Hello, once again !
First of all , thank you to all who attended the Quirky Workshops "Summer Solstice" owl workshop on the 21st June , and those who came to make some fine hares a couple of days later at the same venue . Again , we had a super time , and if you haven't already done so , have a look at some of the splendid results on the photo page from both the above days .The next workshop is the Herdwick Doorstop , on the 28th of July at Quirky Workshops again .
I had planned a short break in the workshop schedule so I could get caught up with a few things including trying to get something into the galleries , and also to visit our family and particularly to spend some time with our Grandson who's approaching his 1st birthday .
We've just returned from an enjoyable week with our Daughter & family. The weather was fine and we had a couple of nice days out with them , including a visit to the local air field where the sounds and sights of the light aircraft held young Jesse's attention for the afternoon (and Richard's). Richard & I had also planned , while we were down there , to walk part of the "Cuckoo Way " , which follows the tow path of the Chesterfield canal from the point where it joins the River Trent North of Gainsborough back to our Daughter's , a distance of about 30 miles I think . We took the train to Gainsborough and booked a couple of B&Bs as overnight stops for the return walk , which took us through some picturesque countryside and interesting towns like Retford, which was quite pleasant and which we'd never visited before , also Worksop where we stayed on the outskirts , and never really got a look in the town centre . We only had 5 miles to do on the last day , but due to Richard's Achilles tendons becoming stiff we thought it wise to get Heather to pick us up to avoid aggravating the situation . Despite the fact we walk a lot locally including the fells , Annie ( at Quirky Workshops ) had actually warned us that walking long distances on the flat when you are not used to it puts constant pressure on the same parts of the feet and legs as opposed to ascending and descending hills . With hindsight , trainers or his soft boots may have been better than the leather hiking boots with hard soles , as my feet were fine , but we really enjoyed the walk, I did feel a little unprepared, next time I won't be!
Lastly, we were contacted a week or two ago by Kathy Cartmell who runs the on line publication Qerky Art Magazine .(nothing to do with Quirky Workshops) . Kathy asked if she could write a piece in the July edition which is all about woolly crafts, and is out now, about Annis's Hand Felted Creations, how we started and what we do etc . This , of course was really appreciated . If you are interested in crafts of all kinds you can visit. www.qerkyartmag.co.uk/qerkyartmag/ and perhaps check out the magazine .
See you Soon !
As we approach the middle of June , and the outside temperature feels more like October We've had a busy time felting . As well as a couple of outstanding commission orders I've had to complete , we've had the "Bunny" workshop at Fobbles hosted by Beverly . There were some splendid specimens turned out by the class , which was fantastic , as the rabbits were a new workshop introduced for this year, which I'd spent some time preparing the best methods to use to construct them on the day .
Next we were off to Annie's Quirky Workshops for another hare class , and we ended the month of May with Sue & Gaynor at Artison on 31st . We also started the June campaign there too on the following day June 1st , when we made some more hares. Thank you very much to everyone who attended all the classes , and to our hosts at their respective venues for making it all such an enjoyable few days. Have a look at the Workshop photos from the above classes .
We took the opportunity to make the most of our trip to Artison and stayed on a couple of nights self catering at a fine old building in Masham which has been divided into apartments . We enjoyed fine weather & some lovely walks round the picturesque town , with the obligatory visit to the Theakston and Black Sheep brewery tap houses for a quick half pint .
We also had a walk round the beautiful Hackfall woodland which Richard had discovered while I was at the hare workshop . This is a splendid woodland full of native deciduous trees such as beech & oak . Part of an estate dating back to the 1700s there are some fascinating water features and interesting buildings round every turn it seems . and full of wild woodland birds . We never managed to spot any Wuzels though !
We are half way through the month of May already . The leaves are on the trees and the swifts have arrived reminding us that Summer is just over the horizon .
May got off to a fantastic start with another trip across to Artison on the 5th , which was the Bank Holiday Weekend when it was all happening in the area . The Tour of Yorkshire cycle race passed through nearby Bedale & then on Sunday through Masham which was the day of our hare workshop .
