Thursday, 2 September 2010


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 is it ok? 
I can just about cope. 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.


karen said...

I'm so happy about your son, it's great news. as for the iphone, I'm scared of them and being a Trafford Centre hater too i understand how you feel although they now have a John Lewis...a.k.a. brilliant fabric choices so i feel myself drawn even if I am trying my best to resist.

NuminosityBeads said...

That felt is AMAZING! I think felting is one of the next things on my list. What a wonderful sampler.
xoxo Kim

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I'm sitting here smiling too, because your smile is shining right through the computer. Such a great post of wonderful things! Glad your son got the job and seeing that wonderful young couple basking in the sun is a total delight. Oh - and the felting looks like such fun!!

Thimble Fingers said...

Well done to your son, bet he feels on top of the world.
Great felt pieces!
Good luck with the phone. I stick with an antiquated one because they are so complicated now, they do my head in.

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

I always love your sense of humor and in this post one turn of phrase really struck a chord - "Collinette yarn ..... for fondling purposes"! ROFL! Primarily because I have some for that very same reason! No plan to use it, just could not resist the siren call of the gorgeous stuff!
You have surpassed me with the iPhone 4; I'm still on version 3 and I, too, have guilt. But I am planning to just learn to live with it!
Your class sounds wonderful and if I lived on the right side of the ocean, I'd sign up.

Heather Woollove said...

Oh, Jackie--What a wonderful post!
Your workshop projects are lovely
and it's so nice to hear of other teachers who are so generous and engaging!! I'm also delighted that your son got the job!! No need to justify your new phone. We all have our little indulgences. :)
...and I agree '(yarn) for fondling purposes' has to be the funniest sentence I've heard in some time!! Hugs--

molly jean said...

Lovely felt! I like where you snipped to show the under colors. Also, I enjoyed the rest of the post! I feel that guilt and the need to justify a purchase sometimes, too. Lovely old couple. Blessing others often does us as much good. "Goodness is its own reward," they say. Congratulations to your son!

marigold jam said...

Love the felt samples. Congratulations to your son and hope he will enjoy his new job. Glad too that you found you got as much from helping your neighbours as they did - they certainly looked happy! Hope the new 'phone will work well now it's sorted and I know what you mean about guilt since I am still using a "brick" pay as you go one and can't justify to myself getting something smaller and more up to date!


Gina said...

Lovely post Jackie and your felt is beautiful. Congratulations to your son! I still have a pay as go go brick and an ancient (very slow) computer... I worry that it will be something else to learn if I try to update them!

Menopausal musing said...

A lovely post Jackie and well done to your son! Technology is alright, but the learning....... definitely headache inducing!

silverpebble said...

Ooh those felts you have made - lichen, seaweed, ancient rocks, liverworts, clouds. Just gorgeous. I've been to Farfield Mill quite a few times - so glad you had fun.

It's lovely to see your neighbours looking well after all they've been through.

Twiglet said...

What a lovely up-lifting blog this is!!! Congrats all round - great felt, son's job and a happy treat for your elderly friends!

hensteeth said...

Such good news about your boy Jackie...really great news.
Felt is fab! step forward and two back! But it's going to be your bestest friend.
You are a sweet and kind lady to look after your friends/neighbours the way you do. xxx

Rachel said...

Well done to your son. I hope you recover from your encounters with the Trafford Centre - I don't know of many more miserable places to be!

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

Great post Jackie. Congratulations to your son. Love the felts! They are so bright and interesting. My best friend who taught me to make felt and recently moved to a new house and now has a 'felting studio' in the form of a little stone walled back room with a huge skylight! She is starting workshops soon and I get to go for free! Hurrah!

Heather said...

Congrats to your son on getting his job. Your felts are amazing - gorgeous colours and such interesting textures. I thought I was the only yarn fondler! What a dear couple your neighbours are - I'm sure they enjoyed their little trip in the sunshine. Hope the new phone behaves itself.

Julie said...

Yay!!!! Well done for your son :o))

Your felt is gorgeous and a gentle way of felting sounds good to me.

Trekky said...

Congrats to your son.

I love the cutting back technique - such a great effect.

Monica said...

oh brilliant. and brilliant to your son. and to you, and the new phone...and the most fantastic workshop!!

lilylovekin said...

It was nice you found a class that you enjoyed. I like taking classes, but find it frustrating as I never use what I learn once I'm home. I think you are a very good person to be so kind to your neighbors and I hope that they are thankful.

Mrs Yappy Dog said...

The felt looks lovely I would love to try. The best bit was the end - your neighbours look so sweet and I bet they had the most lovely time just being 'out' and watching what was going on around them. Old people are so precious and have so much to teach us, don't they. xxx

beadbabe49 said...

Great to hear all your good news!

Emma said...

These are fabulous. I'm just working out how to use an embellisher machine! I'll have fun trying. left a comment about your Hebridies visit, too.

Rosie said...

If you count Anglican blessings I hereby absolve you from all guilt feelings!! You may have to return the favour because I am SO covetous of your new Iphone 4 ... snot fair I want one (don't need one but what's that got to do with it)?

The felt is brilliant - it sounds like a superb day out. Have sadly concluded I can't make felt because my arms don't work well enough, but that doesn't stop me admiring it!


Gorgeous post Jackie, absolutely gorgeous and inspiring felt pieces. You have got my imagination fired up too x

Mermaid's Purse said...

I'm smiling too after reading your post and how your neighbours look so pleased you went to the trouble of taking them out for a bit! The felts are beautiful, glad your son got the job and glad I haven't got a mobile phone!

Re your recent comments ... I fiddled with the machine no end for days, new needles, changing bobbins & threads ....... the longer it gets and I haven't heard the more scared I am! I have heard many stories about the holiday camp at St Mary's Bay - an elderly neighbour went with her classes (Seven Sisters and/or St Ann's Highgate/Tottenham way for a number of years) ......... keep smiling!!!!!

Linda said...

The felted pieces are so inspiring Jackie; I love all that layering and cutting through. Its a shame Farfield Mill is a bit of a treck for me - but maybe I can incorporate a visit into a future holiday...
(I notice Jeanette is teaching in Puglia next week!)

Hope you've sorted your phone by now (its very important to treat yourself every now abd then you know!:-)
Congrats to your son - thats great news.
And your lovely friends are very lucky to have such a thoughtful neighbour.....

JP said...

so happy about your son - why do we worry so about our 'children'!!!!!!!! love all your felts
I too hate the Trfford Centre!!!!!!!!!!

Kitty said...

Congratulations to your son. That's wonderful news - when does he start?

Congratulations too on the iPhone. I was tempted. My brother was going to upgrade is 3.6 (or whatever it was) to a 4.0 and was I interested? In the end I didn't have it. I have an iPod Touch instead, which isn't a phone or camera (but then I have those) but does everything else.

Love those felts you made - so delicious.


Friko said...

congratulations all round.

Forget about the Catholic guilt. My continental Catholicism (as was) celebrated pleasure and happiness and even a new phone - at least that's the bit about it I kept.

karen said...

well I think we can take it that anonymous has got the message!!

A Time to Dance said...

What fantastic news about your son JAckie...your post made me luagh when you listed what you dont do...I cant imagine you having a spray tan...or myself for that the way I have done it and I have a new lease of life...

ArtPropelled said...

Congratulations to your son for getting the job! Well it was his birthday after all. Lovely newsy post Jackie. I like the snip happy piece as well as the other pieces. Its quite an intriguing process.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Dear Anonymous.....

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