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 .
There was an Autumnal feel in the air as we headed East for yesterday's hare workshop at Quirky Workshops . There was a fresh breeze the leaves on the trees are starting to change colour and the air was full of fine drizzle , the deceptive kind that wets you . There were breaks in the cloud where shafts of light broke through illuminating the fells . When we arrived at the village , the sun was lighting up Greystoke Castle against a backdrop of blue/grey clouds with a bright rainbow arching over the scene . We managed to avoid the showers while we unload the car and prepared the coffee for when people started arriving .
I'd like to thank everyone for their input yesterday & making it such an enjoyable day yet again , as I may have said before , I thoroughly enjoy the workshops and meeting so many different people . Time, and leisure time in particular is a precious commodity , and It's an honour when people choose to spend a day of that time at the workshop felting . This is why I always like to make sure we've done as much as we can in preparation so that it is as enjoyable as it can be, and goes as smoothly as possible . It's so satisfying at the end of the day to see the splendid results from people who have limited experience in needle felting , and in many cases no previous experience at all . Whether it's the Herdwick doorstops , hares , owls or anything else , and yesterday was no exception , all the hares were superb ! Well made and with their own character and "expressions" as they should do in my opinion . See for yourself on the Workshop Photo page Well done everyone !
I learn so much from the classes myself , through talking to you all and seeing for myself where I can improve things like equipment and my own methods For example , broken needles are a fact of life , but through investing in different holders which are not only more of a pleasure to use , but I have been able to reduce the amount of needles broken noticeably , after all you want to spend your valuable time felting , not changing needles . Also It was nice to hear yesterday from someone who'd been on a previous hare class that one of the changes I made to the preparation was an improvement , so thank you again .
The next workshop is on Saturday 15th September , so that's next Saturday at Fobbles over in the Far West of the county at Holmrook where we'll be making owls . Look forward to seeing you there ... It will be a HOOT . guaranteed !
As well as all the preparations for the workshops which will be taking place over the coming weeks , we're gradually working our way through items which have been ordered, it has been so busy but we now have some packed ready to deliver , then I shall be starting on stock for the galleries and finishing off the orders.
I've received some very nice , encouraging messages and cards from people who have enjoyed their day at my workshops over the last few months . Thank you all very much ! It's brilliant to know that you have left with the confidence & enthusiasm to continue your needle felting and are making things , which is the purpose of my workshops .
A fine example is the email I received recently from Helen, Hammond who was at one of the hare workshops . Helen also purchased some equipment and materials from me and set about creating another hare whilst on holiday . The end result was "Zelda" who ended up being exhibited at her local village show and winning first prize ! Well done , and have fun with the raw fleece you've acquired Helen !
I am now looking forward to this Sunday's workshop which is at Greystoke once again , and meeting all those who are attending ... It's going to be fun !
It's been a busy and happy three weeks , which we've spent at our daughter and son in law's down in East Derbyshire , preparing for the birth of our Grandson . It was nice to be there to welcome him into all our lives & be able to help out at home during the days before his arrival. On the 8th of August we were greeted by a beautiful sun rise at the dawn of a very special day, as we set out to take Mother & Father to the birth centre at Chesterfield a few miles away .
The felting equipment was taken along (not to the birth centre) and I was able to just about complete 3 hares before we had to return for the Herdwick Doorstop class at Quirky Workshops Yesterday . Richard also managed to complete a cushion with Barn Owl design which is currently on Etsy . We recently bought some discrete embroidered labels to attach to our finished work , something we've been going to do for a while and have finally got round to doing . Thank you to Woven Labels UK who have a good choice of designs which you can personalise to your requirements and preview on their website.
It was nice to be able to do our work outside in the warm sunshine and fresh air looking out to the East over the patchwork of wheat and barley fields between us and the M1 motorway which was far enough away in the distance of this scene so as not to impose upon it .
A big thank you to all who came to the workshop at Greystoke yesterday and made it such an enjoyable day ! Again it was great to see some familiar faces again from previous classes , and at the end of the day we had a fine flock of Herdwicks to pose for the camera as you'll see on the workshop photo page .
It was fantastic to be back at the workshop again yesterday , and it is always lovely to meet new , interesting and creative people , also to see familiar faces from previous classes , of which there were quite a few . I really appreciate that you have enjoyed previous projects and have returned once again .
This time our efforts were being channelled into creating owls , with the aim of having a large owl , and a baby owl for each person to take away at the end of the day . We had a really enjoyable day with plenty of laughs , resulting in a superb "study" of owls There are some photos of the artists and their work on the Workshop Photo page .
We were once again , at Annie's Quirky Workshops , Annie and Claire provided the excellent food and refreshments to keep us going, and we were yet again able to make use of the lovely Summer weather and enjoy the beautiful garden overlooked by the majestic Greystoke Castle .
Thank you all so much for attending and hope to see you again another time .
As you may be aware , that wool , as a natural and abundant fibre is much under used these days , particularly for it's insulating properties . In the centuries before thinsulate and goretex , man made plastic bubble wrap and polystyrene , these insulating properties were made full use of , for clothing , blankets , and anything else you could think of which needed insulating .
We tend to think of insulating things to keep heat in , but it is used to keep heat out as well . You can after all , use a thermos flask to keep your drinks cold in Summer , & also to keep your soup hot in Winter . We've just seen a great example today , of wool being used to keep the cold in !
This morning we took delivery of some venison and chicken from Graig Farm Organics . They are a family business and offer a really efficient service .We only tend to have meat once a week or so , and some times organic meat is not always available locally , though we do support our local farms and small businesses buying veg' and free range eggs from them where possible . Upon opening the cardboard box , as opposed to a polystyrene one , it was found to be lined with bags of WOOL! Great for someone who's business relies on wool Not only have we got our meat , but as you can see in the photo below, that there was also a challenge printed on the bags of woollen insulation , which I "felt" that I had to accept . So I made an owl from it , which I suppose should be called Graig ? The box of course will also be made good use of , as when possible , we keep packaging to ship our own products .
The insulated bags are from a company called Woolcool . With the awareness that plastics and other synthetic materials don't break down once in the system , it makes sense that businesses are using an effective and available natural product like wool .
It's been a while since the last update , but we haven't been idle since the last one .
How do you like the new look of the website ? Richard was kept busy yesterday with that . Hopefully you'll agree it's a bit cleaner looking & easier on the eye . Couldn't resist a witty pun with the page title above by the look of it , too !
Been busy also with workshops since I last wrote . it was nice to see both new and familiar faces at these . I'm always grateful for the opportunity to run the workshops and meet so many interesting and creative people and it's always enjoyable .
Last month was Woolfest at Cockermouth . Among my wool purchases was some Ryeland which I found nice to work with , and some Shetland bought from Alice & Ruth at Woolclip . It was also nice to see Gary & Maggy of Norwegian Wool
who supply us regularly with their beautiful quality wools and an excellent prompt friendly service.
Finally managed to get some items replenished in the galleries too , which in some cases had sold out . There's an owl workshop at Quirky Workshops on the 19th of this month , and we are on standby for the birth of our Grandson any time soon which will see us heading down the motorway for a few days .
Looking ahead farther , the August workshop is booked up , however there are places available at one of the workshops in September , which is the owl workshop at Fobbles . See the diary page for details .
Richard also finished a new cushion to addto the range yesterday . A red squirrel design which at present is on the ETSY shop, but might be going to one of the galleries on our way to meet Grandson .