April 30, 2015

How people use my British Rare Breed Locks

Having just been asked if I had any ‘wool’ suitable for doll hair I said ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’

I couldn’t tell what was suitable over the phone so my friend popped round with her scantily clad ‘lace project’ a beautiful fabric doll wearing a lacy negligee, lace stockings, suspender belt, bra and panties. But she was BALD! We trawled through baskets of sorted curls and bags of unsorted curls until we decided on overdyed black Wensleydale. As she is a work in progress you’ll have to wait until she’s complete before she is revealed.

Previously the same friend had asked me for curls for her mermaid, well, here is the result. The embroidery and beading is all hand stitched. I’m in awe!

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This next project (different maker) is a male doll about 60cm tall, he is in the ‘raw’ so avert your eyes if you are of a delicate nature.

Who knew this is how my hand dyed locks would end up!

male doll with Teeswater hair

And now for something completely different, a needlefelted bear!

bear

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December 7, 2014

Giant Needle felt Christmas cake

Last in the giant trilogy came the cake. Won’t be the last giant construction but it is for this year. Weighing in at about 2k and over 40″ around it’s decorated with merino tops ‘piping’,a sprinkle of mohair. a mini snowman, tiny snowballs, sprig of holly and holly berries. Now gracing May’s Antique shop window in Cliffe High st. Lewes.
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November 25, 2014

Giant Pumpkin and pudding

A few years ago I created what I believed to be the largest needle felted pumpkin in existence, it was rather large and made a fabulous footstool but it spent much of it’s life bagged up in the barn. A chance conversation with a Lewes shop owner eventually found the pumpkin travelling to Alfriston where it made a wonderful display in a shop window there.

Then I was commissioned to make a giant Christmas pudding, this one weighed in and 1.2K and was 45″ around and 14″ tall. 30 mini puddings accompanied it to Alfriston too for the Christmas window display.

30 Snowball decorations will be decorating a certain antique shop window in Lewes just after the beginning of December and mini puddings will be in another. Many of my decorations will adorn the tree in a high street bank in Lewes too.

My next big commission is still under wraps but look for it in Mays window in the next week or so.

My supply of fleece has dwindled but thanks to a certain auction website, they keep arriving. When I’m not washing the fleece I’m felting it.
I’ve never made this many felted items and I’m happy to say that I’m using British wool in everything I’m making.
Happy Christmas everyone!photo 1 (2)photo 1 (3)

June 8, 2014

South of England show 2014

Hectic week, delivering our entries to the WI marquee on Tuesday morning ready for judging, preparing needlefelting kits on the Wednesday, running a needle felt workshop on the Thursday, peg loom weaving with Guild of Weavers, spinners & dyers on Friday and being a visitor on Saturday. We had to stay late to collect all our WI competition entries so it was a long ole day.Of course we didn’t agree with the judges choices, not just because she didn’t choose ours!

Such organisation goes into these events, whether it’s the WI or the Guild everyone volunteers their time, the spinners & weavers turn up and demonstrate over the 3 days, their beautiful hand crafted items on display. There is no remuneration for their time and effort, we are not allowed to sell any of our items, we can only promote the Guild as a whole and encourage people to learn some of the skills we demonstrated. It was convenient for the Guild’s marquee to be next door to Plumpton college sheep shearing demonstrations so the link between the sheep and yarn was there.

Seeing all the stunning entries in the WI marquee makes me worried that it may put some members off entering future competitions, the standards are so high almost unachievable, but if everyone thought that there would be no competition! I try to encourage members of Ringmer WI to enter something and they did, I will encourage them to enter the Autumn show, it was our first ever time last year and we won several classes. The show committee work so hard to make these shows successful and they always look amazing. This year the weather was great and hopefully even more members of the public enjoyed seeing all the entries.

On my ‘day off’ I went to look at the sheep and saw a Teeswater sheep in the ring, he was in the runner up class against many other breeds, mostly meat sheep, of course his wool was the best in the class but being a bit on the skinny side not much good for the plate. Bizzarly he was next to a Wiltshire Horn sheep that had no wool at all. (not much use to a spinner). I tracked down the owner of the Teeswater and admired the 3 sheep that were there. Turned out he was interested in having them shorn so he talked to the head shearer and at 4pm the sheep were led to the college pens. A rather large crowd then watched as Thomas was shorn, thankfully he wasn’t too lively and the shearer experienced so the fleece came off without too many second cuts and Thomas sustained no injuries. The crowd applauded!  2 other sheep followed and I was very happy to be able to buy 2 of the fleece, even happier to be able to lead Thomas back to his pen, he was so gentle and his skin so soft.

