The book

The story didn’t feel complete without a physical book. I wanted to play more thoroughly with the wool running from frame to frame and the multicoloured wool was perfect for that. I chose a concertina format to facilitate the flow of the yarn and made my pages 15cm square which is big enough to get some visual information in but not too big to be difficult to work with. 

I mocked it up in my notebook but drew the figures in ink directly onto the pages to keep the images fresh.

I’m not sure if the hedge is too bold in this frame, its a major character in the story but maybe should have been thinner at this stage.

This was my opportunity to respond to the suggestions of my viewers. –

So now we have bed socks and a woolly mammoth. 

I made the mammoth by winding wool around card, sewing the top and then cutting the wool at the bottom. I then stuck it to the drawing. 

I wanted to keep the spy in but I felt that he/she needed updating. I tried a knitted/collaged version but I think that the angle is a bit wrong.

After lots of unsatisfactory drawings I put on a big coat and hat and took a selfie to use as reference.

They could probably do with more contrast but that isn’t in keeping with the rest of the images so I just added a bit of shading. The coloured wool is a lanyard for the binoculars, I asked a friend if that made sense to her and she thought that it was ok but I don’t trust my friends to give me an honest opinion.

For the hedge I knitted an extra page of wool which turns to reveal the window with and without the wool

The text was tricky, I experimented with the font Daydreaming Outloud, overlaying it on a multicoloured background and erasing the lettering to reveal the colour.

It’s a fun effect but it doesn’t sit well with a handmade book.

I’ve played with modern calligraphy before but I’m not very experienced. I like the way that the letters flow into each other like the wool. 

The ink bled very slightly into the card which has added to the wool effect.

I chose thought bubbles to tell most of the story, cutting them out and glueing them on which allowed me to do lots of practice versions, but also made them stand out.


For the hedge scenes I ran the lettering across the bottom of the page, my first attempt was terrible so I glued strips of card with better lettering on over it. This wouldn’t work for a proper published book but in that situation I would redraw the scenes and photocopy them then add the wool. Photocopying doesn’t work with the wool because it sits too proud, the lines of the drawing are blurred because the copier focusses on the wool. I guess it would be possible to get round this with a good quality camera (I only have phone) I’ve found some thinner multicoloured wool and some embroidery thread so if I did an updated version I would use that.

For the final page, after some lettering experiments I decided to plait all the colours into a big question mark. Plaiting has the advantage of sitting relatively flat once it’s sewed in.

For the front page I added the title in contrasting green wool. 

The mock up looked great but the finished lettering doesn’t stand out and is difficult to read so I unpicked it and experimented with different media.

I tried flooding the paper with water then dropping in colour and allowing it to blend. It was enormous fun, but messy. I managed to knock the paper and spill colour outside the lettering. Masking fluid or some sort of wax resist might help but in the time available I elected to paint it in watercolour as it was more controllable. It’s straying away from the wool theme, but close enough I think.

Here is a video so that you can get the feel of it as a physical entity;

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Hello, I’m Cal (short for Caroline) I make illustrations to explain things, to tell stories and to share the beauty of the world around me. I’m a qualified veterinary nurse so a lot of my work is veterinary subjects, but I’m fascinated by how illustrations and stories can aid learning and understanding.  When I’m not working I draw to celebrate, to record, to relax and to understand what I see. 

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