Whitework tree book cover

There are some things which you really really enjoy making and this book cover was one of them. Inspiration came from a magazine cover.

I began by stitching into some crystal organza to create a tree shape. The thread used was wool yarn and I used a split stitch.

The little twinkles in the shot above are not water droplets but small pieces of glitter on the fabric. I laid out two layers of Blue Faced Leicester wool, placed the fabric on top and then felted it together.


To embellish I chose a simple lazy daisy stitch in cream and white embroidery thread.

In addition to the stitch I added small glass beads for that extra twinkle and finished the edge with blanket stitch

I love using crystal organza as it adds so much texture to the finished felt and using white on white wool means you only see the texture and twinkle added, it hasn’t obscured anything. It’s amazing what a diference even simple stitch can make to the finish.

If you feel inspired to make your own book cover why not come along to my workshop on Thursday 27th April, it’s one of my favourite workshops to teach and a fun one to experience. You really don’t need to be brilliant at sewing as even running stitch is really effective when combined with the nuno felt.

Picture workshop

A couple of pictures from yesterday’s workshop to share with you.

This one by Anne was still in the making and the soap is obscuring the colours somewhat but I bet it’ll look great once it’s dry.

Margaret was working from a photo and wanted to know how to bring more life into her work by using relief and working with pre felts. It was coming together quite nicely and I know it will be transformed with more relief work and stitch before we next see it.

This was Angie’s first picture, worked from a photograph and quite successful. Another one destined to be stitched into!

Jackie brought in a black and white photo of a landscape reflected in water to work from. It’s come out very well and the silk added to give greater lightness to the piece is just beginning to shine as it dries.

Nuno scarf workshop

I was so tired Friday night that I went to bed early and left preparing for the workshop until Saturday morning, imagine my surprise then when the only thing I forgot to take with me was a camera. It has to be said that I struggled more than usual with remembering names on the day, obviously still tired but despite any shortcoming from me the group produced some fabulous felt.

This is always the trickiest part, the choosing of the colours. We began by creating two samples, one on cotton muslin and one on a synthetic fabric. This allowed people to try a few ideas and also to see how different fabrics gave different textures when nuno felted.

Sue’s first sample on synthetic fabric. Lovely colours.

Mich spent ages creating this beautiful sample on cotton muslin and it includes a cut in the fabric.

Claire was trying out the effects of varying amounts of fibre on the fabric. Working in different colours helped to identify where one weight ended and another began.

Janette very bravely tried both rovings and more synthetic fabric onto her synthetic sample. Some of the samples were very beautiful but what they enabled everyone to do was to identify what they liked about each one and which elements they’d like to include in their finished scarf. I find this approach is very helpful, especially if you have new felters in the group.

This is Sue’s scarf with a synthetic fabric strips and lace included. It has Wensleydale curls on the end and you can see the ends have also been shaped into points.

Created by Stephanie and inspired by her drive across from Cheshire. Merino fibres with silk and soya fibre embellishment. Everyone loved it.

Here is Tracy’s scarf laid out ready for felting. You can see that the ends are shaped and also that there’s a line of fibre before the edge of the fabric. As the wool felts it’ll create a slight frill along the edge of the scarf.

Tracy was very game to model it whilst it was still wet and the photo doesn’t do it justice.

Susan created this and you’d never believe it was her first piece of felt would you. I think she did incredibly well, the white circle was inspired and finished the design off well. I also like the cut leaf  on the end.

Janette’s scarf has lace along the ends as well as in the body, boucle yarn along the edges and has a definite romantic feel to it. Just beautiful. Finally, I must thank Janette and Tracy without whom there’d have been no photos to show you. Thanks ladies.


Alpaca seat pads

Staying with the stash busting theme I decided that I needed more seat pads. Why carry one around when you have sufficient fleece to make more. The Alpaca fleece was gifted to me a little while ago and has sat quietly by waiting for a project to spring to mind. Again, I didn’t pre wash the fleece just dived straight in.

I considered combining the two colours but decided to work them singly and then stitch afterwards for decoration.

The original intention was to complete the spiral in small rounds right to the edge then I changed my mind and moved it out quickly. Too quickly, I’ll have to unpick this, I’ve gone too wide too fast.

This is my favourite, I’m really pleased with how the black has turned out. Do I need more seat pads? NO, but for some inexplicable reason I’m fighting the urge to make more, wish me luck.

A late ta-dah and brotherly love

Not drastically late. On saturday I began a bag as I find it the best way to help people learn is to demonstrate, but in a workshop situation I don’t have time to finish it off. I finished it on Sunday (very quick for me) , it was dry on Tuesday ready for me to show. Until that is, I took a good look at it and discovered that not all the soap was out. So another wash and dry later, here it is.

My apologies that these aren’t great photos but the sky is dark with sleet so it took me 4 attempts and over exposing it to get this far.

It’s a black Blue Faced Leicester base with some throwsters silk waste decoration. The flap is covered with Teeswater fleece which I put on it’s raw state and let it do what it wanted, I wanted some loose curls but not the whole lot.

