Last week my book was finally published.It has been more than two years in the making and I wrote Making Winter because I find the colder months incredibly tough. I associate this season with stress, illness and sadness but began to notice that I was able to lift the gloom with craft and with nature walks. My hope is that my book will help those who struggle between November and March to enjoy winter a little more and that it will make Winter even lovelier for those who already savour it. (Making Winter is on offer on Amazon at the moment and you can order it here)
Each of the 24 projects is designed to boost mood and many of them begin with a nature walk to find things to draw, paint, bend into wreaths, infuse into gin or simply collect and admire. I have included a step-by-step tutorial for drawing feathers, a recipe for hawthorn gin, a delicious liqueur that had fallen out of favour and yet tastes like Turkish Delight and a method for preserving leaves in glycerin so their beautiful colours don’t fade.
There are 5 crochet patterns in my book, including a step-by-step for this, the Pantile shawl, designed for complete beginners. When I had only just mastered chain and double crochet I longed to be able to make a shawl even more than I longed to have Mel and Sue round to mine for a cup of tea. If you have just learned to wield a hook and yarn and would love to make a garment then this is for you. There’s also a cosy cowl inspired by wild fennel seedheads, a delicate lace crochet necklace that is perfect for giving as a gift and some wrist warmers inspired by the natural garlands of haws in the hedgerows just now.
I was thrilled to have been able to do my own photography for Making Winter and my gorgeous publishers, Michael O’Mara,even let me fill the book with my illustrations to accompany the projects. The title on the front of the book is my calligraphy transformed into an embossed rose gold foil. I never thought I’d type that sentence, never mind see the reality on the front of a book I made.
One project I’m particularly excited about is a detailed step-by-step for making botanical silver fossils. I teach folk how to make these pendants in my silver workshops so it’s lovely to be able to share this technique a little more widely. If you’ve wanted to come to one of my workshops but haven’t managed because of geography or timing then the few pages of Making Winter dedicated to making fine silver fossils from leaves you find in your garden or local hedgerow might be of interest…
In my book I encourage the reader to crow bar themselves free of their sofa, cosy textiles, fireside and nestling hairy companion and take a stroll outside. Even if the sun is enshrouded in cloud sunlight will enter your eyes and boost your serotonin levels. Finding beautiful things beneath trees or in hedgerows to bring home and make things with or draw later will add to the positivity of the experience and will hopefully lead to several, if not many more walks before April arrives and the swallows return. I truly hope my book helps a few folk in the coming months.
Meanwhile I am the newest Country Diarist for the Guardian newspaper. This is a century-old column on natural history and the countryside and my first piece is about the plants and lichens that manage to colonise the shingle of Dungeness despite the botanically brutal environment amongst the pebbles. You can read it here.
Apologies for the delay in announcing the winner of my Four Hedges giveaway but it’s been rather a hectic few weeks. I’d like to send this hardback copy to Sharon Michelle, whose partner has been unwell. I SO hope she sees this. Sharon, please email me on emma at minniedog dot co dot uk and I will put Four Hedges in the post to you.
Finally thank you so much for your incredibly kind support on my blog in the last 9 years. You have helped to make this book possible. My posts may be sporadic at times but I am determined to write more here throughout the coming months.
Oh my, it looks absolutely gorgeous Emma, well done you, it really is a thing of beauty, you should be very proud of it. I LOVE nature diaries, they are always so pretty. You’re right about getting out and about in winter. And it makes indoors so much nicer afterwards. Congratulations on the Guardian column, that’s fantastic news, and very well deserved. I shall look forward to reading your pieces. Nicely done my friend. CJ xx
Got the book on the day it was published and I love every page. I don’t function well in the winter but this year I am excited to work through the protects and get out more. I did the silver clay course a few years ago but have had such a hectic time since I have not managed to take it any further. I am now hoping to make lots of pretty things. Thanks Emna and well done xxx
Hooray! Off to buy my copy now – I have been looking forward to this sooo much! Well done you, I know you will help people have a much lovelier winter based on my experience with you in February 🙂
Nina Kellock says
I’ve just spent a lovely afternoon with your book, and already ordered some lovely, soft chunky wool to make the cowl.
Thank you for a gorgeous , cosy-inspiring book.
Jane Hinchliffe says
This book looks gorgeous Emma and I’ve ordered it (should be arriving tomorrow – yay) and have a feeling that I’ll be ordering another for a dear friend. I’m an artist living in North Yorkshire and just love what you’re creating and writing about.
Shari Doty says
Just got the book. Had never been able to master crochet before, but your projects look so lovely, I attempted the cowl. I did it! Next is the pantile shawl with the fabulous burgundy and silver merino and silk yarn I spun on my wheel!
Shari Doty says
Ok I am confused. Just tried a trial run of the pantile shawl, in cheaper yarn. I don’ t understand the pattern I guess. It is a knotted, tangled mess. The cowl came out lovely at least!
Shari Doty says
Need help! I just don’t understand the instructions for round two.
I’ve just bought your book from my local NT shop as a present for my daughter who loves making. I started browsing it and just could not put it down. Thrilled to see you have a blog to which I was directed by Lucy at Attic 24. The Guardian country diary is the first piece I read in the paper every morning. I shall look out for your by-line. Congratulations on a very fine book.
Kim McCulley says
Your book is absolutely lovely! I checked it out from the library, but I love the projects–especially that beautiful shawl–so I’m adding it to my book wish list. Thank you for creating this visual treat.