since June…

I needed a blogging break after finishing my course but it grew rather longer than I intended. If anyone is still here reading, this is what I’ve been doing since then.

In July, I was given a couple of Tiree fleeces, a Jacob and a Suffolk, by a very kind crofter friend, and spent some time learning how to turn this


into this,


and then to this.


August brought visitors and walks by the sea.


In September, we sadly said goodbye to Tansy, our darling companion of almost 17 years – this photo was taken in the spring. She loved to run on the beach and the machair right up to the week she died. I miss her so much.

Tibetan spaniel

In October I collected blues, yellows and greens together and made some little pieces of felt for the International Day of Felt. But I didn’t get myself organised in time to get other people involved as well – I will next year, I hope, when the colours will be Red-Purple-Blue.


While all my flat surfaces were filled up with blues and yellows and greens…

fibre and fabric

I spun some of it too.

handspun yarn

In fact, I’ve been spinning a lot in the last few months. I’ve woven scarves with some of these yarns now, but the basket keeps filling up again.

handspun yarns

I think my birthday visit to the mainland deserves a post of its own, for another day. I don’t quite know how this blog will evolve without the focus of the OCA course. Mostly textiles still, of course, but maybe a bit more of life as well. I’ve tried keeping a separate blog for ‘other stuff’ but since it’s a challenge to keep one blog alive, let alone two, a more eclectic mix may be the way to go from now on.

textile tv

Thanks to Joanna at Things [Handmade], I just learned about a very exciting new TV series, Talking Threads, which is going out on Sky and on the online TV channel, and will be made into a DVD as well. The series starts in mid-October – may it be the first of many.

I’d not come across the Country Channel before but it has some other goodies too, including a short feature on Farfield Mill in Cumbria and a 3-part series called Inspirations – interviews with different textile artists about their inspiration and process.

The other thing that caught my eye this week was the new Galleries feature on Flickr. You can collect up to 18 images by Flickr users "around a theme, an idea or just because". So I’ve made a small celebration of the washing line.

Flickr galleryon the line


Penny over at Fibrefrolics has tagged me with this – the rules are to answer the questions, replacing one and adding another and then to tag 8 other bloggers to do the same. I’m feeling a bit shy about tagging anyone, but it was fun to do, so if you would like to join in, please consider yourself tagged forthwith!

What are your current obsessions? feltmaking, dyeing, breakfast

What are you currently reading? Shibori by Yoshiko Wada, Life without Bread by Allan and Lutz, Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff

What’s for dinner? goulash with soured cream, salad, cauliflower gratin

Where do you plan to travel to next? Edinburgh, for my nephew’s wedding, then Cockermouth for the Woolfest

What is your favourite film ever? Some Kind of Wonderful

Care to share some wisdom? motivation follows action (I wish I know who said that, it’s so true)

Where would you rather be right now? there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here, on Tiree

If you could be an animal other than a human, what would it be? a dolphin

What is your favourite flower? columbine, though to choose just one sorely challenges my decision-making capacity

Favourite textile artist? no, one is just not possible – Jane McKeating, Heike Doll, Jae Maries, India Flint, ……

What’s your favourite word? (my addition) spindrift

felted fabric and Mr Bear

When I was playing with nuno felting using sari ribbon (see the previous post), I thought about doing some similar things with different types of fabrics. This is a bigger piece of felt using some strips of tray-dyed muslin (blogged here).

nuno felt

nuno felt detail

When I started this piece my plan was to make a piece of fabric and use part of it to cover a dining chair seat but I’m not sure now, I quite like it as a whole. Though I would have paid a bit more attention to the edges if I hadn’t been intending to cut them off! Perhaps I’ll hang it up for a while and then cut it up. It’s 53 x 73 cm (shrunk from 75 x 95cm).

If you hang felt, how do you hang it? if you don’t want to frame it? I don’t think I’ve come across anything written down about that and would be interested to know what methods people use.

On another note, I was thrilled to learn a week or two back that I’d won a giveaway on Caroline Inckle’s blog The house of secret superheroes and could choose any print from her Etsy shop – a difficult decision as they are all so lovely, but in the end this is the one I chose…

meeting mr bear

It’s ‘Meeting Mr Bear’, which is one of a set I’ve loved since I first saw them on Caroline’s old blog. The image says something very special and magical to me about God, about love and prayer and discovery and trust. I know that’s a very idiosyncratic interpretation of the work, but this image touches my spirit and it’s such a joy to me to have the print. Thank you, Caroline.

treats and things

Treats that came in the post in the last few days – a set of beautiful cards by Caroline Inckle; and a copy of Alyson B. Stanfield’s I’d Rather be in the Studio – The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. I’ve read good things about this book, and although I’m not (yet) making things to sell, I think that some of the ideas will be relevant to promoting any small creative business, including web design. Marketing is not my strong point – self-effacement, that’s easy; self-promotion doesn’t come naturally at all. It’s something I very much need to change so I’m looking forward to reading and learning from Alyson’s book.

Another treat recently was going round to Tiree airport (all of half a mile from where we live) – three times – once to meet the plane and twice to see it off. For some reason I find planes very exciting and airports very interesting! I blogged about it on my other blog. This is a different view of the airport that caught my eye.

patterns at Tiree airport

I made something yesterday too – a needlefelted thingy to go on a birthday card – but I won’t post a pic till after the day. Just a little scrap of frivolity, but I’ve been feeling blocked since I packed up to move, so it was good to have a deadline to play to. My aim for this week is to make Alan some felt slippers; I’d been thinking about it anyway and I feel inspired by this tutorial posted a few weeks ago by Monika of red2white. I’ve got as far as drawing round Alan’s (size 11) feet! And shortlisted some fibres – I’ll mostly use some Hebridean roving I got at the Woolfest, which is a springy dark brown/black with some white fibres, and card it with undyed alpaca and dyed merino for softness and to enrich the colour.