a life of fibre

Yarndale October 1st, 2014

It was busy and great fun at Yarndale at the weekend. I saw so many people I knew and had so little time to talk to any of them beyond an hello and catch you later type conversation which was a pity. This time I did manage some photos of the event though and I’ve shared lots of them on the Adelaide Walker facebook page but here’s a few I saved for you. I loved this stall by HanneMADE, very calming, very interesting.


These crocheted animals which are from a book called Edward’s Menagerie seemed to be very popular and looked great with so many of them hanging around!



This fun figure was visible from all over the auction mart. It belongs to the local yarn shop who originally made it for when the Tour de France was in town but it’s now accompnaying them as they get out and about. There are plans for a Christmas outfit I’m told.


Finally, this autumnal hanging from the Embroiderers Guild caught my eye and I have to admit I didn’t get the name of the maker but I fell in love with the colours and texture.


Yarndale will be back again next year on the last weekend in September.

Lacy cobweb scarves September 25th, 2014

On Sunday 5th October I’ll be teaching a lacy cobweb felt scarf workshop at Gisburn and thought you might like to see one of the samples for this workshop. Usually I work with the wool in a top form but decided to try and use up more of my stash, so chose to work with remnants of carded Merino in various colours.


I was thinking subtle colour changes but it’s not quite how it came out. Using carded fibre is fun to layout for this kind of scarf and enabled me to include a lot of colours  and shades very easily.


This is the reverse of the scarf where you can see I have a mix of red, pink and orange with small amounts of natural coloured Tussah silk.


The front of the finished scarf with lots of Tussah silk along it’s length. I wasn’t sure about the purples at the end when I was laying it out but I wanted to use only remnants and now it’s done I love it.


There’s another example of lacy felt on it’s way in a day or two and if you fancy making one for yourself I still have space on the workshop.


Hidden texture workshop September 24th, 2014

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how this workshop went. A lovely group of ladies and the work! – just see for yourself.


You can very clearly see the depth of texture achieved in this bag by Janice. This was the very first piece of felt she’d made and to tackle, 3D, texture and carding skills in her first time was brilliant. And she smiled thoughout


Deborah kept her design simple but very striking, the sinuous curves are lovely. Each bag has an internal pocket followed by 2 layers of wool then the design work as we laid out the texture which would be hidden by 2 further layers of carded wool.


I’m so disappointed that I don’t have a better photo of Jenis’  bag to show you but the black proved a little harder to photograph and the group was about to leave at this point. There are several horizontal layers of lines and raised mounds which were very effective. Instead of a long handle  Jeni cut a hand hold in at the end of felting. Mulberry silk fibres were also incorporated into the felt but they don’t show up in photos as the bag was still wet. Bet it looks even better now


Sue was ambitious with her design and there was a point when I thought she’d be finishing it at home but it was completed in the time we had. It has quite a celtic feel about it, I wonder if it’s the colour  contributing to that?  This is the only bag without a handle as Sue was considering using a metal chained handle as a contrast to the wool.


I have more workshops coming up and am looking forward to the lacy cobweb felt scarf workshop a week on Sunday 5th october. It’s at the festival Hall in Gisburn which is a lovely light space to work in. I hope to see some of you there.

Teaching the teachers September 18th, 2014

On Wednesday afternoon I found myself at Holy Trinity Primary School in Ossett teaching the teachers how to make felt. One teacher had made a piece some 4 years previous but other than that they were all novices.



As usual, it’s amazing the variety of work that people come up with from the one set of resources.



The school is aiming to have every one of their 400+ pupils make a piece of felt by half term and the theme will be poppies for Remembrance Day.



I did try to take a photo of all the finished poppies, there were quite a few, but sadly that photo was too blurred to use. To my great delight, I do believe at least 1 and possibly 2 teachers will be pursuing the fascinating craft of felt making in their own time :-)

Doodling September 18th, 2014

I found an old folder in my Mums’ flat, battered and definitely beyond it’s best but I had a use for it so I began to doodle.


Doodling is fun. On this occasion I was doodling with a Tipp-Ex pen. It’d be nice to say this was my idea but I have seen it done before and more beautifully than mine. But you know what, I think it looks good and this old folder which has a mundane purpose of paper storage gives me pleasure each time I use it at work.


It may not have greater longevity but it’s definitely prettier.

More hidden texture September 16th, 2014

This is the shape of bag I set out to create but not the colours! It just seemed a good idea to set myself an extra challenge to make this bag using nothing except what was in my cupboard. After laying down two layers of Blue faced Leicester wool I searched around for texture I could hide between the layers.


The felt cord had been hanging around for several years but I knew it would come in handy sometime and imagine my delight when it did! There was also discs of pref-felt and felt balls I could use. How is it that it’s absolutely ages since I made any felt balls and yet I always seem to have some hanging about.

Having found my texture and discovered just how many pre-felt pieces I had in the cupboard I decided that the outer layers of wool would be pre-felt. This has the added advantage of helping to trap the texture without the fibres slipping and revealing what’s beneath. We begin with a view of the back.


You can see the odd shaped pre-felt pieces, I rather like them. The felt cord handle was made separately and then stitched on afterwards with yarn. I wanted the stitches to be seen and form part of the texture of the bag. Now we have the front.


I know it’s busy and it shouldn’t work but I think it does and somehow this bag has snook ito my affections.


