I must say I am very hard to please with workshops these days having done quite a few but I spent a very enjoyable weekend, at Farfield Mill in Cumbria ,driving there both days, making felt with a superb teacher, Jeanette Appleton.
I'd admired her work for a long time so it was such a treat to join a workshop two weeks ago .
Farfield mill is a lovely venue, about 60 miles away so it was about an hours drive in good company with two lovely fellow felters.
On the first day I was driving and as I am pathologically late I made a special effort . We arrived about 9.45 and the workshop began at 10.30. This made me remember why I usually arrive late..I hate being so early.
The workshop was pure enjoyment from start to finish. I didn't feel like a dunce, I learnt loads, and I was inspired and delighted by Jeanette's enthusiasm, generosity and energy.
So here are some pictures just to show what we did.
We drew very basic lines and marks on paper and slipped them under a sheet of polythene.
Then we laid bits of thread and wool on the lines and when we were satisfied we laid wool tops very finely on that. Then we added more lines and bits and added a tiny bit of wool to hold it and wet them and rubbed them to create prefelts. We did this twice so we had plenty to work with the next day.
We cut the prefelts and thought about positions of colour an dtextures, adding more here and there, behind and on top, and Jeanette gave us loads of ideas of other things we could add. My head was bursting with it.
Then we wet it all and felted it together using Jeanette's gentle and effective technique, rubbing bits at a time .
All the little bits became part of the whole.
Needless to say I had 'the wrong stuff' with me but managed with some of the stuff I did have.
Scrim torn up, some strange unidentifiable fibre, some Colinette Yarn I'd had for years for fondling purposes, and some loosely spun wool rovings.
All were felted together to produce a great sampler for future reference.
Jeanette suggested I put a bright orange behind the fine prefelt and it works so well. You can just see the 'glow' at about 9 o'clock from the centre in the next picture.
I made a couple more prefelts on Sunday and hastily put them together to sample some techniques we learnt.
The black is silk chiffon which has been snipped after felting.
I got a bit 'snip happy' cutting back to layers of other colours when I got home.
Two good felt samplers to remind me and inspire me.
My second treat was a new phone. In our house as well as having the worst computer in the family until I got the new mac, I also had the clunkiest old pay as you go phone.
Now I've mentioned the Trafford Centre before always saying how much I hate it, but we had to go on Saturday to get my son suited and booted for his job interview on Tuesday which also happened to be his birthday. While we were there I bought a new phone, an iphone 4 no less. I feel as guilty as anything (Catholic you see) and am going around justifying it by saying all my clothes are from Tesco and Matalan, I don't have much jewellery, I don't get a spray tan, or my legs waxed, or manicures or expensive new shoes. My friend does my hair for a very small consideration, I am not a member of a gym and my car has just done 100.000 miles...so is it ok?
I can just about cope.
However.......to save a bit of money we got my phone as part of my husbands contract with the disastrous consequence that when I plugged it into my laptop to activate it, it somehow sucked up all my husbands information into itself, and became his phone. I had no phone at all. His old iphone was dead and we had to go and spend another 3 hours in the mobile phone shop in the hated Trafford centre to get it fixed.
Travelling to Manchester again today for a lesson in the Apple store or a 'One to One' as they call it. I learnt a lot.
The best bit about going to Manchester is the challenge of getting a picture of these from the M61.
This is the best so far, but sadly they were rather depleted. I usually go in the evening when the light is on them and there are a lot more, in orange, yellow and blue, looking like sinister beings from Science fiction.
I'll keep trying.
My third treat was for two other people.
My elderly neighbours are somewhat housebound and apart from hospital appointments haven't been anywhere since before Christmas. He has had major surgery, she a heart attack and at 86 and 87 they are doing well.
The weather was so nice yesterday that I took them down to the bottom of the hill in the car so they could have a stroll and a sit by the lake in the sun. I thought I was doing it for them, but they enjoyed it so much it made me feel good, so it was really for me.
But the best treat of all?
My son got the job.
My smile is enormous.