Tag Archives: needlefelt

It really is the Blog Hop!

As promised, and alas somewhat belatedly, I’m carrying on the Blog Hop from Claire of Mrs Brown Makes.  Being asked particular questions really concentrates the mind, none of my usual waffling!

So here goes…

What am I working on?

This is a hard one because I’m a butterfly brain by nature, and I’ve always got a bit of a conflict going on between all the things I want to do.  At the moment I know I really need to work on some new ideas for the Planet Penny cotton yarn to add interest to my Etsy shop, but I’m also planning a fresh project for my next needlefelt workshop.  I’m also in charge of social media and the website for our local community shop…, and the window displays. Oh, and I’m also designing leaflets and flyers for Arts Desire, which is where I hold needlefelt workshops.  And there’s a book review…   Hmm, sometimes I feel I need to clone myself!

So the latest pattern for the cottons is for a hat and bag based on the granny square…

Granny square hat and bag in Planet Penny Cotton Colours

And the experiments in flat needlefelt and embroidery will culminate in a workshop on making a sketchbook cover…

needlefelt felt flowers for workshop

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Gosh, that’s a hard one.  We all like to imagine we are unique, don’t we and then when you do compare yourself to someone else, it’s generally unfavourable!  I suppose with the cotton and the patterns I accidently struck a chord somewhere.  People love rainbows, and managing to source the yarn and colours that people love was serendipitous.  The Rainbow mice too.

Rainbow mice knitted in Planet Penny Cotton Colours

I’m not very good at being serious, (it got me into a lot of trouble when I was at school) and the things I create generally end up making people smile.  When I was at Art School I was told I would ‘grow out’ of wanting to make happy stuff, I’m so glad I didn’t!

With needlefelting I do compare myself with others.  There are some amazing artists out there who make wonderfully realistic things with needlefelt and if I think about it too much I feel rather inadequate. However, I don’t actually want to make things like that myself!  I do love the process, I like turning soft fluff into firm sculpture.  When people talk to me about what I do during Open Studios the main emotions seem to be surprise… and laughter.  Nothing wrong with that!

This is the Green Man I created for this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios and you can see how he came into being on the Two Rivers Trail Blog...

Needlefelt sculpture - Green Man - English Folklore
Why do I write/create what I do?

Well, I create because I’m alive, it’s just part of me.  I’ve done it since I was old enough to hold a crayon, snip with scissors.  And as for writing, I started writing the blog when I was at a low ebb and writing about what I was doing meant I had to do something to write about.  (It was very good therapy, I recommend it!)  Now it’s second nature and it really bothers me when life gets in the way and time passes and I haven’t written anything.  And I love being part of the Blogosphere with all the interaction with the rest of the World Wide Web.

How does your writing/creating process work?

Because I’ve been writing the blog for so long I have a sort of virtual filing cabinet in the back of my head where things to write about are noted and kept, and I usually have my camera or phone with me so I can capture images which inspire me to write. I don’t usually struggle to find material to use for a blog post, it’s more the other way around, there so much stuff stored in there I can’t decide what to write about first!

As for creating, it’s really hard to say.  Sometimes when I’m needlefelting things sort of arrive when I’m not expecting them, I suppose my subconscious is working out what’s going on  because it doesn’t trust the conscious me to get it right!

And now to send you hopping off in another direction…

First up is Gina, a very talented lady who writes the ‘Fan My Flame’ blog.  You might remember the beautiful little Alice in Wonderland I bought from Gina a couple of years ago…

Alice-in-Wonderland

Gina describes herself as ‘a textile artist, machine embroiderer, teacher, passionate baker and blogger’, which is very modest considering all she does.  You’ll find out when you visit ‘Fan My Flame’, I recommend it!

Secondly is Sue, aka Mrs Micawber…

“My name is Sue Perez – alias Mrs. Micawber – and I live and crochet in Wisconsin. When not crocheting, I read, blog, cycle, take photos when cycling (for the blog), cook, and occasionally clean the house. In winter I walk (though not as often as I ought), and grumble about the weather. I’ve been known to knit, sew, bead, and quilt, but crochet is far and away my favourite craft. These agreeable activities are financed by a job outside the home, but why talk about work when there are so many more pleasant things to discuss? :)

My blog, Mr. Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness, was started to while away the time when my work hours were severely cut. Through blogging, I’ve made friends all around the world, and now I can’t imagine life without it.”

