British wool book cover

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.

Are you celebrating?

This is the question I was asked this morning by a neighbour. I think perhaps it has something to do with taking this photo.

Finally, I have finished my last piece of bunting. You may remember some heart bunting made from Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) fibre. Well, this was made at the same time and has then sat quietly in the cupboard waiting for another finishing off session. As it’s Yarnival tomorrow I knew I had to make the effort to finish so I could take it with me.

There are five strings in total, each 2.5m with 10 flags along each length. The flags are made from Manx, Jacob, BFL, Cheviot and Shetland so another all British offering.

British brooches

I’ve sold quite a few brooches recently so I needed to make more and couldn’t wait to use the new Manx, black Jacob and grey Shetland fibres from Adelaide Walker.  They don’t look very inspiring laid out and they’re usually a little different to expected when finished.

Top is black Jacob with some BFLxJacob fleese with lovely caramel coloured tips. The second black Jacob has throwsters silk waste added (not finished this brooch yet) and the Manx has Wensleydale fleece decoration.

To the black Jacob and BFL I’ve added toffee coloured beads. The Manx brooch has cream beads with bronze flashes on them and the grey Shetland has hand spun yarn (yes, it was spun by me!!!) and pearl beads in the centre. Of course, I couldn’t work only in naturals, the turquoise is hand dyed BFL with silver threads, hand dyed yarn and crab fibre decoration.

All four of these are BFL with yarn, silk and bead decorations. Yesterday it seemed quite bright so I managed to snap these few photos for you. As you can see, it wasn’t really bright enough but the worst was the wind, you wouldn’t believe how many times it blew the brooches off the bench. When I can get better photos I’ll load them up to my flickr account for anyone who is interested.

Not sure

I’ve been wanting to make a felted lampshade cover for the living room for a couple of  months now.It’s not the first lampshade cover I’ve done and the delay was really only down to finding the time. As it’s in a room where my hubby will see it daily it’s important to me that he likes it too. Now, that’s when my problems start. Designing for me is one thing, designing to keep someone else happy is quite another.

Obviously I wanted to make it in British wool and Blue Faced Leicester has a lovely crimp that shows up very well on a lit lampshade so BFL is what I’ve used. I wanted the cover to extend beyond the frame a little and I didn’t want to use any kind of stiffener as it changes the feel of the felt.

Cylinder lampshades are very easy as it’s basically a rectangular piece of felt but coolie style lampshades are more difficult. You either have to make a rectangle and cut it down to size or work out your shape carefully and felt it down to size. I prefer not to cut felt so I carefully removed the old shade from the frame and used it as a template.

You can see that both top and bottom lines curve, without the curve it wouldn’t fit the frame properly. I considered using white BFL but decided in the end that oatmeal would be a better colour to blend into our room. I had some hand  dyed BFL curls spare from another project which I placed along the edge but was careful not to let them hang over. Although I’d be happy with dangly curls along the edge I know my hubby wouldn’t be. This little bit of colour lifts the shade and helps it to blend with the wooden base.

Really not sure if I like it and if the white wouldn’t be better. Hubby admitted this morning that he wasn’t sure about it when I was stitching it on but he actually likes it when lit up. Just need to decide what I think now.

Weekend wool work

A whole weekend of making great felted items from a variety of British wools with a very friendly group.
That sums up my weekend and here are the photos to show what was created.

Created by Alex using hand dyed Swaledale wool. I like using Swaledale fleece, it’s hardwearing
and takes dye very well as you can see.

Liz worked hard on this cute little pot. It’s Black Welsh Mountain  with Jacob and Wensleydale curls.

This characterful chicken (Betty, yes we do know it’s the cockerels that have long tail feathers)
is destined to be a doorstop in Cheree’s home. It’s made from Swaledale wool.

Liz tried a different style of bag which wasn’t quite as planned but was a great first attempt at this style.
It’s made entirely in Blue Faced Leicester wool.

Cheree’s Black Welsh Mountain handbag with bright red Blue Faced Leicester interior.
The plan is to decorate it further with crocheted flowers.

