Well I'm not sure where to start. I had a lovely weekend. My Mum's two sisters are the kindest, most loving and generous people - just like my Mum was. It was so lovely to see them and to be able to really talk about Mum and how hard it has been losing her. This is something I just cannot get my Dad to talk about but believe me that's a whole other story that is too involved and painful to go into here.
We also had a good giggle - they are the world's best gigglers. When the three of them used to get together it was hilarious.
Just seeing them this weekend has been really healing - thanks Aunties :o)
So down to crafty stuff. Before we even headed off to the Knitting and Stitching Show this little lot was in the boot of my car! They have even more stash than me!!!!!!!!
There is just an amazing amount of beautiful fabric here, including gorgeous silks bought in Hong Kong. This little beauty below is one of my favourites and is crying out to be made into PJ's.
So then to the Show. When we eventually got there - having found there were no trains or buses between the local station and the main New Street station (or at least not for nearly an hour) we ended up walking across the City Centre and got caught up in a huge Fun Run. We finally got our train out to the NEC and walked miles to the exhibition hall - thank God for Crocs!
As soon as we walked in we saw the most amazing stands of handspun wools and fibres. The colours and textures just blew me away. We spent 15 minutes on the first stand just stroking and gazing in wonder :o)
In addition to the trade stands there were some brilliant textile artists there. My favourite was Maggie Grey who was so warm and welcoming. She was using an embellisher to create a piece of beautiful textural 'embroidery'. Watching her use this amazing machine which, if you haven't seen one, is a sewing machine with 5 barbed needles and no thread, which distresses, felts and fuses materials, was the highlight of my day. She gave us so many tips and ideas and her display of work by herself and her late colleague Val Campbell-Harding was by far the most impressive there - in my very humble opinion.
Tilleke Schwarz also had a very impressive stand with her Mark Making Embroidery. Not something I could live with but some beautiful elements within them and the most delicate hand embroidery - she must have great specs!
I also loved the beautiful soft toys and quilts on Rebecca Shreeve's stand. Great little characters including shrews and moles with the most beautiful finish.
So what did I come home with in my mucky paws?
A braid maker - lots of different ones there and this one from Ruth MacGregor cost just £2. Again we were treated to a very thorough and patient explanation of the very simple technique. I bought 2 for the kids - but did one myself ;o) as you can see below. The card can be used as a template to make further braiders (3 layers of craft foam sandwiched together makes a more robust one). Repeat after me - "Tummy,1,2,3, take this one down".
I bought some very reasonably priced fibres for felting. They are pure silk (top right) which smells like a farmyard, soya bean (bottom left) and bamboo (top left). All so incredibly soft and with a tendency to shed everywhere and lodge in your nostrils. Lovely to stroke though :)
This is what I really wanted to get - a needle felting kit. I tried it when I got home after an arduous 3 hour drive last night and believe me all that stabbing is v therapeutic ;)
DH was getting seriously worried and thought I was making a voodoo doll - but no I made a little tiny lambkin from a big big bit of merino roving! I also tried out a flat piece which could look good with a bit more working into. Boy those felting needles are lethal. It really is only a matter of time before clumsy-girl here sustains a serious stabbing injury!
I also bought this. Basically a fine-tipped soldering iron but brilliant for fusing synthetic fabrics together. This should save me burning myself with candles anymore as I attempt to seal the edges of 'petals'. Again - only a matter of time before I injure myself with this one. Gentle arts -my foot!!
But but but - this is THE most exciting thing of all. One of these babies will be winging it's way to me this week. I cannot believe I'm going to have one all to myself. Let's just say it's an early Christmas/Birthday present :o)
So with all that fabric and lots of new toys I have no excuses whatsoever to waste any more time in wondering what to make. Except for today, as I've had a poorly Sausage Monster at home absolutely full of cold and very wheezy with his asthma. All I've done today is stroke things and read and reread the info about the embellisher!
Nearly forgot - I got some of this too. I have a plan to colour copy some of the kids drawings and transfer them to t-shirts/ fabric/ the dog.
I did have a hand in making one thing today. Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter from Revenge of the Sith (it's been Revenge of the Sniff here today :o)) Anyone else who has a house full of Star Wars obsessives, including their beautiful 6 year old princess, will know that look of derision you only receive when you still can't quite get your head round whether this is the third, sixth or whatever in the story. My boy lives and breathes the stuff - and so does his son LOL!!!