Painting with yarn

You may recall that I am taking part in a collaborative art project known as The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook (it has its own blog here). The book arrived with me here in Wales back in March, but I have only just got round to completing my contribution… or actually, as it turned out, contributions.

I knew that I wanted to use mandalas and circles as my theme and I also knew that there was no way that I would be able to draw or sketch anything worthy of inclusion. So, I dug out the finest wool that I had and a 2.25mm crochet hook and set to work painting with yarn. I was rather pleased with my first creation:

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mandala #1

But when I checked, I’d made it too big, so that was rejected. On reflection, I decided that smaller circles might be better, plus that would allow me to incorporate some words. I mounted my crochet by stitching it onto stiff paper, then added some words. And this is what I ended up with…

Encircling the earth: the skill of our hands, the love in our hearts. Brought together by our creativity and kindness, although we are separated by hundreds of miles… …our shared passions bind us together. One sisterhood, representing one world, united in love.

However, being me, I wasn’t able to leave it there. You see, the very fine wool was not British, and I really wanted to contribute something made of local wool. So, using Cambrian Wool, bought from Red Apple Yarn, I made the sketchbook a pouch to protect it on the rest of its journey…

I even made a little pocket inside, so I could include a postcard giving information about the wool:

Now, all that remains is to pack it up and bid the sketchbook a fond farewell as it goes on its way to Yorkshire and The Crafty Creek… its last stop before it returns to Australia.

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59 Comments

  1. I just have to say WOW! On both items. I so admire your creativity. 🙂

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  2. Wow! How very beautiful. What a fantastic project to be part of.

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  3. This is lovely, Jan! And so different again! I’m so impressed with all of us🌺❤

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  4. What a lovely idea, the pouch you made is gorgeous too 😊

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    • The book is getting rather fat and the pouch should keep everything safe until it gets back to Anne, who can strengthen the binding it necessary.

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  5. It is an utterly charming contribution and how terrfic to use British wool to keep the treasures within safe.

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  6. I think your contribution is outstanding! I love the circle-y flowiness of the overall design ❤

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  7. Oh what a fabulous idea! I love your contribution, and the beautiful pouch 🙂

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  8. Oooh how lovely! Love the mini-mandalas and the pouch idea. Who knows what will be added to it next?

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  9. Love it! Can you delay posting it until after the 15th so I can see it ‘in the flesh’?

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  10. Your contribution is just beautiful Jan and sits perfectly with all the others. I also loved your first attempt, the one that was too big. The pouch is a lovely idea too. I have been so impressed with all the bits I’ve seen. Anne’s idea has taken wings and flown – literally and figuratively 🙂

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    • As all the contributions appeared I did start to feel rather intimidated, but then I decided to focus on my own skills and use those and it got a little bit easier. However, mine is certainly the fattest contribution to the book!!

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  11. Absolutely breath-takingly, brilliantly, beautiful! You perhaps won’t believe this but … when I looked at all your incredible madalas and read the words you’d written to link and to bind them all to each other, it touched me so much that I felt a lump come to my throat and the threat of tears in my eyes.

    Stunning work, oh Snail of Happiness.

    But then … still you hadn’t finished … you made a beautiful, colours of the world cover for the worldly book and added a pocket for a postcard which explained everything. SO thoughtful and so inspiring.

    You’re an inspiration to all. My only wish is that I’d have had the chance to be involved in it’s production. Birth? Not sure what to call it, I only know that the whole thing is amazingly, truly made with love.
    Thank you for sharing your work with us. ~ Cobs. x

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    • It’s a pleasure to share. I nearly missed out on participating in the project – by the time I noticed Anne’s announcement about it, she already had the list of participants, but I asked sweetly whether I might squeeze in and she kindly said yes.
      It has been a real joy to be involved in this and I can highly recommend doing something similar.

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  12. I love this! They’re like geodes or sections through semi-precious gemstones, little slices of Gaia herself. Lovely, lovely words, too. And as for the pouch, Dr Snail, it’s magnificent! The thinking definitely paid off, and your contribution sits perfectly with all the rest, a most worthy addition to the Sketchbook.

