Saturday 22 December 2012

Wet felted, wool painting.

Debbie:: Don't read this until after the 25th if you want your wall hanging to be a surprise!
Hello my lovelies. How are you doing? All ready for Christmas? Is the house decorated, the pantry full and the gifts wrapped?
Well I think I could say yes to most of those questions, still a couple of things left to wrap but the job I'm most pleased about finishing is my felt wall hanging, for the very, lovely Debbie.

A rather long one this one. Well longer than I've ever contemplated before. In fact Wonderful Man  had to help me dismantle my work table in the attic and bring it down to the kitchen where we reassembled it end to end with our dining table to give me a work space long enough.
And this is how it ended. Work table dismantled once more and reassembled back in the attic so that I could embroider and embellish in my usual surroundings. Wet felting is an untidy business, well it is the way I do it. I think the whole family is happier when I'm back in the attic, lol.

One of the most difficult parts of this commission was to try and work out how much the felt would shrink. Not enough and I would have to trim it to size, which in turn would mean losing the lovely natural wiggly edges.
Too much and the piece would be too small and I'd have to start over again! God forbid! It took me about seven hours to lay out the Merino wool for this one and then I wasn't sure about it so left it overnight and came back to it the next morning with fresh eyes.

Next what seems like an afternoon of soapy water and much vigorous rolling and roughing up.
Then I have a day or two's break while the felt is left to dry naturally.
Out comes the sewing machine next and my box or should I say boxes of threads. Tricky is a nice word to describe how difficult it was at times to manoeuvre this around under my domestic sewing machine. There are other words but tricky is the one we'll use today.
Hand embroidery and scrummy sparkly bits are next. You can't beat a little bit of twinkle here and there.
One of the good parts follows. Slip stitching the backing fabric and casing onto the reverse. I luuuuurve slip stitching.
Finally, balancing on a chair to fit all of its 62 inches into the viewfinder.
Gloriously happy!
That's how it makes me feel to look at it finished and ready to be carefully wrapped. It's at this point that I remember how much I enjoyed every single moment of making it.

Merry Christmas to you all
I hope you'll join me in 2013 to share in each others creativity.

Love Fi x 

Sunday 9 December 2012

Hello from the Hills.

 Hello from the hills.
 Looks lovely doesn't it? Hmm, this was before it snowed, lol.
 I'm not going to show you pictures of the snow, it's not pleasant. No, it's cold and icy and smelly in my opinion. Smelly pants that's what I think to the snow.
Sneaky dog and I know what to do when it snows.
Cosy up and reach for the knitting basket. A couple of fat roses waiting to adorn one of my chunky tea cosies. Talking of chunky tea cosies... 
Thank you all for your best wishes for my Christmas craft fair, it went really well. In fact I had to dash and take this piccy for you as I'd already sold 3 of my larger items and I wanted you to see it before anything else went.
The atmosphere was fab and the staff at the venue were very helpful and most importantly kept us supplied with tea all day. I met some lovely people and even came away with a commission or two. Best of all I got to spend the day chatting with my lovely friend Anne who had the stall next to me. Sorry for the lack of photos, too much going on.

Time to go. Lots to do. A new felt painting underway. The contents of the loft to empty and sort. The contents of the loft to repack before number 1 comes home from uni with the contents of his digs. As well as fitting in an overnight visit to my parents. It's going to be a busy week.
Till next time, whenever that is.
love Fi x

Wednesday 28 November 2012

A revamped suitcase and an egg.

