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…



Although this blog was started to discuss feltmaking embroidery seems to have taken the upper hand of recent times – mostly as it’s easier to carry round and grab the odd half an hour here and there.

I did a feltmaking course with Heather Belcher at the City Lit in March, which didn’t really get a mention despite being tremendously useful.  Coming at feltmaking from a fine art and sculptural perspective really suits my style and gave me a number of new ideas and ways of working…

However apart from those four Saturdays I haven’t really done anything worth mentioning until the recent bank holiday weekend.  I go to Portugal next month for a week long feltmaking holiday with Nicola Brown, and I thought I really ought to get in some practice – so I felted a new hatband for my straw hat (I am hoping the weather will justify wearing it!!)  The design is based around a bowl I produced in Heather’s course.


The grey background references stone walls and lichen, and the flowers are made from some of the naturally dyed wool I brought back from Wild Rose in Scotland last year.  I carded this together with some bought Shetland and silk mix.  They are primroses although a bit big to be naturalistic – I really must get it into my head that Shetland doesn’t necessarily shrink as much as Merino!  But I am pleased with their delicacy. I decided as they were on a hat I didn’t need to felt them as hard as I might other items.  I even used some embroidery wool to add a properly primrose like yellow centre.  I debated whether to put some leaves in, but ultimately thought that the more two tone yellow and grey was rather lovely and I didn’t want to disrupt it with any green.





I have just bought an iPad – it’s a great tool so this is my first attempt at uploading a post from it.

Also started a nuno felt course at the City Lit. I was delighted to find when I arrived that the teacher was not the one advertised but actually Heather Belcher. We covered the basics yesterday. I know most of this, but my technique could do with work which is why I am attending the course. She uses only minimal amounts of cold water and not much soap – no towel either. Just a piece of calico….. If I can learn to do it this way will be useful for demonstrating. A lot less mess and no need for a flask of boiling water….


Here are the two pieces we made – a fully covered piece on scrim and the yellow and turquoise piece where I made a fabric “sandwich” with the spotted rounds.

I am planning to make an iPad cover over the next three weeks. Next week we look at prefelts and three d felt. I want to have a go at prefelts made from nuno as I’ve read about using them but never tried.

Finally a picture of the back of the felt samples as I often think its as interesting as the front.


It’s coming on Christmas

They’re cutting down trees.  They’re putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace….(Thank you Joni….)

The people who work where I do split into:

  • the ones who are already on leave as they had to use up this year’s holiday allowance,
  • those who are desperately trying to do all the work that needs doing before they finish for the year,
  • and those who are counting the hours until they finish on Friday and get two blissful weeks off (I think you can see which category I fit into!)

It’s been a bit of a year for me….!

Apart from a short visit to see my Sister I am planning to spend my time cooking, eating, sleeping, embroidering, watching Christmas TV and going for the occasional walk. 

I do have one project planned – to make myself a felted customised pouch / bag to carry round my embroidery equipment in.  At the moment it lives mostly in a London Graphic Centre carrier bag – but I have big plans for integral pin cushions, a detachable scissors case etc.  Watch this space….

Oh and Isobel taught me how to make needle lace just before my embroidery course broke up for Christmas so I will be working on the ‘lobes’ of fungus to be attached to my current felt based embroidery.  I could have made them in felt but as she said ‘you know how to do that already’…..

Christmas Fairs past and to come….

Setting up the stall

Chris setting up the stall

I was at the Morley College Christmas Fair on Sunday with the collective ‘London Loves Felt’ – the fair was really buzzing and seemed to go well.  I didn’t have a lot of work on the stall as I haven’t really done any felt making since April – life events have rather taken over.  But I made a bit of money with some of my old stock (the bits of it that hadn’t been banquetted on by the dreaded moth….) and some new cards with my sheep photos on them. 

I was channelling a sheep on the day as you can see….

Tess in sheep hat

I think I need to refine my hood pattern and do a bit of trimming at the back as the front kept slipping over my eyes (particularly when I tried to eat a hotdog at lunchtime!!)  My excuse is that I was working in Shetland wool and it didn’t shrink as much as the Merino I’m used to.  Yes I know you’re supposed to do a test of shrinkage first but it was a playfull hat anyway (see the post about the January 2012 hat)

London Loves Felt will be out at the Lower Marsh Market in Waterloo SE1 on Friday with some of my stock there as well…

And I was doing so well….

At managing to post regularly……..

At least my first embroidery on felt has been progressing more quickly and I.n trying various new techniques.  Isobel showed me how to raise part of the embroidery by sewing a patch onto the back of the embroidery – backstitching in a shape from my design and then slitting and stuffing from the back before stitching over the top in two colours.  I learnt to do coral stitch for the edges altho I do keep forgetting which way to wind my thread around the needle.

I made the suggestion to use silk and applique the green patch.  I am now happily french knotting all over it – I do love a french knot….DSCF6402