why should you follow her: Her feed is gorgeously full of embroidered flowers and birds and if you love nature- inspired embroidery then this is the feed for you.

 

✨New hand embroidered hoops are now on my Etsy Shop. Link in my profile ✨

A post shared by rachelwinters_sewing (@rachelwinters_sewing) on

Links:

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rachelwinters_sewing/?hl=en

 

@defnegunturkun

Who is she: Based in Istanbul, Defne Güntürkün designs fabric patterns featuring nature-inspired themes so when she developed a love for embroidery it made sense that these themes would make their way into her embroidery. She has been designing fabrics for over 15 years so this experience helps her to choose colour combinations that work well together as well as decisions on how to incorporate new plants or objects into her pieces. She sells her embroideries through her website and through her studio in Istanbul.

Embroidery Style:  Nature-inspired pieces featuring beautiful floral filled initials; realistic character filled portraits and lots of cacti! She also creates stitched pins and buttons in a variety of designs. Her portraits are mostly stitched on felt.

Instagram Style: Videos of her work being stitched, allowing you to see her process. Photos of her work finished and in progress plus photos of her gorgeous studio.

Why should you follow her: Her portraits are gorgeous to watch being created and if like us you love watching the stitches transform the blank fabric and create a work of art, then this account is for you too.

 

 

Links:

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/defnegunturkun/?hl=en

Website – https://www.defnegunturkun.com/about

 

 

All these artists are inspirational, innovative and hugely creative talents and will fill your feed up with brilliance and loads of stitchy goodness. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post then have a read of some of our other posts here

Or if you want to have a browse of our craft kits then you can find our home page here 

5 Reasons We Love Kits

Some of the very first things I made (after the obligatory and beloved wiggly eye and pom-pom monster) were made using a kit. They were a cross stitch unicorn and a cartoon drawing set. The unicorn turned out with huge hooves and a very wonky horn and the less said about my attempts at  cartoons the better but they set me on a journey I am still travelling and enjoying today – the ability to make and create.
The use of a collected set of materials boxed together to make something specific is hardly new with model planes and cars regularly being made as kits but the proliferation of kits today means that you can find a kit in almost any craft form you want. This choice vibrancy is one of the reasons I love kits, you can make anything from a sock elephant to a pair of knickers! In case you are still un-convinced here are 5 more reasons!

 

  1. They are perfect as an introduction to a craft form.

    Kits usually come complete with instructions and everything you need to make your project. This means you can just focus on learning the techniques and enjoying the process. Once you have mastered the basics you can then go on to create your own projects or move on to a more challenging kit.

  2. They save you time.

    Rather than having to collect all the materials together and formulating the best method and then finding you have run out of time, you can just start! Everything is included so all you have to do is open the box and begin.

  3. You have a much better chance of it turning out how you intended.

    Someone will have carefully worked out how best to put the project together, worked out just how much wool you need and can tell you just when you might need that essential dab of glue. This means you are left with a thing of beauty rather than a nightmare creation! Again this is a perfect base from which to progress in a craft form.

  4. They span generations.

    You can get kits perfect for any age so however old you are you can find something to make. They are also lovely as activities to get everyone together by having a making session with children creating with their parents and grandparents.

  5. You can take them anywhere.

    Compact and portable, kits are perfect for taking with you to do some on the hoof creating! Long train/car journeys are perfect times to make or design something as your mind is free to design and build and you are given an enforced break from having to rush somewhere.

So whatever your favourite reason for using a kit we are sure you will agree they are pretty brilliant.

You can read our other blog posts on wellbeing, creativity and crafting here 

Or have a browse through our kits here

6 Crafty Ways To Help Your Garden Birds This Winter

With the snow and icy temperatures predicted to last well into March, our garden birds are really going to need feeding up to survive, as well as to prepare for nesting time.

Creating things for your garden birds can also be a brilliant time to teach children how to care for garden wildlife and to recognise different birds and animals. This can lead a child to a lifelong love for wildlife and also a future career choice so it’s well worth taking the time to explain and show children the wonders of a British garden or park.

Helping the birds needn’t be expensive or time consuming but it can be creative and a lot of fun. Here are 6 crafty ways you can help your garden birds this winter:

 

Fat Bird Cakes –

Make an easy hanging fat cake bird feeder. This activity by Catherine from the Growing Family blog shows you how to make a seed cake mix that you mould into a yoghurt pot then peel out to create a hanging feeder. This sort of a feeder is brilliant for Blackbirds, Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Starlings, House Sparrows, Long Tailed Tits and Blackcaps. On our bird feeders we have noticed that any fat balls or cakes are beacons for flocks of Long Tailed Tits and Blue Tits so if you have seen any of these birds in your garden then fat balls are perfect to make and put out. Growing Family – Homemade Bird Fat Cake Feeders 

Bottle Bird Feeder –

This idea comes from the RSPB and shows you how to recycle a plastic bottle and make it into a feeder to hold loose bird seed. This sort of feeder is perfect for many types of birds and you can easily make a new one as the old one gets grubby or broken. Remember not to put whole nuts in the feeder as baby or weaker birds can choke on these. Birds attracted to this sort of feeder will depend on the type of seed you put out so experiment with different seed mixes to find the one that goes down best in your garden. RSPB – Making Bird Feeders

Apple Bird Feeder –

Apples are a great food source to birds like blackbirds and thrushes and can either be cut into quarters and left on the top of a bird table or you can make this ingenious apple bird feeder from the RSPB. RSPB – Make an apple bird feeder

Birdbath Making –

Birdbaths are important for two reasons and both will attract birds to your garden. One is that birds need clean fresh water to drink so a well-kept and regularly cleaned (without chemicals, just with a hose and a scrubbing brush) water source is a valuable resource to them. The other reason is to allow birds to clean their feathers and keep them in good shape for flying. By having your birdbath slightly off the floor it will mean the birds are less vulnerable to predators on the ground. Place your bird bath somewhere sheltered and not out in an open part of your garden, this will mean there is less chance of a Sparrowhawk swooping in and grabbing a bird. This is a very easy and quick birdbath idea from the children’s part of the Wildlife Trusts – Wildlife Watch.

