Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Time out with my family..

I've had a couple of lovely weeks with Gary & Rachael at home and Matt was off last week too, we managed to get a way for a few days of fun and sun at the seaside :)  

A few of my favourite photos..

I honestly thought he was going to end up with a chicken on his head!
That would of been sooo funny :)
I'll probably get told off for posting Gary's 'topless' photo
 but I like it, it's a nice happy family moment :)
Caught in mid-bound heading for her
'true love' Gary (she is a shameless Daddy's girl!) 
We scattered Jesse's ashes on our favourite walk while we were there..  our first time back without her, I missed my matie.. little sis took up Jesse's old position staying with me much more than she used to which was nice - I'm nearly always left behind, can't walk so fast as the long legged ones :)

Now we're home and the sun is STILL shining.. I love it!  Everyone is back to work now though, apart from Rachael who is enjoying her post school/pre apprenticeship break.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

New Hat :)

I'd been picturing this hat in my mind a lot over the last couple of weeks.. it's basically a top hat, but with a turned down brim that's longer at the back than the front, and with 3 pretty flowers sewn on.  

I felted it in merino.. which is softer than the fibres I usually use for hats, but have used fibre 4 layers and worked it HARD to get it nice and sturdy.

I sandwiched deep purple in between the layers of red and gold
Adding fibre to the 'flange' on top..
And pieces of thick red silk fabric like a hat band..
Blocked and drying..
I made a sheet of nuno felt with the thick red silk and same
fibres then stitched some simple flowers
Will post pics of it on a head soon. 

I'm not sure what to call this style of hat.. any suggestions?  I think I'm going to make one in blue and green next :)

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Pixie Vest - Final Post

 Photos of the pixie vest :)

This will be listed in my Etsy shop at the end of June 
I love the little details on this one :) ... the textures and colour contrasts..

Silk circles from dyed cocoons (from OliverTwists .. lovely)
Vintage silk chiffon sari fabric.. and gorgeous enamelled copper buttons (WildCraft)
Gorgeous dyed mawata silk (also from OliverTwists)
Nuno spiral and dyed locks on the back
(locks from Sara's Texture Crafts)

Buttons for my Pixie Vest..

I found the PERFECT buttons for my pixie vest!  'Specially made by Karen at Wildcraft  ... just look at these beauties!  I'll definitely be going back for more :)

Torch enamelled copper buttons in red and blue, the backs are a really pretty green
too (not that they'll be visible.. it's nice that they're pretty though)

and sewn on to the vest..
they're fixed on a diagonal line following the edge
I think this one needs to be seen on really..  must get some pics taken and posted soon :)

Monday, 8 June 2015

May's makes...

The biggest project I worked on through May was a pixie hooded vest!  I made a really sweet blue one a while ago, but had an idea for getting 'proper' shoulders in there by working the vest and hood separately up to prefelt stage, then stitching the hood in place and felting..  

Easy enough in theory :)

The brim is going to be folded back.. like a cuff,
so decoration and locks go down first so they're on the outside once it's
finished and folded back
2 fibre layers on the hood so it's softer, finer felt than the body..
Loads of silk, locks and yarn embellishments :)
Laid the body out in the same way..
except I used 3 fibre layers for a sturdy felt
I really love the teal curly Teeswater locks!  All brought back from Wonderwool 2014..
they were hand dyed by Sara's Texture Crafts  she does lovely variegated colours!
A nice nuno spiral.. vintage silk chiffon sari fabric (one of my favourites)
More gorgeous silks.. mawata squares and dyed cocoons from Oliver Twists
(also brought back from Wonderwool 2014)  I love love LOVE their silks!
stitching the hood to the neck hole
This is where it got awkward.. rolling!  The torso flattened in one direction
while the hood flattened the opposite way.. Once I got so far I was glad to start throwing!
It was a rather fiddly once the hood and body were joined.. but I must admit to being very pleased with the result.  And I have commissioned some really special buttons to go on it.. can't wait to receive them.. (really hope they suit it!)

It was still a little damp here..
notice Sally in her cling-film wrap? :)

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Under the Beech Tree - JUNE

I have been a very bad blogger.. nothing for a whole month!  It's been an odd time lately.. I am looking after my mom 2 days a week now, so the past couple of months I've been trying to acclimatise to the new situation.. that's the delicate way of saying I have been running round like a headless chicken trying to get as much done as possible!  BUT this week I feel like I'm getting a grip on things... hopefully..  

Beech Tree in June..  
Sunshine on new leaves.. lovely
There's so much growing going on at the moment.
Walking across the fields this morning I really wished I'd taken my camera.. The first field is full of lush, young corn about knee high; looking out across it was like watching a large body of water, the wind was making waves and the sun sparkling on the tips of the corn leaves just like it shimmers on water.. quite mesmerising.  The next field has been ploughed recently and it's just a bare moonscape at the moment, but there were pretty white May blossom petals blown down in the strong winds we had yesterday and the night before.. scattered across the dirt track like spent confetti after a wedding.

Gemstone: Pearl
Flower: Rose

In Anglo-Saxon times this month was called Sera Monath = Dry Month.