We all had a thoroughly enjoyable day , and again it was so good to meet some new people and catch up with some familiar faces from previous visits , and I have to say once again , there were some excellent hares turned out , as I'm sure you'll agree if you look at the photos taken on the day , well done to everyone , and thank you!
Yesterday , my Mother & I attended a fascinating presentation given by a friend of mine , Susan Denham - Smith , at the Beacon Centre , which is beside the harbour in Whitehaven . I first met her several years ago when she was managing a local gallery , and it was there where my idea for the Herdwick doorstop was first on display, which so many of you reading this will have now made for yourself, or purchased , not to mention her giving me the confidence to do my first ever needle felting workshops , for which I'm always grateful !
Susan has the Wild Wool Workshop , which is situated on the banks of the picturesque Ennerdale lake , overlooked by the surrounding fells , hidden in one of the more tranquil corners of the Lake District . If you would like to see traditional wool spinning and weaving demonstrated , using wool from the local Herdwick sheep , buy her products , or even have a go yourself , then this is the place . There are even camping facilities , or you can stay in their "Wild Wool Barn " accommodation .
Susan is very knowledgable about the Herdwick sheep breed and their history, as well as working with their wool , this meant that during the presentation I picked up some really useful tips on how to wash and prepare raw fleece which I use myself . She also told an intriguing story about the connection between her farm house and well known Lake District authoress Beatrix Potter , of Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggywinkle fame .
Susan also likes a challenge , you could say . She intends to climb all 214 of the Wainwright Fells ! With a spinning wheel , with which she intends to spin Herdwick wool on top of them all ! The spun wool will be made into rugs which will be sold in aid of the Calvert Trust who organise outdoor activities for the disabled, so check out http://www.wildwoolworkshop.co.uk/ . for alll the information about Susan's activities and her business.
The next workshop of my own is on the 18th of May when we will be needle felting mountain hares on the summit of Helvellyn ! ... Only joking !
It is in fact making "Bunnies" at Fobbles in Holmrook with Beverley , on that day, which is much nearer to sea level . Looking forward to seeing everyone there .
Then on the 27th , we'll be back at Annie's Quirky Workshops making Hares . Then back over to Artison for two days of hares and Herdwick Doorstops , on the 31st so May is a busy month for workshops . Great !
There are a couple of extra dates added for August due to demand , get in touch if you are interested in booking a place .
There are now a limited number of the heavy metal needle holders available to buy, I had some made , as so many people have been enquiring about them , and I must say I'm really pleased with them .
See you soon !
I received a couple of Swaledale fleeces from a local farm a few weeks ago and They've been waiting in the garage for the weather to improve , so I've made use of the dry spell to get them washed and dried ready for use .
Hello again .
This is just a quick update as I return from another thoroughly enjoyable workshop over at
Artison in North Yorkshire . Thank you to Gaynor & Sue at Artison , and to everyone who came along to the workshop and made it such a great day ! A special thank you to all on this occasion due to the fact that some of the class lost the first hour or so due to being caught up in the aftermath of a traffic incident which brought the A 1 to a halt heading South . Hopefully no one was hurt , and it's a sobering thought when inconvenienced by situations like these , that someone else is obviously having a much worse day than you are .
When the ladies did arrive though, they pulled out all the stops ( or in our case, needles ) to make up for lost time which helped us to overcome the situation and produce a nice flock of Herdwicks at the end of a lovely day . I am looking forward to the trip back again shortly , for the Hare workshop on the 5th May . There are, as usual a few images from the day here .
After we'd loaded the car and said farewell to Gaynor , we headed back to Ripon where we stayed overnight , before heading further on down the Great North Road to stay for a pleasant couple of days with our Grandson , and of course his Mam & Dad !
Spring has arrived !
