Category Archives: Needlefelt

Come to the Christmas Fair!

There’s a lot scurrying around going on in this part of the world this week, and it’s not just the mice!  We have our very first Christmas Fair this coming weekend, which is exciting and scary in equal measures.

Two Rivers Trail Christmas FairSo who is this ‘we’ I hear you ask…

Well, if you’ve been visiting Planet Penny for a while you will know that for the last few years I, along with my print maker pal, Kit, have taken part of Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.  It turned out to be a wonderful way of meeting up with kindred spirits living very close by, so this year we got together as the Two Rivers Trail to create an Art Trail for Open Studios in May of this year.

It all worked so well we decided a year was too long to wait to get together again and so the idea of a Christmas Fair and Exhibition was born.  It’s been a great excuse for meeting up over coffee and/or wine for planning meetings!

For various reasons this year the Planet Penny Etsy shop has been my only selling point so it’s going to be fun to step out of cyberspace and into reality and meet real people.  I hope that any Planet Penny readers who live in the area will come to say hello.  My fellow ‘Trailers’ are varied and very talented, so we’ve got a great mix of things to see, and to buy.  If you call over to the Two Rivers Trail website you can find out more about us all.

It’s hard to decide what to sell alongside the pieces I will be exhibiting, as needlefelting is such a time consuming craft and it’s hard to fit it in alongside the pattern writing, crochet, yarn processing, blog writing, knitting and everything else.  This is why it makes more sense to teach it so that others have the fun of making their own creations.  Nevertheless, I decided to make a collection of ‘One Off’ creations, totally exclusive, no two the same.  Collectors items for the Christmas tree!

I started with a basket of hearts, needlefelted with  fleece from my massive bag of colours, another rainbow collection…

needlefelt hearts for Christmas Fair

I was quite tempted just to leave them just as they are, and heap them up on my dresser but no, that is not the plan.

I sat in the corner of my studio with the hearts and gradually disappeared beneath a heap of ribbons and trimmings, buttons, beads and threads while I had a happy few hours making tree decorations…

tree decorations for Christmas Fair

And they do look really pretty on the Christmas tree…

needlefelt baubles for Christmas Fair

Now I’ve just got to persuade myself to part with them!

I’ll be back soon with more pretty things, but for now I’d better get back to the preparations.  I have a red tablecloth to hem!

If you are in the area, put the date in the diary and come and see us, we’d love to meet you, and there will be CAKE!

See you soon…x

 

Planet Penny Bakery

Planet Penny Bakery - needlefelt cupcakesJust a little post to tell you about the Planet Penny Bakery which is happening next weekend at Arts Desire in Norwich.  The Craft Lounge at  Arts Desire is hosting a workshop next Saturday morning between 10.30 and 1pm where I will teaching how to create these low calorie, high fibre cupcakes.  A plateful of these little fancies would look so cute on a dresser full of eclectic vintage china, and they make great pincushions!

There are still a few places on the course.  It would be lovely to have you along to learn a fascinating skill which once mastered will open the door on all sorts of projects.  The only limit is your imagination!  If you don’t live near enough but have friends in the area, please spread the word…

Strawberry cupcake Planet  -Penny Bakery

Don’t forget to come back and visit very soon because I have such a great giveaway coming up!

I’ve always enjoyed finding gadgets, books, patterns etc I can recommend via the blog.  These days I get approached to write and host reviews. This is very flattering, but I value my relationship with all of you far too much to want to turn my personal space on Planet Penny into advertising space for random ‘Stuff’.  (Believe me, some of the ‘Stuff’ I’ve been approached about is extremely random! )

So I’ve got something fab to tell you about, and then I’ll be giving you a chance to win one of your very own…Can’t wait?  Well, come back tomorrow to find out…

See you then…x

 P.S. This week I’m linking up with Handmade Monday so do call over and catch up with all the crafty goings on! 

 

Turf, Surf and Needlefelt Birds

A mixed bag post today, I’ve been lurking inside a lot consoling myself with needlefelt because of the unseasonably cold weather, but then rejoicing in sunshine and warmth when at last we get a brief indication that it’s actually summertime!  I’m only wearing TWO layers today, and no thermal fleece!

