Into the Forest by Ana Mallah

29th May 2020

Despite the materialism, technology and mad speed which characterises the modern world, there has been a wonderful trend taking hold.

Passionate gardeners, wanting to invite a little bit of magic back into their lives, have been setting apart a section of their gardens especially for the fairies.

People have believed in fairies for centuries. During the middle ages, fairies were often seen as mischievous and cruel and were blamed for failed crops, badly behaved children and even unexplained death.

As such, the belief was that if the fairies were happy, then good luck would follow.

As time went on, the view of fairies became more benign, although the desire to keep them content remained.

One of the most popular ways of pleasing the fairies was to create a special fairy garden for them. Probably originating from the miniature gardens produced by Japanese Bonsai artists, fairy gardens have become very popular in recent years, delighting children and adults alike.

It could just be a little door attached to the base of a tree trunk, or a tiny cottage nestled between two plants. However, some fairy garden lovers have expanded their gardens into whole fairy villages, complete with bridges and brooks, streets and squares. 

And of course, setting the fairy garden off are the plants and flowers which these passionate gardeners select specifically for their diminutive size, adorable names or aesthetic beauty.

When we first saw Ana Mallah’s project ‘Into the Forest’ from Inspirations issue #106, we immediately thought of these fairy gardens. The perfectly constructed needlebook adorned with three plump toadstools, as well as the tree-stump pincushion upon which a butterfly has just settled, would be as at home in the garden as they will be in your sewing kit.

Ana’s designs are packed with tiny details and offer a wonderful array of techniques. Constructed from felt and embellished with various stitches and exquisite stumpwork, these delightful projects are sure to raise a smile in anyone who sees them.

The success of these two projects lies primarily in the construction, so taking the time to get it right is worthwhile. If the word ‘construction’ leaves you cold, you are not alone!

Many embroiderers love the stitching, but when it comes time to put a piece together, there always seems to be something more important to do.

However, although these two projects might look complex, the construction is not difficult. Nor is it something that happens at the end after all of the stitching is complete. By stitching, then partially constructing, then stitching again, you can almost forget that you are doing construction in the first place. It just becomes a part of the process.

We could all do with a bit of magic in our lives. So, who knows? Just as those meticulously created fairy gardens are built in the hope that the fairies might come to visit and bring good luck, the same might be the case with Into the Forest. 

Who’s to say you won’t wander past your needlebook or pincushion late at night, and, just out of the corner of your eye, spot a shimmer of a silver wing and hear the tiniest sound of a giggle?

Make Your Own | Into the Forest

Into the Forest by Ana Mallah is a set of woodland themed felt sewing accessories charmingly embellished with raised and surface embroidery.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 106

Digital Patterns

Into the Forest – i106 Digital


Into the Forest: Mushroom Needlebook – i106 Kit


Into the Forest: Tree Stump Pincushion – i106 Kit

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