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Holiday Card Exchange for Carlene

Holiday Card Exchange for Carlene

We decided this year to do a “card” exchange amongst our members. Ann M. drew the partner names and I got Carlene’s name. I decided that since Carlene likes to weave, that I wanted to include some needle  weaving on her card.

Blue and white nuno felt background

I wanted a wintery feeling so I chose this piece of nuno felt cut to 4″ x 6″. I can already see birch trees in the background so my go to trees this year were an easy decision for the design.

Nuno felt background with "base" for first birch tree stitched in place

I used a stitch technique that is usually used in cut and drawn thread embroidery. Since my background was felt, I couldn’t cut the surface to get my base threads so I stitched them on the felt base. It’s a very simple stitch as you just take the thread and move over and under each time filling in the “woven bar”.

Nuno felt background with first needle woven tree in place on right hand side.

Here’s the first one completed. I used white perle cotton in different weights for all the trees. If you look closely, you can see that on this first tree, I was catching the wool fibers that were coming through on the silk surface of the nuno felt. I was a bit concerned with this but then when I looked again, the wool just adds in the “spots” on a birch tree.

Nuno felt background with yarn used for planning tree placement.

I used some yarn to work out the tree placement before I went any further. I cut a piece of nuno felt to cover the bases of the background trees which I would stitch down after completing all the trees.

Then to continue on with the weaving. This isn’t a hard stitch but it’s a bit time consuming. I was able to hold the thread away from the surface to prevent catching the wool fibers but it really wasn’t necessary. Now I needed to add in the “spots” on the trees. Nuno felt background with birch trees, added brown ink for "spots" on trees and foreground hill of cut nuno felt.

I could have stitched them on but I decided to use dark brown ink. You can see I cut down the foreground nuno piece a bit and then I stitched that in place.

Nuno Felt Landscape with Needle Woven Trees and French Knot Snow

Now to add some snow. I stitched random French knots over the trees and background.

Finished Nuno Felt Landscape with Birch Trees and Snow on Blue and White Background Surrounded by White Matte

And here it is matted as a “card”. I made it as a small frameable artwork instead of a card. I sent it off to Carlene in Canada and she received it quickly. I’m always hesitant about the mail service these days, but all was well! Happy Holidays Carlene!


Holiday Ideas?

Holiday Ideas?

At this time of year, many of us are creating holiday decor, gifts and items to sell at markets for the holidays. Have you been creating any of these? We would love to see what you’re creating. You can upload a photo here. 

I thought I would show you some of our member’s gift and holiday makes. These owls are by Helene and I don’t know about you but they make me smile.

Lisa and Alex made this felted stocking with a snowman which would look great hanging on any mantle.

Lyn and Annie have created some fantastic holiday décor out of felt.

Antje created some wonderful elf/fairies’ boots to hang on the tree. If I remember correctly, we had several members making these cuties.

Jan created this angel mouse for a gift. Who wouldn’t love a mouse so cute with angel wings and a halo?

Ann M. created this felted Christmas tree and then decorated it beautifully. Easy to put that tree up once it’s finished.

Lindsay made some great acorn ornaments that she sells for the holiday market.

Leonor needle felts these wonderful trees that add a spot of color to any holiday scene.

Karen created these funny gnome characters that aren’t just for the holidays. Wouldn’t they look great on a mantle?

Tesi created this quilt on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to give to an unknown recipient. In the process, she was able to get through her own struggles during the Christmas season and remember that the season is about giving to others.

Carlene is modeling the beautiful cowl that she wove as a holiday gift. I would love to open that box under my tree!

And here’s an ornament that I made a long time ago that I had completely forgotten about. It’s always interesting when I start searching through our photos here and find things that had slipped my mind.

If you’re an author here and I didn’t show any of your work, it’s because I couldn’t find a holiday related photo by you in the library. But we’d love to see yours too, so please feel free to share.

Again, share your holiday makes here. 

To all of our American readers, have a Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday. And to everyone else, have a fun, relaxed and happy holiday season ahead.

Edit 11/22/23

We are getting lots of people sharing their photos, you can see them here (be sure to scroll all the way down to see all the photos):

2023 Challenges Gallery

Getting ready for the sale

Getting ready for the sale

So this week is the week before the sale I posted a few days ago. Jan, Carleen, Bernadette and I are all very involved in the planning and running of the sale. We are running around getting the organising done and trying to get our stuff ready too. Bernadett has a booth with another friend, she has to fill. The other 3 of us are in the co-op booth. It’s a booth for guild members who don’t have enough stuff to get a whole booth to themselves.

I have 3 things to put in the booth. Felted soap.

I have bags of sari silk in several colours

And lastly some spinning kits. I have only 6 of those the wooden wheels I use for them were back-ordered.

So now I am down to making signs and making sure I haven’t forgotten to do something critical to the sale. The weather has turned cold so that should help people start thinking about buying Christmas presents. Fingers crossed for a great sale for everyone.


Guest Artist – Diane Coe

Guest Artist – Diane Coe

This is a guest post from Diane Coe, one of our readers, who recently submitted a photo for our 3rd Quarter Challenge. Thanks for sharing Diane!