Our resident blackbirds who have made our garden their home have fledged their their first young of the season . For the past three years or so we have been putting out meal worms and the female bird has taken to flying down and "asking" for them when she sees you appear in the window Her & her mate raised three broods last year and judging by this years early start , they have ambitions for this year too . Richard also had his first sighting this year , of the osprey on Bassenthwaite lake yesterday too .
We are now well under way with the busy 2019 workshop schedule , having just completed the third one yesterday . They've all been at Quirky Workshops so far , beginning with the hare class on March 1st . Next was the Herdwick Doorstops on March 27th , and the one yesterday April 7th was something new for this year , The Bunnies , which went very well . As usual each everyone attending made each class a really enjoyable experience and contributed to the relaxed , and fun atmosphere , and once again it was fantastic to be re-acquainted with some familiar faces from previous occasions and to welcome some new ones . Thank you all ! have a look on the workshop photo page if you'd like to see some photos of those days & the great results .
This Weekend, I'm looking forward to heading back to ArtisOn at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, with the Herdwick doorstops . I'll be posting some pictures as usual , so keep an eye open . If you're going along , I'll see you there !
Best wishes .
We have just returned from our trip to Grassington , in the beautiful upper reaches of the River Wharfe , where we spent a very interesting and thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the company of the ladies from the Grassington Embroiderers' Guild . I was contacted by them last year & asked if I would present a demonstration of my needle felting for them, so I'd like to thank them so much for giving me this opportunity to experience something a little different from what I am used to, which is running my workshops . I had some time to think about what it was that I was going to say and demonstrate , bearing in mind that I could be speaking to some very accomplished crafters with a lifetime of experience , and this turned out to be the case . Some of the ladies , I was informed had experience in various types of felting also .
We arrived at the Wharfedale Rugby Club , which is where the Embroiderers' Guild are based. This was in a beautiful location , and from the room on the upper floor where we were , there were splendid views of the surrounding fields and hills of the Dales .
We arrived around 12.30pm to set up, and had approximately two hours of time to fill , so I had decided to go through the various stages of making one of my hares, with the help of ones which I'd previously prepared to various stages of completion in the Blue Peter ," here's one I made earlier " way . The drum carder was taken & Richard demonstrated how he set up the carder, and makes up a batt of wool for the doorstops . We had also taken various pieces of work to display, and a projector which was very useful, & kindly lent to us by My Father in Law , Eric, this could be connected to the laptop so Richard could be kept busy showing some photos to help with our presentation . We never actually got any photos of the event ourselves but the ladies have some on their site if you follow the link in the paragraph below .
The time passed very quickly , as it does when you are enjoying yourself , and we learned a lot from the wealth of experience which the ladies present were more than happy to share with us. Some of the work they do themselves is outstanding and we only saw a glimpse of what they actually do . We were shown a photo of a piece of work which was particularly outstanding , and I believe won them a first prize . It depicted a Swaledale sheep and dry stone wall scene . The detail, right down to the lichens and moss on the stonework was fantastic , and it would have been nice to have seen the actual work it's self .
So thank you very much once again to Grassington Embroiderers' Guild for their warm welcome , and a very enjoyable experience ! Hope to catch up with you again in the future .
Afterwards we had decided to stay overnight down the road at Skipton . I recently learned that Skipton is actually ,and very aptly named "sheep town" in olde English. "Sceap tun" , sceap meaning sheep , and tun , meaning town/village .
The theme continued as we found a lovely old pub in the town centre called " The Woolly Sheep Inn" located , where else , but on "Sheep Street " ! They also had a wonderful selection of Yorkshire beers at the BAAA !
I f you are ever in the Skipton area and need accommodation I would thoroughly recommend The Pinfold guest house . This is room only , but there are numerous cafes etc which do breakfasts in the immediate area as well as restaurants and pubs . The room was really clean and comfortable with lots of nice little added extras all at a reasonable price .
A belated Happy 2019 to all !
I Hope everyone had a good Christmas & New Year .
We enjoyed the company of Our Daughter and Son in Law and our grandson who came to stay with us for his first Christmas . It's hard to believe we are one month into 2019 already and almost too late to write a January news blog .
