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Category: Guest Artists

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!


Robin Wreath Needle Felting and Wirework

Annie has many robins in her garden and she now has hundreds of photos of robins!  Looking at her photos inspired me to make my Robin Wreath.  It has a diameter of 30cms (12″).

English Robin in a garden

To make the wreath base I used a blue wet felted cord from my stash box ..

Blue wet felted cord

..but it wasn’t strong enough on its own so I made a wire cover for it by wrapping craft wire around a knitting needle..

craft wire wrapped around a knitting needle to make a wire spiral

..then stretching it out and threading the cord through it..

wet felted cord wrapped inside wire spiral

..then I made a hanging loop and wire branches for the robins to stand on.

Wreath base made from wet felted cord inside wire spiral      Wire branches for the robins to sit on

Then on to needle felting a couple of robins.  I used scraps of white felt as a base and I used photos of robins to get the outline.  Then I started to ‘colour it in’ with needle felting.

Robin outline on scrap white felt        Needle felting the robin      needle felted robin

I made the legs from black floristry wire and stitched them to the back of the robins.

The Christmas present was needle felted using 2 squares of scrap white felt one on top of the other then covered with yellow wool and embellished with a sparkly bead.

scrap squares of white felt     needle felting a gift

needle felted gift

I had to photograph the Robin wreath flat on a table because I’ve run out of time for this blog post.  I just have to make fairy stitches to the back of the robins and the present to attach them firmly to the wire branches so that I can hang it up.


I thought I’d like to make a wet felted Holly & Berries themed Christmas table runner so set about trying out a few ideas with different fabrics and prefelts.

Sample for table runner

sample for table runner

Trouble is I enjoy playing too much so when the work of doing the real thing of setting out lots of pre-felt holly leaves and berries began..

table runner for Christmas

..I ended up accidentally getting sidetracked by making a pair of pink wet felted stockings, then laying out another pair, this time one green, one purple, with longer cuffs that could be turned over if they work how I want them to (still in progress on the desk). The pink ones came out rather cute, but possibly do need some decoration.

Miniature booties made from wet felt

Miniature wet felted booties

I also started a bauble garland and some machine stitched shaped holly leaves!  Any projects that I don’t finish in time for this Christmas will be finished by the new year then I’ll be well ahead for Christmas 2024 🙂


No Scrap Left Behind

No Scrap Left Behind

I am one of those people who does not like to sit idle.  So I try to bring a small project with me to keep my hands busy while waiting.  Usually that is a small knitting project, and one of the easiest portable projects is knitting small dish cloths.  I knit in the car (as a passenger of course), while sitting and chatting with friends, during Zoom meetings for work, etc.  My go to pattern is called Corrugated Cloth which I knit on 4.5 mm needles with 33 stitches in a row.  So far in 2023 I’ve knit over 225 dish cloths and there are still a couple of months left.

piles of hand knit dish cloths in many colours
Hand knit dish cloths

I had been accumulating odd balls of scraps.  Bits of yarn too small to make a full dish cloth.  My scrap yarn bag had filled to the top and so I decided to make a scrap blanket.

Bag with many balls of assorted scrap yarns
Bag with assorted balls of cotton scrap yarn

After browsing patterns and projects on Ravelry I picked the pattern Excavation, but with a couple of modifications.  I opted to omit the fringe and instead knit the blanket continuously.  I also opted to alternate 2 balls of yarn, doing 2 rows with the first colour, then 2 rows of the second colour.  This resulted in a nicely striped blanket.  Often I joined in new yarn mid-row using a Russian join to splice the yarns together.  Generally I alternated scraps with a bit of white in them with scraps that were darker (no white).

Small knitting work in progress showing 2 types of yarn and alternating rows
Start of my scrap blanket. There are 2 balls of yarn and you knit 2 rows with one ball, then 2 rows of the next ball.

About a month later, my cotton scrap blanket was done.  The finished project is 46″  x 48″ (116.8 cm x 121.9 cm).  It was a very relaxing knit and the growth of the blanket was aided by some long Zoom training sessions for work.

randomly striped blanket knit from scrap cotton
Randomly striped blanket knit from scrap yarn

Now that the blanket is complete, I was evaluating my bag of scraps and there are still quite a few left.  I think I used 2/3 of the initial bag of scraps in the blanket.  I also found another bag with scraps and a couple of odd balls.  Another scrap blanket is on the horizon.  Maybe next time I’ll use a single colour to contrast with the scraps.  I will keep this in mind next time I’m shopping for more cotton yarn and see if I can find a main yarn I’d like to use.  I wonder what colour I should pick?  (I am open to suggestions!)