All pre-felts on the front too. The handle curls around a pre-felt which is hiding a felt ball and you can clearly see how large a texture using the sturdy cords between the layers has created.


There’s another felt ball for a fastening, this time passing through a cut in the felt. There are two inner pockets and the flower decoration was also found in my pre-felt bag. I believe someone started it at a workshop, fell out of love with it and I squirrelled it away for later. Just loving the extra dimension it adds.

I wonder if anyone has spotted that this bag and the one I showed yesterday were actually created on the same resist. It just goes to show that how you remove your felt from the resist has a huge impact on the shape.


Hidden texture handbag September 15th, 2014

This is one of my samples for the workshop I’m teaching this coming Friday – hidden textures. You could use the technique to make any items like cushions, pictures and scarves and of course, bags. I love texture and usually add it to the outside of items but in this instance it’s created by adding it in the middle of the layers.


After covering the resist with two layers of fibre I briefly worked it until it became a soft pre-felt. Then I’ve added the texture, in this instance wool cord and wool balls chopped in half. Then the whole lot was covered with two further layers of fibre before felting and fulling.


This  bag is made from Blue Faced Leicester wool with an interior pocket and a long strap which I felted seperately and fastened through a tiny cut hole after felting. The knot in the strap adds to the texture. The next photo is my favourite.


It was quite hard to get a good photo of the texture for you.


The fastening is made from a felt ball and a handmade wool cord. I left the ends of the cord open and needle felted them onto the flap of the bag before refelting to ensure it’s absolutely secure. I should have a second bag up for you to see tomorrow.




Pleated bags workshop September 12th, 2014

You may have noticed I’ve been quiet of late, Mum died quite recently and there’s been a lot to do. However, I’m getting back into the swing and thought I’d start with a quick photo of what you might expect on the pleated bags workshop.


Initially we’ll make prefelt (part made felt) then insert pleats and then move on to finishing our designs. There’ll be more samples and ideas to inspire you as you work through this method to create your unique bag.  I’m trying a couple of new venues over the next few months and this workshop will be held at Gisburn Festival Hall, Bentlea Rd, Gisburn,BB7 4LL on Sunday 9th November. It’s a lovely hall, nice and light with plenty of space. I hope you can come along.

Sewing box delights September 6th, 2014

When I was growing up my Grandma’s sewing box was always out and in use then it passed to Mum, who did sew but not a huge amount and then not at all in recent years. Now Gran and Mum have both gone the box has passed to me. It’s a sad reason for the box to pass on but the box has brought pleasure with it. There were quite a few buttons, so much so that my button stash now occupies two tin boxes.



I don’t recall ever seeing these folding scissors before and they still cut quite well. Next will be for me to research how I can bring them back to their former glory as they will be very useful. The next item I correctly guessed as a glove darner.

Don’t ever remember seeing this in use either.  A few rug tools were discovered too and I do remember Gran using those – lots. This next one has a huge eye at one end and a crochet type hook at the other. Is this something to do with rug making, does anyone know?


Now this one really has me stumped. What is it, what is it used for? I do hope someone can help.


Finally, is this last one a laying tool? It has a kink in the shaft and it’s unclear if that’s deliberate or an accident.


The box which contained these treasures now has pride of place in my hall and I wait with bated breath to see if you can assist with identifying these last 2 tools.

Edited to add – Wow, you’ve done well at identifying the last two items. The flat wooden one is a thread winder and there are lots of versions if you take a look at google images. Thanks Kate and Rosie. The final item isn’t a proddy but a fid. The very tip was bunged up but I’ve had it under a magnifier and there is a hollow channel all the way down it. You can pull the metal out of the handle to thread something through and then the bend prevents it being forced too far back into the handle. Thank you so much Lorna for identifying it.  That just leaves the large needle with the crochet hook end which I’ve identified as a locker hook. These are the primary tool for making anchored loop rugs.

Autumn workshops August 26th, 2014

So far, August has felt like we’ve moved early into Autumn so this seems the perfect time to let you know about my Autumn workshops. In addition to the studio workshop dates in Ilkley I’ve added some weekend ones at Gisburn Festival Hall and Clifton Village Hall (Otley) on a Saturday or Sunday. So do take care to not which venue it’s at and on which day.

Thursday 11st Sept in Ilkley – learn to spin on a drop spindle.You won’t believe how easy it is to start spinning your own yarn.

Sunday 5th Oct at Gisburn – Lacy felt wrap, soft and very warm.

Friday 10th Oct in Ilkley – Nuno felt vases. Combining wool and fabric in 3D work.

Saturday 8th Nov at Clifton – felted soaps. Pebble style or swathed in colour they make great presents.

Sunday 9th Nov at Gisburn – Pleated bags. After making the pre-felt we’ll create scupltural pleated handbags

Friday 5th Dec in Ilkley – Felt for Christmas – felted tree and felted tree ornaments

Saturday 6th Dec at Clifton – Christmas stockings. Style and colour of your choice with plenty of examples to inspire you.

There are a few shows coming up soon as well.

Bristol Wool Fair - 5-7 September
Rheged Knit & Stitch Show - 14 September
Masham Sheep Fair - 27/8 September
Yarndale – 28/9 September

If people would be interested, I can offer an introduction to crochet workshop – what do you think? I’ll be adding workshops for the new year in the next week so keep checking back.