Nesting Boxes –

Make your birds a safe nesting box ready for when Spring actually decides to finally appear! Decide which birds you would like to tailor it for by making the correct size bird hole from the measurements given on this brilliant practical poster by Wildlife Watch.

Make a Wild Area –

Make your garden as natural as you possibly can by avoiding weed killers or slug/snail pellets as these can kill both hedgehogs and birds. Plant bushes and small trees that have berries in Winter or early Spring for birds to eat and leave an area to grow wild so that insects have somewhere safe to live. The increase in butterflies, bees and other insects will mean more birds will also visit your garden. This lovely poster is again from Wildlife Watch.

Making Leaf Sail Boats!

Although it has been a bit of a washout of a late summer the arrival of September means I can finally talk about the second of my favourite seasons, Autumn!

Opportunities for crafting in Autumn are amazing and varied so I am going to have a lot of fun sharing the autumnal crafting love. This first Autumn post is all about making those “evergreen” seasonal favourites…Leaf sail boats!

Making Leaf Sail Boats

This is perfect for those still beautiful days that you get in September and you find yourself by a pond or lake with children or even a group of friends (it’s surprising how competitive people can get over a tiny leaf boat!) Make your boats as complex or as simple as you can find materials for. You will always have an abundance of natural materials to choose the right mast or sail for the job.

Although this is all about the fun of building and sailing your boats; there are also a massive amount of positive learning opportunities for children in this activity such as:

  • Experimentation with materials to see what floats and what doesn’t.
  • Design – obviously important if you don’t want a sinking boat.
  • The experience of actually getting your hands right in there and getting muddy or wet. Although this sounds a strange one some of my fondest childhood memories involve me getting muddy, covered in leaves or on one or two memorable occasions totally soaked from head to foot. However when close to water children should always be under supervision from a suitable adult as edges can be slippery and children overly absorbed in the fun.
  • The social benefits of both working together and also individually. Some children thrive on working by themselves and others in a group situation so it’s always good to swap round. This gives a chance to learn that they can work either way and it’s not scary.
  • It is also a good opportunity to teach children some of the names of insects, birds or plants they come across and get a bit of early nature love starting. Who knows, you may inspire a future career!
Boat Design

The boats themselves are really just up to your imagination and experimentation. The boats that sink are just as important in the process as the ones that float.

You basically need a “boat” base bit – either a leaf, nut shell, raft or piece of bark. Leaves with defined edges work best for this as they don’t easily let water over the edges. We found a couple of walnut shell husks enjoyed by a squirrel and these worked brilliantly. You do however have to balance your mast and leaf quite carefully so that it doesn’t tip over. We found wedging a small twig from top to bottom of the shell worked well but just experiment. Then you need a mast – twig, hollow grass stem or leaf stem. And finally a sail – leaf or flower petal.

 

If you are attempting a raft then you may need a piece of twine to hold it all together. However please take it back away with you and leave nothing but your footprints behind.

Hope you have an amazingly productive boat building session full of mud, pond skaters and most importantly fun!

I’d love to see your creations so please send them in with your first name and county to customerservice@cre8kits.co.uk and I will post them all up on here.

To read more of our blog posts click here

How to tie the easiest bracelet knot clasp

30th July 2017

A knotted clasp bracelet is one of the easiest types of bracelets to make, beaten only by a stretchy bracelet but it is also one that people tend to steer away from as they think tying a knotted expanding clasp is difficult.

Actually this type of clasp is really easy when you know how and you can use it for a huge variety of different designs so have a go at learning how to tie this clasp because you will extend your jewellery making possibilities overnight plus saving you money as all you need is cord and your chosen bead/s rather than a clasp.

There are loads of different methods and types but this one is a super simple version and means you can make bracelets in minutes rather than fiddling around with tricky or expensive clasps. I’m writing this on a very soggy day in Shropshire but these also make gorgeous festival bracelets which you can layer and make in a smorgasbord of different designs.

Choosing the right cord for the job

Cotton reelsRound waxed cotton cord works best for these sorts of clasps and you can now get it in loads of different thicknesses and colours. For the bracelets pictured I used a 1mm thick waxed cotton cord.

 

Tying the Clasp

Step 1

Cut your cord – You need about 45cm of cord but play around with the sizing a bit because you might find you need more or less depending on which beads you use and the size of the wrist you are making the bracelet for, the amount I have given is basically just for a very small bead with two containing knots, the knotted clasp knots and a medium-ish size wrist.

plaits

Step 2

Add your beads to the middle of the bracelet and add an overhand knot each side of them to keep them where you want them. You can also knot them in along the bracelet but remember if you are doing this then you will need to add more cord at the start. I’ve just used a button and a leaf to help demonstrate.

button step 2
Step 2 – Add your bead/s to the centre of the bracelet or along the piece you want to be at the front on your wrist.

 

Step 3

Tie an overhand knot at both of the cord ends, you can knot a small bead on here first for decoration if you like.

button step 3
Step 3 – knot both ends of the cord.