Hello my lovelies. How are you today, I do hope you are all dry and cosy. My heart goes out to all those poor people who have been flooded up and down the country this week. That's one consolation about living on top of a steep hill, you may be gasping for breath by the time you've walked home but we're safe from flooding.
Anyway I digress. A big thank you goes out from me to you for the Boxing Hares love on my last post. You are all so important in my creative journey. I don't know quite where I'd be without your feedback and encouragement, so thank you for sharing with me.
I don't know if you've noticed while you've been reading but the photo above is of the top of the chest of drawers in my hallway. The chest holds the families hats and scarves etc, all the stuff you need to grab on your way out of the front door. On top of the chest is all the usual paraphernalia you might find on a hallway chest, telephone, my purse, a tape measure, junk mail, a lamp, sunglasses and of course because this is the MarmaladeRose household, a sewing machine, a vase of knitting needles and plenty of dust. Nothing surprising there then, but what caught my eye was the newly laid hens egg next to the measure tape. Why is there one brown egg sitting on my hallway table? Who knows! Just one of life's little mysteries I suppose. I didn't move it. No I just left it there for who ever might come back for it. I hope someone does come back for it!
 Something new to show you... my first attempt at knitting a lacy shawl. Because my laptop has died, it's taken a little while to rescue my picture files from it, so I'm only just getting around to show and tell with this one.
It's made from a pretty blue sock yarn that I bought from a local wool shop and the pattern is from I'm a little disappointed at its size, I thought it would be a little larger than it is. On me it 's even smaller than on the mannequin as I'm quite a lot fatter. But I did enjoy making it...I may have another go. A little hank of yarn followed me home from the Knit and Stitch show at Harrogate last week ;)
 Changing the subject again, I have been invited to take part in a Christmas craft fair on the 1st Dec. Panic! Panic! So I thought this old suitcase might come in useful for displaying some of my goodies. Obviously it needed a little TLC as its been stored in my parents loft for the last umpty-something years. I know this because it was full of mine and my childrens primary school art work. Parents do keep some junk, don't they.
 It had been lined previously with some old wall paper which I ripped away to uncover this rather unpromising stripy grey stuff. So out came the glue and an old out of date map of the Lake District that I picked up in Kendal for £1.
I've also added some old luggage labels to the outside and I must say it looks almost too good to hide under my craft stall stock!
Talking of the craft stall, I better get back to it. Still lots of stitching to cram in before the weekend. I'll just leave you with this photo that I took as wonderful man circumnavigated this HUGE puddle that covered one side of the road. Someone has sense of humour, the life buoy...nice touch. Made me laugh!
love Fi x
PS. Would the lovely Hilary who emailed me about commissioning her very own Gilbert the Gnome bag please email me again as I no longer have your email address since my laptop died. The special 'safe' file that I stored it in seems to have vanished!

Saturday 17 November 2012

Actually, white pompoms may also mean...

Maybe I'm onto something. Maybe I could write a book...101 uses for a pompom.
Maybe not.

This little chap is an upcycled woolly jumper.
Oo! There's another one!
 I did a bit doodling in my sketch book and came up with a pattern I liked before having a rummage through my felted jumper box (yes I have a box of shrunken felted jumpers, purposefully shrunk I hasten to add.)
And before I knew it, I had a little bundle of bunnies. I think they look a bit 1940's-ish.
Changing the subject completely.
I have a couple of random felt bags to show you that I made a couple of weeks ago. I was planning to give them their own blog post but my laptop has died on me, taking with it the photos I needed for said post.
(I'm using #2's laptop which operates on a totally different system to mine and it's driving me nuts!)
These two pics were still on my camera so I thought we'd give them a little nod and get them out of the way. Both are available through the Chapel Gallery who now are able to sell directly online to customers. They're still in the process of uploading items but they're getting there.
Aaaah now that's out of the way I feel much better.
We can now get ready for next time.
I have something I'm chuffed to bits with, to show you next time.
So till then
love Fi x

Wednesday 7 November 2012

White pompoms can only mean one thing!

White pompoms can only mean one thing!
OO! There is a sneaky peeker!
Hmmm... gnomes or Santas?
Must be Fat Santas, they've sniffed out the Christmas cake!

Edited to Add:: Hi Linda Metcalf. I will pop a couple of santas in my Etsy shop later today, (Fri)  and yes I can post to the USA ;) Sorry, there was no contact details on your profile so this was the only way I could contact you sweetie.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Who can resist a pumpkin?

Not me! 
I luuuurve carving the pumpkin. 
I have no desire to do lots.
Just one!
Or two.
Once a year.
Maybe I'll grow out of it...
When I'm a grown up ;)

Here are a selection of previous years pumpkins. 
 carved by me and the kids.

