a life of fibre

Yarndale September 26th, 2016

It’s been a busy few weeks, we moved premises with Adelaide Walker, our daughter went off to university and it was Yarndale this weekend. I wouldn’t say we were rushing about up to the last minute but we only finished packing an hour before we had to leave to set up!

I recently made a poncho and wanted something to wear this weekend however, I decided the poncho was too long and would actually be in the way whilst we were working. Somehow I managed to make the time to create a second shorter, asymetrical poncho.

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Not a brilliant photo but the only one I currently have. It was much admired and stroked and had loads of very nice comments. Working at the show means not much time to look around but we managed a quick stroll before opening time on Sunday morning. I leave you now with my favourite photo from the show – Vulcan

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Woodland pots 2 September 10th, 2016

Earlier in the week I showed you the first two pots I made with Midsummer Night’s Dream in mind. Two pots is good but I really felt it needed a third to complete the set and obviously it needed to be larger still. It’s actually the largest pot I’ve worked on in quite a while but I shrank it so far that you wouldn’t believe it.

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I used the same wool and embellishments as the other two and had originally envisaged tree like branches coming up off the pot into the air. That really didn’t work for me so I went instead for some cuts into the pot. Cutting is quite unusual for me, it’s not something I really like to do to felt but on this occasion, I haven’t minded and even wondered if I should have done them larger.

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Adding further embellishment in the form of bead and stitch is something I will probably do but I won’t be rushing it. Time to sit, ruminate and approach with caution as I feel it needs to be done with a light hand and just the right beads. Perhaps I’ll have to source some new beads 🙂  The inside of the two larger pots are lined with crystal organza but I was unable to capture the sheen with my camera.

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The third pot really completes the family doesn’t it? Even when these have been embellished I have other ideas to work on with this theme one of which is a felt skirt, wish me luck.

More bits for uni September 8th, 2016

I was a little surprised when Charlotte asked for shopping bags as I hadn’t thought about it. We delved into my fabric stash and she chose the fabrics below.

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They’re brighter and more patterned than I expected her to choose, especially as she’s into quite a neutral palette at the moment. Being in a making mood and having sone calico left over from the cat shopping bag I made, I thought I’d make a diary cover.

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It’s a cheap academic diary on the inside. Unlike the cats, which were filled in with lots of circles, I chose to use the machine like a pencil and bring all the lines down the silhouette of the penguin as I felt it suited it better. Being in a rush I just put the fabric straight under the machine and set off working. Obviously, that wasn’t a great idea and the whole thing wrinkled so I gave myself a slap on the wrist for my impatience, cut a new piece of fabric, set it into a hoop and started again. Much better.

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I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out and Charlotte thinks it ”cute’ so everyone’s happy.

Woodland pots September 5th, 2016

I think you’ve already seen the small one of these pots, both have been made as part of my Midsummer Night’s Dream work for Metaphor. It’s fairly obvious that bark and lichens are my inspiration.

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The pots are a mix of different wools including Bergschaf, Merino, Swaledale and Norwegian.

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There are Teeswater curls, synthetic and natural fabric inclusions plus mulberry bark, muberry silk, dyed silk cocoons and flax fibres.

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They’re very well felted and quite stiff. I’m still debating whether to add some stitch, what do you think, would it improve it? Or beads perhaps? Both?

Mementos September 2nd, 2016

A few weeks ago I bought an old OS map of our local area. The idea was to take a section, draw on it like people do on old book pages and then frame it for C to take to university with her.

Our local picture framers has off cuts of mount board which are free and I quickly found a pirece to suit. What to draw on the map was much more problematical and I struggled to come up with an idea until I began to doodle on a piece of scrap paper and settled on leaves.

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I’m embarrassed to show it to you as my execution fell far short of my vision for it. Fortunately for me C is delighted with it.

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The pen was scratchy, I tried to do it in a rush and I didn’t do it with confidence. I can show you this as I’ve already given it to her because the map also shows the village where her ‘bestie’ lives and so a second picture will be created from this same map. I hope C does better with her picture.

One of the many items that have been identified for uni is a shopping bag as she’ll be shopping for her own groceries from now on. I made lots of fabric bags some years ago from roll end pieces of upholstery fabric and they’re still going strong so C will take a couple of those but I also wanted to make a thinner bag with shoulder length handles that she could roll up and put in her handbag.

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Now we’re onto textiles I’m much more in my comfort zone. Again, this was done in a hurry as I didn’t want her to see it before it was finished and she wasn’t out for long! We have 3 cats which I know will be sorely missed so it felt like the right image to use.

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It’s free machine embroidery onto calico with a few lines of decorative stitches underneath. They’re the sum total of the fancy stitches offered on my old Bernina. I decided all stitching would be done in black so I wanted it to look a little fancier than running stitch. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out and C is ecstatic, what more could I ask.

I enjoyed creating the bag so much I have another idea to use up the leftover fabric. Sorry I can’t say more, but I believe she reads this blog occasionally and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Ups and downs August 23rd, 2016

The last week has been a week of ups and downs. On Wednesday I had a puncture which made me late for work, meant I had to call Simon out to help me and cost me to replace the tyre of course.

Thursday was a much much better day. It was A level results day and over the last couple of months Charlotte had moved from wanting specific grades to just wanting to know. These days they can log on to the UCAS website from 8am and discover whether they’ve been accepted at university. At 7.57am a bedroom door was flung open and there was a thunder of feet down the stairs.