The end of last year was really busy, with the last few workshops , orders , and trying to keep at least something in the galleries , particularly the hares and sheep doorstops. Some of which, were to be surprise gifts for Christmas , which was very nice to learn , including a couple of Richard's cushions . I had to close my order book before Christmas for hares and Doorstops until March, just to enable me to get on top of things and to prepare for the first few workshops of 2019 .
We will have some new kits for this year , and I've also been working on a new design of stabbing cushion which I've been trying out for myself and which I'm really excited about . I have already made a few , and will be making them available to purchase soon , if you would like one .
I am always very grateful when I receive any correspondence , particularly from anyone who has purchased one of our creations or received one as a gift . This is very rewarding and much appreciated . I'd really like to share with you the latest one sent by young Jason who'd been given one of my needle felted soldiers as a gift . He took the time to do a splendid drawing of his soldier and it really made my day when it arrived with the post .
Thank You Jason !
During the next few days we will be going into the Yorkshire dales, where I have been asked to do a demonstration for a crafter's guild . This will be a new & different experience to running the workshops . and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to introduce some more craft enthusiasts to what it is we do ourselves, and visit them in their picturesque corner of the Dales . Hopefully the weather will stay reasonable for our trip and the roads will be ice and snow free .
We have been quite fortunate in general with the weather since Christmas time , haven't we ? We managed a couple of days to make the most of it on our recent visit to our Daughters , on the way down, we stopped off as usual for a coffee at Thorpe farm near Greta Bridge on the A66 where we took a few photos of the young Herdwick rams they had in the animal enclosures there . we had a lovely walk with our Grandson along the picturesque Chesterfield Canal one beautiful frosty morning too .
Looking forward to the rest of the year , and hopefully catching up with some of you at the workshops , whether you are returning or it's your first time .
Best wishes !
I thought that I'd wait until the last workshop of the year was completed before doing another post Yesterday was the last one , when we made some more splendid hares at Quirky Workshops . A big thank you to another group of lovely people , it was so nice to spend the day with you all !
As I mentioned in the last update , November was to be a busy month for workshops and after the two Quirky dates we took the show on the road , with two more dates , one at Masham and another one a couple of days later, about 30 miles to the NE of there in Stokesley where my hares and I were booked for a surprise birthday party , which turned out to be a lot of fun !
We based ourselves at Masham, in a very atmospheric old building which has been converted into individual self catering apartments . We were greeted by a smashing view over a field looking toward the village . There were four fine rams in the field , the breed of which I'm not sure , and they were accompanied by several pheasants who always seemed to be there , like all pheasants they seem to strut around as if they own the place , and then run away at high speed like the Roadrunner when disturbed. Very beautiful and funny birds .
The Black Sheep Brewery could be seen from our accommodation , so after we had something to eat , and as you can probably guess , we called in to the visitor centre bar , where they serve nice coffee as well as their range of cask ales , of which Richard had a pint ( or was it two ? ) .
The first workshop was at Artison , on the 21st of November where Herdwick sheep were the project for the day . It was nice to have Gaynor , who's one of the proprietors of Artison join us as part of our class, after a last minute cancellation along with her sister who'd booked on the workshop . Thank you to all for a very enjoyable day . The day went very well and we actually finished a little earlier than the time I had told my photographer , ( Husband) to come and get some photos of the fab ' flock , and their creators at the end of the day . He arrived however , as the last of you were leaving , so if anyone has any photos to put on the gallery page that you want to send me, I'll put them up . Below are just a couple . Aren't they splendid ?
That was on Wednesday . Thursday gave us a chance to go out for a walk and prepare for the workshop at Stokesley the following day . The weather was very grey and drizzly with the temperature barely above freezing , and at this time of year it hardly gets daylight under those conditions so we drove down to Ripon , put on our water proof gear and had a good walk down the canal tow path, which was at least dry underfoot . By 3pm it was starting to get dusk and we returned to Masham.