Till next time
Fi, the phantom pumpkin carver. x

Friday 26 October 2012

And now for something a little different...

 Let me introduce you to Gilbert the grumpy garden gnome. 
Why a garden gnome?
I have absolutely no idea!
I saw a garden gnome on the telly (not physically) a week or so ago and something in my sludgy-fudgy brain went PING! And then again the same day another item on the telly with garden gnomes. 
Gnomes on the the telly, twice in one day, it has to be a sign doesn't it!
So out came the felting bits and bobs and a lot of soapsuds later I had a piece of felted wool. Next was a whole morning spent with a very sharp felting needle and some wispy woolly fibres. Followed a few days later at the sewing machine with some free motion embroidery, a length of suitably spotty red fabric and....
Bobs your uncle, Gilbert's a gnome! 
A bit of stitchy stuff and fiddling about and...
A grumpy garden gnome felt handbag!
I rather like him but then I like things that are a bit quirky and out of the ordinary. 
I don't suppose there are many ladies out there with handbag like this. There maybe good reason for that. We'll have to wait and see, lol. Gilbert is now waiting impatiently in my Etsy shop for a lady with a taste for something out of the ordinary.
So, if you like to raise an eyebrow on your way to work, you know where to look ;)

till next time
love Fi x

Edited to add -

Thank you for all of the Gilbert love. All of your lovely comments brought a lump into my throat this afternoon. Just what I needed after a nasty visit to the dentist. Anyhow lucky old Gilbert has been parceled up and  is now on his way to the USA to live with Susan. 
Thank you Susan.
love Fi x

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Vintage Linen Bunnies.

Ssssh! Don't tell anyone but I shouldn't really be here now! 
I mean here blogging...
No I've finished putting these yummy bunnies together...
And I should reeaaally be putting together a felt handbag!
I've cut out the pieces, honest...
but I just couldn't resist popping by to show you these....
Two little cuties!
Heading to my Etsy shop shortly, I really have neglected my online shops this year but I'm going to make a concerted effort to keep at least one of them stocked.
I'm coming back! Tut!
There's a piece of felt tapping me on my shoulder.

Till next time
love Fi x

Monday 22 October 2012

Rosey Cosy

Fancy a cuppa?
Hello all. Before anything else I must say a huge thank you for all of the 'Boxing Hares Felt' love on my last post. I am quite thrilled and a little surprised with it myself, which might seem a strange thing to say coming from the artist herself. But anyone who wet felts knows it's a bit of an unknown quantity. We make allowances for shrinkage and movement during felting but even then you never quite know what to expect when you unroll that wet sheet of wool! Anyway the hares are now languishing on the spare bed in the attic waiting to be embroidered. 
There has been more felting of late but we'll save that for another time and switch over to knitting fun today. What do you think to my chunky garter stitch tea cosies? 
This has been one of those projects that sits simmering for years and years, you know the type, we've all got them. They're the 'One day I want to make a ....' project. There is an ulterior motive for making these cosies, I have been invited to take part in Christmas Craft Fair and  a mild panic is now starting to set in. 
I knew I wanted to knit a really, really chunky, big garter stitch tea cosy but could I find a pattern for one? No I couldn't (I know at this point you're all shouting at your laptops that there is one available at such and such a site.) anyway I couldn't find just what I wanted so there was nothing for it but to design my own pattern! Yes my lovelies, it may only be very basic and it may be taking it a bit too far to call it designing but this is the very first item I've ever knitted without a proper pattern! Whoohoo! (apart form a Dr Who scarf at the age of 12!)
I knew I wanted garter stitch and I wanted it BIG. I knew I wanted it to fit a 6 cup pot (the red one fits an 8 cup pot) and to fit snugly around the handle and spout. I knew I wanted to pop some flowers on the top like the lovely tea cosy on the front of this book, but something with a bit more uumph!
I luuurve the finished result...lets hope my craft fair customers do too.

Till next time
love Fi x