Saturday, 13 September 2014

Hey Mister Tambourine Man..

I LOVE that song.. have done since I was a little girl :)  A couple months ago someone asked whether it would be possible to felt a tambourine bag.. and the idea really took hold, I just had to make one!  

And all the while Mr Tambourine Man was playing in my head :)

Pictures of hand print cave paintings & rough notes
I drew round and cut out my hand print.. then made some smaller ones
(reduced in size on a photocopier)
Carefully drew round these hand print templates onto white commercial prefelt
and cut them out
I made a block (the same size as a tambourine) from a couple of cake-boards
and Styrofoam and lots of tape.

I started off by covering the resist with white Falkland 
Then layers adding in brown merino..
and slubby red yarn on the final layer.

Total of 6 layers each side
Then the hand print and bits of red and dark blue merino scattered over to 
represent the speckles on the cave paintings
Starting side 2 design.. tiny hand prints
Part way through
Once the resist was removed I worked it really hard, throwing and pummelling

When it had shrunk down enough I put the block I'd made inside and worked the edges for ages
Rolling with my ridged stick really helped for this stage
I roughly stitched the opening closed over the resist
Worked 'till it really tightened it up as hard as possible

I removed the block while I was rinsing it, but put it back in so it would dry in the shape I wanted.

I made the handle from the same Falkland, merino and slubby yarn mix with the addition of some
lovely white Wensleydale curls at the ends.
Handle sewn on
I like the red and blue 'bits' scattered over
My hand print looks like a 10 year olds hand now :)
And these look like baby hands
I found a lovely strong zip for this bag.. it's hand stitched in
I don't have a photo of it with a tambourine yet.. but will have soon I hope.  I had borrowed one from a friend and she needed it back before I finished the bag.. as soon as I can I shall have to try the fit and take a photo.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Holiday Craft Project

The place where we have just been on holiday is right next to a brilliant surf beach.. unfortunately dogs are not allowed on during the summer months.  So when the surf is up and we want to go play we have to take it in turns to stay behind with the dogs.  The coastal path and cliffs are beautiful to walk so it's usually a pretty peaceful time.. but if it is raining and you don't fancy getting wet the option of spending time in the tent or van is far less appealing.  PLUS I tend to get twitchy when I spend too long without making..  SO  I went well prepared :)

When my dear friend Heather came to visit a few months ago, she left me with a huge bundle of bright green merino fibre and a challenge to use it for 'something interesting' (previously used here).  

some of the green, with bright colours that I thought would be nice blended in.
Starting to blend on my drum carder
2 lovely, brightly coloured, fat bats to play with.
I split one into thin pieces (like roving/tops) and gently rolled it into 'nests' to travel with
Unpacking my bag in the tent 
I didn't actually spend much time spindling while we were away..
this is what I'd done by the time we got home
A few more peaceful hours spindling at home and I was ready to ply.
I used the Andean Bracelet method
Which involves carefully winding the yarn off the spindle and around your hand
Then removing it from your hand and slipping it onto the wrist like a bracelet.
From there you can pull out both ends and spin them together
(it acts like a centre pull ball.. with just happens to be wrapped round your wrist to keep it out of the way).
Very handy
Plied yarn ready to wind into a hank.
I just need to set the twist now.
This was probably about half a batt
I decided to spin one batt on my wheel - which I did a couple days before we went away.. and the other batt on my drop spindle.  Though the colours are the same the yarns are different.. this one is a 2 ply yarn, while the one done on my wheel is 3 ply - I Navajo plied that one (I love yarns that have been Navajo plied, they are so textural).  I have the 2nd half of the spindling batt left to do.. but think I may spin it on my wheel and add some green eyelash yarn to keep it a little different.  I have plans for all this yarn.. will keep you posted :)

And I just have to show you the beauty that we discovered in our garage when we got home!

Gorgeous Peacock Butterfly liberated from our garage.

I've never seen one this close for this long before, he was stunning!
Made this fabulous rustling / hissing noise as he opened and closed his wings
(I think he was probably warning us to stay away).  