We were up early on Friday morning and had a decent drive up to Stokesely, which is a very pleasant village on the Northern edge of the Yorkshire Moors . I was met by Ronda at the village hall which was a lovely building with plenty room for us to work in and good facillities . As Richard and I set about preparing the workshop materials and tools , Ronda and the other girls prepared the room for birthday girl , Sue who was unaware of what was happening. It was lovely to be involved in the surprise , and to see her reaction when she , and her other friends arrived for the workshop . I had a great day with really fun group of ladies who turned out some brilliant hares with some real characters among them as you can see in the pictures below. Thank you all for having me there as part of your special day , I believe that there was yet another surprise arranged for Sue at the hall that evening which I'm sure was very much appreciated too !
Looking back , 2018 has been an eventful and busy year . During the Spring there was the annoying inconvenience of stay in hospital with appendicitis which meant that I had to cancel and reschedule a workshop for the first time ever , but the rest of the year has been very positive with the high point , welcoming our Grandson Jesse , into the family , who is our first Grandchild ,and will be visiting us , all for his first Christmas .
It has been a privilege to continue supplying our work to the wonderful galleries and shops in the various parts of the county please pay them a visit , they all have an amazing display of different artwork and crafts .
It's been a busy year for workshops , and I've fitted in as many as I have been able to . I have enjoyed them all , and am very grateful to all who've attended and booked my services , and I hope next year , to meet any of you who were not able to get booked this year . I am learning all the time from the workshops , especially about how I can make them run as smoothly as possible . Some of you who have been to earlier workshops have noticed and commented favourably on changes I have made to the preparation side of things.
The hare workshops are very popular and I think we've come a long way with the pre workshop preparation which gets most of the more basic but time consuming stages done leaving you to concentrate on needle felting which is what you are there for . The hare is of course, the more time intensive workshop , and because every day goes differently the workshop can and often does run over the approximate finishing time . With this in mind , we do mention this when the classes are advertised , However we've noticed during the year that some people may have arranged to be collected at the end of the day , or have made other commitments for early evening . For anyone who has had to leave before the very end, I make sure they have got to a point where they can be given the equipment and materials to finish at home using what they have learned during the day , but for next year's hare class we will advertise a later approximate finish time for the Hare .
The workshops are very rewarding though in so much as, everyone leaves with a sculpture that is a credit to them and one that is as individual as they are themselves . A couple of people have even sent me photos of the hares they made and entered into their local craft fair and which won first prize , which is fantastic ! Don't forget , that for 2019 I am adding a Bunny, and a Hedgehog to the choice of
workshops for you .
As this will be the last update of the year , we'd like to wish you all Merry Christmas & Happy New Year and thank you all for your support .
Despite us not scheduling any workshops for October as we knew it was going to be quite a busy time, with our Grandson and his parents planning a visit for his christening ,
We thought , that before November when there are several workshops taking place, we'd get ahead restocking the galleries , most of which had just about, or completely sold out of our work . However , the things we did manage to do have been selling as well , because we are approaching Christmas no doubt . So we are still trying to restock and working round the preparation of the workshops .
November was always going to be busy with five workshops planned . There were two consecutive days of Quirky workshops in Greystoke. Last Tuesday when we made the hare , and Wednesday 's Herdwick doorstop class. Once again we all had brilliant time, thank you for the positive feedback, it was fantastic meeting some wonderful people and having some familiar faces again from previous times as well, which is always lovely to see, also to hear how they are now progressing with their own needle felting projects. At the end of both days , the results were fantastic , and I must apologise for not managing to get any photos for the website gallery this time . If any of you ladies got any ,and want me to add them just send them by email and I'll do that . Thank you to everyone who attended and made it such an enjoyable experience !
The next workshop is over in Yorkshire at Artison on Wednesday the 21st November . and a private booking in the North East , then back to Annie's at Quirky workshops on the 30th for the final workshop this year . Look forward to seeing you all there !
Check my workshop diary page for 2019 dates . More will be added soon .