Craft Britannia Shop of The Week #13, My Small World
This week’s CraftBritannia Shop of the Week is My Small World, and today we talk to Katie, who makes hand sewn bears, freemotion felt and fabric pieces, felt cases, jewellery, badges and much more!
When you are not doing Etsy related things, what are you doing?
Oooh there are far too many things to mention in such a short space, but here’s a sample of what I get up to….
Blythe dolls are my main obsession, and I got into the hobby about four years ago. I know that some (OK, quite a few!) people find the dolls weird, and the concept of collecting them even weirder, but I’ve made so many lovely new friends with the hobby. Some of these friends I’ve met in real life, including one who travelled from the USA to last year’s annual Blythecon UK (which was held as a charity event in London). This year I’m hoping to meet up with an online friend from Japan, at Blythecon UK (another charity event, this time in Manchester).
I’m always amazed at how many creative people are in the Blythe community, I’ve come across designers, artists, writers, photographers and people who can sew the most intricate tiny clothing and knit beautiful items for the dolls.
My husband and myself are both Vegetarians, and I love cooking and baking. I had some success foraging for the first time last year, and the results were turned into elderflower cordial, sloe gin and some damson gin, plus various foraged jams. Now I always carry a good supply of recycled plastic bags with me, because I never know what I’ll find when I’m out and about! Along with the foraging, I’m also growing vegetables. It’s lovely to be able pick and cook something fresh from the garden.
What else do I get up to? Well, my husband is the magazine editor for a Vintage motorcycle club (the Marston Sunbeam club and register) and I’ve taken on the unofficial job of club photographer. You can usually find me squatting down on the ground, taking photographs of engines and gearboxes at vintage bike events, or getting owners to pose with their bikes for a ‘magazine photo’. My photos get published in the magazine and on my husband’s own Sunbeam website. It’s a really nice feeling, knowing some of my photographs are seen around the world.
What was the first piece you ever sold?
I was so excited when my first piece sold, it was a red ‘Keep calm and carry on’ scrabble tile pendant. which was bought, by a lovely lady in the USA. She told me that she was a teacher and wanted it to wear as an inspiration for her students when they were taking exams!
What advice would you give someone taking up your craft for the first time?
Practice, patience, and above all have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. If it’s not enjoyable then why are you doing it?
What material do you most enjoy working with?
It has to be acrylic felt – it’s easy to buy locally, comes in lots of colours and doesn’t fray. Plus it takes both hand and machine embroidery really well.
If you could try a new craft, what would it be?
Crochet. It’s not something new to me, but it is something I just can’t seem to master. I taught myself a few years back and even managed to make three granny square blankets. But since teaching myself to knit, I just can’t get the hang of crochet now.
Which piece of equipment would you be helpless without?
When I really thought about it, (and although not really classed as equipment), I realised I’d be pretty useless without two things, inspiration and motivation. It doesn’t matter how good my crafter’s tool kit and stash are, if there’s no inspiration or motivation to actually make anything then I won’t be able to create anything I’m happy with.
If it had to be a choice of physical equipment, then it would have to be good quality hand sewing needles and a couple of pairs of really good scissors (one small and one large). Good needles are a must if you do a lot of hand sewing and embroidery. I learned the painful way, when I’ve had really sore fingers when the ‘eye’ end (the usually blunt end) was too sharp
Tell us about what inspires and motivates you
My new sewing machine. It’s added a whole new dimension to my sewing, because I can do freemotion (also called freehand) embroidery with it. Also, seeing the lovely things other people have made and their craft blogs.
Tell us about one handmade item that you own and love
I have so many that I can’t just choose one, but these are the ones that come straight to mind.
My husband once built me a life size cardboard kitchen, complete with hob and cooker knobs drawn with black marker pen. He wanted to see if the size of the units and sink would suit me (he’s 5ft 9”, I’m only 5ft tall). It still makes me giggle thinking about it!
The other two on my list are custom Blythe dolls. Elsie (who’s my avatar) came from a really lovely and talented woman in Australia – she customised Elsie, made her travelling trunk and a whole wardrobe of clothes, including felted bunny slippers! My other custom Blythe is Yuki, she was a gift from my American Blythe friend Pam. Pam won her at Blythecon UK last year and couldn’t take her back home with her, so gifted her to me! Yuki is a constant reminder of how amazing some of the Blythe community are, and I always think of Pam when I look at her
What plans do you have for your shop in the future?
In the immediate future, I want to create more freehand machine embroidered pieces. I get so much from making each piece, and it’s so relaxing and absorbing that a couple of hours can go by without me realising it! I have a few items ready to embroider at the moment and I’m always on the look out for new ideas, plus there are more freemotion embroidered badges I’m planning to make.
Thank you Katie for sharing your creative spirit in this interesting read!