a life of fibre

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.

Shetland wool handbag February 9th, 2017

Next month, on Wednesday 22nd March, I’m running a British Wool Handbag workshop and this is one of the examples I’ll be taking along to inspire people.

I’ve used 4 natural shades of Shetland: white, light grey, moorit and dark brown. Inside the bag is white and there’s one interior pocket.

The handle has the same 4 shades of wool and is attached by means of decorative french knots and finished in a curl.

For a closure I needle felted and then wet felted a ball from the light grey and white Shetland.

This particular style of bag is one of my favourites and if you’d like to book a place on the workshop you can find more details here.

Knitted scarf February 8th, 2017

Fortunatley for me I started this scarf in the summer.The pattern was simple and I memorised it but that didn’t seem to stop me from making mistakes which I only seemed to spot after I’d knitted another 9 rows!

It was so frustrating! With all the mistakes and lots of frogging back, added to which is the fact that this is a finer wool than I’d normally work with it took me flippin ages. I wasn’t working on it every day but even so…  I was very happy to finish it.

The wool used is Araucania Yarns, Botany Lace and I got both the yarn and the pattern from The Skep Knitting and Quilting Shop. One of the tings I like most about it is that although it’s a single colour it’s not a flat dyed single shade, there is variation. It has a lovely weight and drape to it and has been given away as a birthday present. There was wool left from the two skeins I had and I’ve made matching mittens and hat which I gave away before taking photos!  I love seeing it finished but I’m in no rush to work that finely again, where did I put that aran?

Nuno felt tree scarf February 3rd, 2017

I showed you this when I began work on it and here I can show you it finished.

For the background I used a hand dyed silk chiffon scarf in pale shades of green and lilac. I seem to have lost some of the green during the felting process although, when you see the scarf iin real life, you can still see hints of it here and there.

Loving the way this turned out and feeling inspired to make more tree scarves.

My next nuno scarf workshop is on Wednesday 14th June, bookings can be made direct here.

 

Wool vessel workshop February 1st, 2017

I’m running a British wool pot workshop on Thursday 2nd March at Clifton Village Hall, Otley. We’ll make two small pots during the course of the day, one moulded around a bottle or jam jar and one moulded free form. We’ll be using the seamless resist method which is a standard method for most 3D work.

There’ll be a number of British wools to choose from including; Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester, Cheviot, Jacob, Manx Loaghtan, Whitefaced Woodland, Swaledale, Herdwick and Wensleydale. It’s an abosrbing and fun workshop, you’ll love it.

The cost is £50 per day, which runs from 10am – 4pm, and includes all fibres and equipment. All you’ll need to bring is an old towel and a packed lunch. Bookings can be made direct here or to pay by cheque please call me on 07745 160090

Winter landscapes January 20th, 2017

I’ve had a fast and furious hour this morning where I’ve taught felt picture making at Moorfield School in Ilkley, our theme was winter landscapes.

Didn’t they do well? (How very Brucie of me!) So much fun but an hour goes by in a flash. As I entered the school I spotted the felt tree of life, which I created last year with the upper sixth, framed and hung in pride of place in the dining hall over the fireplace.

I only had a moment for the photo and sadly couldn’t find an angle where a light wasn’t reflected in the glass. Made me feel quite proud to see it displayed so prominently.