a life of fibre

British wool book covers April 28th, 2017

Piles of Masham, Blue Faced Leicester and Shetland wool turned into five smashing book covers.

We included lace, natural and synthetic fabrics and dyed Teeswater curls onto the fibre. At the pre felt stage we stopped and stitched into it before continuing to felt.

In the photo above you can see the broken lines of navy stitch which were put in at the pre felt stage and have sunk into the background as opposed to the cross stitch which was done after felting was completed and which floats on the surface.

Again, the pale pink stitches done at the pre felt stage have become part of the background whilst the stitching added later stands proud. I love the layering and effects that can be achieved by stitching at two stages in the felting process.

Beautiful, hard wearing British wool note books. Another successful day 🙂

 

Whitework tree book cover April 7th, 2017

There are some things which you really really enjoy making and this book cover was one of them. Inspiration came from a magazine cover.

I began by stitching into some crystal organza to create a tree shape. The thread used was wool yarn and I used a split stitch.

The little twinkles in the shot above are not water droplets but small pieces of glitter on the fabric. I laid out two layers of Blue Faced Leicester wool, placed the fabric on top and then felted it together.

 

To embellish I chose a simple lazy daisy stitch in cream and white embroidery thread.

In addition to the stitch I added small glass beads for that extra twinkle and finished the edge with blanket stitch

I love using crystal organza as it adds so much texture to the finished felt and using white on white wool means you only see the texture and twinkle added, it hasn’t obscured anything. It’s amazing what a diference even simple stitch can make to the finish.

If you feel inspired to make your own book cover why not come along to my workshop on Thursday 27th April, it’s one of my favourite workshops to teach and a fun one to experience. You really don’t need to be brilliant at sewing as even running stitch is really effective when combined with the nuno felt.

Aha! the photos have been found April 5th, 2017

At last, I’ve found the photos from the wet felted vessels workshop last month. We were working in British wools and if I remember rightly the ones chosen were Shetland, Masham and Blue Faced Leicester. The idea was to make two smaller pots to get a feel for how different wools behave.

They’re cute aren’t they, we then went onto our second ones in which people made larger ones and played with the shape.

All the shapes above come from a circular resist.

They look really great as a group, everyone did really well with the pots. One or two have silk on but it doesn’t shine when wet, more’s the pity.

Picture workshop April 4th, 2017

A couple of pictures from yesterday’s workshop to share with you.

This one by Anne was still in the making and the soap is obscuring the colours somewhat but I bet it’ll look great once it’s dry.

Margaret was working from a photo and wanted to know how to bring more life into her work by using relief and working with pre felts. It was coming together quite nicely and I know it will be transformed with more relief work and stitch before we next see it.

This was Angie’s first picture, worked from a photograph and quite successful. Another one destined to be stitched into!

Jackie brought in a black and white photo of a landscape reflected in water to work from. It’s come out very well and the silk added to give greater lightness to the piece is just beginning to shine as it dries.

Catch up one March 26th, 2017

I’m back playing catch up on my posts again! I seem to have a few weeks where they’re flying off the keyboard and then time runs away with me in other areas of my life and the posts roll to a halt.

I was hoping to show pictures from the wet felted vessel workshop but they seem to have disappeared from the camera. I suspect Hubby may know something about this. If they turn up I will share them here but in the meantime you’ll have to make do with a few pics from the bag workshop earlier this week.

All the bags are worked in Shetland wool and all but one of the workshop participants were compete felting newbies. The end of the day turned into a terrible rush as just as we were taking photos the next group turned up to use the hall half an hour early. There’d been a mix up in the admin and our bookings were overlapping so we had to shoot round and tidy up very quickly which meant photos were rushed and not all bags were on the photo above.

The light areas in the photo above is the silk which was just beginning to shine as it dried and this bag was made by Mary.

Steph is responsible for the bag shown above, it was her first day felt making and was paid for by her son as a Mother’s Day present – wasn’t that a nice thought.

I loved the way Karen decided to frill the edge of her bag flap, it really suited the decoration on the bag too. I must thank all the ladies for their speedy work in helping me to clear up and pack away tables etc. I don’t think I’ve ever been out of there in such quick time but the youngsters were waiting for their dancing lesson.