 

Step 4

Now overlap the two ends so one end is going the one way and the other laying in the opposite direction. Now using one of the ends go underneath the other cord and tie a simple overhand knot around the cord leaving a small tail and pull tight but not so tight that it won’t slide. You can check you have got it right at this point by trying to slide the knot up and down the cord. You will now have what looks like a long loop at the end of a piece of cord.

Stage 4 button
Step 4
Stage 4 leaf
Step 4

 

Step 5

Now do the same on the other side by looping the remaining long cord end around a section of the loop and again tie and overhand knot with a small tail.

leaf step 5
Step 5

 

Step 6

You should now be able to slide both knots up and down the loop meaning that whatever size wrist you are making the bracelet for it will be a perfect fit.

closed leaf clasp
“Open clasp”
open finished bracelet
“Closed clasp”

 

I hope you have found this useful and can use it to make inexpensive and gorgeous bracelets galore!

Please send in pictures of your completed bracelets I’d love to see them!

For more blog articles like this as well as articles on art, craft, wellbeing and nature then please follow this blog. Or you can follow Cre8kits on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

(Originally posted on the 30th July 2017 on our original blog site Cre8ty)

 

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7 Iconic Recipes from Shropshire You Must Try

I may be a little biased but one of Britain’s most best kept secrets, my home county of Shropshire, is not just crammed with stunning countryside, historic market towns and the birthplace of the industrial revolution, it is also full of delicious traditional recipes passed down lovingly through the generations.

Some have fared better than others over the years and are still in regular use but others were lost until rediscovered by exploring recipe hunters! As well as giving a little history and information on each of the foods I have also tried to include a link to a recipe in case you would like to have a go yourself.

I haven’t tried making all of these (yet! I will let you know how I get on) so can’t guarantee that they turn out as deliciously as the originals and you will probably want to have a root around on the web to find your own favourite versions as there are so many available.

Some of the foods I found I immediately rejected as being either illegal now, a massive health hazard  or simply too disgusting to contemplate but there are many others like these 7 below which sound both delicious and are definitely worth a try!

Shrewsbury Biscuits

One of the best known recipes from Shropshire, Shrewsbury Biscuits are named after the county town of Shrewsbury. First mentioned in the 1500’s as being defined by their brittle and crisp texture, they were later used as a metaphor in a play “as short as a Shrewsbury Cake” by playwright William Congreve in 1700.

The biscuits were supposedly created by a Mr Palin and a plaque on a shop by Shrewsbury Castle states that it was in the area occupied by this building that Shrewsbury Biscuits were first baked by Palin to his unique recipe in the year 1760.

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Shrewsbury Biscuit recipes can contain a myriad of different flavours including rosewater, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, caraway seeds and orange peel on top of the basic recipe, making each recipe slightly different.

The biscuits used to be made under the name of Palin’s Original Shrewsbury Cakes by a manufacturer in Shrewsbury called Thomas Plimmer and Sons and then Phillip’s Stores Limited up until the Second World War when the difficulty of obtaining butter and other ingredients meant that production stopped.

However this didn’t stop people from loving the Shrewsbury Biscuit and they are today still made in the town  by local company Baked for You http://www.bakedforyou.co.uk/shrewsbury-biscuits.html .

This recipe for  Shrewsbury Biscuits is  written by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for his article  on the Guardian website, view it  here 

2. Fidget Pie

Fidget Pie started life 400 years ago in much in the same way as the Cornish Pasty in that it was developed so that farm workers (rather than mine workers in the case of the pasty) could have a portable lunch to take with them when they were bringing the harvest in.

It basically consists of a pastry case filled with gammon, potato, onion, cider and apple and then topped with a layer of cheese and pastry.

The origin of the name is hotly disputed but explanations include that it relates to the way the ingredients “fidgeted around” while being cooked, refers to the way it smells when cooked (fitchett or fitch – a name for a polecat) or because the pie traditionally used to have a 5 sided shape.

fidget pie
Fidget Pie – This is the Hairy Bikers version of the Fidget Pie

It had really started to fade in popularity over the years and was in serious danger of being forgotten with the ready availability of pasties and pies from the supermarket shelves until the Hairy Bikers came to Shropshire and made a version! They revitalised it, made it famous and now the Ludlow Food Centre has just sold their 10,000th Fidget Pie!

The Hairy Biker recipe for a Shropshire Fidget Pie can be found  here

3.  Market Drayton Gingerbread

Market Drayton has long been associated with gingerbread, the first mention being in 1793 by Roland Lateward who was baking gingerbread in the town but it was probably made here even earlier than this.

Gingerbread in its original form of Gingerbrede is actually one of the world’s oldest cake bread recipes with the earliest recipe dating back to 1390!

Gingerbread

Market Drayton used to have four gingerbread bakers in the early 20th century which for a small town sounds incredible. It is reputed that rum featured in some of the secret recipes and when that didn’t provide enough of a kick people dunked the gingerbread into port! Despite or perhaps because of this, the gingerbread was supposed to have a restorative effect!

The oldest surviving brand of Gingerbread is Billingtons’s who started in 1817. Production was interrupted during the war but thrived afterwards but it sadly now seems to be made in Yorkshire not Shropshire.

Today a company called Image on Food (http://www.imageonfood.co.uk/) set up in the 80’s makes the gingerbread in the town and sells to shops such as Harvey Nichols, Waitrose and Selfridges, keeping the tradition going.