The wind seems to have blown constantly for months in this part of the UK and we live in the windiest corner of the village, near the remains of the old mill.  Wind always seems to make everything worse, doesn’t it?  Colder, and so noisy with it whistling around the chimney.  Yesterday’s walk was a bit scary, with small branches being blown off the trees.  I wasn’t sorry to see some rain for the garden though, and Higgins was relieved that the thunderstorm which hit Norwich skirted around us.  Despite all this Mother Nature is flourishing in the hedgerows…

dog rose

green lane

pink campion

white flowerThe grass is long enough now to ripple in the wind like water, and is such a lush green…

grassy meadow

Norfolk field miniature dachshund

But, in true English fashion today the weather is completely different.  The sunshine in the garden brought the bees to the chive flowers…

chive flower and beeI know you are supposed to snip the flowers off if you want nice chives for kitchen use, but how can I deprive the poor bees?

bee on chive flowers

chives with bee

Such a beautiful morning was too good to waste, so Higgins and I headed to the beach before breakfast.  What could be better than a deserted Norfolk beach in the sunshine?

Norfolk beach

The sand is gradually returning after being scoured by the winter gales.  Only a couple of weeks ago this stretch was down to red clay.

Norfolk beach and sunHiggins was very happy..

Norfolk beach and miniature dachshundAnd quite intrepid too in the shallows…

miniature dachshund at the beach

Miniature dachshund paddling…and the pools…

Miniature dachshund in pool

Back home I’m getting ready for the first Needlefelt Workshop next weekend at Art’s Desire Craft Lounge in Norwich.  The first one is all booked up and the second one is filling but fear not, further dates have been added to the calendar!  The   Birds on a Branch piece I created for Open Studios last year is in the shop window because we’ll be making birds, of all descriptions…

needlefelt birds on a branchThis is my latest flight of fancy….

Needlefelt birds

Needlefelt and feather birds

Feather and Needlefelt birds Happy, not Angry Birds!

And, in case you were wondering, there is a winner for last week’s  giveaway of a copy of Caroline Zoob’s gorgeous book, The Hand-Stitched Home.  Thank you, to everyone who entered  with wonderful stitching memories, I really enjoyed reading them.  It seems for every school day horror there was also a wonderful teacher or relative who passed on their own love of the subject.

It  was so hard to choose, I wanted everyone to win, but there’s only one copy of the book!

Please imagine the drum roll, or the pregnant pause beloved of TV Games shows so that I can announce…the winner is… Nikki Pierce who writes her own blog Tales from Swallow Barn.

Congratulations Nikki, I hope you enjoy your copy of the book and that we see some of your creations on your blog before too long (No pressure or anything!)

I’m off now to put the kettle on.  I hope you’ve got your feet up with a cuppa too!

Have a great week and I’ll be back soon…

The Magic of Serendipity

Serendipity,  a ‘happy accident’ ..it’s one of my favourite words.  The older I get, the more aware I am of the opportunities created by the serendipitous nature of the every day.  And this week’s happy accident all started with carrot cake!

I had an overdue hair appointment with my usual hairdresser, but in a different place because he is waiting to open his new salon.  The appointment was long, so I took my Kindle and by the time my hair was deemed ready for the basin, the main character in the book had visited several coffee shops and eaten quite a lot of carrot cake.  I found myself yearning for carrot cake.   Having mentioned my craving, Jon, my hairdresser had the answer.  The best carrot cake in Norwich he assured me, just up the road from where I was sitting.

Trips into Norwich these days are usually fraught with the need to get home to make my Mum’s lunch or walk Higgins, but today unusually my Mum was cared for, and Tim was on Higgins duty so I decided that lunch was going to be a slice of carrot cake and a cappuccino.  Very decadent!

It was very nice carrot cake (and if you are a fan and find yourself in the Norwich Lanes visit the House Cafe and tell me if I’m right!) and, suitably replete I wandered back down the road doing a spot of window shopping.   I ground to halt out side a shop full of the gorgeous fabric.  So I just had to go in.