My name is Diane Coe and I live in Featherston, New Zealand. I started being creative at a young age. Drawing, painting, and learning to knit from my Granny. I used to make tiny felt mice and exhibit them at a local annual art show as a young teen. Later on in life, in the 80s, I discovered Leadlight and produced for markets and made windows for houses. Then I progressed to Mosaics which I enjoyed for a while. I discovered a local felting group in 2014, and have been hooked ever since. Mainly I use wet felting with some needlefelt.
Sign of The Last Call of the Ruru
I was inspired to create Te Karanga Whakamutunga Ote Ruru (The Last Call of the Ruru (Morepork) from Maori Folklore, in which the Ruru is regarded as a guardian. With much of our planet being endangered, I wanted to portray the Ruru guarding the NZ Bush as a last call, as time is running out unless there is a change and more protection.

I wet felted the background and then needle felted, adding wool roving and balls of wool recycling from Op shops. The Kiwi is a scrap of possum fur. I spread out all my colours and fibres and picked up pieces to needlefelt as I went along, choosing what would work best for what I wanted to portray in each piece of the picture.

Close up of the felted picture of the Ruru

This close up photo shows more details of the intricate work.

There is hidden in the picture a Powelliphanta (native NZ giant snail). The piece took months to complete and is framed in native Totora farm posts.

Wool painting by Diane Coe, The Last Call of the Ruru

This is the photo that I submitted of the piece for the Third Quarter Challenge. You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Here I am in my studio, creating another landscape.

Friend of Diane Coe holding portrait of dog created by Diane Coe with dog sitting opposite.

I have created other pictures like the portrait of my friends dog.

Diane Coe with felted attire with hat.

I have also entered recently a national competition in NZ called WoolOn, in which you can enter anything wool. It will be on the Catwalk and judged later in August 2003. Felting is a beautiful artform and a wonderful natural product. There is always so much to learn and create with.


Thanks so much Diane for telling us about your felting journey. 

If you would like to submit a photo for one of our challenges, you can do so here. If you are interested in telling us more about yourself and your fiber art, we would love for you to write a guest post. Just fill out the Contact Us form to let us know of your interest. 

Making Waves Update

Making Waves Update

In my last post I mentioned a few of the projects I was working on with the “Making Waves” theme, along with other members of the Waltham Windmill Textile Group. I’d begun work on a 50cm x 90cm felted wallhanging inspired by the markings on large stone slabs on the beach at Seahouses in Northumberland.

Having recently bought myself a drum carder I carded a variety of left over bits of fibre, mainly blues, greens, yellows and neutrals, to make my background and laid them out with off cuts of hand dyed silk fabric, scrim and large nepps. On the left is how it looked after felting and on the right is where it’s at right now. I’ve added synthetic sheers, machine wrapped cords, hand and free motion stitch and in some areas I’ve heavily machine stitched to push them back and encourage the adjacent areas to stand out. The original bottom left section wasn’t working with those silk circles so they were pulled off and replaced with some stiffened, rust dyed fabric circles, recycled from another piece of work. I’m calling it Going With The Flow because a) it’s inspired by a trip to the beach b) it has flowing lines and c) like most of my work its design wasn’t preplanned. It’s evolving as I work on it, adding bits in and taking bits off until it feels right. It’s got a way to go yet before I can call it done.

One of the other challenges within the Making Waves theme is to make a 3D fish and my immediate thought was to create what many would regard as an ugly fish but which I prefer to think of as a fish with shedloads of character…… that would get noticed amongst a group of pretty fish!

Having typed  “ugly fish” into Google I lost many hours over the next few weeks looking at images and some incredible videos of life deep in the depths of the oceans. Each new search revealed yet another fascinating species of fish, some quite honestly didn’t look real while some, like the Tasseled Scorpionfish were strangely beautiful. One of the weirdest I discovered has to be the Red Lipped Batfish. If ever there was proof we descended from the oceans this red lipped, whiskered fish that “walks” on its specially adapted fins has to be it! 

Last month the Waltham group had a day making felted fish, some are finished, others are still work in progress.

Lucy made a wonderful wet felted Puffer Fish adding recycled plastics, including pipette tips, wine bottle netting and glass beads with recycling symbols underneath, to highlight the plight of our oceans.

Sue is very new to wet felting but she’s taken to it like a fish to water (couldn’t resist!) and has made “Angry Fish”. I think he looks more sulky than angry but he’s terrific!

Barbara’s felted fish is still work in progress but looking great, as is her sketch book and fabric fish purse!

Originally I had intended to wet felt my ugly fish but, after all those hours of studying them and getting excited about what I was going to make, for some reason when I took out my carded Corriedale fibres I found myself felting a cartoon version of an Angelfish…….I didn’t see that coming! Her name is TroutPout and she’s approximately 33cm x 36cm excluding her fins.

I’ve been enjoying teaching 3D Seed Pod workshops recently using wire wrapped with Tyvek fabric so decided to make my Anglerfish from wire rather than fibre. It was only when I’d got the 60cm x 33cm framework made that I sat back and realised I’d gone past the stage where I had meant to start adding my fabric! Time for plan B…..maybe I could use wire mesh to give it “body”?

I looked for some online but hesitated as I wasn’t sure how flexible or suitable the mesh would be. Having put the fish to one side, a few days later I joined the Lincolnshire Textile group and at my first meeting I was offered a piece of silver coloured Sinamay. Sinamay is one of the most popular hat-making foundations. It’s woven from the processed stalks of the abaca tree, a type of banana native to the Philippines. I couldn’t believe my luck……..being silver coloured this off cut looked like wire mesh but wasn’t and if I sprayed it lightly with water I could easily shape it to fit and stitch it with aluminium wire to my framework. So this is how far I’ve got. I’m going to add a few more wire spirals and do something more interesting with the eyes. He should have menacing teeth but I might not go that far!

