Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop

Aaaaaaaargh!

I'm feeling a bit bogged-under!

The weekend before last, I foolishly suggested to the family that we needed to swap bedrooms around to make the best possible use of the rooms we have. (I must learn to keep my mouth shut.)
You see wonderful man works from home, ideally I need somewhere to sew, we need a bedroom, we have 2 teenagers who need a bedroom each and we also need a room with a double bed for guests.(All our relatives live at least 120 miles away) Now I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to maths, but I make that an idealistic 6 rooms.

We don't have 6 bedrooms.

Well I won't bore you with all the gorey details and ins and outs but you can see from the photo above it's not been simple! This was my attic studio/guest bedroom, it is now my teenage daughters bedroom/my sewing room and guest bedroom when needed!

We desperately need some more bedroom furniture as my clothes are now residing on my bedroom floor due to a reassignment of my chest of drawers! I've now reached a plateau with my sorting, tidying and condensing. I really can't find anywhere else to stuff...stuff! Aaaaaaargh!

So when Karen of Milkchurn Cottage asked if I fancied a ride down the Dale to the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop, I jumped at the chance.


Aaaaaaaaah... I feel better already. Look at all that beautiful soft wool. The colours are the most scrumptious shades.
And the smell... hmmm, a lovely... well... woolly smell.

That's a picture a Wensleydale sheep on the wall. They have very long lustrous ringlets of wool. Rather pretty as sheep go, don't you think?

Ann and Ruth don't just sell the wool from their sheep, there are also lots of other goodies, all wool related.

Pretty buttons in finger-fiddling sized baskets. You can't help but dip in and feel their smooth flat surfaces.

The most wonderfully elegant knitting needles and crochet hooks. Very tactile.

And...my favourite. Curly wool tops in a rainbow of softness.
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Gosh I'm feeling much better now.

I have a something new to show you next time.
But before I go I want to say thank you for all of your encouraging words and sentiments. Thank you for being there. It's great to have you along for the ride!
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Love Fi x

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Bolton Castle, Herb Garden in Embroidered Felt.


Hello my friends, I thought it was time I showed you my garden.
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LOL. Only kidding !
This beautiful garden is about 20 minutes up the road from me at Bolton Castle in Wensleydale. This picture is actually from a lovely book I have up in the attic. I'd love to tell you what it's called but as I've said, it's up two flights of stairs in the attic.
This photo and of course my love of Bolton Castle was my inspiration for this piece of felt.

It was wet felted from Merino wool and has sat patiently waiting to be lovingly embellished for about four years. As anyone who wet felts knows, there is a limit to how much control you have over the end product. There is a lot of rolling and pounding between designing the piece and the finished felt as the fibres all rub together and move around. You can see here in my felt tutorial.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing as you often get a nice but unexpected surprise when you unroll the wet wool for the last time.
This piece of felt turned out very well, with most of my design staying where it was intended. I must have had my fingers crossed when I made it, lol.
So armed with my piece of finished felt and as many bobbins of embroidery thread as I could find, it was time to start machine embroidering.

This can take quite a few hours, there is much re-threading of the sewing machine and lots of refilling of the bobbin. There is also quite a lot of tea drinking as the empty mug testifies.

This is the back of the embroidery, a mass of ziggy-zaggy, squiggles. I use special bobbin thread on the back as it is more economical, you get twice as much on the reel, and believe me... you use a lot of thread!
When I've machined the felt to within an inch of it's life, it's time to move...

around to the opposite side of the table and start to hand embroider. There is quite a lot of skill involved in making this much mess you know! Not every one can be this untidy! (luckily you can't see the discarded pieces of fabric and bags of thread on the floor, teehee)

I'm just starting to add details with hand embroidery stitches and fabrics.









Ta-daa!


Carefully framed and ready to be sent to The Fatsheep in Reeth. Sorry about the glare on the glass.


