I would imagine 2020 is a year which has been memorable for the wrong reasons , to most ordinary people around the world . Hopefully though, you have all been able to find a way to enjoy your crafts and the outdoors during some of the better weather we have had .
With all the uncertainty , I have not had the amount of materials in stock that I usually have for making hares and other things which we usually put in the galleries, not knowing if it would be used ,and we've missed having our regular delivery trips. materials had to be kept in stock of course to cover the workshops which were already booked however we did not know if or when they would run, or if the shops will be open ? We did get a few items into the galleries during the period they were open ,and it would be nice to get at least something to them in the next week or so . It must be really frustrating for the galleries .
Our Etsy shop continues to be busy .
Much of our time recently has been spent putting together and packaging kits while also making up the wool felting pads which as become our best seller and are now going to various parts of the world which is wonderful. We have also introduced a new picture kit which has been well received , and is a variation on the original Lake and Mountain picture, it can be seen in the accompanying photo here. People round the world are obviously immersing themselves into crafts , with other forms of entertainment and travel being curtailed . Indeed many of our customers have told us that they are trying needle felting and other things for the first time when they order .Thank you to all our Etsy customers !
I've not updated this part of the website since September, with nobody knowing whether they are coming or going , there's been little to report since then, with only one workshop which we managed to get in at the beginning of October at Quirky Workshops where Annie has valiantly been doing her best to keep things going for us all . This workshop was the Herdwick doorstop , which again was well attended with everyone's contributions making it another really enjoyable day out. There is more good news as the scheduled November hare class which was cancelled is taking place on the 15th December , which anyone who's booked will no doubt be aware by now . I look forward to seeing everyone there. Beyond that I encourage everyone to keep an eye on Quirky workshops website for any developments in the New Year , and hopefully ArtisOn will also have some news by then too. I will try and get some photos from the next class onto the website on the usual page for you to look at . I'd like to thank everyone who's supported the workshops at Greystoke this year and made them a success in very trying circumstances which I know has been a nightmare to administer and organise .
Make sure that you have an enjoyable Christmas and happy New year !
Hello all !
Here we are again entering the next season in nature's calendar , and I hope during the Summer you've been able to negotiate your way through the ever changing and confusing rules and regulations and make the most of the pleasant weather we had .
Our workshop photo gallery is looking a little sparse this year , but if you take a look you'll see we had some great hares, owls, bunnies and Herdwick doorstops made by those who attended the last two classes at Quirky Workshops . A big thank you to all who attended and made them such enjoyable days .
I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the next workshop, again at Quirky this Friday , 2nd October when we'll be making Herdwick doorstops once again .
Next year I would like to introduce a new subject into the schedule , I have had a couple of ideas of my own, my mallard (pictured) is one , plus a few put to me by some of you . These include, Sausage dog draught excluder , Highland cattle , fox, otter and a Red Squirrel. It would be interesting to get some feedback , then I can see if it is feasible to do it.
As for the rest of this year , there is one more class on the 24th November making hares .
Hopefully next year , Artison will also be back on the calendar, running the classes they had to move over from this year .
In the Etsy shop I have added some bagged wool as requested and I shall try and make some more of our own batts. The wool stab pads are hard to keep up with but fantastic to get such positive feedback, kits in store- proving popular are the picture kits and Sheep kit, it is also good to hear that the Youtube tutorial for the Sheep kit is getting positive feedback so maybe I will have to make another for the next new kit.
Please do get in touch if you have any ideas you would like to add or enquiries, I love to hear from my woolly friends baaaa..
Best wishes ...
Here we are well into the Summer now and at last we have a couple of workshops to add to the "completed" list rather than the cancelled , or postponed this year. We had the hare class on the 25th of July and made the bunnies on the 28th . A big thank you to everyone who came along and made both days so enjoyable and such a success . Annie at Quirky Workshops has worked so hard during the uncertain times thrust upon us this year to get everything prepared for the classes she hosts , mine being just one of them . The logistics of rescheduling many classes and cancelling others must have been an absolute nightmare on top of everything else and I'm sure I speak for all who attended when I say she has made a lovely job of the new room in the barn and has managed as best she can to retain the atmosphere you've always enjoyed when at the classes .