A show to remember for sure!

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July 8, 2013

British Rare Breed wool for Blythe doll Re Roots

Blythe doll collectors have discovered that our finest British Rare Breed wool makes beautiful hair for their unusual dolls. I don’t often get to see what my customers do with their purchases but every now and again I get a surprise, here is the latest customised Blythe doll by a talented artist from the USA.

I’m so happy that people around the world appreciate our amazing wool and as long as the sheep are happy to wear it I’ll keep dyeing it!

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May 11, 2013

Alpaca shearing 2013

The lads from New Zealand arrived bright and early to shear almost 100 alpacas at Spring Farm Fletching the day after the Spring show at Ardingly. Many of the animals to be shorn were prize winning alpacas and their fleeces were stunning.

The shearing ‘crew’ took a wee while to set up, farm helpers and willing volunteers rounded up the alpacas into a waiting area and 2 by 2 they took their their turn to be shorn.

The sorting crew had about 6 mins to skirt the fleece,bag and label it before the next one arrived. So many beautiful fleeces, I would have liked to take about ten of them home! One outstanding suri really caught my attention and it’s on my wish list. Mostly shades of grey with some brown patches here and there. SImply stunning.

If you’ve never spun alpaca before you really don’t know what you’re missing! It requires washing but takes less time than wool. Some people spin it straight from the animal but I feel you trap much dust this way which wont all come out when washed in the skein.

I have many colours in stock and can supply washed or unwashed.

I had to laugh as one of the alpacas is called Mr Tumble which took me back a few years to when I watched the TV show with my grandson!image020image016

 

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May 3, 2013

Spring Garden and Leisure Show Ardingly 2013

Last years show was one of the wettest on record and was literally a wash out for many of the traders. This year it looks like the sun is paying us visit and I may well need a sunhat & suncream. The East Sussex Guild Weavers,Spinners & Dyers will as usual be demonstrating their skills with members from other local guilds. We will be in a marquee near the alpaca show.Image

I will be there on Sunday demonstrating needle felting and broomstick crochet.

The show is also open on Bank Holiday Monday.

May 1, 2013

Shearing 2013

Due to the aweful wet summer we had last year and then the snow at lambing time it has been a really bad time for the sheep farmers in this country. Although I have had a trickle of fleece throughout the winter I underestimated how much fleece I would need to see me through til this years shearing. I have been frantically contacting people to find out if they have fleece and have procurred a little every now & then but really not enough to sustain the business.

This year I plan on buying masses, not all at once, I haven’t the storage for that but if I can get a steady supply throughout the year and have a good stock by autumn there should be no shortage of curls in the shop.

I have learnt to be quite picky about what I want in a fleece and what is a good price, bearing in mind the farmer needs to eat too.

This year there should be Masham, Lincoln Longwool, Wensleydale (both black and white), Wensleydale x’s, Teeswater, Blue Faced Leicester and other breeds that will be suitable for needlefelting.

I have some fabulous Galway in stock that needlefelts easily and is perfect for the inside of any creation. I’ve yet to dye it but it’s a huge fleece so it’s worth a try.

Don’t forget I can dye to your requirements and with so many different fleeces in stock I’m sure I can please most people!

Next week I will be at Spring Farm for shearing day, not that I need to add to my stock of fibre, there are still many colours available to buy, just ask. I can supply it from the animal or washed.

Here’s looking forward to a very woolly 2013!

February 19, 2013

Wet and dry felting workshop

Come along and learn how to make your own felt bowl and needlefelt eggs. Using hand dyed merino and natural white the vessels are pretty and useful, certain to brighten up the home.

Monday 4th March 2013 Workshop time ; 7pm – 9.30pm at Brighton Road Baptist Church. Places are limited so book early, either through me or the Make website.

www.makehorsham.wordpress.com

We will make a few needlefelt eggs to pop inside too!

A felt vessel by Jay

A felt vessel by Jay

February 6, 2013

My Best felt vessel and learn how to make your own!

Finally after many attemps I have created a bowl that is actually a bowl and not just a wobbly shape that you can put things in. With many layers of merino wool and a little silk this pretty bowl is hopefully the first of many to be created by these fair hands.

If you’d like to learn how to make a similar version why not come along to my workshop in Horsham. Monday 4th March 2013 Workshop time ; 7pm – 9.30pm at Brighton Road Baptist Church. Places are limited so book early, either though me or the Make website

www.makehorsham.wordpress.com

Just in time for Easter we will make a few needlefelt eggs to pop inside too!

A felt vessel by Jay

A felt vessel by Jay