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 .
I am always looking at ways I can improve and make our workshops a great experience. Careful preparation makes the day go smoothly making for a more enjoyable day. I have prepared some of the new kits to try out at the next Herdwick and Hare workshops this month. I have just about managed to cram all the woolly materials into your individual bags.
I hope everyone is having a great Summer and making the most of the mixed weather . The blackberries are starting to ripen and the rosebay willowherbs beginning to cast their downy seeds to the wind , indicating that we have the next season of Autumn to look forward to just a few weeks away .
We managed a couple of days visiting our Grandson just before his first birthday which he enjoyed celebrating at Sundown Adventure land with his parents and his paternal Gran' ,who was able to be there . It's a theme park for younger kids where we once took Heather during one of our camper van holidays when she was a small child , and where they now just happen to live a few miles away from , so she thought it fitting to take her own first child for this special day .. We returned home to get ready for the hedgehog workshop .
The hedgehog workshop I have just mentioned was the first one I have done . As this is something which people have requested , I have spent a lot of time over the last few months putting together something which we could complete in a day and that I could be confident you'd be happy with at the end . This was held in the new upstairs workshop at Annie's Quirky Workshops which was again, lovely , with it's rustic charm , and plenty of room ! Please have a look at the workshop photos and see for yourself how well the hedgehogs turned out , they're impressive & a credit to their creators . There's always room to tweak the way I do my workshops if needed , but I felt this first hedgehog one went really well and the preparation beforehand had been worth it , as with the bunny workshop which was also new for this year . Both were the results of feedback from people who attend the classes so it was good to be able to deliver .
The next workshop was on the following day and we again took advantage of Annie's new work space for a hare workshop , where , once more we had lots of fun and some brilliant results at the end . If you follow the link above once again, you can see them looking splendid in the surroundings of the new work shop don't forget to click the photos to enlarge them .
The felt "stabbing pads" which I make have again sold out on my ETSY shop , however we are making some more , to replace them , they seem to sell quickly , so if you'd like one , contact me directly . They are £12 + £3 postage . If I do have any in stock I'll also take them along to the workshops .
The next classes are Greystoke again, at the end of this month making Herdwicks and hares , respectively . If you are attending , I'll look forward to seeing you there !
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 .