Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Work in Progress

There's been a chaos of creative activity at Random Wooliness HQ over the last few weeks...I am completely engrossed in crochet,  an inspiring workshop has filled my head full of new ideas, and I have been beavering away experimenting and working on my commission!

I think I am at a stage where I can share some of the commission project... other exciting and colourful acitivity will be revealed in further posts...(including a project I'm really pleased with made back in January) - when I put my hook and yarn down!

The first stage in the commission  project was to experiment and try to incorporate some shiny fabric in the felting process...
I already had a tiny slice of this

its amazing rainbowy organza-like and sparkly, from a larger piece of fabric - if anyone knows where I can find any more please let me know!
 As I was unsure on the colour scheme I invested in some ribbon...

and tried several ways of  incorporating it into the felt....

...just laying it on top...

....catching it round the edges...and capturing sari silk underneath...

and part wet felting, part needle felting...

..it is interesting how the needle has textured the ribbon when punching it...

However having chatted to the friend who has requested the piece we have decided to possibly use a different fabric and a modified technique although we may omit the fabric altogether ....
Its great being able to share creative ideas with the person who has asked for the item.

 Some of the materials in use are:
 New Zealand Corriedale in Fuchsia
Shetland hand dyed top in Sea Green and hand painted River
all from Sara's Texture Crafts

the colours are beautiful..I just love the Fuchsia and the ever changing tones in the bluey green!

Hopefully if the measurements are ok I'll try and mount it on the piece of Scottish driftwood.

I have had a full trial run and I've wetfelted the final piece, needlefelting next...taking photos as I go so that the people who receive it will know its story!

When it is finished I'll tell you its tale too!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

More firsts!

How exciting! I have been awarded a Versatile Blogger Award by Carrad over at Faded Reverie. Carrad is lady of many crafty talents  -  I'd like to thank her for the award and making the days she posts that bit more colourful!

I gather the instructions are as follows:
a. Pass the Award on to fifteen recently-discovered blogs of your own.
b. List seven facts about yourself, and
c. Thank the awarder.
I seem to have started this in reverse..so I will continue that way!
Carrad listed seven 'Firsts'  from her childhood and that got me thinking about 'firsts' so here are seven of my 'firsts':
The first poster on my bedroom wall was of  Donny Osmond sporting a maroon cap and a toothy smile!

My first part in a school play that I can recall was as a tree - and I been a wooden actress ever since!!

I got my first pair of glasses after my 40th birthday.

On the first morning that I stayed at my Grandma and Granda's house I was woken by the sound of an approaching rattling cup and saucer - I was given a very weak cup of tea containing a couple of spoonfuls of rainbow sugar crystals!

I have just completed my first week crocheting (have I mentioned that exciting fact before?!)

I followed my first felt bowl tutorial from Liz, my first  blog comment was from Becky, Melody is my first blog buddy from the USA, I won my first giveaway from Sarah, Kate is the first person I know who runs two blogs singlehandedly, Jenny is the first person I have seen to embroider spectacles! and Tracey is the person who inspired me to make my first post!

....and my last first is that this is the first anniversary of my first post!!

So I'd like to pass the award on to three bloggers I have found recently:
and one who's a little less recent
Helen has lots of creative strings to her bow and her birthday cake was incredible!
 I am aware that some bloggers are uncomfortable with the accepting and passing on of awards, so if I have included you on the list I will not be offended if you choose to ignore it.
My intention in mentioning your blog is to  to say how much I look forward to your updates and all your creative inventions!

Reflecting on my first year of blogging I have really enjoyed reading lots of people's experiments, exploits, tips, and stories and have been inspired by the beautiful pictures, illustrations, photos and items people have designed and made.
Some blogs I love for their writing style and content - Linnhe you really make me smile, and think!

I'd like to finish by saying a massive thank you to all my bloggy friends for your comments, inspiration and support. Also another massive thank you to all my other followers who comment so positively when they see me!
Here's to another fun bloggy year and some posts with a few more pictures!!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Happy Birthdays!

We know a fair few friends and family who celebrate February birthdays!

In addition to the crochet bunting...which now has a new home!...
the following will be finding their ways to new homes too....

It was good to get back into the swing of needlefelting with yarn again...and to find a good stock of the bags at a local crafty superstore...one day I will felt my own bags!
Happy Birthday to all of you with February birthdays!...
Spring is in the air - there's blooms in the garden!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I'm hooked!

Outer ring designed by mum...

teeny tiny heart design by Lucy at Attic 24

a bit wobbly but ok for a beginner?!

Happy Valentines Day! x

Sunday, 12 February 2012



Here is a surprise post - and for me a very exciting one!

This is my first flower bunting/hanging decoration...
thanks to Tracey for sowing the seed a while ago!

Its also the first of a few fun felted birthday presents being given this week.

I knew the best way to connect the flowers was to hook a cord..however, as I have tried so many times to crochet without success I decided to plait instead.

As it needed to be quite a length I kept getting my yarns in a knot - not to mention my knickers!

So once again I thought I'd try..I got out a tiny hook, some thin yarn and a book I was given for Christmas last year - the crochet pages of which had not been turned....

and.....I did it!! 

I raced out to buy a larger hook for chunky wool and I made the cord, sewing a thread of bright green through it afterwards to add some extra colour.

So here is the bunting - loomed flowers with needlefelted  middles sewn onto a crocheted cord!

I am restricting myself to a foundation chain until I get the rhythm...walking before I can run..but I am so pleased I have started!

Any beginners tips or tutorials gratefully received from fellow bloggers who crochet so well and have inspired me to have another go!!

Its also the first time I have used crochet in my labels!!

