Sunset at the Lake

Here’s another one of the nuno felt pieces I made in April.

This one was originally supposed to go this way with the silk at the top being the sky.

But then I decided to turn it into a sunset and this orientation worked better for that. So the silk became the lake.

I added some tree shapes in hand dyed cheese cloth.

Then ironed those down with fusible. The fusible keeps them in place when free motion machine stitching and prevents the foot from catching on the loose pieces and moving them around.

I then added machine stitching to the trees, made shadows on to the lake and created the sunset. I also added a few lines to the water to make it look a bit more lake like. I used a variety of thread colors especially in the sunset.

Here is the result and better than I expected. About halfway through the sunset, I thought it was going to look terrible but I pushed on through and it worked. I wish the sun wasn’t so near the center of the piece but I do think it looks better when it is cropped and I can change the cropping if I really want to cut a little bit more off the right edge. I have two more of these to go and then I need to get them all framed. The set of 6 will be shown in an exhibition in September.



Posted in free motion embroidery, Nuno Felting | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Spinning at Can Games


JAN’S BLOG POST; CAN GAMES Spontaneous Demoing 2018

For a number of years I have followed my husband to the local board gaming convention on the May long weekend (Can Games). In exchange for my support of his hobby, I get gardening help from him. I have been attending Can Games for quite a number of years always accompanied by my portable spinning wheel.

   Jan 2Friday spinning upstairs beside the Curling club kitchen. The Road bug spinning wheel fits in the trundle box for travel.


I have been there long enough that I am greeted by Gamers I recognized by face if not by name.

jan 03 jan 04

Glen plays various board games (many involving trains and vary complicated rules systems) and I sit with my wheel and spin, sometimes I use my hand carders. There are a lot of guys gaming, most of whom are interested in the way the wheel works. I hear lots of stories about wives and mothers who knit too. While the much younger kids just seem really interested in the turning wheel. I think it was last year that a very fussy baby noticed my wheel spinning and became mesmerized (and quiet).

The last couple years I have asked if they should add a live action RPG game of “Spin the golden fleece” or “Turn straw into gold” (well actually linen but it’s almost as good!). This weekend was the first time one of the volunteers who run the convention has mentioned that I should present a game description for play testing at next year’s convention.

He suggested I should have levels of difficulty to learn and earn experience (starting out with a skill and perfecting it). Then give them a greater challenge to learn and perfect. Maybe starting out with a regular fleece and moving up to a golden one? Maybe a silk and merino blend and then have a choice of alpaca or cotton for the really advanced spinners and to earn extra bonus points?

Character requirements would be high dexterity, excellent patience and a sense of humour.

I would suggest the chopstick Turkish spindles may be ideal for this purpose since you can increase the weight and rotational momentum by adding bulldog clips to the arms of the spindle and they are really cheap to make.

I could offer a second “Live action RPG game” for advanced level players who would turn straw into gold, which could cover bast fibres, if there was interest.


As you may remember, I did quite a bit of needle felting last year. I purchased a good quantity of super wash merino wool (mill ends from Black Lamb). The colours were amazing and enticed me into the purchase. Although I did successfully needle felt with it, I did find it was a lot more work than non-super wash wool. So I need to find a use for all this fabulously pretty fibre. Hum, I bet Mom would like a scarf for next winter. I bet I could make some very interesting slightly slubby yarn that would weave up nicely. I have a couple of table looms to choose from and could use that as a demo project for the next demo at the beginning of June. It will be nice to weave with my own handwoven again.

jan 05   Part of the super wash Merino acquisition.

I selected the blue and one of the greens tones in a slightly variegated top. I split the top into thinner strips and then intermittently spun one or the other colours then both together. It was fun to spin and I enjoyed the blending of colours.

jan 06  jan 07


I used the road bug travel wheel again. When I had the bobbin full I wound it off onto the blacksmith made plying tool. Glenn made it so I would stop using his paperback books to wind onto. It has 2 parallel arms that have a slight slope so I can slide the singles onto my wrist and then ply from the double ended ball that is now wrapped around my wrist. This tool also works for drop spindles and means I can put it down and go do something else (very handy).

jan 09 jan 10    Put the end of the singles yarn through one of the end rings and put your thumb over the tail as you start to wind on. (Alternating sections of diagonals similar to a Nostipine work well)

jan-11.jpg  Working at a distance helps to even out the tension consistency.

  jan-12.jpg  Wind off the bobbin onto the plying tool. You can put it down and go look at something then finish winding. When you get to the end, remove the beginning and the end from the rings and tie them together.

jan 13   I use my Left hand to slide through the double ended ball, gripping the beginning and end with the fingers,

jan 14   jan 15 Now slide the ball off the implement and onto your wrist.

jan 16After the bobbin of plied yarn was full (ok I played yarn chicken to get it all to fit back on the plying bobbin and won) l I used the cheap easy to make niddy noddy to wind into skeins. (PVC Pipe from Home Depot)

jan 17

Even with all the spinning I did while at Can Games I still had time to play a couple games (Chariots and A playtesting new game which hopefully will be available in August on Kick starter), some shopping a few board games, a couple for one of my friends, and a game of stacking miniature chairs) and watching some of the games that were running.

  jan 18  jan 19   The Chariot Race

jan 20jan-21.jpgjan-22.jpg

Lego mecs, Dice and Helms deep

jan 23jan-24.jpgjan 25

Pirates, chair game, sheep participate in Scottish fort battle.