Large pile of scrap yarn and odd balls
Current pile of scrap yarn and odd balls of cotton


OVWSG 2023 Sale and exhibition (part 1)

OVWSG 2023 Sale and exhibition (part 1)

Vacarious Shopping!!

In November, The local weavers and spinners guild in Ottawa Canada have there annual sale and exhibition (briefly interrupted by the pandemic but running again this year!) The sale is held int the Glebe Community Center, which started out its life as St. James Methodist Church, begun in 1914 and finished in 1924. In the 1970’s it was converted to its present function of community center and rental hall. We take over the hall on Friday after noon to mark out the booths, set up tables then the venders arrive to set up there booths.

we have booths with local guild members and other fiber artists selling there finished items or various sorts of supplies and equipment. We also have a guild coop booth, make and take tables, a demo area and the guild info booth.

There was a large team organizing the event and publicity was mostly on line this year. Ann is the best one to speak to that part of the sale if you are very curious. I was only busy with a few parts of preparations. My jobs are more during the sale, the main one is photo document the sale and to take shots that hopefully will be useful in next years publicity as well as to entice anyone on our guild face book group to come shopping at the show. (I spend a couple hours posting photos to the group on Saturday night after the first day of the sale, I only took 343 photos, but didn’t inflict all of them on the group I promises!

Lets take a look around the sale, We had two booths with felting and a few with fiber that may be of interest. lest start at the guild table, which has the door prize for the surveys, stickers while they last, the Canadian moose skein winder bags, and extras magazines surplus to our collection (2.00 each). (there are also name tags with silly  or odd sheep for those who are working at the sale. you may spot them in various pictures.)

floor plan of booths at the sale1) Font of flyer

doors into the sale and poster with shuttle and spindle2) the doors into the sale, let’s take a look inside

As you went through the doors the Guild info booth was to your Left, we tried to ask everyone to fill out a Survey to enter for the door prizes.

  3) Guild table; Sheep name tags, survey slips, stickers for filling out the survey.

Door Prizes, white and blue handwoven shawl and felted lattern4) The door prizes for filling out the survey, which were drawn at the November guild meeting.

We were wanting to know how people found out about the sale (check our focus for advertising was working) and the aria that shoppers came from by asking for their postal code. This will let us check where most shoppers come from and see if there is a change from year to year. (Ann let me have fun with both the data enters and data analysis last time)

We also had a display of the Moose project bags,

OVWSG Anniversary Moose project bag5 )the 75th anniversary moose bags

And the Magazines that were extra to the guilds collection.

Magazines for sale6) Magazines for sale

in front of the guild tables are the Demo area to the left,

Spinning and weaving demo area7) Spinning and Weaving demo

Pine needle Basket making demo8) Pine needle basket demo

starting needle felting on the canvis moose bag. Felted Bat on a stick is sitting beside the moose bag 9) Felting demo

 The make take tables are on the right.  This was a fun spot that let people try spinning (on a Mayonnaise lid spindle), weaving (on a small frame or on a tapestry loom) and wet felting (acorns).

teaching spinning on a mayonnaise lid drop spindle 10) a spinning lesson with Mayonnaise lid spindles

2 girls weaving on popsical stick frame looms11) weaving on little frames

the Exhibition is in between Make and take table and the Demo area.  The theme was “Safire” this year, which leads into our “Diamond” anniversary theme next year.

2 veiws of the OVWSG Exhibition, the theam is Safires12) the exhibition

Molly's Entery in the exhibit was a wet felted vessel with inclustions of blue beads and rocks  13) Molly’s Wet felted Vessel

I suspect you will be interested in this one which was made by Molly Underhill. I think she said it was inspired by geologic core samples.

The guild had 3 wheels for sale which were displayed near the exhibition. the Louet S60 sold extremely quickly.  Which left the CPW (a fast spinning wheel used for production spinning and  the beautiful little Tyrol Spinning wheel . another wheel was dropped off but after more inspection it has a few repairs needed. It may need to have a spa day with Deborah, the OVWSG rental coordinator. (There are advantages to in person guilds but the commute to our blog or an on line guild is so much faster!)

a CPW and Tyrol wheel14)The wheels

 Canadian Production Wheel (CPW), a double drive wheel with tilt tension and a cast mettle footman.

Tiny Tyrol Spinning wheel, screw tension, peg for flyer,  Slow ratio, large mettle insert for orifice. There is a larger but very similar wheel in the Museum collection of Canadian Museum of history (previously M. of Civilization)

the two wheels sitting beside eachother showing how much smaller the Tyrol wheel is when comparied to a CPW15) Size comparison of CPW and Tyrol wheels

We had a small exhibit on the theme Safire this year, which leads into our Diamond anniversary theme next year.

Lets have a quick tour around the booths, starting with the co op booth. This allows guild members who have only a few things to sell or those with jobs at the sale who cant have a booth participate in the sale.

