Freestyle knitting taking flight

As blogged about at Clasheen the last couple of weeks have really been totally taken over by golf, Open Week duties and a wonderful ‘Felt and Nostalgia’ workshop with Jeanette Sendler.  Thankfully I discovered the wonderful world of Jane Thornley’s freestyle knitting and this has given me a textile related fix in the evenings when I have been too tired to felt or do anything else except collapse on the couch.  Coming from a felting background I must confess to being a total natural fibre snob but it has been quite a revelation discovering some of the new environmentally conscious yarns and exploring all the different renewable or recycled sources that they have been created from.  Freestyle knitting encourages a playful sense of stitch and colour combining, nothing is forbidden and mistakes get turned into successes, my kind of style!  Yarns that I previously thought horrendous can, (horrendous being a subjective term) in combination with more restrained fibres can have the ability to lift the knitting and give a little pop to an otherwise plain piece of work.  Deciding that nothing ventured nothing gained I ordered a batch of oddities at knock down prices from Kemps Wool Shop just as an experiment and as soon as they arrived Carmen (we had been felting together when the post came) oohed and aahed over some of the more whacky offerings!  Immediately we looked at each other and simultaneously decided that a freestyle scarf in peachy teracotta tones would be my hand made Christmas gift for Carmen!!!  Here is a picture of it as it progresses on the needles. 

Scarf for Carmen

The bamboo tape is an absolute dream in the hand, beautifully soft and in lovely rich shades but I suspect it will not be the easiest to weave in and secure the ends, not worrying about that at the minute however!  The yarn that has been the biggest revelation is Patons ‘Coast’ in soft teracotta (they call the shade salmon), it is a polyamide, acrylic, cotton mixture with little ‘tags’ sticking out and I am finding it gorgeous to knit with.  Kemps is a wonderful online shop if you are looking for cheap and unusual yarn, my package of 14 balls only came to £15.96 including P&P and I will be definitely ordering from them again!

AMAZING package all the way from New Zealand, I am in love!

This afternoon as I am trying to recover from the last few weeks frantic activity and sort out paperwork and loose ends (always have piles of them hanging around!) the most amazing package arrived in the post all the way from New Zealand!  I can’t emphasise how excited I was as each item was revealed from this colour swap via Ravelry, my swap partner Jayne went to HUGE trouble and expense putting together a parcel that was me to a T.  I am still in shock at how gorgeous all the items were!!! 

Incredibly beautiful Midnight Orchid batts and a stunning hand made button!


These Midnight Orchid batts are made by a lady local to Jayne and the stunning glass button is made by an Australian lady living in Sydney, how lucky am I?????

Ishbel from behind


Stunning hand dyed and knitted lace wrap, how beautiful it looks in the Irish landscape!

Crazy cowls from gorgeous weavers waste!

Far too much going on at the moment with not enough hours in the day to write about it properly either here or on my main felting blog Clasheen but I just HAD to share with you my latest happy accident!  On Friday evening and Saturday morning some American fibre friends called to visit with me and we had a great time discussing all things Ireland and all things wool, yarn and felt related.  I am not going to mention their names yet from a security point of view until I know for sure they arrive safely home but as soon as I know their 4 week trip to Ireland and the UK is over I will link through to their website and hopefully you will see all the exciting textile adventures that they have been filming along the course of their travels.

Lilac mohair crazy cowl!


I have just lost all the rest of this post in the publishing and unfortunately I really don’t have enough time to write it all again.  Forgive me for the resulting brevity now but what I really wanted to mention was the gorgeous weavers waste I picked up at Cushendale Woolen Mills over the weekend.  These balls of wide wool ‘yarn’ are off cuts from the selvedge edge of some of the mill’s woven home textiles and wearable wraps, I think that they knit up into wonderful and funky cowls!  Check out Flickr for some more detailed images of this lilac and an ocean blue cowl but if anyone is interested in purchasing one of these cosy and fun pieces I am happy to bill you directly through PayPal at a total cost of $38 including P&P to anywhere in the world!  Please email me if you would like to order either the lilac or the ocean blue cowl.

Congratulations, ArtL!nks bursaries!

Congratulations to everyone who has been awarded a 2010 ArtL!nks bursary!  I am so excited that my proposal to create two large felt sculptures was one of the projects chosen, preparing proposals is very stressful and time consuming but when something like this happens it makes it all worthwhile!!  I have stolen the following text direct from the ArtL!nks website and if you are interested in discovering more about the various bursary recipients just enter their name in the search box to the left on the ArtL!nks  home page.

ARTLINKS is pleased to announce the awarding of €30,000 in bursaries in the five ArtLinks partner Counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow for 2010. Bursaries were judged by an external panel of experts not resident in the five county region and the panel commended the quality of applications received.

ArtLinks Director Cathy Fitzgerald thanks everyone who took the time to submit applications and said that the awarding of more than one bursary in each county means that more artists can be supported in these challenging economic times.