An added bonus for us on the day were the family of swallows in the nest on the staircase leading up to the workshop . The parent birds were in and out during the day feeding the young birds who were peering out expectantly between their visits
One thing which Annie has introduced was the projection screen and camera set up which I used for the first time to demonstrate close the up work . Normally every one will gather round my table to watch during certain parts of the project . Now there is a small GoPro camera which when needed , I set up on a tripod overlooking the work and it is projected live and in colour , as they say, on a large screen behind me . I think both Annie and myself were a bit so so about having to introduce the tech' into what is essentially a traditional craft class , but I have to say it worked well and served it's purpose whilst not being to intrusive .
Unfortunately all classes, including of course mine , which were scheduled for 2020 at Artison have now been cancelled, which is obviously disappointing for everyone involved, Sue and Gaynor also had a huge task shuffling and eventually rescheduling courses to take place next year .
As we'd already booked our self catering accommodation for the trips in Masham, we decided to keep the bookings and used them to also book an apartment in the building for our Daughter and family, as it was our Grandson's second birthday . the weather was warm and sunny , and we were able to get out on some of the lovely walks in the area , including the beautiful Hackfall woodland with it's follies and other features . It was also nice have a chance meeting with Gaynor from Artison on one of our earlier walks . She was busy carving an inscription into a piece of masonry in an outbuilding of a farm by the footpath we were walking along .
I think one of the things which has been highlighted this year is that no matter how reserved we think we are as individuals being completely isolated is not natural for us humans . You realise this when things we take for granted are suddenly denied us , whether it's your church , pub or even the homes of your family and friends , or getting together to share an interest , for many this may be the only contact they have with others , so enjoy the rest of the Summer and have fun!
The next workshop at Greystoke is on the 25th August , when we will be making our old friend the hare , and I look forward to seeing eveyone there .
Best wishes .
Hello to everyone.
I hope you have all managed to get outside and make the most of the lovely weather most of us have experienced during the Spring . Though at the time of writing, it is a lot cooler and very windy here .
I would guess , that no matter how many Spring times you have behind you, that you've never had one quite so bizarre as 2020. Outside, nature continues as it always has done , our resident garden blackbirds have fledged yet another brood as they have done for the last few years , the hawthorn is in blossom and the daffodils and bluebells have come and gone and the woodland is carpeted with the beautiful , and tasty wild garlic, with their bright white flowers and lush leaves . The human world however, could have well been living an episode of the the twilight zone since March , for those of us old enough to remember that series .😀
Sadly, there are no recent workshops to report on , but be assured that Annie , at Quirky workshops, and Sue and Gaynor at ArtisON have been working tirelessly to try and reschedule all their postponed bookings , I'm sure everyone appreciates this is a great undertaking and on behalf of us all , I'd like to thank them for their efforts .
I may have mentioned last time that , we had a bit more activity in our Etsy shop , which I'm assuming is due , unfortunately, to the physical shops being closed . One of the things which has proved very popular is the Lakeland picture kit which Richard put together as shown in the February News blog . He has since put together a new one , inspired by our happy memories over the years from our time spent in north Yorkshire . This is a kit where you can create a Swaledale scene , featuring of course a Swaledale sheep . This too has been very popular with a few going overseas . Take a look at the short video Richard has filmed demonstrating this kit taking shape on the videos page. this kit is also on Etsy
You may be aware of the wool felting pads which I use in the workshops , and you may also have bought one for yourselves ? I made them to a size which I have found best suited to most projects , from the larger things like doorstops and hares we make in classes, down to the hedgehog and bunnies , Richard also uses them for making the cushions . However, I had an email the other day asking if I had any smaller ones about half the size . I had considered making a smaller version but was unsure if there was a demand for it, so it appears there may be, we have now made a few and have them listed in my Etsy shop .
