a life of fibre

Pleated bag workshop 2 November 23rd, 2015

Although this happened prior to the last posted pleated bag workshop I’ve only just been able to retrieve my photos of the event. I do hope you’re not getting tired of these as I’ve yet to show the leaf one I made in preparation for these workshops. So may shapes and colours of bags being made, it’s just wonderful to see how people work differently from the same brief.


A large bag with a lot of pleats so unfinished though it is, you can see it will be stunning when completed.



The one below was taken to an extra level with the addition of a 3D flower :-)




Another 3D flower addition but this time it’s fabric and bead stitched on afterwards and the flowers really help to emphasise the pleats.


This workshop was for York Feltmakers, a lively and very friendly group of felters. We had quite a few giggles throughout the day.


Bradford Industrial Museum November 22nd, 2015

Last weekend we had a family visit to the Bradford Industrial Museum to see a photographic exhibition. I just wanted to share a couple of my favourite photos from the day, the ones I took of machinery!



I pointed out to Charlotte that for some reason in the printing section they’d put the smaller chair with the larger desk and wondered why. Obviously she then had to sit on it!


And then relived childhood memories with a flick through the children’s books. Aww!



Pleated bags workshop November 21st, 2015

I was teaching over at Yealand Conyers yesterday. Much to my surprise it was a lovely sunny morning as I set off, we’d been promised bad weather. Arriving on time happened only by the skin of my teeth thanks mainly to roadworks, tractors, caravans and lorries but I was made exceedingly welcome by the whole group.

Our subject was pleated handbags, a workshop I’m growing to love ever more and indeed have extra ideas to develop it as soon as I have a little more free time. The options were to make a sheet of prefelt and stitch the seams as well as the pleats or to work on a resist. All but one decided to work on a resist.


I love turquoise blues and this bag for me is a perfect size, anything larger and I fill it with rubbish until I can’t find anything!


The original intention here was to pleat the vertical coloured lines down the front of the bag but this was rethought and a real strong feature made of the flap instead.In my opinion Janet, it’s very successful


Sue had to leave us early and so although her stitching was complete she didn’t have time to finish felting.


The picture makes this bag look green when actually it’s lovely shades of yellow gold on brown. Again, the flap became the feature and I think the three small pleats work very well with the shape of the flap. The handle will be stitched onto the outside pretty much as you see it creating even more interest.


My phone has made this look blue when it’s actually a vibrant purple. This is a large bag and so it was no surprise that Liz didn’t manage to felt it on the day, so much pleating to do.


Beautiful colours here, really showing off the space dyed fibres. Although not quite complete it was well on the way to being felted.


One of two circular bags and here I must apologise for missing photos. There was a cute round purple bag with a flap which was finished and for which I have no photo even though I could have sworn I’d taken one. However, when I cam to load these I realised that I haven’t got pictures of two more! Sorry. Happily you can see this one where the spiral pleating emphasises the circular shape of the bag.


Last but not least is another beautiful leaf shape with much care going into the stitching. Liz had just finished as I took this shot and I have to admire the zen like calm she maintained throughout the day as I know I never manage that as a participant. The larger the bag and the more pleating then the less chance of finishing at the workshop but I know they won’t regret taking them home to complete as they’re all going to look amazing.

Thank you for a pleasant day ladies and a very tasty lunch.


Poor Puck November 17th, 2015

I’ve not posted much recently which is due mainly to the fact that my card reader has broken and the new one hasn’t yet arrived so all my photos are trapped on my camera. Today I can share with you only because my mischievious daughter, Charlotte, took these on her phone.


It all began with Pan who brought a live mouse into the living room and set it free. Unable to recatch it I had to step in and try to help by outing it from all the tiny places that the cats couldn’t get but a long stick could. We dashed to the door to keep it in one room and Puck dashed to the door a fraction later trapping her tail in the process. She then compounded the injury by panicing and pulling it free which resulted in quite a serious injury. The mouse was eventually ushered out of the patio door closely followed by Pan.

Miserable to be kept indoors and wearing a collar with her tail all wrapped up after an operation, Puck spent the next 4 days sulking. Once the dressing was removed (mega stressful) I had to do a return trip to the vets for a larger collar as she could reach her tail and had drawn blood within 10 miutes of arriving home. All went went well after that until last Friday, the day she was due to have the stitches removed and be allowed to roam free again.