2010 ArtLinks Bursary Recipients

Co. Carlow

Rosie Pender Film E3,000
Nicola Brown Textile Sculpture E1,000
Marc-Ivan O\’Gorman Film E1,000
Shane Landers Dance E1,000

Co. Kilkenny

Andrew Ryan Visual Arts E1,000
Julie Moorhouse Visual Arts E3,000
Gillian Grattan Theatre E1,000
Mycrofilms Film E1,000

Co. Waterford

Jenny Fennessey Theatre E3,000
Marcus Mahony Visual Arts E1,000
Grace Power Music E2,000

Co. Wexford

Terence White Film E3,000
Ollie Dempsey Music E1,000
Michael Roe Music E1,000
Megan O\’Beirne Visual Arts E1,000

Co. Wicklow

Tamsin Clare-Snow Visual Arts E1,000
Rachel Agnew Visual Arts E499

Some great tutorials from ‘very purple person’!

I love some of the great tutorials ‘very purple person’ has posted on the internet especially the ultra simple cowl and hand warmers created from an upcycled scarf!  When I am drooling and admiring other crafters and artists work I always have my brain in gear thinking of ways to adapt the various shapes into my feltmaking and since I am SO TOTALLY out of time for the rest of this week drooling is about all I can do at the moment!!!

No, no, no!

No, no, no, I thought we were meant to get rain in April, not now, April showers bring forth May flowers and all that guff! For the last couple of days the weather has been ‘greasy’, not too wet and definitely not at all dry! My range decided to throw a hissy fit and has been spluttering and guttering for the last few weeks (needs a service but nothing drastic!) so I rang my friend the boiler man this morning and he will be here on Friday morning to give it a dose of TLC.

Otherwise ….. STILL working backwards date wise trying to sort out my workshops in US prior to organising the San Fransisco leg, back sore from leaning over computer, not able to photograph new scarves until rain stops = very frustrated, made a nice nuno scarf this morning, uploaded pictures of a bag to Flickr, trying to organise flights and connections to Denmark, big golf competition tomorrow and all the associated work …… goodbye ’till Friday!

Check out this fantastic competition to win a beautiful jacket from Chrissie!

Friend and fellow fibre addict Chrissie Day has posted an amazing competition on her blog giving one lucky reader an opportunity to win one of her beautiful waterfall nuno felt jackets! 

You need to submit a combination of colours to Chrissie (minimum of 4) that best talk ‘May and food’ to you and sing out that message.  This gives you a huge range of colours to choose from and the prize will be one of Chrissie’s amazing waterfall jackets made especially for you in your selected colours!  The closing date is May 31st and there is one entry per person.  Please email Chrissie at to submit an image of your block of colours.  Check out images of these tops on Chrissie’s Flickr and start planning your colours now!

Playing around with Paint!

Yesterday afternoon I spent quite a bit of time playing around with Paint, the computer programme that is and not actual oils or acrylics! 

Detail from English Garden, a nuno felt scarf/wrap

I wanted to create a banner for my new online boutique store and selected a section of this image to use as I love the colours and the textures of the printed silk and merino nuno felt scarf/wrap.  It took me quite a bit of time copying, pasting, rotating, adding text, reducing the pixels etc. but eventually I was happy with the result and you can check it out below!

My new banner

Today I have been discounting felt accessories for a blow out stock clearance in my Etsy store and from Saturday 8th May only supplies will be sold on Etsy and all felted wearables and interior/exterior felted items will be exclusively available from the new store.

Felting, golf, puncture, food …..

This afternoon I had my second session with members of the Borris Active Retirement Group, we were examining all the different things that you can make with felt cords and balls.  Everyone made a layered cord using three different colours of merino and then we had fun slicing through the felt to make gorgeous beads perfect for necklaces, bracelets, earrings, keyrings or whatever else takes your fancy!

Alpaca and merino necklace

Here is an image of one of my earliest necklaces made using this method, the dark chocolate fibre is alpaca and the rest is merino.  Only one of the ladies decided to leave the cord uncut, she is planning on converting the flat felt she made last week into a funky little purse and the cord is going to become a strong handle.

On Saturday I arrived back in the golf club car park from supporting some mixed matches only to find that my front wheel had a puncture. This was really annoying as I was dressed in my ‘official’ clothes and had no old trousers or anything to throw on in order to change the tyre. I can’t say that any of the men (or women!) rushed in to help so thankfully one of my friends gave me a lift home after the meal and I was able to return yesterday with Alan and get the thing sorted. This is the first time that my pick up truck has had a puncture since I bought it about 3 years ago so hopefully I will get another few years before I have to go through the trauma again. I have never had any difficulty changing tyres on any other jeep or car that I have owned but for some reason the spare is amazingly difficult to get out from under the base of this truck, at least having done it once next time should be easier!

I love the sound of this asparagus and goats cheese tart over at Maya Made, guess what I’ll be buying tomorrow???

Fun and simple tutorials from two of the blogs that I follow!

Currently the number of blogs that I regularly follow is 178 and rising.  While the majority are felting orientated I also have some fibre, art, craft, food and garden related blogs that I like to keep an eye on weekly, daily would be fantastic if I could ever get the time!  Here are links to a couple of my favourite online tutorials, check out the other posts by Tiffany and Gail, both blogs are fabulous.

Bottle Cap Magnets

Yesterday Tiffany Teske had a gorgeous simple project on her ‘Art, Food and Motherhood’ blog to celebrate Earth Day.  If like me you have a pile of bottle caps and magnets just crying out to be used, check out these funky magnets and head on over to follow her step by step instructions.

Woven Tree

The second project that I really love is a little weaving project which uses wool roving, this time from Gail, writer of ‘That Artist Woman’ blog.

To see what I usually do with my roving or wool batts head on over to Clasheen anwhere I am just about to post about my latest felt hat in progress!