That's all for now, and hopefully we'll soon find a way out of. .........
The Twighlight Zone !
Best wishes everyone.
Hello everyone .
First of all , I hope you are all well . I have not written a news letter since February , but then again these are very bizarre times , with uncertain times ahead no doubt.
We completed the first workshop of the year in March which was appropriately enough the hares , but If any of you have booked on any of my classes since then, at Quirky Workshops or Artison , you will be aware that everything is now up in the air , with any classes that were scheduled while the current situation continues having been cancelled or hopefully rescheduled, if possible.(and it's not just our felting classes affected obviously) . All this will be a problem , to say the very least ,for Annie, at Quirky, and Sue and Gaynor at Artison , who work so hard to make everyone welcome and ensure these events run so smoothly. A difficult job at the best of times. Then there are the galleries , Viridian in Keswick , Thornthwaite , Gallery 2 down in Windermere and Blue Poppy in Appleby . Like many other businesses , they have been forced to close their doors during this glorious Spring weather at one of their busiest times of the year , and I'd like to wish Diane, Oliver, Bill and Lisa, well . See you again soon.
So , with everything else being on hold we have been making use of the fine weather by going outside and carding a couple of Swaledale fleeces which we have not previously got round to processing , and with the forecast set fine for the next week there's some Herdwick fleece to sort out too.
There has been some activity in the Etsy shop . I can only assume this is due to the fact that people are using their enforced spare time to be creative , they can't really get out too often I suppose . The things which have been popular, are the Lakeland picture kit , and the new three sheep kit which I have just put together . This one is accompanied by tutorial video instructions which can be accessed from this website . I've wanted to do this for a while but never got round to it , as it's quite time consuming , and then Richard had to edit it and upload it . Time is something we have found ourselves with however , and so that's all done now , and I'd be interested to get some feed back to hear how useful the videos are .
There's not much else to say really , we had intended to visit our Daughter and Son in law so are missing both of them and our Grandson , We are at least able to make do with Skype or Zoom , and fortunately therefore , did not miss out on his first few words a week or so ago , but , everyone reading this, will be in the same predicament of not being able to visit or be visited .
That's all for now , and hopefully the next newsletter will be a much more upbeat , and I'd just like to thank everyone for their support and wish you all good health and hope to catch up with you all soon !
Hello all !
Just wanted to share an idea for a felting kit which you can make yourself . I asked Richard if he could come up with a template for a straight forward design which would look effective when finished , and not take too long to make .
This is the first one. It's the typical view which we always seem to see when out on the fells . A Herdwick sheep , (or often several) either peering over the crest of a hill , or over the bracken looking to see what you're up to ! It should suit anyone who just wants to try needle felting . If however, you have some experience , then the basic template can be used & you can add your own creative touches, it is approximately A4 size . I hope to have some of these available at the workshops too . Check on the website over the next week or two .
With regard to emails .Over the last couple of years at the workshops , many people have added themselves to the mailing list , and I've sent out the occasional heads up , but this year I'm just going to suggest that everyone checks the website on this page for any updates . There 's been a few problems with the emailing lists , some people have not received the messages, or for some reason they fail to send and I receive strange error messages . I may also use facebook to let you know if there's any updates here too.
See you soon !
Hello everyone !
I hope you all enjoyed Christmas & New Year , January is already past , and there are now early signs of Spring here in the North West . Primroses growing in some hedgerows , the crocus and daffodils seem to have beaten the snowdrops this year, and the buds are starting to open on some of the hedges sprouting new leaf growth .
We spent December and January taking a little bit of a break . We spent time with family over Christmas and enjoyed some time with our little Grandson who was just recovering from a cold . He did benefit from some good sea air on the beach at St Bees , and also enjoyed a trip to the marine aquarium at Maryport a few miles from us .
As far as the felting goes , we've been preparing for the first few workshops of the year , the first of which is in March . Details for the 2020 workshops are here
The Hedgehog kits which so many people requested last year have proved to be very popular, as well as in the UK , quite a few have gone over the Atlantic to the USA , along with a number of our felting pads which people seems to like too . I always use the pads myself . I wanted something which was hard wearing and a nice size , and I also wanted something which had a white side , or a side I could use for white wool , meaning that the darker wool would not contaminate the work because of using the same surface .
Richard , has completed couple of his cushions too , including a highland cattle design which he's never done before .
Something else which was much sought after were the Metal needle holders which take up to 6 needles . Those who've been to the workshops will have used them and seen just how well they work , the extra weight adds momentum giving the needles more impact adding to the efficiency , it also means they are easier to use . Of course a lot of people wanted one for themselves . We were, temporarily , able to get a very limited supply of them specially made last year , but they quickly sold out, and I've been asked if we can get any more ?
Well I'm excited to say , that we have now approached a local engineering business with the tooling to manufacture some for us . They will be very similar to the previous ones but we've asked them to make a couple of small alterations to the ergonomics , which we think will make them look and feel even better ! Can't wait to see the finished product and give them a try ! Of course I will put photos on the website when we get them .
I am now working on an new idea which will add a little more variety to the workshops . I didn't have the time to do this last year . Again I will keep you posted
Looking forward to the rest of the year and meeting everyone at the workshops , both new and familiar faces alike .
Where did 2019 go ? After a particularly busy workshop schedule , it's hard to believe that Friday's hare workshop at Greystoke was the last one of the year . Thanks so much to all who attended , it was lovely to see everyone there on such a beautifully frosty morning , and as usual there were some brilliant hares departed from Quirky Workshops along with their proud creators ! A few photos can be viewed on the workshop photo page . Indeed , thank you to everyone who's attended and supported the classes this year and beyond . Also a big thank you Annie , at Quirky Workshops , Sue and Gaynor over at Artison in Yorkshire , and Beverly , just down the road at Fobbles , for hosting the classes and all their support . You'll find links to their individual sites on my links page .
Something I particularly enjoyed about this year was the introduction of a couple of new workshops , namely the hedgehog , and the bunny . I have had people showing an interest in a class to make these two animals in previous years , so I was pleased to be able to bring them to you and see some excellent results , again head over to the photos to see for yourself .
I also had the idea of making the hedgehog available as a kit . I spent some time preparing a kit with some detailed written and pictorial instructions , which I think will be helpful , and I'm now pleased to say that I have a few ready, I will add them to my Etsy shop.
This year has been quite an interesting and eventful one . The felting pads which we designed , have been very popular . Most of you will have used them in the workshops this year, these are also available at Etsy
Richard has been getting more creative and adventurous with his cushion designs , and although it's been a very busy year for workshops , we've still tried to have some items present in the wonderful Lakeland galleries we are associated with . We will also be updating the video tutorial page of the website over the Winter , and replacing them with ones of better quality like the latest one we've just uploaded on wrapping techniques and attaching eyes (useful for the hedgehog kit) . I am now able to narrate the process rather than just put written instructions up on screen as we have a camera with a decent microphone now .
On a more personal note , we have enjoyed seeing our Grandson take to his feet and begin walking the road of life , and we've also helped settle him and his parent's into their lovely little home after their move, and we look forward to spending some time with them when they come to visit during Christmas .
Next year's workshop schedule is all set , with many of the places already booked and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone , familiar faces and new comers alike , and as this will likely be the last news letter of 2019 , I'd like to thank everyone once again for their support , and wish you all the very best for Christmas and the coming year .
Hello Again !
Autumn is well underway , and I hope that you are all getting out and enjoying the colourful display put on by our deciduous trees before they finally loose their leaves until the Spring time . This photo was taken in Masham when we were over at Artison for the Herdwick Doorstop workshop , which was great fun once again , and we all had a lovely day and a fantastic lunch as always . With the weather turning very wet outside as the day went on , where better to be than indoors felting ?
While we were in the area we went for a walk from Masham on the footpaths over the fields and came across Marfield wetlands nature reserve . This is a beautiful place , consisting of gravel pits which have become mature lakes and a haven for wildlife . We sat in one of the bird hides one evening overlooking one of the lakes , the walls inside are filled with photos and information , there is even a pair of binoculars provided . We met the gentleman & his wife who fill up the numerous bird feeders . It tuns out they manage the whole reserve pretty much on their own on a voluntary basis, which must be very challenging work . They seemed to love what they do and it must be rewarding to see people like us enjoying the results . If you visit , do leave a small donation to contribute to the bird food which attracts a wide variety of wild birds close enough to get some superb photos .
Earlier in the month , on the 12th October , we were closer to home and made hedgehogs at Beverley's Fobbles workshop . As can be seen from the photos , we had some great results . It was also nice to catch up with Ruth , a friend from my childhood who I'd not seen for some time . well done everyone , and thank you to all who attended and made it such a great day .
There is only one more workshop left this year which is the Hare, at Quirky Workshops on the 29th November .
The workshop dates for 2020 have already been released by Artison , a lot of places have filled very quickly which is fantastic! Quirky Workshops bookings will be live from 6am on the 3rd November ( tomorrow at the time of writing this ) . Next year at Fobbles we have a new workshop, details will follow next month.
Hope to see you soon !
The Autumn Equinox has just passed for another year, and the Sun is making it's journey through the sky a little lower towards the horizon each day . The stubble fields left after the harvest attract the attention of lapwing and wood pigeon flocks , and the swifts have long headed South & only a very few swallows remain before they too will have gone in a week or so , all signs that a new season is upon us .
We ended the Summer ourselves , with a hare workshop at Artison , on the 19th of this month, where we were made welcome once again by Sue and Gaynor . We all had a fabulous time as usual , thanks to everyone who came along and worked hard to produce some more fine characterful hares of which you should all be very proud !
It was also very interesting to watch the stone carving workshop which Gaynor was running . They were outside enjoying the glorious late Summer weather , they may have said they were enduring though as it was quite hot out there . The clicking of chisels carving stone and dull thud of needles felting wool , continued throughout the day . I have to say I was really impressed by the beautiful designs the class had carved into the stone tablets they were working .
We made the best of the weather the following day as we had stayed locally and decided to go for a circular walk of about four miles round the Masham area , which took us through fields along side the picturesque River Ure and one of it's tributaries , the River Burn which ended with a brief stop for refreshment at the Theakston brewery tap , where we sat outside in the warm sun .
.Autumn got off to a great start yesterday at Greystoke 's Quirky workshops hosted of course , by Annie . On the drive through , I took a moment to pull over and take a photo across Bassenthwaite Lake towards the South East & Kewsick , with the early morning sky looking so dramatic and Autumnal . I met a lovely group of new people who had came along to make a Herdwick sheep doorstop for their first time . Thank you all so much for a fun and enjoyable day and I think everyone was justifiably proud of the flock we turned out at the end of the day ! The day was all about stone and wool , as once again , we shared the venue with a stone carving workshop ran by Pip Hall , but this time Annie was getting herself involved , making a superb job of her carved stone name plaque . It is fun and interesting mingling during the day with the other classes running alongside our own and taking an interest in each other's work . Some photos from both the September workshops are posted on the workshop photo page as usual .
This year's workshop calendar is almost complete with only 3 more dates to go , hedgehog , Herdwick and hare , respectively . Keep an eye open also , for the 2020 workshop dates to be announced soon , and I will catch up with you next month !
Thank you and best wishes .