This unusual sculpture is from Alex and it’s based on a seed pod acquired on her travels. So sorry
the photo isn’t better but it’s the only one I have. Alex made it using Black Welsh Mountain and plans
to use french knot stitches to give it a textured exterior.

This fun sheep was made by Judith using Swaledale, Cheviot and Blue Faced Leicester wools.
It’s going to get  legs and an even shaggier coat, I can’t wait to see the photos.

Using the same shape as Cheree, Judith made this lovely bird for a very
special purpose – to keep her eggs in!
I’ve been promised pictures of it finished with more feathers around the tail end.

Over the weekend we had two clear winners on the wool tops front – Swaledale
and Black Welsh Mountain. Both are coarser wools from hill sheep
but it goes to show that they felt very well and can even earn places as favourites.
Go on, give British wools a try, you may surprise yourself.


Thought I’d never get this finished and dried to show you but here is my table runner – at last!

Remember, it’s all British wool.

I didn’t use the Masham in the end but I did use BFL, Shetland, Cheviot, Jacob, Manx and Black Welsh Mountain

I’ve decided to call it Cherry Topped.

Now to do a matching item – watch this space but please don’t hold your breath as it may take a while.

3D workshops

Next weekend I have two days of 3D workshops in which you can choose to make several smaller items or one larger item per day. As the technique for 3D is very similar on all items I can offer you the choice of creating bags


or pods and other abstract 3D structures.

There will be fifteen different British fibres to work with, try one or try them all!  Most are natural undyed colours but there will be some dyed Blue Faced Leicester and Swaledale to choose from. Choose to book one day or book both. If you book two days you can make different items on each day or work on one extra large one!!

Moving on

Progress on my table runner hasn’t been quite as rapid as I would like but it is definitely moving on. All the pieces are pre-felted and cut out ready for the final felting stage.

I’m really liking the subtlety of all the natural British wools. My daughter thinks the icing looks like clouds.

Pictures of a finished runner very soon I hope.

Working up to it

There’s an idea for a table runner that I’ve had in my head for quite a while now. Over the last few days I’ve managed to make a few pieces of pre-felt for it and I think today might be the day for cracking on with it.

It’s a simple design which I think will look quite stylish in varying shades of natural coloured wools with a twist which I’ll reveal later. The process began by identifying which breeds I’d like to use. So far my list contains, Blue Faced Leicester, Masham, Shetland, Manx, Black Welsh Mountain, Jacob and Cheviot.

When I need pre-felts for projects like this I always make them in 2 layers. After wetting the fibres out,If there are no patterns or embellishments, I don’t rub, I just roll, gradually increasing the pressure as I go along. One of the considerations of working with pre-felts is to have them all at the same stage before you begin to put them together. This means that I’ve created a BFL pre-felt after only 400 rolls but the Black Welsh Mountain took 1,200 rolls to achieve the same state.

Don’t they look lovely? I hope to show you the next stage and dare I say it?, a completed runner, very soon.

Little brown pot

I’m on a roll!!!!!  More felt made that I like oh so much it’ll be hard to part with it. In this pot I’ve used grey Jacob fibres on the inside and black Jacob on the outside. Yes I know it looks dark brown, it is dark brown but in the sheep world black sheep are usually actually a very dark brown and not a true black.

Jacob is a British wool fibre that takes longer to felt than Merino but it has a lovely texture and the natural dark brown colour is lush. The sheep themselves are mottled white, brown, black.

I adore the shape of this pot and have to admit to sitting cuddling it this morning. You may have noticed  that it has a glass inner. I prefer to model my felt around glass or ceramic vases, not because it gives a defined shape but because I can’t bear to make vases that can’t be used. This way I can recycle pots and vases which have passed their best and upcycle them into a new usable art item.

Aren’t the coloured curls gorgeous? They’re Blue Faced leicester. Most people are familiar with Wensleydale or Teeswater curls which are much larger and longer but most have never used BFL fleece. These have been hand dyed and I think they give fantastic texture without stealing the show as the bigger curls are wont to do.

Too good not to show them twice!  I’ve heard rumours of these being available at a local supplier soon and will let you know if this happens, I highly recommend giving them a go. What’s more, they still have a lustre to them.