Not quite what I intended

I’m trying to find time to make a few items for the exhibition in October and one of my first thoughts was around flames. So off I set to make a book cover with this idea in mind.

The idea was that the flames would wrap around the spine and lick from left to right across the front. The background is Hebridean fibres and the locks are hand dyed Teeswater. Once I’d laid it out and felted it I wasn’t happy with how it looked on the book and it seemed a waste so I changed my mind and have kept it as a picture.

After some debate over whether or not to add some stitch I took the plunge. I’ve included about 5 stitches in total and finished it off with seed beads.

This really works for me as a picture with the beads giving the impression of sparks. I’ve decided to call it Flame Garden and all that remains now is for me to make a book cover.

Playtime

Managed a little playtime today. Doesn’t it look lovely, so soft and inviting when the fibres are still dry.

Soft lilac with black and white. In the top one I’ve added yarns and dyed silk noil.
In the second photo I’ve added silk noil and sari silk fibres
In the third I’ve added black and white yarn.

I’m quite pleased with these, they’re just a little bit hairy but with nice texture.
Just need to find some beads now.

It’s love!

I don’t normally like yellow textiles very much but I’m so pleased with the way this bag turned out.

It’s made from merino wool fibres with soya bean fibre decoration on the outside for a little sheen. I love the quirky shape.

The handle is felted in for strength and as you can see, I’ve decorated the outside with extra flowers and some pearl beads. There’s an external pocket on the back.

My original idea was to have the small flowers dotted about on the bag front but I prefer them clustered on the flap. The external fibres are a carded mixture of gold, custard and acid yellow fibres.

The interior is plain gold with white lace flowers for decoration and two handy internal pockets.

I’m so happy and will get this into my shop as soon as I can.

New shop stock

I’ve been busy making new stock for my shop and thought I’d show you a few of the things I’ve completed.

The notebooks are made using rejuvenated wool fibres. They’re not actually recycled as it’s not been used before but sometimes you get old bits of wool that have started to felt or perhaps not enough of a colour to do anything with. I take all these little bits and hand blend them together using carders to produce new colours. I’m not quite sure what it is about the notebooks but I get immense satisfaction from making them.

Mr.P.Smurf

Mr Poo Smurf, for so the family insist on calling him came to visit yesterday. We looked high and low before we caught a glimpse of him.

He was hiding behind a bush. Was he shy or did the fact he has only one eye mean he couldn’t see where he was going? We stood and waited quietly until M.Poo Smurf showed himself.

Why what big feet he has! A sudden appearance by one of the cats and Mr Poo Smurf went into hiding. Was he behind the bush? No. Was he hiding round the corner? No. Can you see Mr Poo Smurf?

There he is, hiding in the plantpot. This time we managed to introduce ourselves before he ran away and hid again.Mr Poo Smurf didn’t like being on the ground with cats around so he sat on the edge of the planter.

When we left he was looking very much at home sat sunning himself in a quiet corner. I wonder if he’ll visit again?

Mr Poo Smurf has been a fun figure to make, although I am slightly worried about my imagination! If you’d like to make your own visitor then why not come along to the 3D figures workshop on Saturday 6th November.

Masses of fun at Masham

I really enjoyed our trip to the Masham Sheep Fair this weekend. It’s possible the family are getting a little tired of the annual sheep gazing but I just love it. I’ll have to find a friend to accompany me next year I think.

On arrival my first stop was the fleece tent where I bought a fleece from a Whitefaced Woodland sheep. I have felted with this fibre before and it’s quite soft for a hill breed and makes good felt. It also dyes well. Then off we went to have a look round the pens in the market square.

So much lovely fibre, shame it’s still on the sheep. We stopped by the old school house to watch the spinning demonstrations, wandered around the market, bumped into other felters and then ….. went back and bought a second fleece, a Teeswater fleece this time, beautiful lustre and grogeous curls.