Another feature of next years Making Waves exhibition will be an Octopus’s Garden so once the fish are done it’s straight on to making lots of coral and a few Octopus. I’m loving this theme and could quite happily continue with it way beyond our event next year…….it has to be the most interesting and enjoyable we’ve had so far!

Thanks for All of our Community Entries

Thanks for All of our Community Entries

It’s that time of the year when I look back over the last year and think, “Whoa where did the time go and what have I gotten done this year?” While I was thinking about writing a round up post of what I had created this year, I remembered our new Community Gallery page. I thought it would be great to feature work from our readers and authors who have submitted photos for our community page. Anyone is welcome to submit a photo and tell us about their work. We will be creating a new page for each year from now on. So I thought if you hadn’t taken a look, you would like to see what others have created this year. If you want to read about how the pieces were made or get further information, you can find it here on our 2022 Challenges Gallery page. Just scroll down to see all the entries.

Cindy M. showed us her wonderful interpretation of a cactus. She also wrote a guest post about the process here.

Marie E.S. submitted her beautiful needle felted and stitched creation based on a moss covered stone in her garden.

Melissa O showed us her interpretation of paint chips on cement which morphed into a fabulous wall hanging.

Capi submitted her entry for the 2nd Quarter challenge with a felted stick. Which one is real? Read more about it here.

This wonderful felt vessel was created by Donna B. using multiple photos as inspiration.

These lovely felt flowers were on of Ann B’s submissions for the third quarter challenge. Visit the gallery page to see all of her submissions.

These flowers were inspired from a quilting technique of yo-yo flowers which were cleverly felted by Mireille G M.

This flowered felt hat was created by Penny E and submitted for the third quarter challenge. The flowers are appliqued with machine stitching which adds a wonderful texture to the surface.

Cindy M. submitted another take on cactus for her third quarter entry. She also created a second version of this piece seen here.

This felt piece was created with real lavender plants and wet felted by Helene D. and was perfect for the third quarter challenge.

Donna B. made program booklet covers for a local woman’s group and submitted these delightful entries for the third quarter challenge.

Karen L. created this vessel from bits from her stash and submitted it for the 4th quarter challenge. She created it for an exhibition “Making Waves” and looks just like a tide pool.

Ann B’s entry for the 4th quarter challenge were these fantastic crowns she created for a Panto in 2020. Ann also contributed more entries for the 4th quarter which you can see here.

These fab holiday trees were created by Susan W. who was inspired by Helene’s post from the prior year where she showed how to make these trees.

Caterina P. shared her colorful necklace/neck warmer that she made from items in her stash. She has found it quite warm to wear during the colder months.

This adorable gnome was created and shared by Jessika O. He brings a smile to my face and is perfect for the holidays.

I would like to extend my gratitude to all of our readers and everyone who submitted photos this year. I hope that all of you will consider submitting photos of your work and participating in our quarterly challenges. We love to see what you are creating.

Have a Happy New Year and here’s wishing you a creative 2023!



Making Waves

Making Waves

At the Waltham Textile group we have a biennial exhibition with a main theme, supported by any other smaller works we’ve produced during the two year lead up. Our current theme was launched in August and I was really happy to get a thumbs up when I suggested we have a nautical/coastal vibe…..if you know how much I love to create rockpool themed work you will know why I chose it! Within this theme we each get a metre width of wall space for a large hanging or several smaller ones and we’ve agreed a few specific group projects such as we all make a 3D fish, a 3D jelly fish, a decorated box and contribute to creating an Octopuses Garden.

Coming up with a title is always going to be tricky when it’s done by committee and, believe me, we debated many of them! Eventually we settled on “Making Waves” as its catchy, links to the ocean/shoreline but of course it can also be interpreted as rocking the boat or doing something subversive. Strange but no one in the group has mentioned this meaning so far, surely I can’t be the only one who’s planning on being subversive with (at least one of) the group challenges?

The general consensus is that the fish be attractive but my immediate thought was “angler fish“ due to its dramatic and sinister appearance. However a bit of Google research has opened up a whole new world of ugly fish, these are just a few that grabbed my interest. The red lipped batfish is probably the weirdest one of them all, I can’t help thinking it looks like someone’s added a face and four legs to a mushroom! That really is a face that only a mother could love! Collecting images of ugly fish is a whole new rabbit hole opening up so best to get back on track…..

It’s been a busy time recently with shows and workshops, plus playing catch up after being knocked off my feet for a couple of weeks with Covid. This has meant I haven’t made much progress but I have at least started one exhibition piece. If you visit the Felting and Fibre Community Photo page you may already have seen this as it’s made entirely from materials I had to hand and therefore fulfils the criteria set for the last challenge.

Making Waves vessel.

My aim was to create a wet felted vessel with a blue/green colour theme, an undulating surface and lots of texture. A student had recently commented on one of my necklaces saying it reminded her of rocks and coral and this passing remark inspired me to use the same technique and materials for my “Making Waves” vessel.

Detail of the felted necklace that inspired the vessel.

Using differential shrinkage is a great way to manipulate the surface of your felt. Thin areas have the potential to shrink much more than thick areas thereby creating hills and valleys in your work. These can be symmetrical, as in the yellow/grey bowl, or asymmetrical which was my aim for the necklace and this vessel.

