Preparing for the Alternative Clothes Show

IMG_0245I’m taking part in the Alternative Clothes Show in Hornsey, London at the weekend- My first show for a while so I’m hard at work with felt and embroidery.  In the spirit of the show I’ve been working on a range of necklaces using upcycled beads from the local charity shops and my own embroidered felt.  I’ve also put the polystyrene hat blocks I carved last June in a course with Jane Smith to use making a couple of felt toques.

It’s now the final push to the line finishing the final pieces, and gathering supplies for  dressing the stall (and my self as I agreed to model some handmade felt in their fashion show!)

Raw Fleece

 Two lovely Wensleydales

Two lovely Wensleydales

This time last week I was at Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria looking at sheep and all things woolly.

I was also spending far too much money on things like naturally dyed embroidery wool from The Mulberry Dyer, knitting patterns (which given my lack of knitting ability is perverse to say the least!) and raw fleece at their fleece sale.  I like the fact that I know that my fleece came from Greenlands Farm, Tewitfield, Carnforth Lancs and is Saxon Merino x  Saxon Merino x Ouessant ((black).

After I bought it another felt maker told me that raw Merino is really difficult to prepare as it is so fine and full of lanolin.  It was such a beautiful colour though!  So this afternoon I took the sheep between the horns so to speak and having looked up instructions online (as I’ve done it before but only at Wild Rose where Rosie knows what she is doing) had a go with a bucket of hot water, lots of Fairy Liquid and my trusty spinner.  It had been well ‘skirted’ but it was full of dirt so I carried the buckets of dirty water down two flights and tipped them away in the street drain just in case, although I had put the fleece in a net bag to protect it and my drains!

It is laid out and drying now – and it looks like I have managed not to felt it.  I just have a lot of hand carding to do over the next few days.  I really must invest in a drum carder sometime soon!

A Tiny Tri-corn and mixing beer with sewing…

My Tri-corn is finally done, complete with embroidered felt feather (forgive the picture.  I took it in a hurry first thing this morning.)DSCF8296

I finished sewing on the crown and added the hatband and feather at the October meeting of KnitSewManyThings. They are a knitting and sewing group that meet monthly in a Stoke Newington pub, and was founded by members of the Tower Theatre (which is how I found them.)

I have been a member of the Tower for a number of years although my involvement these days is mostly as an audience member, and when the Scotsman directs a show, a provider of:

  1. moral support,
  2. reading in and a listening ear at auditions
  3. sumptuous ‘get in’ lunches for cast and crew

In July there was an article in the Tower e newsletter and I went to the August Meet only to discover that they meet on a Wednesday – the same evening as the Millinery Class I had just signed up for… However I made it to the October meet as they had it late and so it coincided with my half term.

I miss the ‘sitting around a table working and chatting’ element of my embroidery class. (We don’t know each other well enough yet in Millinery to be idle chatters – plus we are constantly learning stuff.) I’m not convinced that a pub is the best of venues for craft – the lighting leaves a lot to be desired! It’s not too bad if you are knitting or crocheting, but threading a needle is a bit of a challenge!!

Very good beer though which is a nice extra…

Studio

My studio – aka the second bedroom – got a bit of a tidy this weekend as we are having builders in to quote for a new roof. ( It currently has a horrible leak which doesn’t encourage me to go in there and work! )  As part of the process it will also be getting a skylight which should do wonders for the level of light.  In the meantime here is a look at the ordered chaos!20140724-062256-22976082.jpg

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I love the quote on the bag from the Van Gogh museum  ” I hope to do it better in time. I myself am very far from satisfied with this but, well, getting better must come through doing it and through trying.”

I am a little in love with Vincent Van Gogh – especially since I played his landlady/lover in the play Vincent in Brixton a few years ago. (There is no actual evidence that Ursula Loyer was his lover except in Nicholas Wright’s imagination, but it’s a wonderful play about the nature of creativity.)

Vincent in Brixton

Vincent in Brixton