When I arrived home the little minx had got her collar off, pulled on the stitches and started to re-open the wound. Another three days confined to barracks! I’m not quite sure why Charlotte thought that turning Puck into a dande-lion would cheer her up but you can clearly see it didn’t wotk.


One fed up cat, just look at her poor tail. The yellow petals were removed as soon as photos were taken :-) The good new is that at least her tail didn’t have to be amputated, she was allowed ‘outside’ last night and all we have to do now is wait for her fur to grow back. The relief is tremendous, it hasn’t been easy to watch her being so miserable and it’s been very hard to keep her indoors whilst allowing the other 3 cats their freedom. Puck is a sweet cat and hasn’t borne us any grudges, she’s still come for a love.

Mascots November 6th, 2015

We went to a vintage car show a few weeks ago. It’s not something I have a great interest in but once a year I find it fun and this time I became somewhat obsessed with the mascots.




There are so many different ones and I had great fun spotting them.




The photos turned out very well too.




I also took lots of photos of engines, they were unbelievably clean and shiny! Happily for you, I’m just showing the mascots or this post would never end.




I was highly delighted to find a sheep one and I adore elephants but I have to say my favourite photo is of the dragonfly. Hopefully I’ll see some different ones next year.

Backpack 2 November 4th, 2015

This backpack was finished in early October, when the weather was good I didn’t have time for photos and when I had time the light was dreadful. Finally, I decided I just had to take photos or you may never see it.


Created in a lovely Merino blend from Adelaide Walker called Moorland it has one internal and one external pocket. I thought a contrasting interior colour would be nice but I’m not so sure I like this now it’s finished. What I do like is a lighter colour on the inside as it helps me to see to find things – must be my age.


It fastens with a home made cord and a button from my stash.


On my previous backpack I adjusted the handles by means of a buckle, this time I’ve chosen to put loops on the bottom and just tie the handles on at the correct length. I like the extra feature this makes.


The backpacks were made as examples for the workshop I ran last month where i had a problem with taking photos – I forgot. Fortunately I have received these photos of Sue’s finished backpack to share with you.


A plain white was laid down for the interior and a mix of black and dark grey carded for the exterior which give it movement. What I absolutely love though is the contrasting plain black handles. Good job Sue.



Working on … October 31st, 2015

Another teaser. I wonder if you can work out what this project is going to be?


The Skep October 30th, 2015

In September I was lucky enough to win the giveaway from The Skep knitting and quilting shop – a £100!!!!! Earlier this month I made it across to the shop in an old mill to see what took my fancy. On the way across I was playing with the idea of fabric and perhaps making a quilt for my daughter. Once there, I quickly made a selection of fabrics but then spotted some wool that looked quite interesting. Next thing I knew, I’d put all the fabric back and spent ages wandering about with my arms full of yarn and patterns.


In addition to the goodies above I also brought away some sparkly turquoise sewing thread and some basic white and the most amazing thing is that I’m still in credit.


First onto my needles is this lovely rich purple aran wool from Debbie Bliss destined to be a pair of wrist warmers. I’m making them a little shorter than the pattern suggests and am getting quite excited about how quickly they’re knitting up. I promise to show them as soon as they’re finished.

The wool was displayed on a bobbin from The Skeps old mill and the pattern was folded up and put in the centre – so creative.

A little spinning October 28th, 2015

When I’m short of time or I’m tired and I want something soothing to do I pick up my spindle. I don’t need to watch what my hands are doing, I can watch TV and the rhythm of the work is very restful whilst still being productive.

This is just off my spindle.


It’s a lovely Merino blend weighing only 64g. I’ve managed to spin 233m at 16 wraps per inch which is about a 3 ply. Definitely one of the finest yarns I’ve spun.

Currently on my spindle is some very soft Blue Faced Leicester in oatmeal, black and lilac. This time I’m practising spinning a thicker yarn.


Just for a change I’m spinning this in various lengths of single colours so it should look very interesting when plied. Now I must confess that I may have succumbed to the charms of a further two spindles recently so I’ll take some shots soon and share them with you.

Intermittent service October 27th, 2015

My apologies for the intermittent service on my blog, the number of wool shows that I attend as part of Adelaide Walker at this time of year leave me low on energy. Perhaps I should have some kind of test card up between blogs! I am very busy in the background; dyeing, teaching and making and as we don’t have a show for three weeks (three blissful whole weeks) I should be back and blogging with you soon.


My kind of test card :-)