Saturday, 23 April 2011


Has been rife this past couple of weeks.

My biggest and still ongoing problem has been the computer!  I could happily throw it out of a window! 
I've restored it to factory settings twice in a three week period - and have to do it all over again.  The security updates windows send seem to be conflicting with something and corrupting it so badly that it becomes unusable.  Problem is even though I had turned automatic updates off... they still try to get onto my computer & leave it useless.  AAARGH!!!  Do not buy a Samsung computer folks - this is still under warrenty and they don't seem to think this is unacceptable the  best advice I can get from them is  'restore to factory settings'  which of course means the hassle of reinstalling my security software... which I cant do until I have put Live Mail back on & set up my email addresses so that I can receive the email from my security provider with a key to reinstal.  Oh I did get some other advice from them, one bright spark advised me to 'just ignore it' - what?!

This last time I lost my address book with all my email contacts on - so anybody that I'm in direct email contact with usually, could you get in touch so I have you address again please? 

Second biggest frustration was the crochet jacket.  Rachael was quite poorly for the first week and a bit of the school holidays so I did a lot of crochet while keeping her company - I finished it and it looked really pretty..

Unfortunately it looked absolutely dreadful when worn!  It was waaay too big.  The pattern was a freebie from Garnstudio; the wool was the right weight, hook was right, I did a tension swatch and everything was good to go.  Unfortunately the pattern was pretty badly written, it was supposed to be in British English but wasnt (stitch terms are different) and it gave conflicting instruction at times.  There was no size guide so I made a medium - its been YEARS since I'd of classed myself as small!  And it absolutely buried me... so, very disappointedly I have unpicked it.  My lovely hanks are now in small balls, and the tiny bits I am using to crochet flowers.  I was so pleased to of actually managed to stick to and complete a whole garment.. you know how impatient I am.  Never mind - I must find a better pattern and make something else with it now.

On a more positive note I finished my bunny!
He is 10" tall, so a nice size for cuddling

got lots of BFL locks felted in for texture
 I like his big chocolatey nose and ears :)  If I get chance I'm going to do a very different bunny in lots of bright colours to go with him... depends if I get time before I have to post him.

And the weather has been stunning this past couple of weeks!  We almost headed to the coast with our tent for this weekend.. the weather forecast wasnt looking so good though so we stayed home.  Now they have changed their minds and predict that it will be lovely - sods law!  oh well, theres plenty to keep us occupied here :)

Have a wonderful long Easter weekend everybody - whatever your plans

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I know I'm naughty but...

my lovely new yarn kept calling to me and I just HAD to start crocheting it :)

But what is it going to be....?

Crochets like a dream, and it is SOooo soft and snuggly
Just look at the pretty colours... yum.  Wish I'd brought the whole basket full now lol


Monday, 11 April 2011

Journey into the unknown...

ooo the suspense... what goodies are in there?
Saturday night I must of woken up 5 times, I was so excited to be visiting Wonderwool Wales the next day.  For anyone who doesnt know, Wonderwool is a HUGE 2 day event featuring all things WOOLY.  After 3 years of not going for one reason or another I was looking forward to it.  Didnt really know what to expect; would it be horrendously crowded?  I dont like crowds at all... but the lure of all the wooly goodness drew me on anyway.  Would Gary and the kids find it interesting.. or be bored stiff?  My lovely hubby suggested we all go as a family daytrip.. I did worry a little that they may regret that.

Well we set out bright and early with a nice picnic lunch packed in the boot.  The weather was amazing and driving through the beautiful countryside (often with fields of sheep and tiny lambs) was extremely pleasant.  Took a couple of hours... but it was such a nice drive it passed quickly.

I was very pleasantly suprised when we got there.  The halls were so spacious that it didnt feel crowded - there was plenty of room to walk around and breathe!  And there was so much to see!  I wanted to look around first THEN go round and buy what I wanted (incase I spent all my pocket money only to find something I wanted even more :)   It took me 4 hours just to get round everything and then I was running round like a mad woman trying to remember where all the stalls were that I wanted to go back to.  

Rachael enjoyed nosing around all of the pretty things.. she inevitably wanted something off each one - got fed up of saying "no". 
She even made a friend :)
Gary & Matthew even found a few 'blokes' to talk to about man-ish things.  We had a really nice day (well mine was GREAT, theirs was good :)  I got to meet & chat with lots of lovely people; some that I only know online, others that I dont see very often, and I bumped into Sue (a fellow Woolgatherer) and her parents. 