4. Shropshire Soul Cakes

These cakes are intrinsically linked to the Christian festival of All Souls Day. The tradition is that poorer neighbours would offer to “go a souling” and pray for the relatives of richer neighbours in exchange for money or food. Later on the tradition changed to one very much like a form of carol singing, in that children would sing:

 “A soul-cake, a soul-cake, please good missus, a soul-cake.  One for Peter, one for Paul, three for Him who saved us all”

and would then receive a soul cake or Harcake in return.

The cakes had a cross baked into them and then when a cake was eaten this would represent a soul being freed from purgatory.

It used to be a common practise to leave soul cakes out on All Hallow’s Eve for the souls of  family and friends who had died, the cakes would then be given to neighbours the next day.

Mary Ward from Pulverbatch in Shropshire was the last known person to keep up this tradition, which she kept to up until her death in 1853.

You can find a recipe for Shropshire Soul cakes here

 

5. Shrewsbury Simnel Cake

Another recipe from the county town, this cake was traditionally prepared in Springtime for Mothering Sunday or Lent with daughters making the cakes for their mothers when they came back from the hiring fair after 6 months or by a girl in service going home and visiting her mother on Mother’s day with the cake.

A light fruit cake with saffron, a central layer of marzipan and decorative icing or paste balls on top of the cake. It was traditionally created by first boiling and then baking the cake.

simnel cakes
An illustration of Simnel Cakes from Chambers Book of Days in 1869

In 1869, Chambers Book of Days says:

“It is an old custom in Shropshire and Herefordshire, and especially at Shrewsbury, to make during Lent and Easter, and also at Christmas, a sort of rich and expensive cakes, which are called Simnel Cakes. They are raised cakes, the crust of which is made of fine flour and water, with sufficient saffron to give it a deep yellow colour, and the interior is filled with the materials of a very rich plum-cake, with plenty of candied lemon peel, and other good things. They are made up very stiff; tied up in a cloth, and boiled for several hours, after which they are brushed over with egg, and then baked. When ready for sale the crust is as hard as if made of wood, a circumstance which has given rise to various stories of the manner in which they have at times been treated by persons to whom they were sent as presents, and who had never seen one before, one ordering his simnel to be boiled to soften it, and a lady taking hers for a footstool. They are made of different sizes, and, as may be supposed from the ingredients, are rather expensive, some large ones selling for as much as half-a-guinea, or even, we believe, a guinea, while smaller ones may be had for half-a-crown. Their form, which as well as the ornamentation is nearly uniform, will be best understood by the accompanying engraving, representing large and small cakes as now on sale in Shrewsbury. The usage of these cakes is evidently one of great antiquity. It appears from one of the epigrams of the poet Herrick, that at the beginning of the seventeenth century it was the custom at Gloucester for young people to carry simnels as presents to their mothers on Midlent Sunday (or Mothering Sunday).”

A recipe for Shrewsbury Simnel Cake by the WI can be found here.

6. Shropshire Mint Cakes

There is an air of mystery around these cakes as they are not mentioned anywhere except as a recipe for “Shropshire Mint Cakes” by an Australian newspaper in 1935! So if anyone has any more information about their origin then I would love to know but until then you can find a recipe for Shropshire Mint Cakes here

7. Aromatic Shropshire Pudding

This pudding always sounds slightly suspicious to me, after all aromatic can be good or bad. However it looks delicious so I will be making this one as soon as possible!

Again there is scant history about this pudding so all I can offer is a recipe from the brilliant The Ordinary Cooks blog here .


I really hope you have enjoyed this little slice of Shropshire Food. There is so much delicious history waiting to be discovered about our culinary heritage and so many recipes to try so I hope you are inspired, as I am, to have a dig around and see what dishes you are missing out on in your own hometowns!

If you’ve enjoyed this article then please follow our blog for more on craft, food, wellbeing and nature!

This article was originally posted on our original blog site Cre8ty on 27th June 2017.

Sources and Links to Further Information

https://www.shropshiretourism.co.uk/news/shropshire-fidget-pie.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/food/2003/05/gingerbread.shtml

https://www.shropshiretourism.co.uk/town/market-drayton.html

http://shropshirehistory.com/other/food.htm#marketdraytongingerbread

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2015/07/11/move-to-rip-up-market-drayton-gingerbread-icon-takes-the-biscuit/

http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/shrewsburysimnelcake.htm

http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/BookofDays/03510336.html

http://theordinarycook.co.uk/2015/03/16/aromatic-shropshire-pudding/

http://shropshirehistory.com/other/food.htm#shrewburysimnelcake

https://www.expressandstar.com/lifestyle/2013/08/06/celebrating-traditional-food-in-the-black-country-and-shropshire/

http://theordinarycook.co.uk/tag/shropshire-recipes/

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/business/2017/06/14/event-to-relaunch-200-year-old-gingerbread-recipe-in-market-drayton-/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/shropshirefidgetpie_91840

http://www.countryfile.com/countryside/regional-food-shropshire-fidget-pie

http://shropshirehistory.com/other/food.htm#shrewsburybiscuits

http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/food/2002/10/shrewsbury_biscuits.shtml

http://www.wetnelly.com/page010.html

10 embroidery stitches to take you from beginner to master

It is a subject of common knowledge (and quite a few popular books) that you only need to know a few chords on a guitar to open you up to be able to play a whole rainbow’s worth of music. Of course learning new chords afterwards is great and can make your playing varied and even more fun but effectively you can do an awful lot with just those few chords and a willing spirit. Embroidery is actually pretty much the same. While it’s great to know how to stitch a huge range of different stitches you can actually get away with just mastering 10 stitches to make huge numbers of gorgeous pieces.