The shop is Arts Desire, and the Serendipity Fairy had just waved her magic wand…

Arts Desire , St Benedicts St, Norwich

…and it’s one of those shops you just want to move into.  I would so love a wall like this…

Arts Desire Pip china…and all that pretty china.  Here’s some of the gorgeous fabric…

Arts Desire Interior..and there are kits…

Arts Desire felt kits…and ribbons…

Arts Desire ribbons…and more ribbons…

Arts Desire and more ribbons…it was all absolutely…

cushion embroidered with Wonderful - SerendipityI do rather think I need that cushion!

Arts desire interior the Norwich LanesAnd there was a dachshund!

Fabric dachshunds - serendipity

Behind all this gorgeousness I found a Craft Lounge offering workshops in Lampshade Making, Knitting, Crochet, wet Felt making, Sewing, Quilting and Silver jewellery making.  It’s Norwich’s answer to the Makery in Bath!

I had just established that there were no Needlefelting classes on offer when the owner returned from lunch and after ten minutes of nattering and comparing notes we had a cunning plan.

I regularly get emails asking if I teach Needlefelting  Classes, and mostly I just teach private groups.  Finding a good venue that people can get to easily has been the main drawback and Norwich has good routes from most places these days.  So the Craft Lounge at Arts Desire, just off the centre of the city will be the perfect place to hold Needlefelt Workshops.

There are no dates as yet but it will be after Open Studios is over from the middle of June onwards.  If you are interested please follow this link and leave your contact details (mentioning Planet Penny/needlefelt) in your message  and we will keep you up to date.

Don’t despair if you are tempted by all this loveliness and live too far away because there is also an online shop and a Facebook Page so there are lots more goodies to drool over!

I will be back on Sunday with the results of the draw for  the Ruth Cross book ‘The Knitted Home’.  There’s still time to enter if you haven’t already, just leave your knitting story in the comments on the post here.

I will also have details of yet another great prize which I have been given to offer to you, so don’t forget to call back to take part.

See you soon…x

 

All Sheep Shape…

daffodils in the sun for a Sheep shape post

Have you heard the sound of birds singing and  sheep dancing on Planet Penny this week?   It’s all because the sun is shining and I have finished my piece for the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios Taster Exhibition at the Forum in Norwich….yippee!   I’ve just looked back and found I published my Ta-daaa moment for the last piece almost exactly a year ago today, you can read it here.   And I said “This has existed in my head for so long it was rather a shock to realise that I hadn’t actually made it yet, so I’ve been working on it all week” And I can say exactly the same this year.  It’s amazing how a deadline focuses the mind!

But first, the sunshine.  It’s still not very warm, but it was a relief to wake up yesterday morning and realise the wind was not whistling in the chimney which it’s been doing for days.

frosty gardenI’ve had the doors open into the garden for the first time this year (and kept my fleece on) to let some fresh air into the house and Henry and Higgins have appreciated being able to wander in and out as they please.  Henry has a spot on a warm paving slab where in a few weeks he will be able to get spaced out on Cat Mint…

Tabby cat in the garden

…and Higgins parked himself under the bird feeder to make sure no pesky birds could get at the little dish of water I  put out for them.  He found it was particularly delicious, so much nicer than the inferior water in the dog bowl!

miniature dachshund

There’s a lot of bare earth in the garden, even the weeds are holding back, but there are patches of Spring to enjoy…

purple crocus

white crocuses

mixed crocuses

frilly daffodilAnd so to my big project for this week.  I really wanted to do something completely different this time, to step away of the bright colours, the crochet, the small things.  Also to challenge myself on the needlefelt front and make something much bigger than little birds and mice.    So I’ve used a very subdued palette…

sheep fleeceNatural Merino fleece with a background of charcoal grey.

So can you guess what I made? Well, of course it’s a sheep!

needlefelt sheep for NNOS 2013It’s actually quite hard to photograph and get the angle right…

needlefelt sheep for Taster Exhibition NNOS 2013

It’s called ‘How to Knit a Sheep’… (but please don’t ask me for a pattern!)