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    • It has made the book rather fatter than when it arrived, but I just couldn’t face using crochet cotton and real wool is my love, so it wouldn’t have felt right to use anything else.

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      • I’m guilty of adding depth right at the beginning with my fabric piece, and I feel you should be able to use whatever medium works with your creativity!

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        • It’s comfortably chunky now… good job the pouch is stretchy!! I really love the diversity of entries into the book showing everybody’s particular skill.

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      • I’m glad you created with your first love. It’s sumptuous.

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  13. Fabulous contribution Jan, I love the way you’ve intertwined the words and mandalas, but I especially love the nurturing cover. Hope to see your post on the Sisterhood blog soon

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  14. So amazing Jan – every time I see a new contribution it’s very emotional – the work and thought and ideas that are flowing into the book. Just wonderful. I can’t believe you made a little pouch for the book (I’m sure I will be even more teary when I actually see the the book on its return…).

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    • What a stunningly beautiful idea you had! The completed book will be treasure for sure.

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      • To be honest, to begin with I had a bit of a rabbit in the headlights moment as all the contributions before mine were so lovely. Once I got started, however, it just flowed and the words came to me. It has been a real privilege to be involved with this.

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    • I think the context makes all the contributions extra special. I have loved being part of this creative endeavour – knowing that I am connected to so many amazing, talented women. I just wish we could all meet up.

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  15. This is fabulous. I love the circles and your message and the pouch is beautiful. The varieties of creativity are vast. So much beauty.

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    • It’s been a real pleasure to be a little part of this project. I’m so lucky to be near the end of the list so that I’ve seen so many of the contributions for real.

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  16. Wow what a wonderful contribution dear, loved the pouch and that cute little pocket for card 👏👏👏👌👌👍👍😊🤗💐

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  17. It’s so beautiful, and I just love the words, so beautifully written.

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    • The words came to me one day when I was pondering how to draw the crochet pieces together… I immediately wrote them on a scrap of paper and coming back to them a few weeks later I still liked them. I like them even better now they are wrapped around the mandalas.

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  18. This little Sketchbook has grown so much since I sent it on its way. Your crocheting is wonderful, and so appropriate, and it now has its own pouch to travel in!! But it is your words that moved me most, because they sum up what this amazing Sketchbook has been about. As you say, it is more than the sum of its parts. XXX

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    • I have made the sketchbook considerably fatter!! The diversity of skills captured in the pages is truly breath-taking. Thank you so much for starting this project and for allowing me to be part of it.

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  19. Well, I just completely love this–the idea, the execution, the words, all of it! You outdid yourself!

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    • Thank you… I’m really pleased that I managed to create something worthy of inclusion. It was quite daunting to be faced by all the previous contributions!

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  20. These are truly gorgeous words. A little tear comes into my eye. Just love your crochet design, and the beautiful pouch.

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  21. I agree with everything written already. Beautiful, inspired, and inspiring work. THANK YOU for sharing your process and your final product. It seems we need this now more than ever: “Encircling the earth: the skill of our hands, the love in our hearts!”

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  22. At the risk of being repetitive, this really is amazing! Can you share about the destination?

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  23. Jan, what a magnificent contribution to the sketch book! I love, love, love your circles and what a charming idea to make a bag. It’s gorgeous! My gosh what a fabulous book. I think most of us gave pause when it was our turn seeing all the goodness that came before us. Yet every contribution has been perfection. Thanks for sharing your photos and your process. It’s a delight.

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  24. As a newbie crocheter I admire your beautiful circles and the way you have wound those lovely words around them. As for the pouch idea – brilliant! – when it left me I was a little worried that the book was starting to get a little worn around the edges so your woolly protection is just great.

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  25. Oh, this turned out beautifully! I love how your words have taken a stroll around the mandalas, and the colourful cover is wonderful! I’m hoping to have a quiet moment later to take a peek at the rest of the contributions… 😀

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  26. That is so cool! It’s kind of funny, when I saw the title of the post, an image of spirals of yarn came into my head, but your creation far exceeded my imagination!!!

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  27. Just beautiful! I can imagine how interesting it would be to look through the whole book 📚

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  1. A Circle of Friends | The Snail of Happiness

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