a life of fibre

Spring wreaths April 20th, 2015

Here’s photos of two  of the finished spring wreaths with the others to follow later. First up – pastels by Lisa.


A great first ever piece of wet felting don’t you think? Lisa was considering adding more leaves  and pink blossom to it so it may change.


Sue eschewed pastels and went for strong orange and yellow.


It’s quite different but no less successful. The Trillium shape works very well with the anemones and daffodil.


I do enjoy the wreath workshops and have at least three more in the planning but I think they’ll need yo wait until next year.


Tomorrow April 16th, 2015

It’s the Spring Wreath workshops tomorrow. I don’t know what it is about wreaths but I really do enjoy creating them. As I write there are another three jostling for space in my head, that I must try and find time to make.


Experimental April 14th, 2015

Saturday morning dawned dark, cloudy and very wet. Simon and Charlotte had planned to accompany me to Scarborough and whilst I was at a felt workshop they would go and play with their cameras on the beach. The weather made that plan seem unwise but they went and were rewarded with a lovely sunny, if cool, day.

I was dropped at the church hall for a day of indulgence. No boot full of fibres and equipment for me just towels and lunch. It was rather freeing to be at someone else’s workshop and not have to worry about anything other than what I was making. Having chosen to do shirbori vessels with Jenny Pepper I was looking forward to the day and having time to experiment.

We began by using a resist and laying out our wool before felting in the usual manner.


You can see it’s an odd shape. After felting it most of the way we stopped and began using shirbori tying techniques to create texture and shape in our work. Below is a selection of items that I used in my felt.


At the end of the day this is what they looked like.




The first image is of my felt and look I’d made a thing! Now we had to wait for the felt to be bone dry before we could snip off the bindings.


We all seemed to really like the shapes created by putting objects like marbles and pebbles into the work but I also liked the stitching which was ruched in creating extra texture. Binding some of the spikey bits added further texture but these weren’t my favourite parts.




It’s a very sculptural piece of felt which my husband thinks is a weird thing but my teenage daughter thinks is cool. Me? I’m very pleased with the outcome and can envisage using elements of this technique in other work. I had a lovely day with Jenny experimenting and most of all, just having the time to play around and think about future workshops.


Three more workshops are in the offing over the next few weeks, I can’t wait!


Farfield is top of textile tree April 10th, 2015

This is the title used by the Westmoreland Gazette in relation to Farfield Mill at Sedbergh.

“FARFIELD Mill is recognised as the leading venue for textile arts in the north west.

Housed in a wonderfully restored Victorian woollen mill nestling between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, in the shadow of the glorious Howgill fells, last year, the vibrant arts and heritage centre staged several must-see exhibitions – and this year’s programme is shaping up to be equally as good.”

You can read the full article here.

As part of Metaphor textile group I’m currentlty exhibiting at the mill and was chuffed to see that one of my pieces had made it into the article. Below are a few more images to tantalise you.




Our exhibition is on now until 3rd May. Farfield Mill is a lovely place to visit, in a great setting and has a cafe. get yourselves out for a day.

P.S. read the website before you go, you can reduce your admission cost with the use of a password!


Slipper workshop April 9th, 2015

This was a busy and very happy workshop which was photographed! Georgia requested an opportunity to photograph a craft in action and you can see the photo she’s chosen below (Sue, that’s you).  It was a brief visit but it made the day even more interesting.

We were a mixed bunch with a few complete novices including our youngest participant, teenager Scoop. This is that awful moment when having spent ages laying out wool, rubbing and rolling you need to use the scissors.


Oh how I wish that when I was making my slippers I’d thought to do what I advised everyone else to do – use a vibrant shade of Merino inside to give it a hidden zing!  See what I mean?


I snuck this photo in whilst these slippers were still being worked on!


The bright interiors are such a lovely addition. Below is a pair which were fashioned more mule style whilst most chose to have them higher up the foot.


Here are the finished articles. Enjoy!