Of course, I couldn’t miss the sheep races and just for once, I won! In one race the sheep refused to finish and raced back to the start instead. On the final race I bet on “the black sheep is in white” (meaning white ribbon). It had to be the black sheep for me, couldn’t resist the name and I couldn’t believe my luck when it won.

Even though I listen to it each year I never get bored with the sheep show. It’s educational and very entertaining plus this year they highlighted a campaign to get wool at the olympics (not as an entrant you understand). I’ve signed the petition, I hope you will too. Britain has more sheep breeds than any other country in the world, it’s a heritage we should be proud of and show off whenever we have the chance and help the farmers to get a better deal.

Bunting happiness

Well, what a great week. Your response to my plea for help with bunting for my daughter’s birthday is wonderful. It’s heart warming to realise what a lot of helpful, co-operative and generous people exist out there and I’m so lucky because some of them actually read my blog!

So far there are flags coming from three continents and with each pledge of a flag my daughter’s grin gets ever wider. To know that the bunting now has more chance of being finished on time and each time we use it we’ll remember friends across the world is an amazing thought.

Heather has jumped in feet first with a promise of two, Kate was quick to offer loans of bunting, Reduce Footprints has really helped to get the message out, Mary Anne gave me an idea for quick sparkles (spray paint and glitter), Florcita is very busy but is determined to help if she can , Tiffane has promised two and Trudis a dutch feltmaker living in Spain has offered to make one.

Trudis is so quick she’s already made her flag and blogged about it too but she’s not the only one who’s been busy. Lucie promised one, has made four which are already making their way to me and has sent me a photo. Here they are.

Aren’t they great! I never realised so many different people were reading my blog and it’s taken me to visit some really lovely blogs too, a benefit of this project that I hadn’t foreseen. I’ll keep updating you as new flags arrive or are promised and I’ll show you my pathetic attempt at crocheting a flag. It’s really not going well.

Why do I do it?

I have quite enough to do so why do I do it? My daughter will be thirteen next birthday and wants to have a party in the garden with bunting and lots of candles. Candles – easy, I’m just saving all my jam jars of course. Although she;d really like them to be all different colours so there will be more work involved. I’m already wondering if I should paint them or just wrap them in tissue paper. Undoubtedly if I paint them I’ll end up doing designs rather than just colours because I always create more work for myself. Why do I do it?

There are lots of places to buy bunting and she’d be delighted with it but oh no, I have to decide that I will make the bunting and that if I’m doing it there’ll have to be lots of it. So I’ve worked out that I need a minimum of 60 flags to make the bunting. Easy you might think and it would be if I got out my sewing machine, but of course, I haven’t. I am a feltmaker so obviously I’ve chosen to make them from hand rolled felt. Again, it wouldn’t be so bad if I made large pieces and cut them up, I’d have the requisite sixty quite quickly.

No, in my wisdom I’ve decided that each flag must be different (like who’s looking that closely?) and they will be in colour only, no neutrals (even harder for myself). Did I stop there? No, I went on to decide that as they’d be used at night I’d like some sparkle on each one to reflect all these flickering candles I’ve yet to make holders for. Why do I do it? I have realised that if I put the sparkle in during felting then I won’t be sat there sewing on sequins later which would be another task on the list. I’ve used sparkly yarns, sparkly fabrics and angelina fibres where I can.

As soon as I had the idea I began to make a flag whenever I had a few minutes to spare and I now have twenty flags. It felt good to reach the one third stage but now, I’m still busy with other things and the two thirds yet to do seem to be looming larger every day. Here’s the ones I’ve done already.

Not brillinat photos but the light’s not good today, there’s a very brisk breeze and the cats kept helping so it’s the best I can mange for now.