I was not the only fiber arts person there this year. There was a lady knitting beside a miniature games with pirates being attacked by small green monsters.

The gaming convention is now over for another year and I hope next year I will be joined by more spinners, weaver’s, felters or knitters who would like to have fun on part of the long weekend. Maybe you will join me in an RPG to spin the Golden Fleece? We will make Turkish spindles out of chopsticks and elastics!

Posted in Community, Demo, Guest Writer, Spinning, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Tidying My Work Space

We’ve had new windows put in this week, so everything had to be moved out of the way, mainly to one corner or the sides of each room. Of course, I decided this was a perfect opportunity to have a clear out and rearrange things whilst putting stuff back, so I ran out of time to make something new to blog about. But since it was partly Ruth’s post which inspired me to make the most of my ‘studio’, I thought I’d take some photos along the way. It’s been less than 2 years since I last re-arranged my space (here’s the post), but I’ve ‘aquired’ a lot more stuff since then! This is how my storage tubs were back then:

They’re not much different now, though the paint which was in tubs on the left now have their own bookcases (they grew too!)

On the opposite side of the room I had a few tubs and my carder on an old toy chest. As the tub stacks grew, I used an old wardrobe on its side to store them, I can drop a curtain down and hide them now.

My carder feels more secure up there on the top too:

I previously had an old computer desk and pine table in the centre to work on. I got a 6ft fold up table to replace those. Both set ups had storage underneath, but they took up far too much room for what they contained, so they’re now storing general rubbish and old toys in the hall cupboard 🙂 All that’s left from underneath is the tubs which contain my netting:

There’s so much room with everything gone and the table folded away:

My shelves are pretty much the same as they were. I got a new bookcase and swapped the huge old telly for a stereo so there’s a bit more room.

I’m sure it won’t last long having the table folded up, and I still have so much to put back, but at least for now the clear space has the potential for creativity 🙂

Posted in organising | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

More Stitches

I have now worked my way through the stitch dictionary at

It took a while but I worked my way through all the stitch families. I did get lazy near the end and I didn’t do all the wrapped stitches. It seems if you wrap another thread around through your stitching it gets a new name. If you weave it through it gets a new name. If you leave loops when you do it another new name.

I discovered that some stitches just didn’t work well with crochet cotton. I am using #8 mercerized and for some stitches it was to slippery and the stitch didn’t lie properly. I think it would have worked better with yarn. Some stitches were to small when pulled tight making it really hard to see the detail of the stitch. Some stitches looked messy when she did them and worse when I did them. Have a look at the top right sample.

These are the 2 pens I have been using to make lines. 

and the marks they make

They are both permanent. I like the silver one better. It is a liquid but it stays put and would be fine to use if the line will not show after. The gold one seemed to get wider after a while. I am going to keep an eye out for the washable and air erase pens. One of the books I got said the was a pen that disappeared when heat was applied. I will keep an eye out for that too. Next I think I will try drawing on some water-soluble fabric  and I might try some tear away. I think once I have an outline done I could fill it in ok.

And on another topic of my life; we had our first farmers market day of the year last week and it went well. I hope I can get back into the routine of baking (and then cleaning up) for the market so I have some time left for felting.


Posted in Design, embroidery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Member’s Studios – Messy, Chaotic or Clean?

Recently I posted a photo of my messy studio room on my personal blog Permutations in Fiber.  One of our regular forum members and a guest blogger here, Karen L., suggested that she would love to see a post about other forum members work areas. She thought it would be great to see how others used their spaces and whether or not they worked in a chaotic mode like I do or kept things nice and neat. I also think that most of the studio photos you see in magazines and online are really not the way most studios look. These types of photos look like “House Beautiful” or “Architectural Digest”. Do people really work in these studios? So this post is about real, working creative spaces. Maybe it isn’t a studio but just a corner in the house or wherever has worked out for creating fiber art. You can click on most of the photos to enlarge and see all the details.

Here’s the photo of my studio (actually when I look at it looks pretty tidy for me). I am working on a variety of paper collages here. There are several in various stages of completion.

And here are two more photos that show various stages of chaos when I’m creating. I do clean up occasionally but most of the time, I have stuff all over the place. And the room is pretty filled to capacity. I need a bigger space but then I end up using the living room, the kitchen, outside when it’s nice…

This photo is Ann’s (shepherdess) creative space. It actually looks pretty clean to me but she says it is messy. Ann wrote a post about her new space in 2015. You can see more of her studio in that post here. 