The grey and mink fibre used is mostly World of Wool 23 micron Merino although, because I was using up left over short lengths from previous projects (remember the F&F challenge), I think there’s oddments of superfine in there too. The thicker areas are prefelt covered with hand dyed silk fabrics, printed viscose paper towels, sari yarn and wool yarns to create a variety of textures and after felting it measured 36cm x 17cm.

The eagle eyed might spot two pieces of lace which are on the layout but not the finished vessel, these didn’t look right so were pulled of. I’m now looking forward to some spare time next month to complete it with more hand embroidery, beading and shells.

OVWSG 2022 Exhibition and sale

OVWSG 2022 Exhibition and sale

Last weekend was the return of our local Guilds Sale and exhibition. It was last held in 2019. The Sale had grown over the years unfortunately the venue had not expanded as we had (Brick and Morter buildings just don’t stretch well!!)

Glebe Community Centre started life as the St. James Methodist Church In the Palladian style designed by Clarence Burritt (It was begun in 1914 and finished in 1924.) due to a merger of congregations it became St. James United Church in 1925. In the early 1970s, the congregation had declined and again merged with another Church building leaving The City of Ottawa to buy the building. In 1974 the Glebe Community Center opened.

outside of Palladian style brick building that was a church and now a community center. 1 The Glebe Community Centre, views from the outside. Large Palladian-style domed church a community centre.

2 Inside the Main hall.  Transom windows around the base and an octagonal apex window in the dome.2 Inside the Main hall.  Transom windows around the base and an octagonal apex window in the dome.

This year we reduced the number of booth spaces and increased the space for the exhibition, demo and Iles which also gave the sale a less squished look.  This worked out well since we had some vendors who were no longer vending and some who did not have the amount of stock for a booth so joined the Guild Co-Op booth.

Ann organized the measuring and taping group that started the setup for the sale. Once the tape was down marking the booth spaces, the tables and chairs were put where requested. The crew was moving so fast that it was hard to get a shot of their hard work!

3 part of the tapping and table and Chair crew. (a blur of activity)3 part of the tapping and table and Chair crew. (a blur of activity)

Just as the last table was set into place the first vendor arrived early.  Wendo had one of the four booths with felting!

4 Wendo arrives first with her car full of Felting4 Wendo arrives first with her car full of Felting.

The rest of Friday afternoon into the evening was spent in a blur of setting up. I had lively music to keep them moving, (including Uriah Heep, Sweet, Placebo, and lots of other lively inspirations ending with the Lords of Acid).

My focus for Friday was to both photo document the activity and find Photos of each of the 21 booths to put up on our Facebook group to inspire Shoppers for the weekend.

Booth 1 was the co-op booth. Members of the guild who only had a few items to sell put them in the co-op booth. Both Ann and I had items in this booth. (Bernadette was sharing a booth you will see some of her batts later)

5 Co-0p Booth Spindles, orifice hooks, stitch markers, Tapestry, Coasters and Mug mats5 Co-0p Booth Spindles, orifice hooks, stitch markers, Tapestry, Coasters and Mug mats

6 Co-0p Booth Handwovens, hand died yarn, Pine needle baskets, Felted sheep heads, felting needles.6 Co-0p Booth Handwovens, hand died yarn, Pine needle baskets, Felted sheep heads, felting needles.

7 Co-0p Booth Felted Soap, Dryer Balls, Sheep ear rings7 Co-0p Booth Felted Soap, Dryer Balls, Sheep earrings

8 Flying Dinosaur!8 Flying Dinosaur!

The booth beside the co-op was Wendo Van Essen’s. Full of whimsical felted animals, kits and pincushions. I was all set to take this guy’s picture face on when he suddenly swung around and showed me his but! I waited patiently, as he slowly continued his rotation until I felt he was showing a better side of himself.

A few booths down was Molly Underhill who also had a booth full of felting. I was captivated by the thin felted bowl. It was even more intriguing when she dropped in a battery-operated candle, which produced this fabulous glow!

9 her booth and the glowing bole9 her booth and the glowing bole

Lona’s Booth also had some Felted items, as well as Wood turned yarn bowls, shawl pins, buttons, art yarn items, crochet sets, handwoven and knitted items.

10 felt picture and roles of felt (I think they were scarves)10 felt picture and roles of felt (I think they were scarves)

Les Belles Bouclettes booth had high-quality mohair from Angora goats.  In both natural colours as well as dyed mohair locks, roving and yarn.

11 Combed Top, Kid Mohair Locks and Died Yarn11 Combed Top, Kid Mohair Locks and Died Yarn

Booth 6 was Judy Kavanagh and Don Haines. Both work with wood. Judy repairs wheels, makes spindles and sells fibre. Don makes doffers, nostepinne, Inkle looms, warping boards and a loom bench with a shelf!

12 fiber atrs tools make by Don and Judy and some of Judy’s fiber12 fibre arts tools made by Don and Judy and some of Judy’s fibre

Booth 7. Studio 3 had hand weaving; hand-dyed clothing, textiles, scarves and fibre art.

13 Handwoven shalls, scarves, stoles, hand died and hand knit Mitts, tam and scarf13 Handwoven shawls, scarves, stoles, hand died and hand-knit Mitts, tam and scarf

Booth 9. Wool, emporium de laine Amélie Blanchard raises cashmere goats. (She is also one of the people who run the fibre festival Twist). She had hand-dyed yarn and fibre, fleeces, and cashmere.