Off to hook another chain...and dream up some ideas of how to use all these chains I am making!!?!

Friday, 10 February 2012

A fantastic day out

Lost in Lace...and I literally was...
This will be one of my click the link posts...
This week Mum, Dad and I visited BMAG to experience the Lost in Lace exhibition. The museum was buzzing (numbers possibly enhanced by visitors to the 10 daVinci drawings currently on loan) with a wide range of ages. We approached the LiL hall via displays of traditional lace, from BMAGs textile collection, and information about its history, techniques, and makers. Whilst interesting and informative it could not have been more different to our exciting experience in the main exhibition!
The information leaflet invites you to

'Step into a world of lace like you've never seen before. See how the patterns, materials and cultural traditions of lace are represented through radical new approaches by UK and international artists. Featuring large scale, theatrical and visually spectacular work, this exhibition challenges perceptions of what lace can be, involving the visitor in an environment where spaces become fluid and thread creates entirely new boundaries.' ...and we did just that - we were challenged to think out of the box (and in it in a couple of installations!), it was certainly theatrical and visually spectacular!

On entering we were mesmerised by the sparkling beauty and ingenuity of Atelier Manferdini's Inverted Crystal Cathedral glimpsed through the magnificently tall yet delicate  Cosmos Series by Naomi Kobayashi. 
There was an amazing video installation by Kathleen Rogers of a piece of black lace (donated to BMAG by Lady Cadbury) magnified by an electron microscope accompanied by a soundtrack of noisy silkworms munching on mulberry leaves.
I loved walking in and out of Piper Shepard's  Lacing Space exhibit enveloping and complementing the architectural structure of part of the hall.
However we were all blown away by Liz Nilsson's The latticed eye of memory. It was amazing on so many different levels and angles! Patterns and colours came and went as you walked around, up close or far away, shadows were cast and moved...you could see all sorts of images and they would change as you moved a fraction - just as the artist describes.
Each exhibit had a desk with information about  the designers and their approach, relationship with or philosophy about lace.  I particularly liked Reiko Sudo's definition of lace. Most also included a sample of fabric so you could add the dimension of touch to your overall experience.
I could enthuse so much more about each piece - however some of you local to Brum may wish to catch it in the next week  and I'd like you to form your own interpretations...
..alternatively  the Lost in Lace website gives you some glimpses of the background to the exhibition and fabulous artists..

I have a fascination for peering through holes (!)(framing the items within and beyond) and watching the patterns shadows cast on objects ...
this exhibition was a dream come true for both of those preoccupations - even the grates in the floors were a feature!
Quoting from  the booklet again  'The works in this exhibition play with the ideas around the holes, spaces, boundaries and structures that lace creates.'

I realise that this has been a text heavy post and without much space or holes! I regret not taking my camera as photography was permitted...but I will add a few lace-y images from my own archive..

The guide talks about lace continuously evolving -
and I can convincingly say it is..... and how cool is that?!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Appreciating Design!

One of my favourite occupations is to admire creativity - whether it be in the form of words (written or spoken), pictures (2 and 3D), sounds, textures, aromas or tastes!
I love catching up with blogs, facebook statuses, on-line crafty shops, and being antisocial with a good book!  I am intrigued by knitting and crochet patterns, inspired by tutorials, calmed by photos, delighted by illustrations, and prompted to think by musings...
I know how much time, dedication and thought is put into designing each and every  post, project pattern, perambulation, piece and product..

I have mentioned before that I have a scientific background, 
however, I might not have said out loud that my early attempts at  creativity were frustrated by the finished article not bearing a suitable resemblance to the fabulous image in my head! 
I know I have confessed to wanting to run before I can walk... 
and have been thinking about all of this a lot recently... in particular the fact that in the past I seem to skip the experimental or design part of a project entirely, in a sprint to finish, and consequently land at a less than satisfying final product.
I was enabled to appreciate design earlier in the year when I made a birthday cake - easy peasy..round cake, white icing and a green X  - sorted! 

It wasn't until I looked closely at the iconic logo that it is so much more than a green X on white! (Maybe I was subconsciously avoiding the white box that generates so many emotions and gobbles so much time!) 

I'm sure the multi-talented design team that produced the logo would have been disappointed in my dismissive initial impression, but I hope to rectify that by saying how much more I appreciate their work now that I have studied it carefully!

The silvery wool top was great to needlefelt with  - I'm not sure what it was as it came in a bag of mixed fibres from Sara's Texture Crafts....

It was a well received birthday card!

On another designer subject...the process of wet felting is liberating and I have been really pleased with all of my pieces so far, especially as there is still an element of surprise in the finished product.  Some fibres disappear when wet and slowly reveal themselves as they dry, some move or wriggle or wiggle and others change shape as they are felted. Colours blend and different tones appear depending on neighbouring hues.
I have been having fun designing and experimenting; choosing colours, techniques and textures for a project a friend has requested..this week she's hopefully going to see some of the ideas I have so far..and maybe I'll have the confidence to reveal them here too! I am hoping that the element of surprise will be reduced slightly in the finished piece..as I have another one of those fabulous pictures in my head....

In a bid to encourage my stages of  design-ability  (and to aid my sieve like memory) I do now have a bulging sketch book full of scribbles, hastily jotted notes of quantities, colours, things to improve and what worked well, and lists of what went where so the same item is not given to the same person twice!

Speaking of designers...Jenny over at love and peas* designs the most amazing mixed media and fabric creations...she is currently running a giveaway for a custom made embroidery...if you hurry you might catch it!

I'm off to appreciate some more designs...thawing footprints in the snow and snowpeople!
and later this week I'm going to (get) Lost in Lace at BMAG....