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16) Co-op booth

I hope this give you a suggestion of the diversity of the guild members work.

Since we are already on page 24 I think I should save the rest of the booths for the next post! Are you already shopping vicariously? (Save a bit of your Vicarious shopping money for the booths from the next post!!)

Left-overs? Yessss!

Left-overs? Yessss!

A bit ago I found myself with the usual thousands of small left-overs from cutting up pre-felt or fabric and yarn for different projects: pieces too small for beautiful regular patterns of shapes, but I really could not see myself throwing them away…some may say that I am a bit of a hoarder, I really call myself a forward-looking creative (it applies also to scraps of paper from paper projects, and bits and bobs from many other creative ideas and ventures)!

I am certain all creative types here will sympathise, at least all hoarding ones!

Anyway, what to do with all that treasure of tiny pieces? Wet-felting is downright wonderful for using all of that to magnificent effect, even the shapeless or tiniest bits: they all become embellishments for your project. Just find yourself a nice wet-felting idea that fits with what you need, and then make it interesting and colourful with all those scraps!

My project to use up some of my stash of scraps is an easy but very effective bowl, made with a very simple circular resist: any bowl or vessel looks stunning with bold solid colours and with the addition of scraps of pre-felt, fabric and yarns, I find.

Here are the steps to make a colourful wet-felted bowl, with the aid of a sander if you have one, although it is not necessary to use one, especially if your left-overs are all wool based and so very easy to felt in.

Bowls are very forgiving of mistakes in layout when you make seven or more layers, so they make for a fun layout practice. I used merino wool, as it is the wool that I have mainly, and also one of the types of wool that I like best working with: it felts very easily, and is just so soft to handle!

For resist, I just cut a circular shape from a bubble-wrapping sheet, easy peasy.

For an easy and fuss-free explanation on how to wet-felt with resists, I recommend Rosiepink’s tutorial “How to Make 3D Felt Vessels“.

Colourful pieces of pre-felt and yarns on a circular plastic resist.
Starting by adding the left-over pieces on a circular resist. If you are particular with your design, it’s better to lightly wet and soap them, so that they will stick to the place where you want them: I just added them randomly, so that some would go over the edges of my resist, to have a more natural look.
A circular resist with a first layer of embellishments and a second starting layer of dark grey wool laid from the edges towards the centre.
Laying out my wool in a contrasting though neutral colour, starting with the edges of the resist.
First layer of grey wool on a circular resist.
The first layer is all done, in a ray-pattern. I decided to add a second, lighter grey to the background.
First layer of grey wool with additions, on a circular resist.
I added a second layer of wool.
Beginning of second layer of grey wool on circular resist.
I began my third layer from the edges again, changing my layout for a more random one, but taking care to cover all of my surface.
Wet-felted bowl in progress, first two layers of wool wetted and soaped on a circular resist.
I wetted and soaped it, put a net on it and gave it a light rub for a few seconds. Then took off the netting with care.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with a circular resist. Second side.
And I turned the resist to the second side. I do not know if you can see it from the photo, but I folded in all the decorations that where overhanging from the first side.
Work in progress of a wet=felted colourful bowl with a circular resist.
Here we go again with the scraps, always fun! If you had a kind of pattern on the first side, maybe you will want to keep to it on the second side as well. Luckily, I just could place them randomly.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with a circular resist. First layer of wool on the second side.
Starting on the first layer of wool on the second side, I decided to make a uniformly dark grey background. I followed the same layout pattern as for the other side, but I did put less wool on the edges, as they were already covered.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with circular resist. Second layer of wool of the second side.
Second layer of dark grey wool on the second side.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with circular resist. Third layer of wool on the second side.
And this was me starting on my third layer on the second side: I used lighter grey again, just because I was fed up with the dark grey.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with circular resist. Fourth layer of red wool on the first side.
After wetting and soaping and lightly rubbing the second side, I turned the resist again to the first side, and folded in any overhanging wool from the edges. Then, I decided that grey and I were done for the evening, and I switched to bright red for my fourth layer: oh, more fun!
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with circular resist.
I went on with three more layers of red on this first side, for a total count of seven layers of wool.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with a circular resist. A white lock on red wool.
I did not forget to mark the first side with a small wool lock on the centre, just to be sure when I had to cut through the felt. Then I put a net fabric on it, wetted soaped and rubbed this side. Carefully removing the netting before turning the resist again.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl with a circular resist. The second side has final layers of red wool and embellishments of white wool locks.
I repeated the layout on the second side, but I added lots of wool locks as embellishments, also to distinguish it from the first side. I made sure some of the locks were going over the edges, to fold them in when I turned the resist again. I also put my netting on it, wetted soaped and rubbed it, then took away the netting very carefully.
Working on a wet-felted bowl with a rolling pin by World of Wool.
Making sure that all the locks stay well put is a matter of rubbing, either by hand or with a sander if you have one: your rubbing can become more vigorous if you see that everything stays put, and you can also start using tools, such as the one in the photo that is by World of Wool.
Kiki Peruzzi rolling a prefelt bowl to make felt.
Rolling your bowl comes next. I usually sandwich my prefelt in two layers of bubble-wrapping, then roll the whole on a plastic pipe (actually, I use a percussion tube, temporarily leaving my children without a musical instrument…well, I know, but what can you do?). I then roll the lot into an old towel and fix it in place with rubber bands. The rolling was a bit long with this bowl, because I wanted a firm felt. I made sure to unroll and reroll the lot to work on both sides and on every direction for the same amount of time.
Work in progress on a wet-felted bowl, after-rolling photo of the bowl on its red second side with white wool locks.
After rolling it for a good while, it was apparent that the bowl-in-progress had shrunk and I could feel the wrinkled resist: time to take it out.
Work in progress of a wet-felted bowl, a circular piece has been cut from the bowl to make an opening.
Cutting a nice circular opening with scissors on the first side of the bowl (the one marked by the small wool lock) gave me the chance to keep a circular shape that I later worked on to make a small colourful key holder.
A wet-felted circular bowl in grey and many coloured bits on a side and red with white wool locks on the other side, still wet on a white background.
After working with soaped hands on the edges to seal them, I turned the bowl inside out and worked on the edges a bit more. Then went on rubbing the whole bowl on the plastic bubble-wrap.
A wet-felted colourful bowl on a bubble-wrap and white towels, with a white brushing sponge inside it.
I personally find a netting brushing sponge very handy for rubbing the inside of bowls, as it is easier for me to grab than, say, a piece of bubble-wrap. Mine is from The Body Shop, but one can find a similar one in any shop selling personal hygiene products. I find it also useful when folding silk fibers around a resist, it works better than using your hands, as the fibers do not stick to it.
Wet wet-felted colourful bowl on bubble-wrap and old white towels.
I wanted a firm felt, so I immersed my bowl in very hot water a few times, with rinsing soaping and rubbing in between ducking it in water.
Wet-felted colourful bowl seen from the side, on a bubble-wrap and old white towels.
I needed to rub the sides very well, to erase wrinkles and small defects of wool over-eager layout. While doing that, I was also encouraging  the shape of my bowl to how I wanted it to be, by shaping it with repeated movements of my hands.
Colourful circular bowl seen from above on a white background.
And here is my finished and dried bowl, seen from above.