14 Fine yarn, Art yarn swetter with scains of art yarn behind, Fleeces from Rinebeck14 Fine yarn, Art yarn sweater with skeins of art yarn behind, Fleeces from Rhinebeck

Booth 11.Fab Fibre Two (Jean Sharp and Bernadette Quade)

Jean Sharp is a spinner and weaver. She had unique yarns suitable for weaving and knitting projects. As well as handwoven and knit articles.

15Knitting with shall pin and handwoven hand knit15

Bernadette Quade is a spinner and weaver She hand cards, drum cards, or combs the majority of her fibre and tries different dye techniques on her handspun yarn. Her fibre and yarn may include Fine wools, silks, linen, cashmere and angora as well as alpaca, llama and other exotics. (I have used her batts for landscapes and have found them fabulous!)

16 small bats in a hat box and with her business card. There is a depth of colour that flat colour batts can not match.16 small bats in a hat box and with her business card. There is a depth of colour that flat colour batts can not match.

Booth 12. Handweaving by Janet Whittam  Handwoven clothing, fashion accessories, rugs, household linens, and baskets in vibrant colours and always with something unexpected woven in. She also teaches both weaving and basketry.

17 Janet’s booth, rag rugs, jackets, shalls, close up of lace inclusion and fringe.17 Janet’s booth, rag rugs, jackets, shells, close-up of lace inclusion and fringe.

Booth 13. Cavadelo Flax Garden “Established in 2021. Our goal was to spin and weave flax/linen. We started with a (12 x 12) plot and tools replicated by our local Men’s Shed and learned the process of fibre prep, spin and weave. We have a much larger flax crop this year and it should be ready for the exhibition to spin.” They had a display of the tools of flax preparation, a small loom weaving with linin as well as a spinning wheel spinning the prepared flax into linen. It was a fabulous display! They are hoping to expand their production next year.

18 a hank of flax sitting on a woven linen mat, explain the stages of using hackles, small pouches of linin seeds in a handwoven linen bag.18 a hank of flax sitting on a woven linen mat, explain the stages of using hackles, small pouches of linin seeds in a handwoven linen bag.

Booth 14. Beaux Arbres Basketry (Michael Peterson) Basketmaker for about 30 years. Inspiration from historical techniques from various sources to make functional and artistic baskets. He teaches basketry, check his website. It is fun to watch a basket appear out of a pile of wet sticks.

19 weaving cane between the ribs of a small basket.19 weaving cane between the ribs of a small basket.

Booth 16. Wayside Weeds and Wool (Amanda Carrigan) Handspun and natural-dyed yarns, hand-knitted accessories and original patterns and kits. She is published in the ‘101 Lace One-Skein Wonders. She teaches spinning and natural-dyeing workshops.

20 Hand knit gloves, Hand Natural died yarn20 Hand knit gloves, Hand Natural dyed yarn

Booth 18. Yarnsomniacs   Handraised and homegrown sheep and llama fibres and yarns: raw fleece, washed fleece, roving, handspun and hand-dyed yarns, handmade SuperJumbo knitting needles, and more! Rambouillet Merino, Romney, Babydoll Southdown, and crosses of BL/BFL/Polwarth with either Romney or Rambouillet.

21 Many baskets and containers of raw and washed fiber21 Many baskets and containers of raw and washed fibre

Booth19. Cannaweave Weaving and Fibre Studio and Accessories (Laurie Harkin-Chiasson)  Loom weaving articles and baskets, including pine needle baskets, tools for the fibre enthusiast, nostepinne wool winders to mini tools on jewellery chains. Also woven bookmarks of handspun dog fur, spinning wheel hooks, wrist distaffs and rug hooking hooks. All the equipment for Japanese braiding (Kumihimo) including finished jewellery with Kumihimo braids. She uses beautiful exotic woods in many of her tools.

22 Laurie’s Booth, with tools and  baskets. A basket of Kumihimo bobbins22 Laurie’s Booth, with tools and baskets. A basket of Kumihimo bobbins

Booth 20. Off the Loom (Liliane McKennirey)  Hand Weaving using recycled materials for the weft: t-shirts, ribbing, furs, leather, VHS tape and plastics.  Liliane is very well known for her recycling of old fur coats into lap rugs and pillows.

23 Lap rugs, a purse, rag rugs.23 Lap rugs, a purse, and rag rugs.

Booth 21. Lin en ville Weaving eco-friendly linen essentials for the bath and kitchen. If you look closely you will see how fine the yarn she is using for her tea towels is. I could not pass up the lozenge twill pattern in blue and white!!

24 Tea towls in Linin (lozenge twill pattern!!)24 Tea towels in Linin (lozenge twill pattern!!)

We also had an exhibition. The theme this year was Then and Now: A Maker’s Journey. We were to select an early piece and one that was current to show the progress we had made in our creative journey.

 25 a few shots of the exhibition25 a few shots of the exhibition

We also had a make-and-take table (Kumihimo on cardstock, Turkish spindles and Tapestry Necklace)

26 the table showing the moridi and samples, the necklace tapestry pices and the parts to make turkish spindles26 the table showing the moridi and samples, the necklace tapestry pieces and the parts to make Turkish spindles.

