Thursday, 23 August 2012

My North England Mule

When I went to Woolfest at the end of June , I bought a fleece. I had decided I would buy one before I got there . I was quite determined to buy one. My sister thought I had now gone completley mad.

The idea came from Kate of Arty Bird, take some raw fleece said the assignment. What , where am I supposed to get that from, so she sent me some and ever since then I thought well maybe I should make soem of my own.

So here I am at Woolfest determined to buy, truthfully I was bit overwhelmed by the choice. How to choose? In the end I bought a smallish fleece from a north england mule. A cross between a blue face Leicester ram and a swale dale ewe. Bred I believe to mix the hardiness of the upland mother , with the more prolific genes of its lowland father. My decision process was simple. I recognized the originating sheep , I like blue faced Leicester fibre, the fleece wasn't too expensive at GBP 7:00, and it looked fleece shape as far as I could tell.


It came from a sheep who lives at High Stanger near Cockermouth.

Here is a picture of a mule , taken at at Hawkshead show. It is a far nicer looking sheep , in my opinion than a straight Blue faced Leicester. For those of you who are interested.

It's taken me a while to start to clean it, in fact it's taken me until I returned to the North of England as there was no way I could take it on a plane in its raw state.

Here I am lying it out and trying to decided what to do with it

Having thrown away the really horrible bits , I washed it big by bit. It had to be bit by bit as a did not have a big enough pan for more than a small amount at a time. I think it taken me 6 pan loads! and has resulted in me filling the house with a sheepy smell, and in me getting lots of lectures on hygiene in the kitchen.

Drying, I would like to say in the sunshine, but as its pouring with rain I can't so it's in the house.

And here is a small amount after hand carding.

I am really pleased to have managed to produce something out of my crazy buy at woolfest. I love the way its turned from greyish to lovely creamy white and I am interested to see how much of the orginal 2.3 kg is now usefull fibre .


I am now thinking about what I am going to do with it. I will dye some and felt some . Pretty predictable really,







Sunday, 12 August 2012


Well today I have finished the framing of my felted pictures for the dying of the sun exhibition.

The framing has take me far longer than making the pictures!

First I had to work out how to stretch the felt pictures. That was quite easy really , just sew them to some black cotton fabric and stretch them over a piece of hard board that fits in the frame. The pictures have beads incorporated into them, so they needed to be set back from the glass. This was harder to work out , but after various options I decided to use some black foam board to space them back from the mount board. I liked this as it added a kind of black hole dimension.

Making sure I could hang them securely was he biggest problem. Eventally I decided on clips on the hardboard and then the hardboard screwed to the frame. The hardboard was then covered in cardboard and taped to he frame to stop harvest flys making their homes inside. Then just a wire across the back and it was finished. 

 All in all elapsed time of days!

Here they are The Pelican and Cygnus The Veil, with thanks to Mr Sharpless for the inspiration and Dave for his patience .

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Time for some reorganization

I have decided it's time for some reorganization . I have built a chaotic collection of fibres , now residing in two towers of Ikea boxes and numerous tins, recycled takeaway containers and boxes containing small precious items.


I have a range of dyed fabric and fibres . I have lot of white yarns and fabrics that could be used for dying. I have balls of yarns that can be incorporated into felt and I have a range of silk fibres and wastes. Not to mention paper, paints, pens, knives,scissors, threads, beads, and books. Try as I might everything is always lost. So whilst in a lull before I can make the final items for my course ,as I need yet more supplies I decide to have a clear out is needed.

But where to start. Not with my precious equipment , reference books and textiles, and junk , that might be useful one day. But with all the other stuff that's occupying space in my little attic room.

First the exercise bike. That can go to the spare room. Easy. Done.

Next the futon, Can we do without this? I think we can as we now have a spare bed, and we do not get so many visitors. What to do with it. I know recycle to one of the daughters who is about to move. She seems interested, demands photographs.


Probably she will have it . Well there is one option , in two weeks time , when we can take it on the ferry to England. Only snag she will not have her new house by then. We can work something out I am sure. She already has stuff stored at numerous locations , one of them can be persuaded to just squeeze in a futon, alongside a bureau and a settee for a few weeks.

So I have not actually reorganized anything much , just have a plan to make more space , which I can then fill with more Ikea boxes and maybe some labels so that I can find things.