I called it Tuttifrutti Bowl, as it seems so yummy! Its size is good for holding fruit or just making for a decorative show-stopper.

So, have a go at using all your stash of small bits on a colourful and fun wet-felting project!


Our Happy Place – A Crafting Space!

Our Happy Place – A Crafting Space!

I have read posts written by my fellow FFS bloggers – one thing we have in common, “works in progress.” In the past, I found myself embarrassed, at the number of unfinished projects I had on the go at any given time. My father, (negatively) criticized my flitting nature, lack of focus, and the like, when I was younger. He had to eat his words when I was diagnosed with ADHD at 35. (They tested boys in the 60’s but never girls) Those negative impressions stay with us, nonetheless, and I have been working to overcome the stigma since. After a couple years, of working on myself, I’m realizing it’s simply who I am. I should embrace this quality! I’m at my best, when I have lots of choices – on the go…and it’s perfectly okay, if it makes me freakin’ happy!

I’m discovering, organized supplies, a comfortable place for creativity, and a person to share with, is the best key to my “crafting-ness.” (A new word for Webster/Oxford?) If my creative space is messy, and I can’t find what I need, my mind reverts back to those old thoughts. 😝 Brian and I are approaching the rest of our lives with different perspectives. We expect to move/downsize, and/or leave our area, once something happens to my Mom. Until then we are playfully, preparing for our future. What does this “playful preparation” concept mean to us, you ask? It means everything we add to our life now, is for our “happily ever after.”