The handle and closure is felted in.Instead of a button I decided to make a catch from wooden beads salvaged from a broken necklace. Contrasting textures make me very happy.

I’m going to finish today with a picture of brotherly love.

It must be love as they’re sharing one of the best seats in the house. Not only can they watch the bird table from there but it’s right above a nice warm radiator. Midi (short for Midnight, the darker cat) and Pan are our two youngest cats.

Garment making – part 1

I don’t usually make garments, don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with it but it doesn’t normally enthuse me. This time however, I’m very enthusiastic. It’e to be a very feminine garment and for a  larger lady with a 48″ waist. Given that when working with wool tops you need to start larger to account for shrinkage during felting it means it’s going to be a big piece of work.

Preparation is key and it’s really not worth rushing this stage. So lots of  measurements, quick sketches, a look at images on the internet, thinking through the processes and various stages, then it’s time to start gathering equipment and supplies.

Lots of bubble wrap, bits of lace and a quick sample of how I might make it look very full through gathering.

Lots and lots of fibres, both tops and locks plus some yarns. I’m hoping to make an impression on my stash!

I’ll be laying out at 160cm x 78cm so it’s going to need two tables to work on or I’ll be crawling round the floor again. There’ll be more to see next time but do feel free to speculate in the interim.


Heart Bunting

I began this set of bunting in August I believe. Although it’s not complicated to make sheets of felt for cutting up I just didn’t find the time to finish – looking back I seem to have had quite a few projects like this last year but at least they get finished eventually. It’s all made from British Blue Faced Leicester wool, the pink was hand dyed by me, do you think it’s bright enough?

The edges are hand stitched in plain running stitch with embroidery thread and each flag  has an appliqued heart. They’re machine stitched to the tape. I didn’t do running stitch along the top and I’m now wondering if I should have – opinions?

There are 12 flags on each set, flags are 12cm wide by 18cm long. I made sufficient felt for five sets but only three are completed as I ran out of tape. And yes, the yellow really is that vivid!!

Tidy up time

Having finished my commissions I reckoned it was time for a tidy up of my work room. Now logical people amongst you, of which I hope there are few, will expect that to mean picking things up and putting them away. Those amongst you with crafting tendencies will know this to be laughable.

I’ve picked things up shuffled them around, re-arranged piles and yes I can say progress is definitely being made, with the exception that nothing has actually been put away yet!  With no workshops to distract me I find this a good time to take a close look at things and decide what to do in the long term rather than just putting them in a cupboard.

There’s been a couple of samples hanging around for months. The first is a piece of felt onto which I stencilled blue hearts in fabric paint and the other was an experiment with a skeleton leaf and a fine layer of Blue Faced Leicester fibres. I really don’t need these to illustrate any points in workshops so decided to make them into cards. First stop my inspiration box.

Obviously this needs tidying up too but it’s where I store my hand made papers, patterns and general inspiration from cards and photos to magazine cuttings. I always enjoy a browse through here and always think I should browse more often if I had the time. I found some lovely blue papers for my little felt hearts.

One has tissue paper pasted onto card and lightly painted, the other has painted card onto which I impressed bubble wrap which made a lovely pattern.

Little bits of scrap felt combined with a little time = a little bit of happiness. I’m pleased with these cards and now they really have been tidied away, going into the card drawer for some of those birthdays coming up in the next two months.


Mixed media workshop

Saturday was just such a lovely workshop, people were chatting away, organising tea runs and generally having a good time, it was inspiring to be around these ladies.

It was very much a play / experimentation day as we combined, rag rugging, weaving, knitting,
crochet and other textures with felt making.

Each piece is so individual. We were speculating on whether anyone would be able to tell who had made each piece from the colours and textures used. I reckon if you knew someone in the room you’d have a good chance but may not know without that prior knowledge. What do you reckon?

We also wondered what our felt said about each of us but perhaps it’d be better not to go there.

Some people pushed themselves on colour, some on technique but every single one is fabulous. the
worst part for me is that I don’t get to keep any of them.


p.s. Thanks for the cake Dawn.

I’m delighted to be able to show you Claire’s finished cushion. It looks brilliant.

Felt for Christmas

It’s been a little busy this week so I have posts backing up in my head. On Wednesday I held my Felt for Christmas workshop where we focused on creating felt with sparkle. Some has sparkly fabrics in it, some has metallic and glittery threads, some has angelina fibres and some had it all!

Lots of this felt is destined to be cut up into decorations for trees, garlands, gift boxes and the popular wreath from last week.We also made cords and covered balls to create hanging decorations but for some inexplicable reason I have no photos of those.

Thursday continued very busy and I made another trip to Sheffield to see Mum. Mum’s been in hospital for over six weeks and has now been in a nursing home for rehab care for two weeks. I thought Mum would would like me to pay a surprise visit. It was me that got the surprise as when I arrived she’d signed a disclaimer minutes before and taken herself off out for a visit to her flat. I searched in vain for an hour covering both possible routes and then gave up and came home again.

It caused havoc at the flats as she wasn’t expected and they thought she’d come home for good. I sorted that misunderstanding then finally discovered why I’d been unable to track her down –
she’d got lost!!