There was also a demo area. (Spinning and weaving, I was felting in another corner with the Mer’s while I was taking photos and trying to get the music to run.)

27 the demo team changed over the weekend but had weaving, spinning (wheel and drop spindle). It was quite busy most of the time.27 the demo team changed over the weekend but had weaving, and spinning (wheel and drop spindle). It was quite busy most of the time.

Overall the sale was busy, vendors seemed happy with sales and the shoppers seemed happy with their purchases!  I mainly was distracted by fibre but also impressed with the linen display. Even Ann did a bit of shopping!

28 Ann took her new spindle for a spin!28 Ann took her new spindle for a spin!

Mr. and Mrs. Mer also attended the Sale but did not do any shopping.  I was working on Mrs. Mer but yet again Mr. Mer was caught Flirting!!

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Travelling and Textiles – a perfect mix!

Travelling and Textiles – a perfect mix!

It’s summer time here in Ireland and the living is, well, slightly more laid back than the norm.  Having decided to metaphorically kick off the shoes for the month of July, I thought it might be nice just to “see and share ” rather than “do” and this forms the basis of my post.

Before I start on the main focus of this post (my holiday in Italy),   I just have to show you a beautiful piece that totally blew me away.  Before heading off, I visited Dublin’s Botanical Gardens.  Founded in 1795, it is an oasis of calm for any visitor and I would highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.  While there, I noticed that there was a patchwork exhibition happening in one of their exhibition spaces.  This piece just caught me, so I want to share it with you.  The artist is Ethelda Ellis and the piece is called ‘Aoife’s View’.  The curator told me that Ethelda is a medical doctor by profession.  If you would like to see more of Ethelda’s beautiful creations check out her blog:

Now, to the Italian holiday.  We headed to Como mid-July and, in spite of the heatwave, spent our time sightseeing and eating!  Our base was Como which is to the north of Italy, right beside Switzerland.  Lake Como is totally dwarfed by the Alps – a really beautiful place.

We called into the Cathedral, the Duomo which was magnificent internally and externally.  I reckon that to appreciate all its beauty would take months observing 24/7!  I want to share with you a small area of a tapestry which was made in 1610 and which underwent restoration in 1990.  It was impossible to get a good photo of the entire masterpiece as so much detail would have been lost.  So I settled for a little!

One of our tours took us to the tiny picturesque village of Orta which is situated on Lake Orta.  It was recommended that we visit the interior of the local church which was situated at the top of a steep street.

My journey was interrupted by the sound of a piano recital and when I investigated I discovered a rather special textile exhibition happening in the same building.  The works exhibited were by Sergio Cerini.  The artist merges his early experiences in the Italian high fashion industry with his current artworks, producing beautiful pieces which are in essence a mix of paper mache and textiles.  The description does not do justice to his widely exhibited pieces and he was reluctant to allow me to photograph his work.  He did, however pose in front of one of the pieces and others can be viewed on his Instagram page @sergiocerini

Since the 1800s, the city of Como was historically the main producer of Italian silk.  When ultimately production was outsourced to China, the area was in danger of losing connection with its cultural heritage.  The large factory was bought by the Hilton hotel chain.  These photos show early paintings of the factory, what it became at the height of the industry and where it is now (apologies for the reflection on the glass):


Rather than allow the old machinery to be lost to history, a wise decision was taken about 10 years ago to set up an Educational Silk Museum to preserve these beautiful machines.  Along with displaying the machinery, some of which dates back to the nineteenth century, the museum offers interactive videos and exhibits of high fashion clothing.  Unfortunately this section was not open during my visit but I thought it might be fun to show you some of the many machines featured.  So please, grab a cuppa, sit back and I hope you enjoy the show.  I have included captions for ease of reference.


Hair shopping at Twist Fiber festival with Mr. Mer

Hair shopping at Twist Fiber festival with Mr. Mer

Finally, the big day was here! It is time to take Mr. Mer shopping for Hair! I had persuaded him to wait to broaden his choices by looking at the Fiber Festival Twist in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec. That would be a bit over an hour’s dive east of home. I had a few bags to put purchases in (optimism!), the camera, something to drink, Mr. Mer in his project bag and a good audiobook to start the trip off (today’s driving was accompanied by “A Lady’s Guide to Fortune hunting” by Sophie Irwin).

1) Mr. Mer is napping in his project bag before the big drive. I promise I will get him a bigger project bag!

Ah, summer, the other season of road maintenance in Canada. Oh well, at least the scenery is lovely, driving through the rock cuttings along highway 50. To see all the geology from the comfort of your car, (ok there were a few potholes and truck ruts to distract from the view). You get glimpses of the Ottawa River as it heads south then into the hills and more rock trees and farmland. Turn at the town that makes me think of pineapples (it’s a French word that has nothing to do with pineapples) and go north over a stream, past the cows and eventually into the town of Saint-André-Avellin. A couple more turns and you are at the arena complex wondering where they put the handicapped parking (no I do not actually have the special parking for my e-“specially” great spelling ability). I stopped to ask a man in a sheep hat with horns, I bet he will know! Oh, it’s right here? And don’t run over the line of people waiting to get in. What a close parking spot to the line, amazing! I got out, organized and was already in line, we were ready to go.

2) in line at Twist, handicapped parking is adjacent to the line, now that is close parking!

There are a few changes since the last Twist festival (2 years ago), there has been construction on the building and a covid clinic has taken over what used to be the classrooms. There were, as in previous years, tents outside for Emerging Artists and the Food court.