For example, we eventually want to relocate, to an area near water: maybe in Michigan, or maybe in a warmer climate. We both agree that watching the water, no matter where we are, relaxes us. We enjoy the cool colors that seem to accompany a water theme. So recently, when deciding to change our family-room space, into a crafting-room space, “beach colors” came to mind. We can’t get there physically, but we can get there in our minds – it represents a realistic “move” toward a “plan.” We replaced a (still lovely) traditional, Cherrywood 3 piece wall unit – housing a 32” TV, VHS tapes, 😱 DVDs, never played games, antiquated stereo system, and a collection of Dickens Village pieces – with an update. We installed a 65” OLED wall mounted TV (what a difference) and chose IKEA for their innovative design solutions. (Inexpensive – easy assembly – movable by senior citizens – and they had beach/color/themed bins.) We already own several pieces in their black/brown, faux-wood collections: my “in-house” yarn shop is decorated with them. Kallax units, with their larger cubbies, and numerous bin offerings, have always worked well. This year they offered a woven, beach-grass bin option, which is/was so considerate of them! 👍🏻 Our configuration of 24 bins, filled quickly with all my art supplies, fabrics and sewing/quilting supplies. We hadn’t even touched the surface of my knitting/crochet, felting, fiber selections and assorted paraphernalia, needing space.



75th Anniversary Moose bag, Bag #2

75th Anniversary Moose bag, Bag #2

Last time I showed you the bag I was working on for myself, if you missed it you can check it out here; (

I took it to the Guild sale as an example of embellishing and started to work on the second bag. Unfortunately, while my bag (the Black Moose) was at the sale it got rubbed (yes that has to be supper wash….. it fuzzes with little provocation!!) So, I will have to go back and do repairs then finish it off in a different fiber.  Today I wanted to quickly (ok that’s quickly when considering my regular posts), show you what I have been working on for Glenn.

I had offered to make an embellished bag for him. I was considering blacksmith tongs entangled in the antlers but he requested a more 3-D shape and in moose-like colours. Ok, I can do that. This time I started with the 14-inch hoop and the Maori short batt fibre I had purchased in September at the Almonte Fiber Festival (it’s a fundraiser for the Almonte Textile Museum. If you are visiting the Ottawa area, you may want to check them out and maybe stop at the Wool Growers Co-op in Carlton Place too).

stone building, was the office for one of the mills in Almonte. now it is the Mississipy Valley textile museum1)Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Almonte, Ontario.

storage area of the Wool growers co-op. open ile in the back of the building, man leaning in doorway, with end of tractor visible. on ether side of ile are wrapped bundles of wool sorted and ready to ship2)The back storage area of the Wool growers co-op ( &

(exiting travel suggestions and back to felting)

I had been hearing about Maori short-fibre batts online and had been curious. I had purchased a light and dark brown, a mossy green and dark charcoal (that was what Bat on a stick was made from).  The fibre had felted to a very firm consistency on Bat so I wanted to use it for the moose, since rubbing may be a problem this fibre should be able to stand up to it if I use Bat on a stick as a guild.

Mayori batts in white cubes for sale at Almone tiberfest 20233)Display of Maori batts in the Wool and Paddle booth at Almonte (Lisa Paddle from Manotick Ont.)

I had success with the T38-333 needles so used them again. I may do the final surface work with the T40’s or T42’s since they will not be inserted into the ground fabric.

I started to work on the second bag as part of the demo at the guild sale. (I will show you the sale but it’s taking a while to sort all the photos by booths. I took 343 shots on Saturday and 279 on Sunday but I promise not to show you all of them!!!!)

Mettle table holding felting demo debree, black moose on bag haning in front, bags of fiber and brown moose on bag in embroidery hoop. 4) Felting set up in the demo area.

bottom of picture has top of embroidery hoop and a bit of Moose, behind are spinners and spinning wheel demoing happeing  5) I Was part of the demo team (when not taking pictures!)

As previously I started by creating a base well attached to the ground canvas

Detail of Moose felted antlers and felting needle sticking into canvis backing 6) Detail of Moose antlers

I continued into the body adding a base layer and following the shape of the silhouette.

Moose in embroidery hoop, sunlight racking across image a bit of fiber is sitting off to the side7) starting to fill in the body with a light brown wool base.

Building up the head and shoulders. Anns hand is holding the felting needle 8)Building up the head and shoulders

I did not get as far as I had hoped during the demo, but I did keep getting up to take pictures. I kept working on Moose and had him covered and somewhat rounded by the time of the Monday meeting. Bat-on-a-stick also attended.

 9) Bat-on-a-stick sitting in Moose bag. hanging off the handle of a walker (Bat is holding the extra needles)

added the ear, and the body is more rounded. hanging on walker handle 10) I have added the ear, and the body is more rounded. The bag is hanging on the handle of my walker and is holding the fibre I was working with and the batt.

After the meeting, I was getting sore-er after moving a few things in the studio the day before. So, I planned to take it easy and focus on Moose. I wanted to give him the closer antler in 3D. This would require an armature and its inclusion into the partly rounded head and neck.

antler armature laying on top of antler on the bag11) Checking the wire armature for the antlers, against the antler in the silhouette.

Close up of the antler armature12) Close-up of the antler armature.

Dollarama stems (floral wire) posibly 20ga steel13) Unfortunately, Dollarama does not say what gauge the stems are, but I suspect 20ga-coated steel.

