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 .
This past month has been a roller coaster ride! It began with an emergency appendectomy which resulted in my workshop being rescheduled to this month, after that experience things can only improve, and they did : )
I visited Rheged's Knit and Stitch show with my mother, again a dual purpose trip making a delivery to Blue Poppy in Appleby The Knit and Stitch show was very busy with lots of wooliness to see, I spotted Eden Gotland Sheep stand and wool was purchased even though a project for it's use hadn't been planned : )
A trip to stay with our daughter in Yorkshire usually combines deliveries en route, this time Thornthwaite gallery and Viridian gallery, Keswick were our drop offs, so our car was packed full for the journey. We often stop for a coffee at Thorpe Farm, Barnard Castle on the A66 so we called in and found they have moved into their larger building which is fab! all new and comfy seating with great coffee.
Our next trip took us back to Yorkshire for my first workshop with Artison staying in the historic town of Masham with it's galleries and breweries, yes two breweries in one town! Black Sheep wins just because it has a better name than Theakston :D
I met some very creative folks at Artison, attending many courses that is offered, I was warmly welcomed, well fed and many sheep were made.
The trip was rounded off with old friends and a visit to Bowes Museum at Barnard on our way home. The many times we have passed and never made time to visit Bowes, it was a real treat, crammed full of history and we got to see the famous Silver Swan do it's thing.
We are going through a very busy period this month, orders need to be completed and four workshops running! Starting with Herdwick doorstops on the 12th May at Quirky workshops in Greystoke , there are a few places left as I write this. The next workshop is May 19th, Owls at Fobbles, Holmrook, again a few places may still be available. Back at Quirky workshops on May 28th for hares and finally back to Artison for more Herdwick doorstops May 31st.
So, an exciting month ahead, lots more crafty folks to meet, if you are attending one of my workshops I do look forward to meeting you very soon !
Armed and ready for the next workshop! I am so excited about my new tools, they work brilliantly on the doorstops and on the hares. I know I have been praising these quality tools for some time and finally decided to invest in them for the workshops. Look out sheep, we are seriously armed now!!
March certainly has been mad about hares!
Pictured left is one made at this months workshop by Sally, it was a long day for the students some had travelled quite some distance up to Quirky workshops, the weather wasn't favourable but thankfully everyone got home safely through the snow . The next hare workshop with available spaces is on Sunday 9th September, Diary 2018
The hares have also been in demand in shops & galleries this month so more stock is now being created.
On a trip this week to Santon bridge Craft shop we had to stop the car, luckily Richard had his camera and captured these wonderful Cotswold sheep (please correct me if I got the breed wrong).
We do like to get out for our daily walks, it's good to stretch your legs after sitting felting then you feel like carrying on with your work feeling refreshed, inspiration often comes from these walks, Richard spotted a tree creeper , then on another walk along the old wagon road leading out of town, we spotted a couple of ravens nest building, what an unusual sound they make, they looked quite impressive with the backdrop of the cliffs.
After dropping off "Alec" & "Bracken" , the two new hares at Viridian Gallery in Keswick we had a walk on a cold and windy Sale fell on the way back home. We were also lucky enough to see a Stoat in it's pure white Winter coat !