I found this sweet poem on the internet.. sums June up pretty well I think :)

All in June
by William Henry Davies

A week ago I had a fire
To warm my feet, my hands and face;
Cold winds, that never make a friend,
Crept in and out of every place.

Today the fields are rich in grass,
And buttercups in thousands grow;
I'll show the world where I have been - 
With gold-dust seen on either shoe.

Till to my garden back I come,
Where bumble-bees for hours and hours
Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,
To wriggle out of hollow flowers.

In June..

Sunday 21st June 2015 - Summer Solstice  
Both the summer and winter solstices have been celebrated around the world since ancient times right up to present day. This year an estimated 20,000 people will flock to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise over these ancient stones. I've seen lovely photos online of a sea of hands (in silhouette) raised to greet the sun, but much prefer staying in the peace and quiet of my own environment, our woods and hills (just thinking of being in such a crowd is enough to give me the heebeegeebies!)  

A Multitude of Music Festivals..
According to the UK Music Festival Calender online there are more than 60 music festivals during June!  I love the tip for festival gear on there.. a tent and wellies - so true :)  

I do have a couple of projects from this month to share with you... just got to find time to get 'em on here now! :)

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Under the Beech Tree - May

The merry month of May already!  And the weather here has been absolutely beautiful - perfect Spring weather.  Today we are halfway through a long Bank Holiday weekend.. I hope you all have a lovely time :)

Sunshine and birdsong on May Day morning :)  blissful!
Life is returning..
beautiful bright green leaves have started to break out over the last few days

On my morning walk on 1st May the sun was shining beautifully and the birds in fine voice.. I noticed that there was suddenly a profusion of white flowers everywhere.  I took a few pics.. these are my favourites, but there are lots more on the trees and in among the brambles, even early nettle flowers.  The first swallows are back too!  It's good to see them dipping and weaving as they hunt.

Beyond the beech tree the wild garlic is flowering and smells amazing!
There are clouds of cow parsley everywhere waving in the tiniest breeze
And drifts of these little beauties.. I don't know what they are called though?
update: just spotted them on another blog.. they are Stitchwort - love that name :)
Gemstone: Emerald
Flower:      Lilly of the Valley

In Anglo-Saxon times this month was called Tri-Milchi in recognition of the fact that the lush new grass meant the cows could be milked three times a day.

by Christina Rossetti

I cannot tell you how it was,

But this I know: it came to pass
Upon a bright and sunny day
When May was young; ah, pleasant May!
As yet the poppies were not born
Between the blades of tender corn;
The last egg had not hatched as yet,
Nor any bird foregone its mate.

May Day and the Festival of Beltain - 30th Apr & 1st May
Beltain is an ancient fire festival celebrating fertility, life returning to the land and the beginning of summer. It was the time when herds were returned to summer pastures (often driven between the Beltain fires to be blessed with health and fertility for the following year).  

Maypole Dancing
I found this gorgeous photo on a Google image search..
it was on tumblr but looks like it belongs to oldpixels.com

I joined in a Maypole Dance once when I worked in museums- we were in full medieval costume and got in a frightful tangle :)  It was fun though!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Medieval Inspired Sunburst Jacket

What a week..  a million and one things to keep me from my work.  Finally managed to finish this jacket though :)  AND get photos!

The sleeves button on..
I've sewn 3 small plastic buttons inside each sleeve opening
These sleeves (my experimental prototype) are commercial acrylic/wool blend aran yarn
.. may use lovely woollen yarn next time..
I so love using curly locks :) !
This button is a lovely chunky one made from a Monkey Puzzle Tree branch -
collected by a friend from a local tree that had been trimmed
and sleeveless..
I shall be posting this in my Etsy shop over the weekend :)  I definitely fancy making more jackets in this style, and maybe experimenting with different fibres too.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Working on a new jacket design

I've really enjoyed working on the vests and jackets recently.. and still have a few more ideas fizzing away in my brain just waiting to get out :)  The one I'm working on at the moment has been bubbling away for a loooong time!

As you may know I spent many years working for a local museum.. which involved getting dressed up in historical costume most days - that job was great fun :). One of the details of medieval clothing that has always appealed to me is sleeves! The detached sleeves that they attached to bodices as and when they needed them, either with points (laces) or pins.  There's something so quirky and elegant.. not to mention USEFUL about them..

These images are taken from Fastenings Across the Ages:

Pinned sleeve.
Detail from Raising of the Cross - Starck Triptych - 1480
Sleeve attached with points
Marie of Burgundy poss. painted by Nicklas Reiser - 1458-1482
I've been wanting to make a vest/jacket with detachable (and maybe even interchangeable) sleeves for ages.  Last week I got stuck in and started making one..

Putting curly locks down along the front edge so when the collar
flaps open you will see them
I started with two fine layers of merino in dark blues
Thirds layer is patches of Estonian batts (Gotland/merino blend)
Building up a bright Sunburst on the back with circles cut from a
layer of Estonian batt and curly locks
After loads of rolling came plenty of throwing -
great for de-stressing :)
I love the way the coloured fibres creep through the dark (and vice versa)
and LOVE curly locks :)
Blocked on a cling-film wrapped Sally to dry :)
Next up.. sleeves and button :)