I’m beginning to crack, maybe I should include knitting and crochet in the production methods as I could use some sparkly yarns and they would still be wool. So okay I’ve cracked, knitting and crochet are included and that will increase my potential working hours as I could crochet whilst watching TV in an evening. The bunting doesn’t have to be ready until early October but the school holidays are rapidly approaching and I have a show coming up next month for which I need to do work, so time may be in shorter supply than I’d like. Plus of course we will go away on holiday and if I try to take my feltmaking kit with me I’m sure words will be had. Reckon I can sneak in some crochet though 🙂

If any of you lovely people would like to: donate oddments of sparkly yarns; knit or crochet a flag or make a felt flag for inclusion then I would be absolutely chuffed and delighted to accept it. Not because it’s less for me to do but because I love the idea of including flags from different people and I’ll be reminded of those people each time the bunting is used. In return, you’ll go on a roll of honour on my blog and I promise faithfully to contribute to a project of yours whenever the madness seizes you and you’re sat with your head in your hands saying Why do I do it?

I know of course why I do it – I’m a besotted Mum and despite the extra work I think it’ll be fun. If you’d like to jon in and I hope some of you do, the flag should be approximately 8″ (20cm) wide at the top and 8″ from the top to the tip of the point. Any suggestions on other ways of including sparkle are also welcome.

School’s Out!

No, I don’t mean my daughter is home for the holidays, I have finally finished all the work with the primary schools in Skipton. Some of you may have read that I sent two of the hangings back without taking photos but here for your delight are two which didn’t slip through the net.

As you may have guessed, the theme is World Cup. There was no way we could have avoided that theme this year. Each of the children involved from Greatwood Primary made a piece of pre-felt to their own design and then we put them all together to make one hanging.

The theme here is Global Awareness. Children at Parish Church school were invited to submit designs then we looked at which elements appeared time and time again and composed a hanging from those elements. Lots of teamwork to achieve this in a short space of time.

I think the children from all schools have done fantastic work and once I have them back for the Art in the Pen exhibition I’ll show you all six together.

Summer rug making workshop

It doesn’t seem a year since my last felt rug workshop, the time has flown by. The weather has been fantastic for us and we managed to do quite a lot of the work outside once the wool was wet. Each rug began with what most people think is the best part of rug making, laying out the design. For those who did double sided rugs this began and ended with a pattern. Each rug looked gorgeous and fluffy like the one below.

Then of course we had to begin working on them. After wetting the fibres, we rubbed to set the design then began the rolling. We rolled with hands, with feet and with ropes. After this we beat the rug with stones and my special tamper tool,which my husband had to repair after day one thanks to Demolition Debs, just kidding Debs. Not content with that we also walked on it to compress it.

So it was lots of work, lots of water, lots of good company and lot and lots of sunshine. Here’s how they all turned out.

They are fantastic and you wouldn’t believe that two of the creators are novice felt makers. We also wrote a communal toast to our rugs.

May it tickle my toes gently

May it bring sunshiney memories

May mother and daughter share it happily

May the cat love it not scratch it

May it fit by the side of the bed

May it last many years

Margaret has been kind enough to send me the following feedback and picture. ” My rug has been safely delivered to the Relax-U massage room. My friend Lynne was delighted, the colours were perfect and she loved the design. We are going to put a plaque on the wall to describe what wools it is made of, and we thought a felt rug was very appropriate for a massage room as both involve heat and movement. Lynne gave me a free massage as she was so pleased, and it did indeed tickle my toes gently – it is so soft. Haven’t had so much fun giving a present in ages – or been so exhausted producing it!”

Some of the pictures are courtesy of Jennifer who also had this to say “Thank you for a wonderful weekend. I learnt a lot as usual and also really enjoyed myself.” Our novice felt makers survived and were also happy, “Thank you for an absolutely brilliant weekend. I really enjoyed it (I know Debs did too), and we learnt an awful lot, both being absolute beginners. My hubby (and the neighbours) are very impressed with my rug which was hung outside in the garden to continue drying when I got home. I’m sure we’ll be back for more”

Thanks for a great weekend ladies