This year as well as my 20 Minutes I'm going to try to make enough art work so that I can maybe organise an exhibition of my own for next year, like proper artist do... OO! That sounds very scary and grown up. I can't bring myself to call what I do art, I always refer to myself as a crafter. The words 'textile artist' make me cringe and feel extremely uncomfortable. But I suppose thats just what I want to be... a textile artist.
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I need to get on and make more and more to develop my abilities and basically get my artistic side (as opposed to my craft side) flowing again. I think also it might help if I started drawing and sketching again.
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So I need your help. A dig here and a prod there, I need a bit of pushing and I think you lot out there are just the ones to do it.
Pleeeeeeeease.
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till next time
Love Fi x

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Spring

Hello!
Well if this isn't a sign of Spring then I don't know what is!
Just in case you're wondering... it's a lambs tail. Yes a real one! Apparently some farmers tie them tightly so that they die and drop off because sheeps tails can get rather messy and then get infested with maggots.
I didn't really plan to mention maggots in my Spring/Easter post but I thought it better to explain why it's done.
And here they are looking none the worse for being short of a tail.

As you can imagine we're not short of lambs around here.

So Spring must definitely be here now, even our last little patches of snow up on the Fell tops have finally melted this week. At last!

I'm a little late showing you my exciting parcels but I can assure you... they're worth the wait.


This is my Japanese crochet book and it's absolutely delicious. If you want to see some of the projects inside and I'm sure you do just click here.

This is the other parcel. It's a giveaway prize that I won, from Rachel at Contented. Hmmm... pink tissue paper and pretty ribbon...my favourite.

Look at this beautiful Spring bag, isn't it lovely?
Rachel knows what she's doing, it's just the right size.


And if that wasn't enough there were lots of little parcels inside the bag! I was very good and saved them until child #2 came home from the youth club so that we could share the opening excitement together.

After a lot of tissue tearing and gasping and grinning we had all of our little parcels open and the contents spread on the table. Within seconds child #2 had the Easter decorations dangling from the kitchen mirror.
I can't believe I have my very own hand knitted facecloth covered in hearts. I'd see these being made on Rachels blog and fell in love with them straight away. I thought that one day I would get around to knitting one of my own but now luckily I don't have to!
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At the top of the picture is my very own personal, handmade birdie brooch ready to be pinned onto my favourite bag; but the item I fell head over heels in love with was the tiny white china bunny. I love him. Yes I know he has a pink ribbon and a little bell but I'm sure he's a boy bunny. Now this is very odd for me as I don't do 'ornaments' or 'dust collectors' as I call them.
But... I... do... love this bunny.
Oops! You caught me!
Well it wouldn't be Easter without chocolate would it!
Thank you Rachel.
Till next time
Love Fi x


Monday, 5 April 2010

Crochet Hanger

Hello. Here's a little 'how to' for the crochet hangers I've designed after being inspired by the ones in Lucy's Japanese craft book.

Firstly you need a wooden coat hanger. You then need to crochet a rectangle as long as the hanger and wide enough to cover the front and back joining at the top. Mine was 12 chain wide and 75 rows long in double crochet (UK) using double knitting yarn and size 3.50mm hook.

Then crochet down the centre, 6 chain and then a double crochet to join into the base fabric.

I folded it in half longways and held it like this.


When you have completed the first row, chain 4 and turn, attach with a double crochet through the first chain space.
Then crochet 3 chain then slip stitch through a flower petal, chain 3 and then double crochet through the next chain space.

I alternated a flower loop with a plain loop.

When the trim is finished fold the cover in half length ways and start to join the two sides together from one end using slip stitches on the short ends and changing to double crochet across the long top edge.

When you get half way stop and slot the hanger into the cover and then carry on joining.

Nice neat edge.

The leaf was made by making 8 chain and then working along one side and then back down the other. Each leaf I made was slightly different so just do what you feel using tall treble stitches at the fat end and small double crochet down to slip stitches at the pointy end. (I did say it wouldn't be an exact pattern!)

For the flowers make a loop around your finger and draw the yarn through with your hook ready for your first chain.

For the flowers on the trim chain 4 and then slip stitch back into the loop to create a petal. Do this 4 or 5 times. To finish pull the little end of yarn and this will draw the centre of the flower up tightly.

I made the three flowers on the front decoration a little larger by making the petal chains a little longer.

Sorry it's not an exact pattern, but I'm sure you'll be able to follow it. Any questions, just leave a comment or email me and I'll do my best to try and make it clearer.
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I have to say, I liked the look of Lucy's Japanese crochet book so much that I had a little look on the interweb and chose one for myself. My first ever eBay purchase... and it's luuuverly!
I just hope I can follow the instruction diagrams!
Maybe we'll take a little peek next time.
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Till then
Fi x