a life of fibre

Pleated bags workshop November 18th, 2014

This is the first chance I’ve had to show you what was made. Not every bag has been photographed as a couple of people left early and I forgot to do it before they left. We worked mainly in Blue Faced Leicester with Merino and silks as decoration.


The trick is not to make your pleats too small or they disappear during felting. The work in progress above is by Sue and was destined to be a tote bag.


A great tote bag by Jeni using tussah silk for decoration which will shine more once dry. I think this is one of the felt items she’s been most pleased with.


This beauty was by Wendi and was the only one made with a full width flap. The embellishments is sari silk.


I loved the shape of this small bag and the contrast handle and button set off the oatmeal BFL very well.


I thought you might appreciate a closer view of the structure of these pleats.


This messenger bag with diagonal pleats worked out very well. The partial flap was a later addition and I love the way it echoes the line of the pleats. All in all a very successful day I’d say.


This workshop was held at Gisburn Festival Hall which as you can see is lovely and light with lots of space. Think I may have to book some more there.


Remembering 2 November 10th, 2014

It was my intention to put these photos of my poppy table runner up on Remembrance Sunday but only just managed to finish the photos this morning. Sadly it’s grey flat light but I wanted to share so am posting them anyway. Before we start, my apologies, they are rather numerous. A quick reminder of where we were up to on the last post


The finished item.






I wish these outside shots were taken in better light so you could see the colours glow. I hope you’ve not seen enough because Hubby went to a lot of trouble dressing it on our table for which it is a perfect length. He did a brilliant job and it looks splendid.





I have another great idea in my head now I just need time to do the creating. There are a couple of spaces on the table runner workshop being held at Clifton Village Hall, Otley on Saturday 6th December


Felted soaps November 9th, 2014

A short three hours workshop on Saturday making felt covered soaps. So much lather! but look at what was made.



As you can see all shapes and sizes were worked on.


I love the drama from these red and black soaps by Jeni and Chantelle worked very hard on producing a stags head which worked out brilliantly.


Someone suggested that a soap I was using to demonstrate looked like a rabbit so I just had to turn it into one.


I really do need to get out more!

School poppy making November 8th, 2014

This local primary school has invited me in several times over the years and it’s always been a pleasure to work with them. Last time we worked on landscapes, landscapes full of sheep. Look what greeted me on my return.


They were so delighted with them that they’ve kept the felt in school. This time we were working on poppies for Rememberance Day and I think they may well want to keep this felt too.


It wasn’t only the children that enjoyed the sessions, I did too and I think the results are brilliant.


Remembering November 7th, 2014

I think it’s wonderful that so many people are actively remembering in this centenary year of the First World War. Today I’ve been teaching children felt making based on poppies which I’ll show you tomorrow but first I wanted to show you what I’ve been working on.

It’s a table runner. My initial thoughts were to have large poppies but when I drew it out I went right off it. Instead I’ve gone for lots of smaller ones and I began by laying out the background.


Two layers of Olive Green followed by a smattering of dark leaf along the edges.


In the centre is a carded mixture of Old Gold, Saffron and Olive Green with a tiny touch of Lime. The two sides are carded Navy, Maroon, Forest Green and more Dark Leaf.


Beginning the laying out of the flowers.


The more I added the better I thought it looked.


Midi thought he should come and supervise proceedings and wasn’t very happy to let go of the wool.


Maroon(wrested from Midis’ paws)  followed by black in the centre.


Little highlights of Old Gold on the black plus some Bright Orange and Bright Pink on the petals to give them a little lift.


Lots of rubbing and rolling and finishing off with my wonderful Palm Washboard. Now I should be ready for the big reveal but it’s dark! I so want to show you this as I’m really pleased with how it’s worked out, but the weather has been grey and wet with terrible light and now it’s too dark. As soon as I’m able I’ll show you the rest.

In the meantime, if you want to create this at home, all the colours mentioned are available from Adelaide Walker which also sells the palm Washboards. If you’d like to come along to a workshop and make this or another design there’s still spaces on the table runner workshop on 6th December at Otley. You can book online here.

Making frenzy November 4th, 2014

It’s the Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate in a little over two weeks and we’d like more examples of our kits made up to show what they look like. Not difficult to do but time consuming so, some very good friends have been / are helping us. Sue has made a small flock of sheep and is now woking on a bear, Ann and family are creating an array of hedgehogs and Jeni came and helped out with a spot (or 64) of bunting making yesterday.


Such wonderful friends, thank you all so much. I couldn’t do it without you.

Pleated bags October 31st, 2014

I’ve already shown you a couple of samples for the pleated bag workshop and now here’s a tote bag made entirely in Merino wool.

Background laid out.


Wet out and tidied


A quick rub with my palm washboards


Time to stitch in some pleats at the pre-felt stage.


On both sides


Working the pleats is made easier with the Wedge Washboard. It’s a little bit big but I understand they’ll be bringing out a mini version whcih I think will be perfect. I’ll be sure to let you know as asoon as they do.


One side finished.




You can really see the structure of the pleats. And now for the second side.




I intend to bead the centre circle on this side. If you fancy coming to the pleated bag workshop on Sunday 9th November there’s still a couple of places left.


I might have October 29th, 2014

I might, just might, have brought one or two things home with me from the wool shows over the last few weeks. Want to see them?

This came back with me from the Rheged Knit & Stitch Show. It’s called a Spurtzleur and is made by Jon of Natural Born Dyers. The shaping was irresistible and it’s a tool for spinning. Very easy to use.


These came back with me from Yarndale and no, I don’t have a project in mind but I just couldn’t resist them. Who could? So pretty, so tactile! From Jack Button.


At the monent I seem to use my drop spindle more than my spinning wheel so it shouldn’t really be a great surprise that this spindle came home with me from Bakewell Wool Gathering. It’s a reasonably heavy spindle at 42.5g and came from Turned on the Cut. Considering how many shows we’ve attended I feel I’ve been rather restrained, don’t you?


Hmm, I was feeling quite smug that I hadn’t bought much but then I remembered this glorious hook that I bought at Dumfries. It’s for threading the yarn through the orifice on my spinning wheel and it was made by 18 year old Nathan who only recently took up blacksmithing. It’s wrought iron, heavy and substantial feeling plus absolutely gorgeous. I think I’d have bought this even if I hadn’t had a use for it.


That’s positively the last thing (I think).


Sneak peek October 24th, 2014

This is a very quick sneak peek afor an upcoming workshop. Can you guess which one?


Remember this? October 22nd, 2014

Do you remember this bag? It’s one of the samples for my pleated bags workshop on 9th November at Gisburn


I made the strap long to go across the body but was never really very happy with it. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve kept looking at it and pondering what could be done even down to contemplating cutting it off. Eventually I had a much better idea. I pleated the handle.



It suits the bag so much more and really emphasises the pleating and texture. I’m chuffed to bits with it!