A Long Weekend of Courses

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I have spent the last three days doing courses – on Friday ‘Cobweb Felt’ with Lizzie Houghton, on Saturday ‘Introduction to the Sewing Machine’ at Morley College and yesterday ‘Felt Berets’ once again with Lizzie (who is the person who first taught me to make felt..)  Today is a day for recovery after all that output…I’ve discovered some interesting things:

Sewing Machines need cleaning and oiling regularly (who knew!!) and that they aren’t scary after all!!

50 / 50 mix wool and silk makes beautifully soft felt – now if I can just find some ready dyed as I can’t dye at home and am not ready to make everything in white

Cashmere and Tussore Silk mix makes very cobwebby felt – I’m off to buy some at the Handweavers Gallery after I’ve written this.

You can use a basic beret pattern to make all sorts of shapes of hat – not just berets..

But I think that if I want to make floppy berets I’m going to have to try using Nunofelt

If you lay out wool tops in a single fine layer you can still make a sheet of felt – it will just have holes in it…

Making Unnecessary Beauties

I read this last week in AL Kennedy’s occasional series ‘On Writing’ in the Guardian Online and as Helene Hanff would say ‘I hollered Comrade!’

‘The pure act of writing – the truth that it is still there for you and you for it – is a wonder. And it need have nothing to do with the details of your life. Within it, you can be away from everything and saying out new dreams, just because you can, because human beings do sing for other human beings and make unnecessary beauties.’

I would enlarge this to include any creative pursuit, whether it be writing, feltmaking, acting, photography….Having a creative project ticking over in my head has rescued me from many a bleak January.   Here’s to the creation of unncessary beauties!

And it reminds me that, given how much I enjoy Alison Kennedy’s journalistic prose and TV punditry, I really must read some of her fiction…

AL Kennedy I salute you and as you would say….Onwards.

2012 Hat Project – A January Hat

The Scotsman suggested that I made a project in 2012 with a hat per month.  The January hat was already underway when he suggested this – a sheep themed hat based on my photo  ‘The sheep that looks like Andrew Marr’. It also came from seeing so many people on the London Underground wearing (mostly knitted) hats with animal ears.  I found myself thinking “I could felt ears easily into a hat…

So it is a hood with very big ears, a sheep-nose like front, dreadlock like fringing and is made in natural coloured wool .  I think the wool I used was Shetland in two colours  (but it could have been Jacob as I very cleverly forgot to label the bags when I bought it!)  with a little pink merino for contrast and because of the inside ear colour.

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On basic completion of the hat it was much too big (see photo 6) even for the Scotsman.  Not sure whether this was because I made the template too big, because Shetland wool shrinks less than the merino I usually use or literally just because I hadn’t shrunk it enough.  A bit of all three probably… I ended up cutting it down a little and also turning back the nose piece that I had originally intended to sit over the forehead.  The upside of playing around and doing this was that the pink inside was exposed to frame the face which I really like!

And so on to the next hat – As it is a February hat I am thinking ‘Valentines Day’…also I’m doing a Cobweb Felt course at the end of January so hoping to incorporate something cobbwebby…. Watch this space…

Its a Brand New Year…..

Maybe I should make a resolution to write here more often, but I’m not going to as I don’t usually do NY resolutions….January always seems the worst possible time to embark on difficult things…cold, dark and very little money after Christmas.  Seems more like the time to be nice to yourself!

So what have I been doing…..?  Making my first pork pie…

A Big Pork Pie

And mayonnaise…..

Making Mayo

Having a party…..

Party Table

And I’ve just embarked on a new hat – or hood rather as I sold my only one at the Morley Fair….to a man too !

The Scotsman has suggested that I try to make a hat a month (at least), themed to the month / time of year… Although my intended first hat of the year is a sheep hood with ears… after seeing so many people walking round with Knitted hats with ears…the ears are based on my photo of ‘the sheep that looks like Andrew Marr’ so I may have made them too big!!  Watch this space…

I also aim to do more embroidery this year as I really enjoyed embroidering over the rats on the Turn of the Screw curtain.  Here finally are pictures of them…