3) the first outside tent

Inside there are two halls, the arena and the gym and locker room spaces which they are using for classrooms this year. My plan of attack was to cruise through the larger hall first, looking for long locks (the Olive sparrow and a couple more booths might have some) but taking a quick photo of the Black Lamb’s mill ends on the way by. Continuing on to the small hall where the booth for Fibercraft might also have long locks. We were in agreement and had a plan of attack!!
With Mr. Mer leaning over the back support of my walker, the line started to move and we were off! We breezed through the emerging artist’s tent (I will look more carefully later) and took a fast sweep through the main hall looking for the elusive long fibre locks.

4) Inside the Arena (lots of knitting yarn but looking for those elusive locks)
5) Half of the Black Lamb’s booth. They have mill-end fibre.

Pausing briefly, I took a quick shot of the pile of mill ends at the black lamb’s booth. I am fascinated by the hugeness of the pile as the weekend starts and the speed it dwindles as the weekend progresses. I will be back shortly and do a bit of shopping there myself. I hope that some of the other guild members will post the after pictures from Sunday! Finding only a few booths with any fibre, none of it as long as I was hoping, we turned our vehicle to the small arena to do a quick fly-through there.

6) AH ha! We found some locks, not as long as he wanted but a good colour.

We headed past booths with knitting yarn towards the Fibercarft booth, which was looking like our last hope for anyone with long 12-inch or longer locks for Mr. Mer’s hair. I hope he will not be too unhappy if he winds up with a military haircut if long wavy locks are unattainable.

7) Success!! We bought a bundle of green and a bundle of orange-red for his daughter or wife’s hair.

These were the only extra-long locks we were able to find this year at Twist. There may have been some in the back of a booth I did not see, but we were pretty thorough in our such (Next year there will be lots I’m sure since a short bald Mer-fish was asking for them!). The green locks look a bit bright but there is the option to over-die or it may be ok as an accent with the locks from Bernadette. He will show you his loot in a bit.
We met a relative of his while we were in the Fibercraft booth. She was also inspired by Sara’s “Mermaid-felt-along” at the beginning of the pandemic. ( this was a great way to keep us sane and busy during our time isolating. I am not sure if Sara realizes what she has inspired!

8) Mr. Mer met another Mer from a different branch of the family. (from the same Sara Felt along!)

We said goodbye to his cousin, I didn’t get her name so we referred to her as Ms. Coral Mer. With his shopping now done, we can relax and see what else is on offer.

Around the next corner, we spotted some familiar looking felt. This is Richard Hanna, he is an excellent sculptural felter and sometimes member of the local guild. It has been inspiring watching him work on some of his large pieces during meetings (the Narnian Lion head and Marilyn Monroe head were both very memorable). He has made some interesting green men and tree people more recently. He was quite busy so we didn’t have much time to chat. It was great to see him again, I hope he will have the time to come back to the guild and attend socials.

9) Richard Hanna’s booth at Twist

We stopped to have a quick chat with another guild member, weaver and basket maker Janet Whittam.

10) Janet Whittam’s booth

I took one of Janet’s basketry workshops years ago. To begin we went for a walk down country lanes near her home, collecting wild grapevines and other interesting vegetation. This salvaged material was used with various cane to make a basket. It was so much fun. Janet mentioned while we were chatting and I was admiring the new baskets, that working with the antler as she wove the basket was quite challenging. The final effect was definitely worth the extra work!

11) needle storage

In one booth I saw this lovely little pottery needle holder. What an elegant way to store needles!

12) These mice were so cute but I have no idea what they cost, I could not find a price and the vendor seemed very busy so I didn’t ask.

13) This is a prin to skene winder.

The Prin to Skene winder was incredibly cool and I would love to have bought it, I don’t know where I would put it but it turned easily and was just so cool! That is a giant bag of superwash merino mill ends, it’s sitting beside ($10.00 per LB). This means we’re back in the arena at the Black Lamb’s booth. Here are a few more shots to drool at. I got the last of the BFL (Blue Faced Lester)/silk which is fun to spin and it will also felt!

14) A few of the specialty blends at the Black Lamb booth

15) Mostly superwash merino but other blends of fibre too

16) a few of the Felting supply’s at the Olive Sparrow

We wandered back to the Olive Sparrow and perused silk in fish-appropriate colours then l checked out pieces of felt backing for pictures in so many colours. I spotted the painting in Wool book and one of the two recent Landscape paintings in wool books was also there. I found some extra-large leather finger cots by the cash so added that to my order too. (It’s hard to find thumbs that fit unless you sew your own.)

17) A Majacraft dealer booth

There was a booth selling Majacraft products, (they make spinning wheels that are very posh). I did not realize they also made fibre prep tools. I spotted blending Hackles, mini-combs, a tiny blending board and regular-sized drum carders.

18) A booth of mixed weaving equipment and weaving yarn

Mr. Mer was particularly excited about this Jane loom by Louet, I think the lack of treadles was appealing since Mer-persons would have a challenge to operate them with their tail fins. I did not point out that looms are usually made of wood so tend to float and would be hard to operate in an aquatic environment. In addition, getting wet would not be good for the loom.

19) This booth is Fibres of life

Fibres of life had cat caves, mice, balls in felt as well as felt backgrounds, really nice backpacks and bags as well as examples of the heavy commercial felt used in storage baskets (you can see them under the cat caves and holding the mice and balls). There were also mysterious giant balls of felted roving that looked like balls of snakes.