I used two 15-inch long floral wires to twist and create the antlers. The back antlers were the pattern for the wire armature.  Is should have made the prongs a bit longer but was able to build them up a bit with wool.

Moose making was briefly interrupted by my order arriving from Sara’s last sale (I got the moose workshop on an SD card.) I know, I can make one from scratch at this point, but it will be interesting to see how she does it and she usually has some bit that is an Ah-Ha moment. I am hoping she will have something inspiring to suggest with antlers and the difference between antlers with and without “velvet”. I am not sure I want to try the stage where the velvet is coming off,  it’s a bit gruesome, even for me!

Ok back to my, well Glenn’s, Moose. I wrapped fibre around each point and the main part of the antler then started to fill in the spaces in between. The shortness of the fibre did not allow me to work the same way I had done the little dragon wings. So I had to build up the fibres in much shorter sections, luckily I wanted the antlers thicker and firmer than the dragon wings.

showing armature now wool wrapped, forming antler14) showing wool wrapped antler

I checked for placement as I worked. Then built up the base that would attach the antler to the “skull” (no I did not get that anatomical and make him a skull)

Checking positioning of the wire insertion15) Checking the positioning of the wire insertion

Ok, this part is a bit gruesome (not as bad as the pealing antlers) so you may want to look away if you’re squeamish. I took the trailing wire under the antler and drove it into his head so it came out near his carotid artery.  (I did warn you).

The end of wire had passed through the head and curved to come out in the neck 16) The end of the wire had passed through the head and curved to come out in the neck

Next, I bent the wire into a loop and pushed it flat against his neck, while making sure the antler was seated, tightly to the head. The next step is to start carefully adding fibre over the area of the injury, so no one will know that happened.

You can see a bit of the folded wire partly covered in wool 17) You can see a bit of the folded wire

You can still see a bit of the wire showing but it is starting to disappear! It is fabulous he doesn’t look like he will be permanently scarred from the procedure.

Close up of moose neck showing that the wire is now well hidden18) Close-up of moose neck showing that the wire is now well hidden.

top view of the added antler 19) Here is a top view of the added antler

There were a few other details that have been added to this moose. He has the understructure of his beard and bell

adding support for beard and bell under moose chin20) Beard support has been added I will likely add locks to create the beard when I am working on the surface colour.

Two of the feet have 3D tows21) Two of the feet have 3D tows

Under side of hooves22) Underside of hooves

Here is a view of the underside of the hoof, you can see the far side is attached to the ground fabric and the near side is totally 3D.

Lastly, I also added an eye, again it is blue,  but this is a much brighter blue. Yes, I checked, the eye should be brown but I like blue so both of the moose have blue eyes.

Blue bead added for his eye23)  Blue bead added for his eye

This is the point I have Glenn’s moose now. I still have a lot more to do. I will be adding shading to the understructure I have built up.  Glenn has indicated he would like to have yarn wrapped in the antlers so he will have to decide on the yarn colour and fiber. I will let you know how it goes.

Moose under structure finished. Felting needle sticking in hsi superor glutes.24) This is the point I have Moose 2 at now. (the needle in the glutes,  is that Moose-u-puncture?)

I have heard that other guild members are planning to personalize their moose too. If I see their augmented moose bags I will take a photo to show you.

Shetland Wool Week (SWW) September 2023

Shetland Wool Week (SWW) September 2023

This is a guest post written by Bobbie Herrick, my friend and level 3 stitch classmate. You can see some of her beautiful work here in my post about our exhibition. Bobbie is from the Seattle, Washington area and recently went to the Shetland Islands for Wool Week. I hope you enjoy her post.

Shetland Islands landscape with sheep in foreground and a house by water in the distance.

My friend Dorothy and I had wanted to learn how to do Fair Isle knitting as well as visit the Shetland Islands. We thought SWW would be a fun way to do both.  We knew our adventure had begun when we met Val, from Cleveland, Ohio sitting beside me on a flight from London to Aberdeen, Scotland.  This was her first time to SWW as well.

Shetland Wool Week Participants waiting at the ferry station.

After a day in Aberdeen we checked in at the ferry terminal in the evening for our ferry to the Shetlands.  We found the waiting room full of knitters.  Many of them were wearing the 2023 SWW design for the Buggiflooer Beanie.  Buggiflooer is the Shetland word for a sea campion which grows around the Shetland coast. The travelers were from a great variety of places  including Missouri, Texas, Canada, Australia, Poland, Sweden  and Japan.  Excitement was only temporarily dampened by the rough overnight crossing of the North Sea!

Knitted credit card case by Bobbie Herrick.

