A is for Aardvark, B is for Balloon

I’m not quite sure how I came up with this design originally – I think I was playing around with ideas for small designs that I could display in front of a row of bookshelves. I have more bookshelves than wall space, so I’m always looking for quirky ways to display my stitching.

Oh, I remember now – I used to visit a bookshop that used Scrabble tiles on the sides of shelves to signpost different sections – I think that was it! I wanted a way to spell out a name, a favourite word, or a set of initials. And so – alphabet blocks…

It took a bit of playing around (I think I stitched 5 blocks before I was completely happy!) to get the size, proportion and finishing right. Having done a lot of origami as I child, I’ve always loved the transformative process of taking a 2D flat surface and creating a 3D object. It feels like magic to me to take a piece of fabric and create a cube that you can hold in your hand.

Then, the design. I decided to devote 2 faces of the cube to good, strong typography (there’s a capital and a lower case letter on each block), and then play with different motifs related to the letter.

I had to start with an Aardvark … an aardvark chasing ants. The ‘A’ block also contains anchors, an apple, Agapanthus flowers and a couple of Atlas Moths for good measure. The ‘B’ block began with butterflies, buttons, bobbins and bows. Then, I had great fun creating a balloon (of the hot air type – especially the early aviation type), with some Bluebells and Blue Carpenter bees thrown in for good measure.

Each block only uses 2 colours – my models were stitched with gorgeous Cottage Garden Threads and DMC (see my shop for thread packs), but you can easily customise it to your colour preferences.

I’m afraid I’m addicted – I’ll be designing the whole alphabet set of blocks in the hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I’m using a couple as pincushions/paper weights until I stitch enough to spell out ‘Tenebrous’ or ‘Sesquipedalian’ on a prominent bookshelf.

You can find a detailed Alphabet Block tutorial here on my blog – or you could use the motifs in a sampler, use a few together to spell out a name… I can’t wait to see what you create!

Please keep in mind that these are display items only and aren’t meant (or safe) for young children’s play.