Catch up one

I’m back playing catch up on my posts again! I seem to have a few weeks where they’re flying off the keyboard and then time runs away with me in other areas of my life and the posts roll to a halt.

I was hoping to show pictures from the wet felted vessel workshop but they seem to have disappeared from the camera. I suspect Hubby may know something about this. If they turn up I will share them here but in the meantime you’ll have to make do with a few pics from the bag workshop earlier this week.

All the bags are worked in Shetland wool and all but one of the workshop participants were compete felting newbies. The end of the day turned into a terrible rush as just as we were taking photos the next group turned up to use the hall half an hour early. There’d been a mix up in the admin and our bookings were overlapping so we had to shoot round and tidy up very quickly which meant photos were rushed and not all bags were on the photo above.

The light areas in the photo above is the silk which was just beginning to shine as it dried and this bag was made by Mary.

Steph is responsible for the bag shown above, it was her first day felt making and was paid for by her son as a Mother’s Day present – wasn’t that a nice thought.

I loved the way Karen decided to frill the edge of her bag flap, it really suited the decoration on the bag too. I must thank all the ladies for their speedy work in helping me to clear up and pack away tables etc. I don’t think I’ve ever been out of there in such quick time but the youngsters were waiting for their dancing lesson.

Shetland wool handbag

Next month, on Wednesday 22nd March, I’m running a British Wool Handbag workshop and this is one of the examples I’ll be taking along to inspire people.

I’ve used 4 natural shades of Shetland: white, light grey, moorit and dark brown. Inside the bag is white and there’s one interior pocket.

The handle has the same 4 shades of wool and is attached by means of decorative french knots and finished in a curl.

For a closure I needle felted and then wet felted a ball from the light grey and white Shetland.

This particular style of bag is one of my favourites and if you’d like to book a place on the workshop you can find more details here.

Bag workshop

Saturday was lovely and sunny outside and in as we created some fab felt bags.


The small blue/green bag on the left was made by Mandy. It’s only her second ever piece of felt and she made a great job of it even venturing into adding a pleat. On the right is the blue / red bag by Chris who decided upon a spiral pleat repeated on both sides.


Repeating the spiral pleat, on both sides, in the same position also made a wonderful gussett on the bag. Gill wanted a large fairly plain bag for everyday use. It had an internal pocket and was destined for a leather strap.


Irene was very taken with my leaf shaped bag and created her own autumnal version with a green interior. Many pleats means more stitching and felting but it was on it’s way to completion by the time she left. I can’t wait to see a photo of it finished.


Irene was also inspired to try one with more pleats and this shape I created based on a shell but Irene’s colour choice of turquoise with a white interior was stunning.


It was a joy to work with these lovely ladies and a very big thank you to them all for their help in tidying away. Clifton Village Hall is a really nice small hall with views into adjoining fields full of sheep and donkeys. All my workshops are being held at this venue for the remainder of the year, I hope to see some of you there.

More hidden texture

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

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.




Poppy handbag workshop

It’s a shame that the bags don’t look their best whilst still wet because people worked very hard on Saturday and produced some lovely work. It’s also a shame that I made a mistake in the pocket instructions and everyone had to start over! Sorry everyone.


This isn’t all the bags but you can see how stunning they look on mass.


Sue chose to do a clutch bag with a 3D poppy and it worked out very well. There’s a bumble bee on the back of the bag and I’m kicking myself as I forgot to photograph it.


This large poppy on the front of lesley’s bag is very striking and a real feature.


Gill produced a bag with a double flap. The interior is plain so provides a great contrast to the front.


The back is a picture on it’s own. Gill likes to have her creations on show and is considering filling it with lavender and hanging it in the bedroom, which I think is a great idea.


Couldn’t resist this final picture of a front and a back, they’re stunning.  Sadly I’m unable to identify whose work it is but it’s very good. Roll on the picture workshop next month, there’s spaces if you fancy having a go.

Oh, and before I forget, thank you to whoever washed the pots for me, all help is always gratefully received.

Poppy Bag 2

I shared with you previously one of my samples for tomorrows workshop and thought you may like to see more. When we think of poppies we usually think of bright red ones but as the following photos show you can work in other colours too.



