Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Goodbye Guinness

On Monday evening we had to say goodbye to Guinness, who had lived with us for 16 years, aloof and independent for most of that time. Until recently it took weather like this to keep him indoors.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Predilection for Plockton

Wonderful half term week in Plockton - the first residents we met on Sunday morning were of the Hebridean variety...

An afternoon spent on Calum's boat for a harbour seal spotting tour

For the time of year the weather was changeable but kind and spectacular at times - the changing light on the pass to Applecross:

same pass an hour or so later:
Raasay harbour - waiting for the return  ferry to Skye
The view from Plockton Cottages

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Potassium Permanganate Play Day

Tuesday 11th October 2011 Potassium Permanganate Dyeing on behalf of Region 9 International Feltmakers Association

Thanks to all those who took part and rose to the challenge of a change of venue before battle commenced!

I have had some lovely feedback from the day:
My clothes horse has a great selection of PP bits and I was delighted to unwrap a gorgeous silk piece with amazing patterns on it when I got home.
I found the day really useful because;
a] It showed me a way to dye a felted/silk/nuno creations so that the colours would be quite subtle and harmonious.
b] An excellent way to create a vintage feel to clothes for productions.
and c] best of all a safe way to explore bleaching effects at school if I pre dye the fabric with PP.
Penny is a great tutor being very approachable, knowledgeable, and well organised.
It was a really relaxed and pleasant day with a nice group of ladies and very interesting to see the diverse variety of outcomes.
I look forward to having the opportunity to do other workshops with Penny or yourself in the near future.
Thanks again
Best regards
This was a very good workshop. We were informed of the hazards of  working with Potassium Permanganate, The format of the day was outlined, we were shown samples of what could be achieved and we all soon started dipping our fabrics into the rich purple solution and being surprised at how quickly our silks and cottons took on a satisfying brown colour, sometimes shaded and sometimes an even colour all over.
After lunch we stitched and tied, wrapped and dipped.  It was tempting to want to undo immediately to find out exactly what pattern we had made.
Then we mixed a discharge gel and stamped patterns on to the fabrics we had coloured in the morning.   We all left with many samples to use in our felt and craft work feeling confident we could repeat the process at home and with many ideas to follow up.  -   Ursula
Hello Penny,

Thank you very much for a super workshop. It was absolutely top class and I know people were very happy with what they had produced. For me, it was a dream to run as you were so organised - Melanie

Dear Penny,
Thank you for a wonderful workshop yesterday with Melanie, I love the pieces I did and fully intend to work more on them and to do more dyeing - Caroline

It was a very interesting day, nicely paced so that you felt you were achieving something but also not rushed as can happen on some courses. there was a good range of activities to get through.
many thanks & best wishes
Penny B

Feedback on course:  I really enjoyed trying out the various dyeing techniques using Potassium Permanganate, looking at the samples Penny had brought with her and chatting to the other workshop participants about dyeing and feltmaking.  It was great to come home with samples that we can incorporate into our feltwork at a later date. Thank you for a very enjoyable day.
The only disappointment was that we didn't get to make our own bomb and take it home with us (maybe I misread the course outline?)!!  I hadn't realised dyeing could be so hazardous and it has raised my coolness factor with my teenage son immeasurably!  The ideas on what we could do with citric acid also gave food for thought and I await further instruction...
Best wishes,
Many thanks to Caroline for sharing her photos

Monday, 15 August 2011

looking for historical images of a great wheel and found this site...
the image is from the luttrell psalter, a celebrated manuscript, is one of the most striking to survive from the Middle Ages. Painted in rich colours embellished with gold and silver.
Commissioned by Geoffrey Luttrell, lord of the manor at Irnham, between Grantham and Spalding in Lincolnshire. He owned estates across England, due to his ancestor's loyal support and service to King John. The style of the illumination shows that Sir Geoffrey commissioned the Psalter some time between 1320 and 1340.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The 'Sett' from Benbecula - a weavers song

The black go by the white thread
the white go by the black led
the green go in between red
the red between the black thread.

The black go in between red
the red between the white thread
the white between the green led
the green between the white thread.

The white between the blue thread
the blue between the bright red
the blue, the scarlet-hue wed
the scarlet true the due thread.

The scarlet to the blue thread
the blue to scarlet-hue wed
the scarlet to the black led
the black onto the bright red.

A thread one to the threads two
of colours two, good and true
the two threads of black due
the one the thread or white through.

seven threads to five be
and five be unto three
three to two, two to one
in every border done.

(Poems of the Western Highlands, GRD McLean)
The words of the weavers songs were often improvised or without much meaning, merely to pace the rhythm as the weavers worked. This one illustrates the process...

Friday, 17 June 2011

WOW - Excellent rating for first teaching observation!

"Oh and I just wanted to say how impressed I was by your teaching – some of the best I have seen here, and some glowing comments from the learners back that up. Well done!"

Line manager's report April 2011

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

First Mistake - picture too large!

Anyone who finds this will probably be looking at all things related to spinning (wool) but that only makes up a small area of my interests and activities, albeit the beginning of all things related. Felt making and embroidery run alongside that with active membership of the embroiderer's guild, Weavers Spinners and Dyers and International Feltmakers.