Monday, 18 April 2011

Felt making classes

Last Monday evening saw the first of our felt making classes in the new studio.
This was a one-to-one session with a student who has come to me in the past.  He seemed to enjoy the bright and spacious workshop.

The project for the two hour evening session was to make a pair of baby booties for the baby that his granddaughter is expecting.  He decided to make the booties with white fleece, but they were decorated with a flag on the side of each - one was the Scottish Saltire, the other the Norwegian flag as his granddaughter is half Scottish and half Norwegian.

He was delighted with the results - now we have to hope that his granddaughter is equally delighted - and that they fit the baby!

The next scheduled workshop on offer is a two day class - Celtic Felt and Stitch - 14th & 15th May.  This will involve making felt that includes a Celtic design and then enhancing the design with stitching and needle felting.  I can only take 4 people for this, so booking is essential.  Visit the website for details.

I am always happy to offer classes at times to suit individuals.  There is a choice of 2 hour classes, full day, two day and evening classes and these can be one-to-one sessions or for small groups. Click here for details.  I take a maximum of 5 people at a time, ensuring that everyone gets individual attention and that we all have space to move around and access the various colours and types of fibres.  Email me at or telephone (01463 831567) to request a session or visit the website to see if there is a scheduled class that is suitable for you.

In the centre of the studio we have two large, very sturdy tables which have electrically operated height adjustment.  This means that at the press of a button we can change them from sitting height to standing height - and choose heights suitable for different people - so no back-ache!

Also available are Babylock Embellisher machines for fast needle felting and Bernina sewing machines for further decoration and enhancement. 

We keep a large stock of fibres and colours including things to add interest to your felt, such as Angelina fibres, silks and synthetics.  We also have a large stock of yarns that can be used for further decoration.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Anna Macneil @ The Workshop

A week ago I was at the workshop all evening clearing up after the work had been done to make it suitable as our new textile art studio - Anna Macneil @ The Workshop. It took several hours to clear the dust sheets, gather up the rubbish, clear away the left-over bits of wood and plasterboard, cables and screws and then wipe, dust and vacuum everything ready for the removal men the next morning.

The removal was amazingly smooth and fast - well worth paying the bill to have the job done professionally. Mary and I had spent three days parcelling up bales of tweed and fleece, sorting and packing threads and yarns, rationalizing our stash of "useful" fabric and so on. I had 35 boxes of varying types of fabric - silks, tartans, cottons, cords, velvet, lycra, jerseys and more. I decided it was time that I was sensible about whether I was ever going to use some of them. I filled 8 black bin-bags with things I know I am never going to use and then emailed a friend who works as an occupational therapist at the local psychiatric hospital - she was delighted to relieve me of them.

The removal took just over three hours start to finish. At the time my big machines were being lifted downstairs I was making a visit to the local recycling centre - probably as well I missed that bit! I think my heart might have been beating a bit fast if I had watched them carry the machines downstairs. By noon I was left in my new studio with things more or less in the places they should be. Mary came out to help get everything put away but we started by going to the local pub for lunch.

There were some hiccups - I couldn't get the laser cutter and the big embroidery machine to talk to the computer - the only change was that I had swapped the cables round and used the long one to connect the embroidery machine because of where it had to be sited - so...... another £40 to get the "right" cables, but they did send it so that it arrived the next day.

And then there was the saga of the printer....... Moving out of the house meant that I also needed a new printer, so after a bit of research, found one that was suitable. It would work on the network from both my Mac and my Windows PC, would do duplex printing and print on card. It was due to be delivered on Monday but didn't come. On Tuesday, the company I ordered it from phoned to ask why I had declined to accept delivery....... I told them nobody had come to deliver it and after a few phonecalls back and forth it transpired that someone in the distribution chain had put the wrong address on the courier label. I was promised it would be there on Wednesday. I saw the delivery van drive past the studio without stopping, so phoned the couriers - no printer - it had been returned to sender because I had refused to accept it! Phoned the supplier - promised it would definitely be here today. This time they were right, it did arrive, and I managed to get it all set up and working.......until I tried to use the duplex facility! It will work from some applications but not the one I really want it for. A two hour phonecall to the OKI tech support people and I am no further forward, but they are looking into it for me.

One week on I am still waiting for someone to fit the vinyl on the kitchen floor, but otherwise everything is done and we are back in full production mode. The embroidery machines have been happily stitching away and the laser cutter is working well.

I spent some time doing a little bit of felting today. In the past, that involved going out into the garden and working in a cold, small shed. Today I was able to do it in a warm, bright studio and keep an eye on the embroidery machine while I was working..... what a difference!

Another great thing is the mobile shelving system that I have bought for storing our folded lengths of tweed. Small pieces are in boxes according to colour, bigger pieces are hanging on a rail that can be moved on castors and the longer lengths are on new chrome shelves with big wheels that can be easily pushed from one end of the studio to the other.

And from the visitor's point of view.......... we now have a shop!

It is a very small corner of the studio, but we can display all our products - hats & scarves, wallhangings, wraps, bags & purses, phone pouches and Christmas decorations. So, if you are in the area, please call in to see us. Between us we aim to be at the studio from 9 till 5, 6 days a week, but the shop itself will only be open Wednesday to Saturday from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm. That gives us the option of fitting in other things - like the visit I will shortly have to make to Lewis to buy more tweed.

I am waiting....and waiting....!!!! for my husband to modify the website - when he has done so there will be a Google map link to show you where the studio is, but you can see the village on Google's Street View if you put in the postcode - IV5 7PX - you have to search around at the east end of the village, north side of the road until you find a wooden building that looks like a Swiss chalet. The photographs are out of date - still have the signs for the previous business! If I remember I will photograph our new signs, but I have been rather busy and keep forgetting to do that.

We also have a new phone number because it is a different exchange from our previous address - 01463 831567. It is always worth phoning to check that we will be there before travelling a distance, but if you let us know you are coming we will give you a warm welcome.

The Workshop, Inchmore, Kirkhill, Inverness, IV5 7PX, Scotland, UK