Thanks for posing in your soggy slippers ladies, you made a good job of them. One of the nice things is that a few have been inspired to make more pairs, either for themselves or for family members – Good Luck.


Slippers April 8th, 2015

I have a few samples of slippers for when I’m teaching but decided to make a new pair for the workshop last month. We had some Finnish Humbug in at Adelaide Walker which I fancied using. My first ever pair of slippers was made with Fnnish wool. Doesn’t it look lovely as a humbug top.

Laying out several fine layers I used about 180g of wool for the pair and they felted up an absolute dream. Really lovely fibre to work with not that I’d want it in a scarf (not soft enough for my delicate skin) but definitely a great 3D wool. I was very pleased with the results.


Tomorrow I’ll show you what was made in the workshop. I’ve bought more of this wool and will spin some up as soon as I get a minute, I think it will look great when spun.


Tree of life 7 March 27th, 2015

It’s a little while since I showed you any of my trees, I have been doing more work but just not finding the time to blog about it. I came across this image on the internet and found it so inspiring.


The electric blue against the dark background is very striking so I set out to make my own version in felt. Pity I didn’t have any blue silk so I went into the kitchen and dyed some up for the occasion.


Some areas of the silk had purple on so these were separated out. With the blue silk I made a book cover which I’ve lost the photos of but will show you next week once I’ve had chance to take more. The blue/purple I decided to use to make a small tree picture. After laying out a background of brown BFL I used the blue areas of silk for the trunk of the tree and the purple areas for the branches. Love, love, love the way it tuned out.


You can see here that I’ve them emphasised the colours and added some texture through the addition of stitch. Simple stem stitch for the trunk and single daisy stitch for the branches. Loving it but it’d look even better with a few beads don’t you think?


Ta-dah! A few beads set it off wonderfully and it looks splendid in a white box frame from Ikea. You can see all my trees and the wonderful and varied work of Metaphor Textile Group at Farfield Mill from now until 2nd May. I’m going to pop in this Sunday so will show you more next week.

Photography Show March 25th, 2015

Our daughter Charlotte is studying A level photography, she did very well at GCSE achieving an A so it’s no surprise she wants to coninue pursuing it. Charlotte has found the work of Michael Kenna inspiring and so when Simon discovered he was speaking at the photography show at the NEC last weekend he went ahead and booked tickets.

by Michael Kenna

Sadly, when the day arrived Simon didn’t feel up to it so I stood in as a poor second. It was quite a large show and the technology!!! The technology was a little overwhelming at times and wherever we turned there was someone pointing a lens at us. Cameras on masts, models, glamour shoots, demos,workshops, talks and flying drones – it was all there. The surprise purchase of the day was made by Charlotte who bought a film camera. We have film cameras at home but not as cute, small or light.

mini Diana by Lomography

Michael Kenna’s talk was absorbing and it’s very interesting that he uses only film cameras (spot the influence?) as he likes the surprise of seeing what comes back on the developed photos. He likes to work in black and white as light levels can be changed in the dark room and he appreciates the flexibility it allows. At the end of the talk Charlotte went up on stage and asked if he would sign a sheet of his photographs for her. Michael was very obliging, not only did he sign, he wished her well with her exams.


A good day.

Today’s task March 24th, 2015

I know there are lots of things I need to share with you but haven’t found the time for yet and I promise to do so soon. Meanwhile, this is today’s task.


I made this bag for a set of the shelves we use at shows and promised I would make two more for the other sets. A year later and here I am finally getting round to the task. Once done, it will be a relief :-)

Doorstop Workshop March 4th, 2015

I’ve only just realised that I never showed you the outcome of the sheep doorstop workshop. It was quite fun to do and I think you’ll agree that the results are very good.


This one dashed off early and so isn’t featured in the flock shot at the end – shame.


Cotswold fleece locks.


Handsome aren’t they?


Not the clearest shot of it’s face but still cute!


They were all still wet at this stage and they fluff up more once they dry.


All very cute and weighted down with beach stones supplied by Sue. Thanks Sue x