These were put together very quickly and I do think they can be improved upon but they also show that other colours can be successful. This is the bag we’ll be focussing on tomorrow. This first photo shows it during the laying out process.


It’s important to use different size flowers to give perspective to your work. The larger flowers near the front are also the ones which will be given the most detail. I love the way this bag has worked out from the actual flowers, to the happy find of a perfectly sized red button in my stash to the design of the handle.


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I find the back as interesting as the front and the handle gives me great pleasure. It opens up many possibilities not to have the handle felted in.


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Bag workshop

The photos for this blog are courtesy of Lesley and Stephanie. I know you’re all now thinking that I forgot my camera yet again but honest I didn’t. This time it was the SD card which wouldn’t work. When I got home Hubby temporarily sorted it with the addition of some sellotape but I fear I need a new card. So, without more ado, the reveal.


This time we were working in Jacob fibres for the main body of the bag with any colour being supplied by Merino or other embellishments. Above you can see that Denise has added coloured wool nepps and curly kid Mohair. Below, Sylvia, has added Mohair, merino and some soyabean I think.


Pam has added coloured wool nepps, curly kid mohair and soyabean fibres. The nepps and the mohair were very popular that day and they do make attractive decorations. The grey and the black Jacob fibres really show off the additions well and make these bags to use with any outfit.


Next up is a tote style bag from Jean. The wiggly lines are yarn, pink spots are Merino, blue spots are dyed Ramie noil and yes, some coloured wool nepps as well. The wiggly yarn really gives the bag life.


Lesley went for full on impact and achieved it brilliantly through the addition of bright purple Merino and dyed Teeswater curls. The flap was stretched to exaggerate it’s width and make a feature of it.


Stephanie chose to go for a round bag and came prepared with some angelina fibres which have added a little sparkle to the bag with the remainder of the colour provided by Merino and dyed Teeswater curls. I know she’s now gone on to subtly stitch right across the surface of the bag which has just added to its charms


That concludes another great workshop. Where are my manners?  Thank you for all your help setting up and clearing away ladies, many hands do indeed make light work.


Gotland handbag

Looking through my fibre stash I noticed some Gotland that had been waiting quietly for ages and decided it was high time it was used. Unusually for me, I decided to work from outside in and began by laying out some pre-felt decoration on one side and hand spun Soay yarn on the other.


After completely encasing the resists in fibre I then added a further resist on each side to form the internal pockets. then it was down to the usual rubbing and rolling. Gotland is quite an easy fibre to felt and is a lovely shade of grey.


I was ably assisted in my endeavours by Puck. Puck never likes to be far from me and often follows me around the house as I do my chores. A blanket lined box on a sunny windowsill is just the place from which to watch others work.


Cut from the resist and turned right way out. Being a long fibres you can see that the fibres have migrated right through the Merino pre-felt which has lost some definition.


The Soay yarn has almost completely disappeared as it was quite fine. Obviously if I was repeating this I’d lay it on more thickly.


No shoulder strap this time just simple slits in the wool to form hand holds. I like this simple shape of bag and it’s very easy to do.


Fleece and quick update

I’ve been contacted by a local farmer with Ryeland fleece for sale. Phil has about a dozen fleece left and he doesn’t want a lot of money for them in fact, anything he receives he intends to give to charity. This makes it a great opportunity to buy some fleece direct from the farmer, stock up your stash at a good price and help a charity too. Just drop me an email if you’re interested and I’ll put you in touch with Phil.

I ran a bag workshop earlier in the month and a couple of people have been kind enough to send photos of the bags now they’re dry with handles and accessories fitted.

This first is by Sue keidan and she enjoyed the technique so much she’s already moving on to use it to create bowls, I can’t wait to see what she makes next.

This second is by Fran Rose with colours that positively sing for the camera and I’m loving the flower. Husband Bill was also on the workshop so I expect to receive a photo of that one soon.

Amended 19/12 to add Bill’s bag, finished to look ethnic as instructed by Bill and a clever use of the two samples pieces to form a third triangular shaped bag.

Thanks for the photos Fran.