He stayed put for a good 5 minutes after we brought the piece of wood he was resting on outside.. it was lovely watching him flutter away and disappear into the undergrowth.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Summer Holidays

Well it's been all quiet from me lately because we have been away on our holidays.. we spent some lovely family time camping in Cornwall!  The weather was pretty nice.. though we did catch the tail end of hurricane Bertha, had about an hour and a half which was quite scary.  After 5 minutes of the 'wind' starting the tension band system (which is designed to protect the tent during high winds) BROKE!  The tent pegs kept pulling out of the ground.. Gary and Matthew had to keep racing round knocking them back in before the whole thing took off.  I managed to dash to the camp site shop and buy some real bad-ass heavy duty bad weather pegs .. I think they're the only thing that kept it on the ground in the end, 'cos it felt like we were fighting a losing battle until they went in.  Several tents on the field were broken, and one poor family having tied the tent to the roof rack on their car during the worst of it, forgot to untie and a day later drove the car off - taking the side of the tent with them.. such a shame.

It was break filled with out-of-the-ordinary moments..  the tail end of the hurricane being one of them lol.  Unfortunately I don't have photos of the following rather bizarre moments..  

Later on hurricane day and still having very strong gusts of wind, seeing a young man strapping his surfboard to the side of his motorbike to drive home was unexpected.. I do hope he got there safely.  

Seeing a tent with a satellite dish outside so the occupants could watch Sky TV was plain WEIRD.. it seemed like their were as many glampers as campers this time, the people next door even had a microwave!  (I just LOVE getting away from electricity while we are camping, the thought of taking electrical devices with me is enough to make me shudder).  

The little boy in the next tent spinning and spinning, like a whirling dervish for more than 5 minutes without pause.. then just stopping and walking on with perfect balance!  Amazing..  I've never seen anyone do THAT before!

A combination of Spring tides and the effect of the weather brought high tide up a long way!  It was so weird one evening when high tide flooded the beach car park (actually on the sand) and came right up to the grassy area where a brass band played on regardless of the pandemonium breaking out around them as cars and surf hire businesses scrambled to evacuate the flooding area.. I couldn't help thinking 'how very British' :) - as Matthew said there was something almost Titanic-like about the scene with the band playing on regardless.

Of course the strong tides and weather meant the surf was amazing! Matthew had a wonderful time surfing on his new board and Rachael and me had a whale of a time on our body boards :)  Gary couldn't take his kayak out on the beach next to us.. the surf was too much for it really, but we took it in turns on the board so he still had fun.  We got 2 or 3 surf sessions in most days.. the early morning and evening ones were wonderfully quiet.

I've got LOADS of photos :) but I've whittled them down for you..

Seething white water at low tide
Wedding Anniversary!
20 happy years!
Early morning Tintagel..
so peaceful
No matter how many times you see some things,
when the light catches it 'just so' you have to take another photo :)
Early birds outside Merlins cave 
17 years old!  I remember when wearing the 'right clothes' had nothing to do with how suitable they were for what you were doing lol
Shadows on the sand..
I entertained myself by piling stones..
Leaving a trail of fairy stacks behind me ..
like a trail of bread crumbs
Gary in beach comber mode..
looking for 'treasures'
like this lovely, big, rusty, old boat chain..
which was immensely heavy
Then the happy chappy found another big stick!
Which just had to come home with us
(I'm not quite sure what he plans to do with this one mind you!)
Amber posing next to Rachaels sand portrait of her :)
Tired after a long walk..
Jesse loves being in the van :)
Lots of beautiful sunsets (and moon rises but no pics of them!)
This was from MY perspective.. the boys were in the water
Matt was surfing
While Gary took lots of photos
Including lots showing big waves rushing at him :)
and crashing over him.
I like this one

Oh and we did some celebrity spotting too.. we bumped into Damian Lewis (from Homelands & Band of Brothers) with his wife and children a couple of times :)

I'm not sure whether I shall get round to doing a fibre of the month for August..  The sample is done but time is just slipping away from me.