The journey home was unfortunately very fraught.  First we ended up stuck behind a circus on the move - traveling at half the speed limit for the road, which was mostly single lane & unsuitable for overtaking.  We were behind them for about 20 miles which added a good hour to the journey.  Couple of miles after finally passing the circus the car directly in front of us hit a motorcyclist - absolutely terrifying!  Thank God he seemed to not be badly injured - banged & bruised and a broken wrist.  It was one of those awful slow motion moments when you know what is about to happen - you can see it coming - but cant stop it..  

So yeah that shook us up a bit..  

Anyway, back to something pleasant, my wooly hawl :)

All tipped out
Lots of naturally dyed skeins of BlueFaced Leicester yarn from Alison at Pure Tinctoria
Pretty pencil rovings
Wooden and shell buttons
TOPS: Mauve Falkland wool & black alpaca
I have come back feeling all fired up and inspired.. As the children are home for their Easter hols I may get some spinning and crochet done (once I have sewn and finished off my rabbit & bag!) over the next couple of weeks.  Might indulge in some child labour and get the kids carding batts for me lol. 

We are hoping to get some visiting and days trips in too - although Rachael has come down with tonsilitis and a cold this morning so I think we shall have to take it easy for a few days first.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Lace, Woolgathering and exciting weekend plans

Yesterday was the 2nd Woolgatherers tea morning.. and a lovely morning it was too!  Brenda brought me a suprise pressie :) which was very kind and really amused me.  While shopping in Stroud she came across this and thought of me
Gift wrapping paper made from sheep poo
A bit gross.. but totally tickles my funny bones.  Bless her, she carried it carefully around the town for the rest of the shopping trip, and stored it carefully to avoid creases :)  I have to think of something 'interesting' to do with it now.  I'm thinking along the lines of using it as a backdrop for a piece.. maybe.  Any suggestions will be welcome :)

I'm not going to report back on the tiny frame challenge as Sue, who set the challenge & provided the frames, was unable to join us.  Next time we meet I shall take photos and post them, in fact there will be 2 challenges to report on then.  This months challenge is 'vintage buttons and beads'   - we can make whatever we like - so long as it features vintage button/s and/or beads...

Wednesday and Thursday I played around with lace.  In Fabulous Felted Scarves by Chad Alice Hagen & Jorie Johnson there is a bridal wrap made from lace and strips of merino fibre sort of woven and then felted.  I didnt want to make the wrap project in the book, but the idea really appealed.  SO, when I got my hands on a shoe box full of vintage lace (my aunty kept it from clearing her parent-in-laws house after they died) I decided to play.

Laying out.  I lightly veiled the edges of the lace on both sides. 
There are 3 perpendicular layers of fibre on each of the felt strips

I cut one of nans vintage chiffon scarves in half diagonally & added that as the focal point in the middle of the back.  Threw a sprinke of white firestar in between the merino and chiffon for a little glitz.

Felted & finished and modeled by Rachael - who is too small for it really bless her. 
Will get better photos in the week.
My bunny that will be going to Japan is still unfinished, as is the orange bag.. but as the kids have just broke up for the Easter holidays (which means no felting for a couple of weeks!) I can get on with them this week hopefully.

So whats the exciting weekend I have planned?  We are going to Wonderwool Wales tomorow!  This is the third year that I have wanted to go.. and I'm going YAY.  We are heading off for a family day out.. hope the others enjoy it as much as I am sure to!

I'm off to enjoy the spectacularly sunshine - its been gorgeous the last couple of days; summer clothing weather!

Whatever you are doing this weekend - enjoy xx

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Crafts with Purpose: Operation Bunny Drop

I received a newsletter from Living Felt a few days ago, (Living Felt are the organisers of Peacefelt).  They are currently organising something called Operation Bunny Drop follow this link for full details, here is an  extract: 

We will be crafting soft and simple bunnies for children in Japan who are recovering from the effects of the recent natural disastors, many displaced and all needing LOVE and HOPE.

This beautiful and inspired project was brought to us by Liz Minnick, a fiber friend currently in Japan.  Liz is in Japan work with youth through a professional circus group. Liz and friends will deliver the hand-crafted bunnies in late May of 2011

If you are  interested in taking part, you need to register on their Facebook page (theres a link on the Crafts with Purpose page Ive linked to above).  The deadline for sending bunnies is 13th May 2011.

