Tag Archives: Needle Felting

Missing Mojo – Found!

You might remember me bemoaning the loss of my Mojo in this post, the debilitating feeling when inspiration disappears out of the window.

Well, I’m happy to relate that it’s back and I’m beavering away being creative and even the wind and rain whipping past the window and howling down the chimney hasn’t dampened my spirits today!

I realise that I’ve become bogged down, especially with Social Media.  When I started writing this blog I had no idea about SEO, I didn’t have a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a featured board on Pinterest, an Instagram account, Flickr.  I wasn’t helping other people with their Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, websites….

Add that to the Etsy shop, packing yarn, writing patterns, answering queries as well as family commitments and actually having a life… the part of me which I discovered and which grew when I was at Art School only a few years ago was in danger of withering away altogether.

Being part of Open Studios over the past few years has kept me hanging on by my fingernails though, and I’ve loved making the exhibition pieces…

BirdsonaBranch

Wool Gathering 2012

'How to Knit a Sheep' NNOS 2013

How to Knit a Sheep 2013

That time of year is coming round again (so quickly!) and I’ve been rummaging around in my mind for the perfect inspiration.  For ages after making the sheep’s head, I toyed with the idea of a stag’s head complete with antlers.  The perfect place to hang crochet garlands and pompoms!  But then I realised that every time I opened a catalogue or magazine, or watched a design programme on television there seemed to be some sort of variation of a stag’s head, a rhino, a zebra or similar and I knew the moment had passed.

There are also restrictions for the exhibition too.  I work in three dimensions but making something which needs a plinth, and finding the plinth too is an added complication, so the hanging format I’ve used so far works best.

Inspiration struck a couple of weeks ago because of our local pantomime.  The Am-Dram group in the village is full of creative people and we’re lucky to have someone to devise something beyond the usual Sleeping Beauty/Aladdin/Puss in Boots offerings.  This year it was The Green Man.

Green Man Panto

Aha! the Green Man! And with some research I find this quote

His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist.

He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood.

The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one’s normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures,… one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of inspiration.”

Perfect!

I’ve sorted through my stash of fleece and yarns, filled a bag with natural colours and ordered some more from Wingham Wool Work.  I also bought a sample pack of dyes and that’s what I’ve been doing most of today, dying natural fleece and yarn, and over-dyeing some bright shades to bring them into the right colour spectrum.

Landscape Dyes Wingham Wool Works

I’ve had such FUN! I’ve looked back in the archives and it was January 2011 when I last dyed yarn and I loved the results then.  This is a very different palette, but I’m so enjoying throwing caution to the winds, and mixing up different dyes, and different strengths and dribbling them over the wool to get soft natural effects.

Landscape Dyes

My Green Man has been inspired by the cherry trees in the garden with their grey trunks.  His face is bark coloured using natural Cheviot fleece, rougher and hairier than my usual Merino, and lovely to needlefelt.  This is the story so far…

The Green Man - work in progressJust waiting for the greenery to grow!

The greenery is too damp to use tonight so I will put my crochet ‘Hat’ on as I want to finally finish the bunting pattern which I’ve been editing.  It’s looking very pretty…Crochet Beaded Bunting - Planet Penny Yarn

 I’m off to clean up the dye splatters in the utility room, but I’ll be back soon!

 

 

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! 

 

A Pain in the Neck!

If it’s been a bit quiet on Planet Penny the last few days it’s because its all been a bit of a pain in the neck…quite literally!  I don’t know how it’s possible to lock one’s neck up completely just turning on the pillow to look at the alarm clock  but that’s what I did, very effectively.   So my midweek post got delayed, and now I’m back in the chair with strict instructions from Lara, my amazing chiropractor, to set an alarm and step away from the computer every 20 minutes….

Which is quite tricky…

Feather and Needlefelt birds

I was mobile enough to take the second Needlefelt Workshop yesterday at Arts Desire and like the first one it was great fun.

Needlefelt Workshop, Arts DesireIt’s always fun to see the different interpretations of the same basic skill when we all get together, last week we had these little chaps (spot the bumble bee!)…

needlefelt bird workshop

…and yesterday these little feathered friends were born…

needlefelt birds29June

The Craft Lounge at Arts Desire is proving a great venue for these workshops and I’m looking forward to the 27th July and the Planet Penny Bakery when we will be needlefelting lots of low calorie high fibre treats!  If you are interested in joining us you can find out more right here

Meanwhile, I have been responding to many requests for a Rainbow Mouse knitting pattern for all those who don’t crochet and I’ve come up with this little fellow…

Knitted Rainbow Mouse

and introduced him to his crochet chums…

Knitted and Crochet Rainbow Mice

What do you think?  As soon as I feel happy with the design it will be available  alongside the crochet Mouse pattern via the Etsy shop

Knitted Rainbow Mouse

He seems to be looking very much at home..

And the sun is shining!  The creaky neck has put paid to much gardening, but my lovely son has been over and planted my Sarah Raven Sweet Peas. It’s a super scented collection of white, blue and deep pink …

Sarah Raven Sweet Peas…and I just can’t wait to pick my first bunch and fill the house with their scent.

I don’t think I’ve shown you my Planet Penny Cotton garden project!  It seems a bit mad, but so far has withstood the weather really well…

flowers in tins

Planet Penny Cotton Covered Tins

A possible tutorial?  Let me know what you think…

And now, because the sun is still shining and it’s heading towards being the hottest day of the year so far, I shall take my basket of yarn and the embryo mouse pattern into the garden and enjoy the rest of my Sunday, knitting under the cherry trees.

I hope you enjoy your Sunday too!

See you soon…x

 

 

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…

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