'How to Knit a Sheep' NNOS 2013

The knitted part starts off as unspun fleece and gradually reduces in thickness until it becomes  undyed 4 ply to knit the lacy part.

Needlefelt Sheep for NNOS 2013

knitting for 'How to Knit a Sheep' for NNOS 2013This has been a rare moment when the finished piece is almost the same as the picture in my head, hence the singing and dancing!  As you can imagine, I haven’t done a lot else this week but there are exciting Planet Penny things in the pipeline which I hope to share with you soon.

It’s Handmade Monday again this week so I’m linking up with Wendy for Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour  and I’ll be back very soon…x

 

 

Challenges, and the Easter Bunny

daffodils in snow: no weather for the Easter Bunny

I think we’ve all been a bit challenged in the UK this week, by the weather!  What’s it been like with you?  We haven’t had huge amounts of snow here in Norfolk, but we are very exposed to the biting wind heading our way across the North Sea: it seems to have been howling down the chimney for days.  It’s hard to believe it’s Easter next weekend,  the poor old Easter Bunny is going to have to wear his thermals to do his chocolate egg deliveries!

My main challenge over the week was a talk I had promised to give, months ago.  You know how you agree to these things and they seem so far away in the distance and then suddenly, it’s here and you are wondering why on earth you agreed to it!   I headed off to Beccles, which is just over the border into Suffolk to give a talk to the Spinners and Weavers Guild about Needlefelting.   I sort of had a feeling I might be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, as the saying goes.  Then I found out there might well be over 30 people there and…ooo-er…!

As it was, it was fine.  After I got over my initial dry mouthed panic as I was introduced and stood there with no notes, no script but lots of props it went very well.

needlefelt demo

They were a lovely audience and very keen to set to with needles and fleece to have a go themselves after I’d finished the talk.

needlefelt class

As they were all textile practitioners they were happy to be experimental rather than being given a project and although there wasn’t a huge amount of time – and needlefelt is very time consuming – they came up with some jolly pieces and all seemed to have fun.

beginners needlefelt

However, I also had another challenge, and that was definitely down to the Easter Bunny!  I’ve been feeling so bad because I have been promising to write up the pattern for the bunny I made last Easter and my goodness, haven’t I got myself in a pickle with it!  And all of a sudden, there’s only a week to go!  I am sorry, aren’t I rubbish?  I think I’ve just been over thinking what I was doing, and seemed to spend ages ripping out and redoing the same piece.  Then suddenly, it all fell into place and the pattern is finished.

I’m on the way to having a complete Bunny Brigade…

crochet bunny backs

colourful crochet bunnies

As you can see, they each have their own personality, right down to a challenger for Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer’s title! (Percy, the Pink Nosed Bunny?)

So I’m thinking of an Easter present for you.  From now until after Easter the pattern will be available FREE as a downloadable PDF right HERE! (This offer has expired, but the bunny will be available soon via the Etsy Shop)   There is a Planet Penny Bunny Brigade group board on Pinterest so if you would like to add your version of the bunny just let me know and I can invite you.  You obviously have to be on Pinterest yourself and I have to be following at least one of your boards (but that can easily be arranged!)  Although I’ve made the Bunnies using the Planet Penny Cotton, they can be made using any yarn oddments, just match your hook to the yarn.  You can find out more about that in this post.

This is a limited offer, but I’d like to give my followers and customers a head start.  Although there’s only a week till Easter, they only take an hour or two to make so I’m sure we could have a wonderful board full of bunnies on Pinterest very soon, let me know what you think.

Finally, for those of you who read last week’s post about delivering Clovis, the Mad French Cat to his home by the sea you might be interested in a follow up tale (tail?) from his new home.  Visit Thomas’s blog to find out how he’s settling in, and have a chortle.  Tom seems to think there’s not a lot of call for cat stories, so if you disagree do leave a comment with him.  I need more pictures like that!

I’m joining in again with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour so do pay a visit to see what’s going on…

Back soon…x

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