Yesterday I felted a bunny... he is still drying out.  I adapted the moongazing hare resist, making it chubbier and with shorter wider ears. 

Drying out on the radiator

These are the resists used.
I used merino for him in cream & chocolate brown for his himalayan type markings, and BFL locks for their bubbly texture.  Well felted and pebbly he is soooo soft.. I'm hoping that he may bring a little comfort and love where it is so needed.

More to follow when he is finished.  If I have time I'm thinking of making a brightly coloured one too.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Featured maker

I'm a featured maker on Tracy Markey's blog today :)  If anyone fancies taking a look.  It was lovely to be asked, I did feel rather self conscious though talking about myself so much..

Tracy features a different maker each week on her blog, always interesting... I was pretty amazed and chuffed to bits at being asked - thank you Tracy :)

Friday, 1 April 2011

Inspiration musings.. and outcome

Sometimes I find that I have the beginnings of a design... that flutter elusively through my mind.  I find myself moving on and doing lots of other things with that one little flutterby still dancing in my subconscious.  Until something happens; I go somewhere or see something that strikes like lightening and I KNOW what I am going to do next. 

For quite sometime (probably about a year!) I have been thinking about cave paintings, petroglyphs & ancient stone carvings...  there is something so real, and familiar, and tangible about them.   How to bring them into my felt though....?  Which images...?  I wanted them to mean something to me, to be personally significant - as the cave-painting & petroglyph depictions were to their artists.

Firstly I was thinking of handprints.. Actually I have been thinking of doing a piece of family art with all of our handprints on for several years now (so I guess the flutterby was there longer than I realised :)  a touchable memory - more physical and 'real' than a photo.   This project is still tumbling back and forth in my mind - it will get out soon though I think :)

New and prized additions to my book shelf
I was absolutely delighted when I received my newest felt book Nomadic Felts - Artistic Traditions in World Cultures by Stephanie Bunn.  WOW what a book!  It really is a visual feast; the photography is excellent, the felts shown incredible.  The book looks at nomadic cultures and their feltmaking pasts and present, with really interesting photos and insights to nomadic feltmaking.  It has a section on pattern meaning and belief (which I havent fully read yet!)  I am about a third of the way through the book  at the moment and I'm sure I will be posting about it again when I have read through.  As soon as I unwrapped it, before starting to read I flicked through pretty much drooling over the photos.  When I got to the 'Meaning and Belief' section I was jumping with joy..

There is a photo of a petroglyph in Kyrgystan of sheep!  It is dated second millenium BC/early AD  - my heart leapt, this was it!  Being a felter -  sheep are fundamentally important to me (and as you know I simply adore the funny beasties :)  I like the simplicity of the image.. and thought it would translate well into felt.  And so..  I made some nice big tote bags, with a useful pocket felted inside

This is the 1st I made.  Icelandic wool, with merino for the sheep & a nice slubby woolen yarn squiggled on and felted in.
This is my bag and I want to keep it nice and long, as I can fit lots in there.. but I shall need to strengthen the handle area.  It is strong but it folds a little when the contents are (?too) weighty. 

2nd bag.. I put more sheep on this one and made it a little longer so I could cut the top section off, and use that to double up the handle area - its really sturdy now

3 sheep on the other side.
Hope they show up ok..I used highly saturated colours and they are a bit tricky (to say the least) to photograph.

I am working on an orange and gold bag now..  I felted it yesterday, its dry now and ready for me to cut and sew the handles when I get an hour or so.

The other book in the photograph is the Orchard Book of Shakespears Stories.. a childrens book that I spotted in Waterstones a couple of months ago.  The illustrations are beautiful!  Rachael has been studying Shakespear (A Midsummer Nights Dream) and I thought this would be a nice introduction to more of his work - its easier going for a 12 year old to read, and hopefully discover Shakespears magic.  I was absolutely stunned to find this book on Amazon 'nearly new' for 24p plus a low postage cost!  I had almost brought it at the RRP... so I snapped this one up.  When it arrived it was in pristine condition, you can even smell the new ink!  Dont you just love getting a bargain :) 

OK, time to go get some work done.  Have a wonderful weekend xx