Don’t ask me how I knew, I just knew it was happy thundering. Charlotte has been accepted to study photography at Falmouth University and we couldn’t be more pleased for her or more proud of her. Knowing she had a place at her favoured uni was a big weight lifted but we still had to trip into college to learn what her actual grades were. It was a good trip, lots of happy people and the chance for Charlotte to say goodbye to her favourite teachers. In no time at all (two weeks on Saturday!!) Charlotte will be off on the next stage of her life, it’s so exciting.

Friday was a downer 🙁 Our cat Tatty was diagnosed with lymphoma last month and we said goodby on Friday. Being a mad dark tortie she was quite a character who made more of an impact than her size would lead you to expect. Her astounding hearing, she could hear the fridge door open even whilst asleep on a bed,  was legendary and alerted the other cats to the possibility of food. Once Tatty arrived and started yelling for food (seriously, it was very loud)  the other cats would similarly follow and I’d have four underfoot in no time at all. Now Tatty isn’t with us I open the fridge door and no-one comes, I don’t even have one cat keeping me company whilst I cook, it’s strangely quiet.

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Then yesterday, we got the keys to our new premises for Adelaide Walker. It’s going to be a mad dash this week to get it prepared so that we can move in over the weekend. And so a new chapter begins for us too. If you’d like to see more then you can keep up to date with progress on facebook.

Amongst all these goings on I have been working on a couple of commissions so will have something to show you soon.

Out and about August 10th, 2016

We didn’t book any wool shows this summer and so have had a couple of days at weekends to ourselves! Our daughter was off doing her own thing and we just wanted somewhere for a wander. First we chose Selby. We don’t actually live that far away and were slightly surprised to discover neither of us had ever been.

If you have time, spend an afternoon there. It was a little unprepossessing as we entered but the further into town we pressed the more we liked it. By a happy coincidence we arrived during the food festival, such a hardship to try a few delights. The centre is busy as it has high street shops, supermarkets, market and some of the more usual out of town stores all in the one small area. Selby has a monday market and has done so since the 14th century!

Most of all it has a stunning abbey that is decorated with a sumptuous amount of wood carving inside, really worth a look. It also has the Washington Window, the model for the american flag. Yep, America’s flag was inspired by a Yorkshire window, I never knew.

Last weekend we went closer to home with a visit to Burnley. Nothing remarkable to report although it does have a real mix of buildings and I do like that the market is in the centre of town. Meandering back we called into Nelson which had some lovely floral arrangements, many of them made up of perennials of which I heartily approve.

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I loved this rusty metal sculpture of a shuttle. A testament to the town’s history as a mill town.

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It has textured glass in the centre representing yarn. It was a pleasant spot. Finally we called into Colne which I have been to fairly recently. Each time I visit there are changes, new shops, improvements and the sunny weather helped too. There’s a great secondhand bookshop in the market run by the Samaritans. We may have had a little splurge, just the seven books. It’s been nice to wander round towns close to home and nice that we undertook it child free, it’s good training for next month when Charlotte plans to leave for university.

Scarborough August 2nd, 2016

It’s a few years since our last visit to Scarborough and I have very fond memories of the town having spent many summer holidays there as a child. We’re lucky enough to live within day trip range and were there within 1.5 hours, parking up at 9.30am, a really good start to the day. First item on the agenda was breakfest and of course we found a cafe serving bacon butties within sight of the sea, bliss.

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I just adore rust and the pots below caught my attention due to there being just the one orange one.

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You can see the Grand Hotel in the background, built during the reign of Queen Victoria in the shape of a V in her honour.

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This rope is actually inspiring me to blend some wool for me to spin into yarn. After all, I can already see what it would look like.

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Come the 1st of September the harbourside is undergoing a clean up and many of the items I’ve photographed here may be removed.

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These fabulous heavy lengths of wood were stacked up down by the harbour wall, I’ve no idea what they were / will be used for but the colour and texture is wonderful.

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A bit of rust, a bit of colourful lichen and weathered wood, what more could a girl ask for?

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Lichens are one of my favourite items to photograph and I have done work based on them in the past, perhaps that will be my next project.

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I’m so glad they leave these to weather and don’t just rip them out and replace with a hunk of shiny metal. Who could resist such texture?

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It was a wonderful sunny day, lunch on the prom, sand in my toes, cold feet from paddling and a massive yearning to go back.

2nd Eco print workshop August 1st, 2016

Just a few pictures from the second workshop I ran on eco printing. I know at least two participants have gone on to do more at home which is so satisfying for me, to inspire people to make and experiment is what it’s all about.

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There are far fewer photos this time because all I had with me was my phone, you think I’d have learnt by now! Not only that but I seemed to take a few out of focus and some with my finger in the way. Obviously a bad photo day!

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Still, they looked stunning didn’t they?

Tree bark July 30th, 2016

I’m still working (occasionally, as there’s not been much time) on my Midsummer Night’s Dream theme for my work with Metaphor. Fortunately there’s currently no end time so I’m able to work through without rushing.

For me, Midsummer Night’s Dream is all about the forest and the colours and textures. I will show you my sketchbook at some point but for now here’s one image

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I’m working on some pots and considered incorporating tree bark texture.

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Shades of red didn’t do it for me and I wanted the bark to be rougher and more broken up.

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The brown is better. If anything, it’s improved by the photo.

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I really love the curly edges but I’m not sure I want this all over the pot so will focus on colour and lichens in my next post.