Marilyn (Pandagirl) has several different spaces that she uses for creating. Her work table is on the left, upstairs storage in the center and her “paper” room on the right.

This is Tracey’s space with supplies set up for stitching. And look at those yummy colors of roving hanging up behind her machine.

And here is Lyn’s work space. She wasn’t going to send any photos at first because she keeps her space neat and she thought I only wanted chaotic photos. She always tidies up after a project so she has a clean slate when she starts a new one. My table has not been that empty in years. Even when I do clean up, there is stuff that lives on the table. I am impressed Lyn 😉

And you might think, like mother, like daughter. But Lyn’s daughter Annie sent this photo of her work table. She said “Here is my current project on the go.  I’m gradually getting more stuff out as I’m testing different fabrics and colours etc on my picture trying to find the right bits.  I reduced the size of my crafting table down to about a third recently but it’s clearly not working.  A bit like getting a smaller handbag but stuffing it full! I will have a big clear up soon though before it gets really messy again during the next projects. I have recently had a big tidy up so the most of the room is not tooooo bad at the mo but it certainly ain’t one of those glossy mag rooms!”

Here’s a photo of Carole’s (akaCraftyWoman) space. Somehow, everyone’s spaces feel much tidier than mine. Even my floor is usually piled with stuff.

Lyndsay kindly sent these photos of her work space. She says it’s a bit cleaner than it normally is and “who knew I had so many pool noodles?”

Last but not least, these are Karen’s photos of her creative work space. So much to look at!

I hope you all enjoyed getting a glimpse into the creative lives and spaces of some of our forum members. I know I did, I want to get an even closer look and peer into all the storage areas to see all the yummy fibers and take a closer look at all the samples, artwork and works in progress. It’s such fun picturing our fiber friends in their spaces creating masterpieces!






Posted in Community, Studios | 31 Comments

Adventurous Colour

I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend  drawing in the beautiful landscapes around West Dean with Mark Cazalet. He was an excellent tutor and the sun shone for us every day.

I signed up for this course hoping to come away using colour in a more considered way and Mark did not disappoint. He set us a number of exercises over the 3 days including using cool colours on warm grounds (papers) and vice versa, exploring the effects of black versus cream grounds and seeing the colours around us in a much less literal way.

The first drawing was made in the gardens, Mark suggested I redraw it from my original drawing without looking at the source.

It is interesting how the colours are so much more vibrant…

This one was a 10 minute sketch, playing with different colours to give and impression of depth, light and shade, the dark blue paper really made the yellows “pop”:


This drawing was exploring the combination of warm and cool colours together on a neutral ground:

enchanted forest.JPG

I had 10 minutes before we were expected to pack up and return to the studio so I did this one just for fun:

We were asked to create some sketches of abstract forms  from what we saw in the gardens, from those I repeated the same design several times on different coloured grounds, it is curious how the colour of the paper has such a an impact on the feel and tone of the drawing.



These last two drawings are my least favourite but it was an interesting exercise, the first was warm colours on a cool ground:

And cool colours on a warm ground:

Soft pastels on paper are a good media for exploring ideas you would like to develop in felt, the colour of the paper influences the colour of the pastels much like laying different coloured wools do, the colours mingle as the felt is fulled.

Now it is back to work for me! Enrolment for the new online felted bag class closes on the 22nd and the class starts in earnest on the 25th, I am still doing the final edits on the tutorials while trying to prepare for the Surrey Open Studios event beginning on June 2nd it is going to be a busy few weeks but both are projects I am really excited to be taking part in, if you would like to join in the fun please follow these links:

Felted bags online class: link

Surrey Open Studios: link


Posted in Guest Artists, Surface Design, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Using Prefelt … Almost

I’ve been meaning to make more of my own prefelt for ages. I have some commercial prefelt, but thought it’d be nice to have some in other colours and even multi colours. I also had the idea I wanted to recreate a band logo or design or something. There was one I had in mind, with only 3 colours, so I thought I’d start small. The first colour I needed was red:

And, I also needed black, not as much, but I wanted to make enough in case of mistakes:

And it’s probably a good thing I did! I’ve only cut simple shapes from prefelt before, all freestyle I think. I might have been a bit too ambitious with my idea … Firstly, all the faffing around with the design, simplifying it to individual colours, then making those just outlines, enlarging, printing, cutting out etc, that all took a couple of hours. Then I couldn’t find anything to trace around the shapes and leave a clear outline. So, for now, I’ll just have to show you the shapes ready for tracing:

Those are the main shapes (flames), there are some smaller ones I’ll need to do too. I don’t think there’s enough black for too many mistakes, so I’ll have to be careful!

One thing I do have finished is a bird pod. Probably better for nesting material, I think.

And the back:

Have you overestimated how ‘simple’ a project should be?

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments