Saturday, 21 July 2012

Art Around the Firth

21st to 28th July
This is a week-long opportunity to see artists at work.  The event involves four venues, including the Anna Macneil studio that make a pleasant tour around the Beauly Firth.  We will be open for longer than normal hours - 10am till 5pm daily (closed on Sunday) and during the week we will be offering drop-in feltmaking sessions.   Please email for details.

If you have never tried feltmaking, this is a chance to have a taster and see how quick and easy this craft can be.  In an hour you can easily make a small wallhanging or a couple of bookmarks or perhaps a few felt beads - whatever takes your fancy.

The other venues are Beauly Gallery (14 different artists - see Beauly Gallery for details), Tore Art Gallery (7 artists - again, see their website) and closer to us is the studio of painter Avril Marr who will be open from 10am till 7pm daily.  All venues offer a warm welcome and you will find doing the tour a very pleasant way to spend the day.

Of course, normal work will be carrying on as well - orders keep coming in, so we don't have time to just sit and play with fibres!   Yesterday I posted off a special wrap - wider than our normal style, shaped at the neck and lined with silk - very sumptuous and I hope I will soon have a photograph of the recipient wearing it.  Today I was embroidering a batch of scarves for Elgin Cathedral - like our normal scarves, but the embroidery is inspired by the Pictish stone that stands in the grounds of ruined cathedral. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Two felt projects and two Harris Tweed tunics

My granddaughters are teenagers now, and old enough to do their own thing, but they both had felt projects that they wanted to do so they came to the studio today. (It is school holidays)

Rachel wanted to try out some ideas for a task they have been set in the art class - to design and make a "head-piece".  Her idea was to make a big sunflower so we dug out the yellow fleeces along with some greens for the leaves and browns for the centre.  She started off needle-felting by hand, but as sunflowers have lots of petals, I got out one of the machines and that sped things up considerably.  She made lots of individual petals but left a bit of loose fibre on each so that these could all be felted together later to make the whole flower. - it took her about 3 hours, but I think it was very successful.

Lauren wanted to make a pair of slippers.  She had made a little pair of baby booties last year but this time she wanted some to fit her own feet.  She chose 4 bright pastel shades and started building up the layers around a piece of flooring vinyl that had been cut to the right shape. After a lot of rubbing and rolling she eventually got to the stage where she was able to start shaping them on her feet.  They have ended up a bit on the big side - but very pretty.

Before they came to the studio I had put the finishing touches to  two Harris Tweed tunics that I had made for Canongate Jerseys & Crafts in Edinburgh.  They are not part of my normal range, but I had made one for myself and was wearing it at a trade show.  Heather spotted me wearing it and asked if I would make some for her shop.  It remains to be seen how they do - but if you are interested, you can either call into her shop in Edinburgh, or email me for details.  I made one (olive green) as a size 12/14 and the other (grey) as a 16/18.  They are fully lined and have a zip fastening at the front.  While the felting making was underway the man from the couriers came to collect the box and they are off to Edinburgh along with some Hebridean Hoods, wide wraps, scarves and hats and another box of Shetland Angels.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A day off work

It's not something that happens very often, but I am taking a day off work.  However, it is rather a drastic way of achieving it.  I spent a couple of hours today at Raigmore Hospital having a carpal tunnel decompression operation done on my left wrist.   I am hopeful that it will be every bit as successful as when I had my right wrist done a couple of years ago.

With Blogger you can look at the statistics and see how many people look at a particular posting, and the blog I posted when I had my last operation has consistently been one of the most viewed pages!

This time it has been a simpler operation - just the carpal tunnel, whereas last time I also had a trapeziectomy.   I was once again given a horrible triangular bandage type sling at the hospital and advised to keep my wrist up at shoulder height at least for today, but by the time I got home (just 10 minutes in the car) it had worked itself loose.  So I dug out the sling I made last time round and it is much more effective, quite comfortable, and definitely better looking!  Harris Tweed, lined with polar fleece and incorporates a small pocket to hold my mobile phone.

I remembered to flip the photograph that I took using the webcam this time.  The sling looks slightly odd because I am resting my elbow where it was really designed to hold the lower part of the arm.

By tomorrow I should be able to use my hand again (back to the sweatshop), and in 2 days time I can take off the bulky bandage.  The stitches will be out in 8 days and then it should be back to normal. 

As the orders keep coming in, I just hope this doesn't slow me up too much - particularly for hand sewing. I have just sent off 4 more priest's stoles to Iona Abbey, and already they want another 6!

And the Morag hats also need hand sewing around the bottom edges and I think there are about 60 needed for various shops that we supply.  I had better make the most of this particular day of rest!