a life of fibre

Archive for November, 2016

Harrogate K&S

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

I was at Harrogate at the weekend working as part of Adelaide Walker selling tops for felt making, spinning and arm knitting. Arm or extreme knitting is a recent thing and it’s very popular and seemed to appeal to the men too as I taught two of them to knit on Sunday.

The real joy of the show though is the exhibits and the guild demonstrations. Some of the exhibitors ask you not to take photographs but here are a few choice ones that I was allowed to take.


Interlace – cloth and concrete bowls which were absolutely delightful and looked amazing en masse.



The two works above are by Jan Beaney and are featured in the book Embellish and Enrich. Loved the texture!


Sluice Creek Cloth:  Sea Roar by Debbie Lyddon. The flow and calmness of the piece appealed to me.


I love circles but the colours also appealed to me, this is Trapped by Sarah Welsby. Below is the photo which inspired a piece by the Embroiderers Guild. I just love these kinds of textiles where each person takes a segment and interprets in their own way then it’s put back together as a whole.


The finished textile below.


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Isn’t it absolutely glorious, so much work and so much yummy texture. Must have a go sometime.

Barbara Takenaga

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Whilst in Totnes earlier in the month I noticed this calendar in a shop window. It was of an artist I didn’t know but the image intrigued me and so I decided to look her up upon my return home.


You must go look her up, you’ll find her website here , her work is stunning. I’m wishing now that the shop had been open as I could have bought the calendar then, now I’ll have to wait for the post. If you fancy the calendar you can find it here.


Thursday, November 24th, 2016

As we left the house early …….





There were so many shades of pink, mauve and purple turning to red, orange and gold, I so wished I’d had my camera rather than just my phone with me.



Commission bible cover

Monday, November 21st, 2016

This is a project I was commissioned to do some time in the spring and finally finished and sent off in September. Not entirely sure why it took me so long to get started on it but life seems to have been a bit like that this year. I particularly like book cover commissions and this is the second I’ve been lucky enough to receive from this customer.

It would be easier with the book in front of you but it can be done and I rely upon careful measurements being supplied. My brief was to incorporate trees and a small cross. The cover is for a much loved but old and now slightly fragile bible, with this in mind I wanted the inside of the cover to be a little bit special so I lined it with bamboo fibres.

Bamboo has similar properties to wool as it wicks moisture away and it’s also somewhat antibacterial plus it gives a lovely sheen making it feel special.


In the end I decided upon 2 crosses, one on the front and one on the spine.



Once felted, the trees sank into the background more then I would have liked so I brought it back by using a running stitch along the branches in a bronze thread which was semi sparkly and I just loved how that turned out. You can see below I used more running stitch on the cross to give added texture but the shading was very subtle.


I felt it important to have a few berries left on the tree on the front of the cover and used plum coloured beads to bring these to life. More could have been added but it’s true that less is sometimes more.


The shot below is my favourite because the light and the bricks just work together beautifully to show the cover off. You can see the second cross on the spine which was outlined using a simple backstitch. You can see the tree trunk stitching too which I really enjoyed doing.


View of the back. I like to dry the finished felt on the book it’s to cover so that it dries in shape, of course, I do cover the book with plastic first to protect it from moisture. As I didn’t have the bible to work with I took a tape measure and sampled various books until I found ones which, when stacked together, gave me the exact measurement of the spine of the bible.


The edge was finished with blanket stitch in two colours of thread as I used grey along the bottom and a midnight blue everywhere else so that it toned in and became part of the cover but in no way detracting from it. I’m pleased to report that it fitted perfectly and the customer was delighted with it 🙂

Market art

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

I don’t know about you but I do love the hustle and bustle of a market and the visual feast! So you can imagine how much I enjoyed a visit to Borough Market.

The stallholders take so much time and pride in displaying their wares to the best advantage.


See how fantastic it looks in it’s lines of colour, texture, shape.


I wanted to buy all these tomatoes, so lush, so many colours.


A most delightful display of salad leaves and radishes, looks soft enought to dive in!


Mixing the colours of the cauliflowers somehow elevates even the common white one. These kinds of diaplys so make me want touch, all that texture.


