Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

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Visible mending with Flora Collingwood-Norris

Flora Collingwood-Norris is a knitwear designer and maker based in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. She's put together the following tutorial to show exactly how to make mending a decorative statement. You can find out more about Flora's work in my interview with her here.

Step One - Materials

  • 1 X holey piece of knitwear
  • Yarn in a similar weight and fibre to the knitwear, the closer the better.
  • 1 X tapestry needle (long eye and blunt point)
  • Scissors

Step Two

  • Work up and down your hole first to make secure any unravelling stitches. Use the sharp pointed needle.
  • Weave in and out of the fabric before and after the hole as many times as you like to reinforce the fabric and/or create a decorative feature.
  • Space the rows of stitching half a knitted stitch apart.
  • Be careful of your tension - the threads shouldn't pull on the fabric or become loopy.

Step Three

  • For a check pattern, change colours every few lines.

Step Four

  • Start at the side of your darn, at the bottom of the loose threads covering the hole and work your needle in and out of every alternate thread.

Step Five

  • On the next row, weave in and out of the alternate threads you missed out last time.

Step Six

  • As you weave your needle through the threads, push it down against the row before, to keep the darn compact.
  • Change colour when you feel like it!

Step Seven

  • To finish your ends, catch them in on the wrong side of the fabric - a few stitches in different directions will secure them. If you’re using something like cotton or silk rather than wool, add a few more.

     

Step Eight

  • Use plenty of steam (and make sure your iron is set to a suitable temperature), and lightly press down on the mend.
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This weekend the valleys were full of mist - great screeds of it swelling up as the afternoon lengthened and the air cooled.⁠⠀
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This is a rescue horse who now lives a couple of fields down - if I happen to be passing his gate around 4, he is up  stretching his over it, looking for friendly scratches and food. ⁠⠀
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A perfect time keeper.
It doesn't take much . . . . ⁠⠀
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These stems were picked in the five minute walk from the house to the Studio.⁠⠀
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A teasel head, some rusty dock seeds, a bleached shell of columbine, bright rose hips.⁠⠀
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None looked very promising outside but indoors, tucked into test tubes, they look wonderful.⁠⠀
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As they would in bottles . . . .⁠⠀
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The rose hips are the last of the berries to go from the hedges - the birds strip everything else as soon as it gets cold, the elders and rowans first, then the haws.⁠⠀
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Inspired by their bright longevity I have ordered a small clutch of rosa moyesii 'Geranium' - with their spectacular bottle shaped hips - to make an informal hedge down by the airstream.⁠⠀
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My plan is to plant them amongst crab apples to keep back the dull green march of the Scots broom. ⁠⠀
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I have honeysuckle in mind too.⁠⠀
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This is the Studio - nestled into the dip of the valley, surrounded by wild meadow and trees.⁠⠀
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At this time of year it is a cosy den, the stove lit, the fabrics piled up around me.⁠⠀
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Today I am finishing off some large embroidered wool cushions and sending out lots of craft kits in the post.
This was taken last week when we had snow. You can see Dixie’s dachshund toy abandoned in a drift.
A winding path, a bare tree reaching up, blue sky above ribbons of mist, patches of scruffy frost in the rough grass.⁠⠀
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I have walked this road more days than not this year.⁠⠀
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It never gets old.
I said I wasn't going to make a wreath this year.⁠⠀
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But then I saw one @talenamaria made on behalf of @jamjarflowers for the @papier Instagram feed and I was smitten.  The glorious mess of the hedgerow encapsulated in a twiggy ring.⁠⠀
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The birch twigs from further down the grid were still in the hall  and I had some dried hydrangeas left over . . . .⁠⠀
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(I also say I never watch video tutorials as I get distracted too easily and find that they are often too long - but Talena's is good and short and easy to watch and follow.)
A snowy gate, photographed last week, snow piled up on rungs and branches.⁠ ⠀
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I loved how the field on the other side was completely untouched. ⠀
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A fresh sheet of paper. ⠀
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A new week. ⠀
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If you want to make a little wool tree like this one the step by step instructions are now on my website - www.snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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If you want it to look exactly like this one, you can also buy a kit with all the bits to make three trees ⁠⠀
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I first made these trees for a Country Living Fair in Glasgow back in the mid 2000s - raiding my button box for the decoration and dyeing old blankets for the wool. ⁠⠀
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Sometimes I still see the trees from that generation appear on people's Christmas windowsills and it makes me very happy.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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