Sue writes the most beautiful crochet patterns, again, well worth a visit!

I hope you enjoy hopping about in Blogland.  It’s worth working backwards too if you are looking for interesting new crafty blogs to follow…

And I’ll be back soon…x 

Flowers and Needlefelt

What a soggy weekend this has been!  We seem to be alternating between having so much rain that the water butt overflows and the road floods, and then having to run around watering the vegetable garden because it’s so hot and sunny.

My garden is now in it’s July slump, all the prettiness of the Spring flowers are just a distant memory and I’m confronted with all the things which should have been thinned out or consigned to the compost heap back at the end of the Winter.  Does anyone like Golden Rod?  I find it sad and funereal.

The roadsides however have been a delight.  This is a typical sight as you travel round the lanes in Norfolk…

PennygatePoppies020714 copy

I’ll just have to sow more poppies in my garden!

But talking of flowers, I’ve been working on a new needlefelt project having had a request for a different kind of workshop, making covered notebooks.

As you know, I like to use needlefelt as a sculptural medium as I love working in 3D, so flat needlefelt is a new departure for me.  However I have really enjoyed creating a woolly garden of flowers to make up for the ones I am lacking outside!

I started off by just using the fibres like paint…

Needlefelt Flowers…but found that adding in simple embroidery stitches gave it more detail and interest. And it was really fun to do!Needlefelt with embroidery

I’ve been using lovely 100% wool felt squares from Blooming Felt to practice on, I’ve got a gorgeous selection of colours. These are the next two in the collection…

Needlefelt flowers with embroideryEmbroidered needlefelt flowersBut the challenge now is finding sheets large enough to cover a notebook.  In an ideal world of course I would wet felt each piece individually but alas, M.E. has rather put paid to something as energetic as that.

But while that particular project is coming together, the workshops I have had for Beginners Needlefelting have gone really well, both the group session at Arts Desire, and a one-to-one session in my studio.  If you live in the area and would like to know more, follow this link.

The next Needlefelt Workshop at Arts Desire is next weekend, and there’s a place or two left, it would be lovely to see you.

And in case you are wondering whether my crochet hooks are rusting in the corner, no, they’re not!  I’ve just completed a commission, and I’ll be back soon to show you just what else I have been making, so watch this space…

See you soon…x

Needlefelting in Norwich

Well, Open Studios may be over for another year, but the needlefelting goes on… Last Saturday I packed my big spotty bag with a rainbow of fluffy fleece and went off to the Craft Lounge at the new Arts Desire premises.  It’s all looking very lovely there now, and I especially appreciated the posh new coffee machine, and Kay’s newly acquired skills as a barista. I function so much better after a shot of caffeine!

We had a lovely group of people on the Needlefelt workshop who were very creative and soon got into the swing of needlefelting, with only the odd squeak as someone missed the work and pricked a finger (with no swearing, I was impressed)

Needlefelt workshop at Arts Desire, NorwicgAt the end we had an eclectic mix of creations, several birds, a cuddly mouse, a French bulldog, a scary monster and a rainbow hedgehog…

Art's Desire, Needlefelt workshop

beginners_needleflet, Arts Desire, NorwichI’ve now had a request for a workshop for making needlefelt notebook covers so if you are interested, do let me know.

Back home, I’m trying to get to grips with the garden which seems to have gone mad while my back was turned.  I’ve made lots of moments to just stand and stare at the Albertine Rose though…

Albertine RoseFor 48 weeks of the year it’s a complete thug.  It’s rampaged over the fence into next door and is swarming up their house too, fortunately they really like it.  It sends out long, long branches covered in large thorns which grab at unsuspecting callers and it takes our son, Will, who is also our gardener most of an afternoon to trim it, tame it and train up the wires he’s put on the house.  But at this time of the year it completely redeems itself, smothering the front of the house with fondant pink.  I love lying in bed and viewing the world through rose petals!

It’s all too brief though, and already the North wind of the past couple of days has made the doorstep look as if we’ve hosted a wedding reception…

rose petalsSuch a fleeting moment…

Going back to the needlefelting again, one or two sharp-eyed people spotted the little old man in the tree when they came to visit for Open Studios…

Needlefelt man in the tree NNOSI’m going to leave him there and see what happens.  Will he rot? Will he be eaten by slugs or moths?  Will he be dismantled by birds for nesting material?  Or will he still be there for next year’s Open Studios…?