One crocheted cushion and slightly sore fingers March 14th, 2017

Visiting a local charity shop I spotted a cone of wool for only 50p, no matter that it was strong rough rug wool, I had to buy it. It languished in my stash for some months then finally made it onto my crochet hook. After a brief flurry of activity it languished on my crochet hook too. It has finally made it from w.i.p. to finished project – phew, it took way longer than it should have but I’m pretty pleased with the result even if the wool felt somewhat rough against my skin at times.

The pattern was made up as I went along, I knew I wanted texture (when don’t I ?) and decided on a post stitch to create it. It was simple to follow and no counting so very easy to do.

It’s envelope style which doesn’t require buttons to keep it fastened but I love the contrast between hard shiny buttons and soft (well, softish) matt wool so I added buttonholes and buttons.

The buttons have been languishing in my stash for years and years so it was a perfect match with the languishing wool and a relief to finally find a use for them. I also went mad and added my first ever fringe to a cushion. Why haven’t I done this before? I’m partial to a fringe, I enjoyed doing it and I think it looks great and adds to the texture. There may be more fringes in my future 🙂 This cushion is now off to work to adorn one of the chairs we have available for customers to rest their weary bones, all those decisions on which luscious fibre to buy can really wear you out.

Masham pot March 8th, 2017

This is another of the samples I made for the British wool vessel workshop I ran last week. Masham is a lovely wool to work with and I, most unusually for me, decided to decorate the pot with pattern!  I don’t know what came over me and I actually found it quite fun.

 

It’s been s struggle to get anything like half way decent photos and these don’t do it full justice but I can wait no longer to show it to you. The pattern was varied around the pot and used lines and circles, very simple but also very effective.

 

 

 

I used two shades of Masham – fawn and mid brown. You need to see the underneath of the pot too

 

Quite possibly my favourite view of the pattern if not the potm Much as I enjoyed it I found myself wishing for more texture so perhaps my next one should be both patterned and textured 🙂

My first woven scarf March 7th, 2017

We bought the loom just before Christmas and as Simon was first to start weaving I had to wait my turn. It’s a 20″ Ashford knitters loom, which is basically a rigid heddle loom that folds up. The folding up part was important to us as with two spinning wheels in the house space is at a premium.

It’s difficult to know what it will turn out like especially as how firmly you beat each row down will make a difference. There are occasions on which I’ll produce samples but when it’s just for fun I like to make a whole item. Things I learnt making this first scarf – 1) warping up was faster than I expected   2) the tension needed to be greater than expected  3) it was easier to beat the rows down using both hands to hold the reed  4) if you don’t get your tension even in the beginning you can feel the difference in the work  5) make the warps longer as you lose some length during weaving and when cutting off at the end   6) it was way quicker than I expected!!   I really liked that last learning point 🙂

It’s far from perfect but I learnt a lot, was much better at keeping my edges straight than I expected to be and the result is still beautiful and usable despite any errors. I can’t wait to have another go but I’ll have to as Simon is now on his third item. Think we both may have the bug.

Fungal pot March 1st, 2017

What inspires you? On this occasion it was fungus that did it for me, the type you see growing straight out from trees.

My version is made from Jacob wool with the fungus in Blue Faced Leicester wool.

It’s worked out quite well but I would make larger fungus next time, not too large or it wouldn’t be in scale with the pot. We almost saw blue sky this afternoon so I dashed home to take a few photos but the cloud was already back! Never mind, you’ll get the general idea. So much grey sky recently that decent photos seem to happen only in my imagination.

Having said that, perhaps I should just make a larger / very large pot and have loads of fungal growths. What do you think?

 

 

British wool book cover February 20th, 2017

In April I’ll be running a British wool book cover workshop. This example was created using a mixture of Cheviot, Shetland and Wensleydale wools.

I enjoy putting a few stitches into the wool at the prefelt stage. As I reached the pre felt stage I stopped and put in a running stitch where I wanted to site the main tree branches and then wrapped those stitches with a mixture of threads in brown, grey, black and amber after which I continued the felting process.

After felting the leaves were inserted on the tree with a mixture of coloured threads in french knots and simple bird silhouettes added to the sky for additional interest.

It’s edged with blanket stitch in brown and white embroidery threads. The same technique can be used for pictures as well as book covers. To come along and create your own unique piece of wool see further details and booking here.