We arrived in Lerwick in the early morning and walked to our “Introduction to Fair Isle” class taught by a delightful, skilled tutor, Janette Budge.  There we were given wool to make a small Fair Isle piece. There were experienced knitters as well as beginners.

Later in the week, I was able to visit open houses of several local guilds and some designer studios.   Old and contemporary work was on display.  There were spinners, weavers as well as knitters.

We had only selected a couple of events out of an extensive list of exhibitions, talks, tours and classes. Many events were at different locations on the islands. The SWW ‘Hub’ located in Lerwick was a great resource for finding directions, events, and provided a comfortable place to knit and relax. There we were able to find additional sites and studios to visit.  It also had a map showing where participants were from.

During our week on the islands, we found the local people resourceful, warm and welcoming.  They are proud of their rich Scandinavian and Scottish heritage.

Resident of Shetlands Islands in knitted sweater, scarf and hat standing at the shore.

Shetland artists often get their inspiration from the natural environment and incorporate traditional and contemporary motifs in their lovely work.  There is much more I would have like to see and explore, so hope to return!

Thanks Bobbie for telling us about your trip!

Sea Patterns and Acorns

Sea Patterns and Acorns

Sea Patterns

I was recently showing some felt pictures in my little harbour hut gallery in Whitstable. 

Hut 23, Whitstable Harbour Market

I had two sea pattern pictures and someone was very taken with them, but neither of them was exactly what he wanted.  He liked the overall ‘troubled sea’ impression of Sea Pattern (on the left), and the ‘frilly bits’ top and bottom, but he preferred the size in the frame of Summer Sea (on the right).

After some discussion he (Peter, we were on first name terms by this time) decided he liked the idea of commissioning a picture from me.  Now, I’ve written once before about my qualms about taking commissions, link below if you want to take a look.

The long and short of it is that I find it very difficult to know what someone else sees in a picture, which means it’s difficult to be confident I can produce what’s in their head.  Even aside from whether I can translate what’s in my own head into felt.  My conclusion when I was writing previously was that I would take a commission for a picture I’d happily make anyway, on the understanding that if the person didn’t like it, I’d take it into my stock and they wouldn’t have to buy it. So, for example, I’d happily do a picture of a local coastal bird in its environment, but I’d be reluctant to take on anything I didn’t have a feel for and/ or wouldn’t want to make or offer more widely.

This commission fit my criteria so I asked Peter to describe in some detail what he liked about his favoured picture compared with the other one.  He liked the less calm, more turbulent feel of the winter sea pattern. I agreed to take the commission and took a 50% deposit as I think it shows good will on both sides.

These pictures are made by creating two lightly felted cobweb felt pre-felts (one in white and one in blue) then laying them onto a (predominantly pewter-coloured) background and felting them together.  I’ve developed this technique over a number of years.  They’re quite difficult to control but I enjoy the results.

When it came to making Peter’s picture, I first made some blue cobweb pre-felt.  I laid out two layers of a pewter-coloured merino wool background with a few greenish wisps on the surface for a bit of extra colour.  I then put the wet blue cobweb pre-felt on top.  I say pre-felt but it’s very lightly felted – only one step beyond wet wool – so I can pull it about to fit where I want it to go. That’s one of the things that makes it difficult to control.

First layer being laid out
Base layers with blue cobweb overlay

Rather than making new white cobweb pre-felt I used some I’d made previously – which is where I think I went wrong.  I realised in laying it out I didn’t have quite as much as I’d have liked. The client wanted some turmoil, which I interpret as a lot of white, and I was in danger of making a picture more similar to the summer sea pattern.

Final layout

Indeed, although I like the resulting picture – which I’m calling Autumn Sea – I decided it wouldn’t do for the commission so I had another go.

Finished picture – Autumn Sea

I do sometimes get carried away with what I like or am interested in trying and forget what I’m supposed to be doing

This time I would include more white, so I made a new batches of both white and blue cobweb pre-felt.

Laying out wool for blue cobweb felt

Here you can see the dry background: pewter with some wisps of green and blue.

Dry base layout: pewter with blue and green

And here it’s laid out with first the blue and then the white cobweb added, waiting to be felted.

Picture laid out ready for wet felting

And finally here’s the finished picture

I sent Peter a couple of photos, fingers crossed, but reminding him that I’d return his deposit if he wasn’t happy. Fortunately, he liked it and asked if he could name it.  So, it’s called ‘Upon Reflection’ and it’s waiting for me to frame it so Peter can arrange to pick it up. 


As a small aside, last month I participated in something called ‘East Kent Open Houses’.  People in this area open their homes or studios for 3 weekends in October to show their art.  I have two friends (Sue, a potter and Irene, a glass fuser) who I often exhibit with so we decided we’d show our work together in Sue’s lovely conservatory. Here’s a link to a video on Instagram if you’re interested in seeing what it looked like.  The potter is @suemortonceramics and the glass fuser is @irenesouthonglass.