We shall see!

See you soon…x

 

Needlefelt Workshops and a Present for Higgins

Feather and Needlefelt birds

You’ll remember I’m sure, that last year I went to Art’s Desire in Norwich to teach some Needlefelt Workshops. I fell in love with the shop then, and the whole idea of the Craft Lounge being a venue for people to come to learn to knit, crochet, felt and more.

The exciting news is that it’s re-locating in a lovely old cobblers shop just out of Norwich City Centre and will be opening in a few weeks.  I love a renovation project and when I called in a few weeks ago it was just at the point when you see what a great space it will be for the shop, it’s tempting goodies and the crafting area.

Kay, the owner, came to tea last week for a catch up and planning session and being a dog lover arrived with a special present for Higgins.  (Tongue firmly in cheek, I may say!)

This is it, in the ‘bosses’ chair…2014-04-03 10.37.36And this is what happened…

Mini Dachsund fights cushion It didn’t work…

daschund fights cushion and winsHowever, we had more success sorting out a workshop date, thank goodness!

And it is on…

June 14th 2014, from 10.30 – 1pm and price is £25.00 which will include materials,

and the venue is 82, Park Lane, Norwich, NR2 3EL

Arts Desire NorwichPlease contact Kay via the Arts Desire website or me via the Planet Penny contact page if you are interested, it would be lovely to see you.

And talking of needlefelt, I am finishing off the Green Man, just in time. He goes off to the Forum next week for the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios Taster Exhibition.  I can’t believe it’s come round so quickly!  I’ll post a picture when I’ve added the finishing touches.

Be back soon…x

Filling the Box of Delights

It’s just a little bit scary how the time gallops away, isn’t it?  I’ve got a camera full of photos and so much to say, and yet every day this week I’ve failed to get the necessary time at the keyboard to write a post.

Never mind, I shall tackle one thing at a time and this is very overdue news about the Box of Delights that I have been putting together for the 500 posts giveaway which I wrote about here.  I have felt overwhelmed by the lovely comments which have been left, I do thank you so much.  And I have been particularly touched by people who say that they haven’t been following for long but have read their way all the way back to the beginning.  Whenever I have a blogging lack of confidence I shall go back and read those posts to motivate myself to keep going!

Because I have readers from all over the world I wanted to make the Box of Delights of a size which would make it possible to post it to anywhere with a reliable postal service so I have customised a box especially.  It’s been so long since I exercised these particular crafting muscles that I was a little unsure of myself, but I have painted and lined and glued and created a little repository for all manner of small things.

The inside looks like this.

lined boxI’ve lined it with may favourite of the Planet Penny Cotton fabrics.

And in it I’ve put a butterfly…

Crochet butterfly for Box of Delights…crocheted with the PP cotton yarn.  A mini needlefelt sheep…

needlefelt sheep -Box of Delights…because sheep are a bit special on Planet Penny!  There’s a reminder of the Dolly Peg Dolls with this length of vintage lace…

Dolly Peg and vintage lace…A fat quarter of the cotton fabric…

fat quarter Planet Penny Cotton Fabric… a string of the beads I love to use…

beads…and some vintage Mother of Pearl buttons…Mother of Pearl buttonsI’ve had a fascination over the last couple of weeks for covering match boxes (more of that in another post) so here’s one with some covered thumb tacks for your pin board…

thumb tacks…and this one which I had a lovely time painting.  If you are wondering what’s inside, I’m not saying!  It’s a secret…

Secret Garden Matchbox - Flow…and finally there’s a crochet heart, as a reminder of the Hearts and Flowers Mobile

crochet heart…and if you would like some flowers there’s a length of Planet Penny Cotton in every one of the rainbow shades so you can crochet your own!

Box of Delights Planet Penny CottonSo everything fits in perfectly…Box of Delights filled..and it just requires a lid…

Box of Delights with lidAll it needs is a home. Would you like it?  There is still time to enter the Giveaway by leaving a comment on this post, it’s running till next weekend.

I’m off now to do some cooking.  I have my chum Kit coming round for supper and I’ve been delving through my cook books to find something delicious and fuss free, Nigella has come up trumps with a roasting tin filled with chicken, chorizo and other yummy things.   I’ll let you know if I manage to channel my inner ‘domestic goddess’!

See you soon…x

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!