Thursday, 26 May 2011

Sketchbook pages two and three - Wash and Leave(s)

Lots of dyeing to do today but thought I'd do a quick update of my sketchbook pages before I accidentally delete them off the camera!

Page two version 1.... (watercolour wash with black pen "clouds")

Page two version 2... (watercolour wash with ink "flowers")

Page three version 1... (inspired by the leaf shape above, pen, pastels and some interesting platinum pink pearlescent metallic paint I found in my artbox!)

Page three version two.....(a collage based on a very prolific weed with very pretty leaves from our garden).

Preferences from these two pages are the second version of page two - the first version is just not very exciting and looks like a landscape gone wrong! I like the boldness of the second one. Page three I think the collage as it's a bit different, using a combination of fabric and old wallpapers from a fabric/wallpaper sample book. I think a wash over the page on the collage might have been a good idea to bring out the white shapes.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

C is for....Courses

I've just enrolled on a textiles degree course! I am so excited I could crush a grape! (ooh, that dates me a bit).

Two things prompted me to finally do this. The first is down to Vicky and her sketching project. I'm enjoying it so much it is really getting rid of some of my "drawing demons" and giving me back some confidence with pen and paper. Secondly, I recently joined the new "Shed" Textile Club at the Creative Recycling Gallery in Chorlton (below) and meeting lots of like-minded textile-y people made me realise how much I've missed working with textiles outside of pure knitting.

My first degree is in Classics (visions of being Lara Croft I think - yes, you can stop laughing now!) and, though I've done many courses in textiles I never got as far as a formal degree. What with family, work etc., taking another three years out to do a second degree seemed somewhat selfish so I parked the idea. But, the more I teach the more I find I want to teach and the more I want to learn, so I've finally taken the plunge and enrolled on a part-time degree course with the OCA. I'm a bit nervous but really excited at the same time.

I'll be keeping a learning log online, but I don't want to bore everyone witless with my daily doodlings, so I'm going to see whether I can keep it here on a separate page or whether I'll need a new blog. Either way, if you're interested in following how it goes, I'll let you know when I get things up and running. And if anyone out there is doing, or has done, an OCA degree (or a textiles degree generally), do let me know - it would be great to share experiences and progress!

At this point it would seem rude not to give a big thank you to Vicky and to Pam, Christine and all the ladies at the Textile Club so thank you!

Monday, 16 May 2011

B is for Black Welsh Mountain (or not)

Week two of the ABC meme and my B is for the Black Welsh Mountain sheep. Or at least kind of. You see, I was gifted a fleece by a friend's Mum and I was informed that it was from a Black Welsh Mountain sheep so it should have looked like the feisty beastie above. Now, what would a dyer want with a black fleece I hear you ask? Well, I do like a black fleece as they are very useful for blending and for contrasts in yarn, black being a difficult colour to achieve when dyeing fleece. So as I wasn't expecting to dye my new acquisition, I put it in the cupboard ready for when it was needed.

So I was not a little surprised when I was having a fleecy stock-take and found that my black fleece was in fact, white!

 (It was in a thick sack hence why I hadn't noticed beforehand). Mmm, well not so much white as a rather mucky brown.

Added to that the fact that is had been at the back of my cupboard for...let's just say a while shall we?... and I wasn't wildly optimistic.

Here's what I had when I opened the sack.....

And in the bucket (think yourselves lucky the internet hasn't got smell-o-vision).

But, after several washes, I ended up with this.....

Sure there are some daggy bits but it is actually beautifully soft with a nice crimpy staple (about 4" give or take). There's no kemp and the best areas are bright white. Of course now I a) can't wait to dye it and spin it and b) am intrigued to know what it is! Any suggestions anyone? (Oh, and it is a large fleece - we are talking Wensleydale size here - The pic above is barely a quarter of it!).

Here's the staple for you fleece sleuths out there....
(For more info about the real Black Welsh Mountain sheep, check the breed website, here

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Sketch book page one...

Finally got the sketchbook out and did a bit of doodling.....

I used coloured pencils so the colours aren't very intense in the pics but no surprise as to the choice of colours so pink and purple it is then.....

Page One (Version One)

And Page One (Version Two)

And (there's more!) Page One (Version Three)

As you will gather, I really enjoyed this : )

The DH wasn't sure about the "mutated cells" in v3 (his description not mine!). My personal favourite is probably v2. What about you?

(Oh, and a quick mention that Vicky's had to change the blog address for sketchbook updates - it's now here or you will find it via Vicky's main blog here).

Monday, 9 May 2011

A is for..."Art"

Courtesy of An Accidental Knitter I am taking part in the Learn your ABC meme. And my "A" is "Art".

My lovely friend Vicky, writes a super blog and it is always replete with amazing photographs and images. She is, of course, a very talented artist!

I, on the other hand, may be comfortable with art when it involves textiles but put a pen/pencil/brush in my hand and ask me to commit anything to any form of 2D medium and I'll run a mile! (I blame this on an a school art teacher who threw me out of her class because I couldn't draw a wall and make it look real. This same teacher threw out my friend for refusing to paint her tree blue - go figure). Anyway, not that I am bitter or anything but I've had a morbid fear of drawing ever since.

Soooo, this is my attempt to undo the damage done by Mrs X .

Vicky has created an amazing project, a kind of sketch-a-long. You can find out more about it on her blog 2.

To get me started I treated myself to some "stationery stash" (I do love stationery!). There's nothing quite like a new sketchbook and set of pencils to inspire even the most reluctant drawer! Here is my little haul.....

Then I remembered an older stash from my City & Guild days so I had a good rummage. And I found these....

So now I think I have all the wherewithal (and no excuses for not getting on with it!) watch this space. (And if you fancy a bit of sketching or just want to see what everyone is up to, do pop along to Vicky's blog and join in!)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

More pattern uploads! Woolly Scarf and Tasselled Hat

Two more of my patterns are now available for download on Ravelry

Not quite the thing if you're in the UK and looking out at the sunshine but I'm trying to be systematic and upload my patterns in some kind of order so apologies if you're wondering why I've put a hat and scarf on there!

The Colourful Woolly Scarf is a freebie - yay!  : )

The matching Tasselled Woolly Hat is available as a pattern via Ravelry and is also available on the website in my Kool Aid kit range  (the "No Hassle Tasselled Hat").

Hope you like them!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Simply Homemade magazine needs you!

Get a group of knitters together and we'll often discuss what's good/great/(bad!) about knitting magazines. Simply Homemade is a new magazine with knitting content (as well as a wider selection of crafts) and they're looking for knitters' views on what makes us buy/not buy a magazine.

If you'd like to contribute your thoughts, there's a quick survey here and a chance to win a free subscription.

(No connection with us and the magazine, by the way, just thought it was a nice opportunity to have the opportunity to share what you think and influence what is/isn't in your knitting magazine/s of choice).
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