We shared the stewarding which meant I had quite a few hours with nothing specific to do other than sit in the lovely conservatory and wait for visitors.  I’m way behind getting anything made for the upcoming seasonal markets so I thought I’d make some acorn tree decorations. I first made these a few years ago when I’d visited a park that had a gorgeous oak tree with large acorn caps.  I’d picked them up without knowing that I’d go on to making felt acorns for them.  So, I popped into the studio and grabbed my needle felting gear along with a few different wools as I thought I’d experiment to see how much they varied.

I tried 4 different wools: merino tops/rovings, merino & silk batt, Cheviot carded sliver & merino & silk pre-felt. The first ones I fully needle felted.  They all felted well. 

Felted acorn shapes along with natural acorn caps

You can’t see a lot of difference in the photos and indeed there wasn’t a lot of difference. As the Cheviot carded sliver was by far the cheapest of the wools and produced good results, I decided to go with those.  I also decided I got the best results if I knotted the end, lightly needled them into shape until they held their form then wet felted them.

Needle then wet felting gave the smoothest finish and was also quicker than the fully needle-felted ones. Ultimately, I think I just like wet felting more than needle felting.  I’ve glued on the natural dried acorn caps and a hanger, so these went off yesterday to a pre-Christmas fair of cards and decorations at Creek Creative Studios in Faversham, Kent. More info on their website

Felted acorn tree decorations on a stand ready for sale

And finally – an exciting challenge for 2024

There’s a fantastic Michelin-starred restaurant near where I live called The Sportsman. Looking on their website they say they took over The Sportsman in 1999 with the intention of serving good food in relaxed and informal surroundings.  It’s a good description. A link to their website, if you want to know more.

It’s not a ‘posh’ place. More like an old pub in a beautiful slightly out-of-the-way spot by the sea.  As well as serving fabulous food, they also display local artwork on their walls. I contacted them a short while ago to see if they were interested in a display of my artwork.  I sent some photos and they invited me to bring some work with me and come along for a chat.  Happily, they liked what they saw and have booked me in for 6 weeks from 1 April next year. All very exciting but I hadn’t realised quite how much space I’d have to fill.  They casually estimated about 35 to 40 pictures should do it.  Gulp.  So, I now know what I’ll be doing in January, February and March…..

Tools for Pricing

Tools for Pricing

The Guild show is looming and a real challenge is to price the final product. Producing everything is usually accomplished slowly, over several months; it accumulates in boxes and bags, then suddenly you realize the shows are upon you and you now have to price ALL this material! There are lots of discussions on-line and at meetings about competitive pricing in the arts and crafts community. We don’t want to undersell ourselves or price ourselves out of the market. We don’t want to be ‘greedy’ or foolishly inexpensive. Hand spun yarn is very fiber dense, very heavy when compared to factory spun yarn. So a hand knit scarf of hand spun yarn is going to weight more than one from commercial yarn. The benchmarks don’t apply.

But first you have to have a price, for that you need to measure and weight your products. The decision on what to charge is really difficult, but I search on-ine for hand-spun yarn of similar grist, similar fiber content, weight, etc, etc and see if I’m comfortable charging a similar price.

I was fortunate to find a tiny scale that weights from 1000g to .01g. It can be re-calibrated if I have a true weight of 1000g. I’ll look into getting one later this year. This is the only scale I’ve found that can weigh minuscule amounts of silk and cashmere.

The scale weighs in both metric and imperial on the fly, I just have to change the configuration.

So I don’t have to change the position of the fiber and can write the weight on the label right away.

Second I have a voice response computer to convert from imperial to metric and do math so I can keep working with labelling. Google is my friend.

And third, I have a yarn measuring device to measure the length of a specific diameter of yarn. This is the best thing to come my way in ages.

I can set the wraps/inch, mount the skein on the umbrella swift, start winding the yarn onto the niddy noddy and when I’m done the yarn measuring device shows how many yards or meters I have. When I want to convert to meters or yards, I use the voice activation on my computer to do the switch and its all done.

This skein is 20 wraps per inch

There is a plastic card included with the yarn measurer to check the wraps so you can set the device

The viewing screen is very clear and very easy to use.

Admittedly neither the scale nor the yarn measuring device perfectly accurate, the client gets more from both and that’s fine with me.

But the bottom line is to find what both you and the market will bear. We are in a unique position to negotiate with clients who come to our booths, to explain our products and discuss their needs. Pricing is more flexible at the guild sale and if this year looks like its a tough one for clients we can choose to be more willing to negotiate, or not. I will be more confident with my pricing decision once I get to the sale.

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