20) It was good to see such interest in spinning from a range of ages

21) this year the majority of the booths did seem to be more knitting oriented.

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22-23) One of the outside tents was filled by the rare breeds conservancy group.

Rare Breeds Conservancy group brought four sheep, a mother and son and two twins, I think the twins were Shropshires. There was interest in the mom’s pretty fleece too!

24) Sheep dog demonstrations

We stopped to watch the sheepdog demo. One of the sheep had figured out it was bigger than the dog and was being stubborn.

With all the fibre I had purchased (as well as Mr. Mer’s shopping), it was time to drop things off in the car. We headed back through the food tent, I was very tempted by the “Hamburger de Bison 1/4lb”, available “avec Sanglier Effiloche” if you wanted for a bit more money. (I had it without the extras last time and it was delicious!)

25) Exotic lunch options

We stopped to have a chat with a lovely lady who had driven up from the states with some friends to attend. She had enjoyed the scenery of the drive from the 1000 island bridge through the southeast of Ontario and then into Quebec. She mentioned she enjoyed our weather (the heat wave the states and parts of Canada were having, had broken in eastern Ontario after a heavy rain storm last week. It was either that or the weather feels cooler when posted in Celsius?) She is presently a knitter but said she is a future felter who is just waiting until she retires to start felting. I hope she will be inspired to jump in and try both wet and dry felting sooner.

The ladies at the ticket table were very helpful in making sure I got safely back to the car (which was much appreciated). Mr. Mer and I must have been looking very tired and I was going quite a bit slower than when I arrived. We got the shopping in, but I said I just wanted to rest for a few minutes, in hopes that I was up to another trip around the venue and take a few more photos to let the guild know what was there. Mr. Mer seemed very pleased with his shopping so he got comfy in the passenger seat as I had a short rest. We had another Guild member stop by, say hi and linger for a chat. It was a very restful chat and I was ready to take one more round of the shopping options.

26) Having a chat with Mr. Mer, who has retired to the car to recover from his shopping trip.

27) He checked out Mr. Mer. (Safety first- always wear your seat belt), Fish fatigue from shopping!!

I left Mr. Mer to nap in the car with the shopping and headed back in for one last lap around the booths. The crowds had thinned and I was able to get into most of the booths with the walker. I found a bit of fibre but was wanting to save a bit of money for a treat after the shopping. There was a booth “the Campaign for Wool, Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales” which seemed to have literature but it was still too busy to ask questions.

28) I admired the Baskets from Big Blue Moma’s booth but didn’t get one.

The baskets were in the first booth just inside the first tent. It was a great strategy. You could buy your basket then fill it with purchases or after buying everything inside you were wanting, buy a big enough basket to hide it in for taking your new hoard into the house! Many would make excellent presents for a family cat but only if you didn’t fill it all the way up with fibre.

29) I stopped to admire the Kromski wheel

I did finally get into the booth with a Kromski spinning wheel, I cannot afford one of their ornate wheels but I now have a Kromski drop spindle! I took it for a spin when I got home with a bit of the BFL/Silk blend I had also purchased.

30) Kromski makes a drops spindle, which is more in my price range!

The tag says it’s an 85gr spindle, so reasonably heavy but It still spun quite fine yarn. At 32.00+ Tax, it was also the least expensive spindle I saw and now I can say I have a Kromski brand yarn maker! (Ok, technically it’s not a spinning wheel just a drop spindle but it is wheel-shaped and it does spin!)

Some of us have a post Twist tradition of heading to a small restaurant at the far end of town. We discovered it was there quite a few years ago. I had checked online, to make sure it was still there and that the comfy-duck-club-sandwich was still on the menu. (YES!) Therefore, I had carefully saved enough money to get 2 orders of the drool-worthy sandwich. Unfortunately, I arrived to an empty parking lot and new hours, I found out that the restaurant is having trouble getting servers for the evening. We will have to make another trip of just over an hour or wait until next year to get the comfy duck!!

31) La Toquade restaurant, with Club Sandwich au confit de canard (comfy duck served on apricot Raisin and sunflower bread, garnished with bacon, onions, green apples celery and mayonnaise, with a side of your choice of French fries or salad.)(this explains why the duck is so comfy)

I was too tired to go back to Twist and shop till my pockets were empty but my car was full. Instead, I put on my audiobook and headed home. It was a bit slower traffic due to the roadwork, but the book makes the time pass quickly. Now all that is left is to show you the results of our hunting expedition.

Mr. Mer seemed quite pleased with himself. He had a lovely time, enjoying women (and some men) admiring his 12-pack abs and his fine butt. He had acquired the only long locks we could find, for both himself and ether Mrs. Mer or Teen Mer, as well as picking up a little friend.

32) Mr. Mer shows off his shopping

33) My loot!

I was looking for felt bases for pictures but got distracted by the soft fluffy BFL/silk blend (the large bag of white) and the blue batt looked so oceanic (yet dry) I could not talk myself out of buying it too. I was pleased by the leather thumb covers (finger cots), they are good for protecting fingers if you get momentarily distracted while felting.

I hope you also have access to a local Fiberfest with shopping, workshops and fabulous food. It was a fun day and productive hunting. I hope all the attention Mr. Mer got doesn’t go to his head or I will have to find more hair!