So here I’ll show you, with photographs, how you can stitch these 10 stitches quickly and easily and start your journey from embroidery newbie to stitch master!


  • Running Stitch:

    Technique:

    There are two methods for doing running stitch, just choose which you like best.

    METHOD 1– First knot the end of your thread and come up through the back of the material until the knot hits the material, now make one stitch by going down through the material again a small distance away.

    Now (as shown in Photo 1) weave your needle in and out of the fabric to create the stitches and pull through. Photo 2 shows the completed stitches.

    Running stitch 1 method 1 resized
    Photo 1 – Running stitch method 1
    finished method 1 running stitch
    Photo 2 – Method 1 completed

    METHOD 2 –  The second method is just to go up and down normally and do your stitches individually. See Photo 3.

    method 2 running stitch
    Photo 3 – Running stitch method 2
    Where to use running stitch:
    1. Decoratively, to create a border or line.
    2. To gather material together.
    3. In appliqué (where you sew smaller fabric shapes onto another larger piece of fabric to create a pattern or picture.)
    4. To hold pieces of fabric together temporarily before properly stitching.

 

  • Back Stitch

Technique:

Backstitch is a lovely simple stitch which again starts with you knotting the end of your thread. Now come up from the back and make one stitch by going down again. Now come up a stitch’s worth amount from your first stitch and then go back down the hole from the first stitch (see Photo 4) covering over where you left the gap. It’s easier to demonstrate with pictures and a diagram as it sounds so much more complicated than it is!

 

backstitch diagram

 

You come up at 1 and go back down at 2, back up at 3 and then back down at 4 and so on.

 

 

 

 

back stitch start
Photo 4 – starting to backstitch
back stitch
Photo 5 – Completed Backstitches
Where to use backstitch:
  1. Decoratively, for lines or borders.
  2. To stitch words or outlines.

 

  • Straight Stitch

Technique:

diagram straight stitch

Super simple and perfect for filling up shapes. Just come up from the back at point 1 and back down at point 2, then start again at a completely different angle.

 

straight stitch
Photo 6 – Completed straight stitch

 

Where to use straight stitch:
  1. To fill up large shapes and to create texture.

 

  • Chain Stitch

 

Technique:
chain stitch diagram
Photo 7 – Starting chain stitch

 

Come up  from the back with your needle,  go back down at 1 (next to where you began) and come up at 2, before pulling through catch the thread around the left side of the needle as shown in Photo 7.

chain stitch in progress
Photo 8 – Continuing to chain stitch

 

 

 

 

 

To continue chain stitching just follow the same technique but go through the middle of the last chain as shown in Photo 8.

completed chain stitch
Photo 9 – Completed chain stitches
Where to use it:
  1. To outline words and shapes.
  2. Decorative borders.

 

 

 

 

  • Lazy Daisy

 

Technique:

This is basically a variant of chain stitch so once you can do that you can do this! Start by knotting the end of your thread, coming up from the back and then going back down next to where you came up from, creating a loop. Come up again where you want the tip of the “petal” to be and thread through the loop (see photo 10). Pull through and then make a very small stitch to hold the loop in place (see Photo 11).

lazy daisy 1
Photo 10 – Starting the lazy daisy

 

lazy daisy diagram
Photo 11 – Numbered diagram for the lazy daisy stitch. Come up at 1 and down at 2, keep a loop and come up again at 3 before capturing the loop by going down at 4.

Now come back up in the middle and start again (Photo 12), create the petals until your flower shape is complete (Photo 13).

lazy daisy in progress
Photo 12 – Lazy daisy stitch in progress.
completed lazy daisy
Photo 13 – Completed lazy daisy flower, you can add a centre or just leave as is.
Where to use it:
  1. To create flowers, petals, leaves or seeds.

 

 

  • French Knots

 

Technique:

First knot the end of the thread and then come up with your needle from the back, now using your fingers wrap the thread 3 times around the needle tip towards you (Photo 14) and hold the working thread while you push the needle back down next to where you came up (Photo 15). Pull steadily and slowly until a knot is formed (Photo 16).

french knot thread wrapping
Photo 14 – Wrapping the thread around the needle to form a French knot

 

french knot 2
Photo 15 – going back down to form the French knot
Competed French knots
Photo 16 – Completed French knots

 

Where to use it:
  1. Decorative filling
  2. To form part of or the whole of plants, flowers or seeds

 

  • Stem Stitch

 

Technique:

Come up from the back and, using Photo 17 to help demonstrate, up at 1, down at 2 and then back up again at 3 (point 3 is halfway between points 1 and 2) so that the stitches sit neatly on top of each other (Photo 18).

stem stitch instructions
Photo 17 – Beginning to stem stitch

 

stem stitch 2
Photo 18 – clearer image of a stem stitch sequence before you pull the thread.
Stem stitch completed
Photo 19 – Completed series of stem stitches
Where to use it:
  1. To outline writing
  2. To create stems, twigs and branches
  3. For decorative borders

 

 

  • Satin Stitch

Technique

Draw with pencil or chalk the shape you would like to satin stitch (photo 20), this makes it much easier to make sure you are staying on target.

satin stitch 1
Photo 20 – draw your shape in first to help guide your stitches.

 

It’s down to personal preference but I like to start at the widest point and work out, this is usually the middle of a shape. You come up from the back and go straight across the design and down, as shown in  Photo 21. You then come back up just next to where you started on the left but slightly down. This means that you get a well covered shape with no gaps. Remember not to pull the thread to tight otherwise it will start to gather.

satin stitch 1st stitch
Photo 21 – I like to start in the middle, come up and then go straight across the design and down. Then come back up next to where you started on the left.

 

satin stitch almost done
Photo  22 – Almost finished satin stitched shape

 

satin stitch completed
Photo 23 – Completed shape

Where to use satin stitch

  1. To give a solid filling to shapes or writing
  2. For petals and leaves

 

 

 

  • Cross Stitch

Technique

You might think that this stitch belongs exclusively to cross stitch but it is also fantastic in embroidery as well. It is as simple as it sounds but it is important to always stitch it in the same order as it will show if you change the order you stitch it. As shown in Photo 24, come up at 1 and across and down at 2, up again at 3 and down at 4.

cross stitch method image 1
Photo 24 – come up at 1, down 2, up at 3 and down at 4.

 

cross stitch complete
Photo 25 – Completed cross stitches

 

Where to use cross stitch
  1. As a decorative filling
  2. For borders

 

  • Blanket Stitch

Technique

(These instructions are if you are stitching two pieces of fabric together) Knot the end of your thread and go down through the bottom fabric piece only, this will hide your knot between the two layers (Photo 26). Make your first stitch by now going through the two layers from the top, this creates a loop and your first stitch (Photo 27).  Push the needle sidewards through first stitch and between the middle opening of the two layers to anchor it and make the thread appear on the left hand side of that first stitch.

 

 

Now using Photo 28 to illustrate, go down from the top a short distance away from your last stitch and make sure the thread loops behind the needle so that when you pull it together it looks like Photo 29. Just carry on doing this all the way around the piece you are stitching until you are back to where you started. Then slide your needle sidewards through your first stitch and then again to make a loop, now pass your needle through that loop so you have a knot.

blanket stitch
Photo 28 – Blanket stitch in progress. Go down from the top a short distance away from your last stitch and make sure the thread loops behind the needle.

 

blanket stitch loop
Photo 29 – The loop forming
Where to use blanket stitch
  1. For decorative borders
  2. Appliqué
  3. To sew two edges together decoratively

 

I really hope you have found this whistle-stop tour of embroidery stitches useful. Embroidery is so rewarding, not just because it is relaxing and therapeutic but also because it is something that has no parameters so you can literally stitch your imagination!

Please send in pictures of your completed embroidery masterpieces, I’d love to see them!

For more blog articles like this as well as articles on craft, wellbeing and nature then please follow this blog or follow Cre8kits on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

3 Ways to use your odd socks up on lost sock memorial day

We all have them, spare odd socks that seem to appear with monotonous regularity in our sock drawers. To compound matters they are usually the ones that are completely different to every other sock you possess so there is no chance of trying to get away with matching any of your odd socks together. So this Lost Sock Memorial Day why not use those odd socks for something useful and stop them continuing to bung up your sock drawer!

What to do with all those socks?

  • Sock Puppets

This may be a very obvious spare sock use but it is still a brilliant one! You can create any number of different characters and animals and with a bit of imagination they are great for using in educational play as well – such as animal and colour recognition or counting  for example.

Making a sock puppet couldn’t be more simple, you can use felt, wiggly eyes, embroidery, pom poms, ribbons, glitter glue, marker pens and wools to decorate and personalise the sock. You usually have the heel on the top of your hand with the upside down toe end as the nose or mouth. Once decorated just slip your hand inside and start playing! Themed collections of puppets from stories or nursery rhymes are brilliant or animals from habitats children are learning about e.g. polar or pond.

  • Sock dog chew

If your dog is anything like ours then a carelessly discarded sock is an instant invitation to carry it around all day, slobbering and chewing as they go (thinking about it, that’s probably why I have so many odd socks)!

pug and sock

Protect your favourite socks and sacrifice some old and holey ones to make dog toys your best friend will love! There are loads of different ways to do this and no one way is better than another as long as the stitches are secure and not loose or broken. If they are then fix it straight away or take the toy away from your dog until you have time.

One option is to cut two socks into strip tubes pieces, each about 5cm wide. Turn all the pieces inside out and securely sew each of the strip tube pieces together, alternating colours and patterns to give a patchwork effect, creating a long sausage tube of colour or pattern stripes. Sew the one end of the tube up but leave the other open for now, turn the chew the right way round and stuff with more odd or holey socks. Now sew the other end up using ladder stitch.

sock strip for dog chew

Another popular option is to cut two small simple shape pieces out of the sock, sew together using blanket stitch and stuff with a sewn up inner bag containing dried beans, this inner bag will help make it more robust. You can then use it as a bean bag throw toy. Obviously alter the size of the beanbag to your dog’s size, so for example don’t make a jumbo size toy with a huge weight of beans for a Chihuahua and conversely don’t give a Great Dane a toy that they might choke on!

If you want to add a bit of character to your dog toys then embroider faces or motifs but again always make sure there is nothing for your dog’s teeth to get stuck in.

  • Phone or MP3 Player Sock

phoneBrilliant for keeping phones or music players clean and scratch free in handbags (nearly impossible normally). You can make your “sock” as fancy and complicated or as simple and quick to make as you want.

Probably the simplest and quickest method is to first use your phone to measure how big it needs to be and add about 10cm to that measurement to allow for sewing up and the “popper seam”. Cut across the sock at this point so that you effectively have a tube. If you are able to then try to use the open top of the sock, this will already be seamed so it will make things easier to use it as the top of the phone sock and where you add the poppers to. If you do have this top intact then you can reduce the amount of added measurement you allow and just have 5cm extra on top of the length of your phone.

phone sock how to image

Turn the tube inside out and sew the one end up completely. If you haven’t got the original top intact then create a 5cm seam on the other end. This will be where you sew your poppers on to so it needs to be a wide flat seam. Turn your phone sock the right side out and sew on two sets of poppers at equidistant distance on the inside of the sock (where your seam is). This means there is less pressure than just having one and less risk of stretching and the poppers coming off.  Slide your phone inside for that perfect “made to measure in 15 minutes” feeling.  Glam this up with embroidered writing or patterns or add a felt lining to make it extra plush.

There are so many other ways you can celebrate your odd socks. Experiment now you are started on the path to freeing these lonely socks from sock drawer prison! 

You can keep in touch with our blog posts by following us on here or by following Cre8kits on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, we also have a newsletter you can sign up to on our website http://www.cre8kits.co.uk.

This article was posted on our original blog site Cre8ty on the 9th May 2017.

Green – Reasons to love and hate the marmite colour

For 2017 a green shade is Pantone colour of the year, appropriately called Greenery; fresh and vibrant it truly makes you think of freshly uncurled leaves.

“There’s an understanding now, that you can use green as a neutral colour, just as Mother Nature does. With any flower that pops out of the Earth, you never say, ‘oh, that can’t go against green’.” Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

The colour green is everywhere, we see it everyday whether we work or live rurally or in urban settings. From sumptuously filled gardens to the weeds in between the paving slabs on our way to work, it is ever present. Despite this the colour green is often portrayed as an afterthought, much less popular than its “shade cousin” blue and also associated with unluckiness in some countries and jobs.

As it is green’s year, I thought it was the perfect moment to look at this colour in more detail and find out why and where we should and conversely shouldn’t, be including green in our lives.

What is Green?Hand drawn leaf Becky Woolley

Green is perched between blue and yellow on the visible light section of the electromagnetic spectrum and has a wavelength of around 510nm. Things, such as for example vegetation, appear green because all the other colours in the visible part of the spectrum are absorbed into the leaves but green is reflected.

Green Colour Associations around the World

In many languages, including English, green is irrevocably intertwined with growth in nature but culturally green has a myriad of different meanings across the world. In Europe and the USA green denotes Spring, a sign of rebirth and environmental knowledge. However in China green means exorcism and in hats, that someone’s wife is cheating. Green in Japan means life and in Islam green shows hope and virtue. In Feng Shui green means Yin and a refreshing, nurturing, calming and healing energy.

green scooterUnlucky?

Widely thought of as an unlucky colour for a vehicle, many people would rather have any other colour paintwork rather than go for green. Interestingly dark green was a very popular colour for early automobiles but now only 6% of cars (from a 2013 survey) are this colour and this figure is still dropping.

But can the colour of your car really be linked to higher crash rates?

A Monash University Accident Research Centre study in Australia found a clear statistical link between car colour and risk of crash. This showed that cars that might be more difficult to see clearly, such as darker cars like black, brown and green, were more likely to have more severe crashes than lighter or white cars. However green, although high up, was not at the top of the list of most crashes so why do we have such a specific view that green cars are unlucky when it comes to crashes?

One possible link is that in 1910 a car being driven in a race in Syracuse lost control and killed several watching members of the public – it was green. Then again in 1920 Gaston Chevrolet was killed in his green car during a race. These two events seem to have had a big impact on the racing car scene with this superstition being at its highest between the 20’s and the 50’s. This feeling is only now starting to ebb because corporate sponsors want their logos on cars and if the sponsor’s logo happens to be green, drivers on that sponsors team have to put aside the superstition in order to drive.

And Now the Positives

There is mounting research both being undertaken and already completed that colour can affect your mood and enhance your memory and creativity.

A study from the University of Essex assessed mood and tiredness in a group of 14 men. The group rode an exercise bike for 5 minutes while watching a simulated cycle through natural surroundings with either a green, red or monochrome filter applied. The participants reported feeling less tired and had steadier mood fluctuations when the green filter was applied than when the other two filters were used.

The same research team also undertook a previous study which found that even a tiny amount of exercise outside provided very positive improvements in mood and self-esteem.

Green surroundingThey theorised that these positive effects traced back to when lush greenery to our early ancestors indicated plentiful food and water and would presumably provide calmer and happier feelings as a result.

Another study, on the relationship between colour and emotion completed by Naz Kaya PH.D. and Helen Epps PH.D. from the University of Georgia used 98 college students as the participants. They used a computer screen to separately show each participant a series of ten colours – red, yellow, green, blue, purple, yellow-red, green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue and red-purple. They were then asked to report their emotional response to the colour on the screen and how it made them feel. Out of all the colours, green was mentioned most positively with 95% of responses being positive. The words and emotions people associated with green were relaxation, calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, hope and excitement. The participants said that they associated green with nature and plants which made them feel more soothed.

Increased Concentration and Creativity?

A slightly different slant on green’s positive impact is that research by Dr. Kate Lee found that it can also boost concentration and help you make less errors in your work. A group of students were given a boring computer based task to do but which involved concentration not to press the wrong button at certain times. When the students had a mini break half of them viewed a green roof and the other half a concrete roof. Those who had viewed the green roof made less mistakes and concentrated more than those who didn’t in the second half of the boring task completed after the break. She put forward the theory that the green view had given the students a mental boost and also a mind relax.

Links between green and enhanced creativity was made in a study by Lichtenfeld, Elliot, Maier and Pekrun where a very quick glimpse of green before doing a creative task boosted participant’s creative performance as opposed to when other colours were viewed.

So where or how is the best way to welcome green into your life?

Given that green seems to be beneficial for mood, concentration and creativity; it sounds like offices and educational establishments would benefit from a bit of greening here and there. In the home, green could be beneficial in home offices and also in rooms where you want to relax and recuperate. As with everything, use with moderation as too much green could also be overwhelming. Elle Décor suggests using some paler greens as neutrals and adding feature colours to imitate flower colours.

When it comes to transport it appears it is darker cars in general that are more likely to have crashes than lighter cars due to heightened visibility and not than green is particularly unlucky. However if safety is your primary concern when buying a car you may want to consider the colour and go for lighter rather than darker colour car shades.

 So Love it or hate it, green does have some very good points, just perhaps not when it comes to cars! How will you be using green this year?

For more of our blog posts please have a browse here

Information sources and links to further information:

https://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/Wavelengths_for_Colors.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300804/

http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=532

http://www.deborahswallow.com/2010/02/20/meaning-of-colours-across-cultures/

http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning/color-meaning-symbolism-psychology/all-about-the-color-green-4309#.WOwWEhEizIU

http://www.theaa.com/newsroom/news-2013/aacars-most-popular-car-colours.html

http://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/216475/muarc263.pdf

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/nascar/history/green-cars-unlucky-in-nascar.htm

https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Choosing/colour-personality.htm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/10767459/Seeing-red-The-mind-bending-power-of-colour.html

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es301685g

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es305019p

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027249440290232X

http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr01/greengood.aspx

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9450.2004.00419.x/full

https://adobe99u.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/2012_lichtenfeldetal_pspb.pdf

http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/how-do-colors-influence-learning

http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC3743993

http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/color/news/a9392/pantone-color-of-the-year/

http://www.livescience.com/36735-does-the-color-green-boost-exercise-s-effects.html

http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/38646306/colorassociation-students.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1492521099&Signature=WSQk7oGC%2Bx3EXuh10Kq9silRNig%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DRELATIONSHIP_BETWEEN_COLOR_AND_EMOTION_A.pdf

http://freshome.com/2010/09/08/20-ways-to-use-color-psychology-in-your-home/

7 unexpected but brilliant ways crafting can make your life better

We all love making things, whether a gorgeous bracelet as a Birthday present for your sister, a model plane to take to the skies or a tiny knitted pair of bootees for your newborn but did you also know about the amazing benefits you are receiving just from stitching, knitting or painting something? From helping with depression and providing pain relief to making you happier, crafting has some seriously unexpected benefits.

  1.  It melts stress and helps alleviate depression

You probably already know this if you’re a crafter but doing any type of craft activity can help you unwind and relax. A sponsored study by Robert Reiner of the New York University psychiatry department found that when his patients took part in sewing activities their heart rate showed they relaxed. Other studies on depression reported that crafting releases dopamine – the hormone that helps you feel good. Professor Kelly Lambert, a former President of the International Behavioural Neuroscience Society, said that partaking in arts and crafts activities “bathes the brain in feel good chemicals” and can in some situations, be just as effective as taking prescription medication.

  1. It makes you happier and more positive

An online study published by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that after knitting, a huge 81% of people said they felt happier. Another study found that even just doing one creative thing a day can make you more positive. If you needed any more convincing, researchers at the University of Otago also found that when their test subjects did something creative daily there was a lasting positive trend of wellbeing and creativity in contrast to those who didn’t do anything creative.

  1. Reduces your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by as much as 50%

Yes you read that right! One study found that creative activities such as craft reduce your chances of suffering from mild cognitive impairment by up to 50%. Another study from France also found that older people who did creative activities such as knitting are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. It can help you cope with pain

Crafting along with music has been found to be very effective at distracting from pain or nausea. This is because the mind is so focused on the pleasurable activity that it temporarily distracts from the pain.

  1. Social benefits

Loneliness is becoming an epidemic in our societies with 10% of older people saying they feel lonely some or most of the time, young people in their teens and twenties are also suffering from loneliness more than ever and an ONS report even found Britain to be the loneliest country in Europe! Craft offers a chance to connect with people over shared interests, whether in a weekly group or sharing knitting mishap stories over a cup of tea with a friend. It is something that everyone can take part in and often doesn’t cost very much to do.

  1. Stops you worrying about your mortality

Yes, if you often worry about your own death then crafting can help. A study found that those people who did more creative activities regularly felt less apprehensive about their own death than those who didn’t.

  1. In the flow – it can transport you into a zen like state

Last but not least – both Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention” and the psychologist Claudia Hammond say that when people are in the “Flow” of creativity, this state of flow helps time pass by without you noticing meaning your cares and woes are easily forgotten for that period of time and you are focused purely on your task.

So the next time you sew, stitch, felt or knit, you can bask in the knowledge that you are also benefiting from some pretty amazing side-effects.  

By Becky Woolley

Some links to the studies and other articles of interest if you would like to read more:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21677242

http://www.marthastewart.com/1083369/knit-day-keeps-doctor-away-health-benefits-crafting

https://www.cgu.edu/people/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

http://www.claudiahammond.com/

http://www.countryliving.com/life/a4926/brain-crafting-benefits/

http://serenityyou.com/2013/01/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-arts-and-crafts-activities-guest-post.html

http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/health-therapeutic

http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/loneliness-research/

http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/why-sewing-is-so-good-for-us/

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=p07184

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/arts-and-health/201612/creativity-and-emotional-well-being-recent-research

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jocb.171/full

 

A bit about Cre8kits

Cre8kits is an independent online shop providing craft kits for easy, time saving and gorgeous creations. For all ages, both individuals and groups.

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