I could have bought this cheese just for the colour – I did buy this cheese just for the colour, it was delicious.


Such attractive displays, my purse is eceedingly happy that we don’t live near to this extravaganza.


Isn’t this a brilliant re-use of packing crates to create an outdoor seating area?


We moved on to Camden where it was so busy it was difficult to take photos but I just had to have one of this shop selling gorgeous glass moroccan style lights. Why do I have just one ceiling light in my living room when I could have so many more!!


Poncho workshop

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Don’t ask me to recall which poncho belonged to whom, it’s a few weeks ago and I’m sorry to say I have forgotten!  I could perhaps describe one or two people but as to names, well, that is a weakness of mine. Howver, that doesn’t detract from the work put in nor the beauty of the outcome. Enjoy 🙂



Did you notice that they’re reversible and that the one above is a beautiful dark chocolate colour on the reverse?Two people chose to leave them as oversize scarves and they do look rather cosy that way.



We’d begun the day by salt and pepper dyeing of the silk chiffon.



Whilst waiting for the silk to dye some people chose to spend the time making prefelts which were then applied over the silk side of the poncho. It adds weight as well as interest.



So sorry I didn’t get these up earlier ladies so that I could have named the creator of each one.


Poppy bag workshop

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

So many poppies made in the last month and not just by me. Take a look at the beautiful poppy bags made on Saturday.


The majority of people had little or no felting experience so it’s a double achievement to have made such splendid pictorial bags.


Carol isn’t a bag person so chose instead to create two pictures onto which she will later stitch.


The poppies just glow don’t they. Mandy was at the workshop and happened to mention she’d been working on a needle felted nativity scene since September, aw, lovely we thought. Once we discovered she actually had it with her we insisted on an impromptu show and tell.


It’s still a work in progress and there are one or two more characters / animals to make an appearance but aren’t they just lovely? And so well felted.  As in the Shrek film, it was the donkey that stole the show.


Thank you Mandy Gordon for sharing these with us.

Poppy display

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

It was a bit of a rush but I did complete my poppy display in time for the Bakewell Wool Gatghering where it was much admired.


The terracotta pot we inherited when we purchased the house over twenty years ago. I bought a polystyrene cone and by chopping off both top and bottom, it fitted the plant pot perfectly. I then painted it with brown paint and glued Wemsleydale curls on top to act as soil and I think it looks rather effective.

All the poppies (38) are glued onto wire which comes as bailing twine on some of our wool deliveries. I was really chuffed to be able to find a new use for it.  I was creating it to use as part of our display at work to highlight the poppy brooch kit and poppy picture kit.

Once it had been used at the show it was taken back to work and dumped unceremoniously on a table awaiting time for me to create a display. With so many back to back shows that just wasn’t happening but we had the good sense to inveigle a very creative friend into doing some work for us and I think you’ll like what she did with the display.


You can see now where the other six larger poppies were used. The poppy picture felts were samples from when I taught a workshop at Wharfe Wool Fair earlier in the year. I very cleverly left just the right colour scarf at work and it wasn’t an accident at all (much!)


Thank you Kate for a very creative and eye catching display, it wouldn’t have happened without you. The row of poppies is a display I’ve been using for 2 or 3 years now so I didn’t need anything new I just wanted it. There’s already plans in my head for what comes next year! The boxed kit is the picture kit I designed.


The picture has been very well received and is flying off the shelf. It’s a wet felted kit which you can purchase here.





Is it really November?

Friday, November 4th, 2016

A couple of days ago I stopped, took a breath and a careful look round the garden. You know, the type where you see what’s going on rather than rushing into the house to get on with jobs. It was amazing just how many plants were still flowering . Take a look.


These weren’t the only either! I managed to spoil a couple of the photos.

44 Poppies

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

I’ve made a lot of poppies recently, just the 44 to be exact. When we visited the Dumfries and Galloway Guild earlier this month I used any spare monents to make them. I then spent some time on Tuesday beading them all. It’s all in aid of a new display that I’m making for work, I do so hope it works out. It looks delightful in my head but who knows what it’ll be when finished.


Multiples have such a visual impact don’t they?


Hopefully, by the next time you see them they’ll have been made into an eye catching display. Wish me luck.