Monday, 31 December 2012

Dyeing weekend with Grampian Guild

 What an epic drive but what a great weekend! Eight hours on the road each way, amazing scenery and a lucky break with the weather probably covers the journey nicely. Naturally there wasn't much chance to take photies en route but I couldn't resist trying to get a few snaps of the fantastic feats of engineering that are the Forth road and rail bridges. I can see these amazing structures featuring in some of my design work in future...

After a very comfortable evening and a most excellent veggie breaksfast we made our way to Chapel Garioch for two days of colourful fun!

We experimented with lots of techniques from solid colours,

Ball dyeing

Blank canvas sock blank painting

 And handpainting

We dyed handspun


Silk hankies


Sock blanks


We even kept the napkins we used to soak up excess dyes for papermaking!

Thanks for a great weekend, ladies!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Clubs - August - Agave

August's colourway was Agave, inspired by some of the amazing plants at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

The sock club this month was our lovely High Twist Superwash Merino/Nylon. The twist in this yarn is particularly pretty and makes the springiest, squooshiest socks!

For Roving Medley members I chose a Norwegian roving which took the colour beautifully.

 Fibre Adventure Club this month was a lovely selection of Norwegian roving, Shetland fleece and silk hankies - plenty of scope for texture and blending!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Gigs, gigs and more gigs! The Feud

Just going back over the rest of the photos for 2012 and found a whole host of gigs I'd forgotten to blog about! (If you're not into gig stuff, feel free to skip ahead a couple of posts!).

Local band, The Feud, opened the evening with a great set. I liked it so much I bought the CD!

Apologies for the lack of drummer photos but, as always, drummers are the trickiest to catch - to make up for it, we got a great pic of me with all the band (including the drummer) after the gig.

Check out their most recent track here.....

Education, education, education!

Continuing with the theme of threes, the third set of three, this time with a teaching slant.

Learning is a two-way street and to prove it, I have one workshop with me as teacher followed by two learning experiences with me as student to share.

Dye workshop at Purl City Yarns
A lovely session of dyeing with a very enthusiastic group of students. There was some beautiful work and some fabulous dyed yarns, unfortunately my camera battery had run out so no piccies - sorry folks.

You can catch me at Purl City next year teaching Spinning for Beginners on 16th February,
Lace Knitting on 16th March and Blank Canvas Dyeing (for making hand-dyed socks and lots of other interesting items!) on 13th April.

Arts Award

I am now qualified to teach Arts Award! This looks set to be my most in-depth teaching offering so far, with students needing to do between 40-60 hours of study experience to achieve their Bronze/Silver Arts Award qualification. It's a fantastic qualification and I'm really excited to be involved in it. Participants can take part in a wide range of arts activities and can demonstrate their learning using social media, video, audio diary etc., making it particularly appealing to young people for whom formal learning evidenced by written submissions, would be challenging. Students need no prior qualifications to take part but can achieve an accredited qualification. There's lots of information on the Arts Award website and there'll be more information soon on the main website and here on the blog, but if you'd like to know more about running Arts Award with your group/school or organisation, please do get in touch.

Craft Council Craft Club 

Craft Club is a brilliant initiative to encourage and inspire schoolkids to take part in craft activities.

To quote Craft Club's website:
"Craft Club is all about championing Craft in Schools, Galleries, Libraries, Community Centres, and anywhere else you can bring people together to pass on your craft skills!"

Julia and I spent a lovely day at Manchester Art Gallery training to run Craft Clubs. It was a brilliant day, we met some super people and had an absolute hoot making a web of knitting. We started off in a large circle, each knitting our little bit of fabric. Then we passed our work around the circle, swapped with other knitters and carried on. Our next challenge was to join up with our neighbouring knitter/s, forming us into little groups (some rather cosy depending on the length of knitting that had been achieved!). Our little groups then migrated to join with other groups and so on, until eventually we were all united by a single, interconnected web of colourful knitting.

If you'd like to set up a Craft Club with your organisation, do get in touch :-)

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Costumier - spandex a speciality!

When your son decides to go to a Superheroes and Villains fancy dress party you're really hoping for something nice and simple you can buy/rent from the fancy dress shop. But where's the fun in that?

After thrashing around a few ideas we settled on Mr Freeze. All credit to Will, he had most of it planned out pretty quickly. However, it was a bit odd ordering black wellies, an all-in-one black lycra skinz body suit, a pair of electric blue tights, purple gloves and a bald cap! (You should see the ebay "if you bought this, you may also like this" recommendations on our ebay account!).

A quick trip to Bolton market for neon blue leggings, wadding, blue poster paint and sheets of stencilling acetate completed the materials list. From my packing materials stash we bagged some corrugated cardboard and set to work....

Inspiration photo and materials...
 Wristbands (cut off legs of the tights and cut into slices, wadding)
 Wrap strips of wadding around sections of tights legs
 Fold leg sections around wadding
 Stitch the leg strips around the wadding to make armband "doughnuts"
 Completed armbands
 Cutting out the pieces for the collar and helmet
 Making the collar
 Testing for size
 Need to add a zip to the body suit for, er, well, access!
 Painting the collar
 Stitching in the zipper
 Add one pair of steampunk goggles, one water gun (sorry, extreme ray gun), purple gloves and a pair of wellies - et Voila - Mr Freeze!
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