Making A Mark on Preston – June 2017

Last weekend saw the start of Preston City Council’s Summer Events Programme.

Members of the Oxheys Art Collective invited other artists to take part in this event, which aimed to provide a platform for local people to get involved with art in the Harris Museum, learn new skills and generally have fun.

Denise did a smashing job of organising and manned the desk in the Harris foyer – she was often seen printing out the photos people were taking and sending to her via Twitter using the hashtag #MakingAMark. By the end of Saturday, the exhibition board was virtually full!

Gordan did some fascinating chalk drawing outside the Harris, close to Tim who was ‘drawing with clothes’ to create his PerspectiveArt. Robin was also outside and looking very dapper, although¬†Pauline’s yellow dress didn’t work for him.

Evelyn and I stayed warm and dry in the Makerspace. Evelyn helped people felt butterflies and small pieces of work inspired by Andrew Morton’s sketchbook drawings, and I had a few different types of drop spindles and very brightly coloured wool for people to try spinning with.

I was particularly impressed by the woman who couldn’t find the right shade of blue to complete her felting – she came across specifically to spin the shade she needed to felt.¬†Talk about made to order!

The 3D printed spindles were very light and I was able to spin quite fine yarn on them. At the end of the day I sneakily dropped one over the balcony in the Rotunda and watched it twirl and spin its way down to the ground floor as the fibres plied together. I can recommend having someone at the bottom in case it breaks.

It was a fabulous day – enjoy these pictures!

More on the Oxheys website.


Happy day playing with fleece

A friend at a knitting group once warned me that learning to spin wool is a slippery slope, ending in several live sheep.

Last week I slid a bit further down that slope.

I bought my first full* fleece.

Being very excited, I pulled it out of the bag and spread it out to inspect it, only to realise that I had let the air in and there was no way on Earth this thing was going back into the bag it had come out of. I grabbed a couple of black bin liners and stored it in the back yard until I could get to it.

Luckily, the next day was sunny so I gathered my supplies: a big bucket, lots of Fairy liquid, gloves, and an old curtain. (You should always have an old curtain, it’s useful stuff).


Bit by bit, I sorted the fleece into sections to soak, was and dry. It took me most of the day, but eventually I had the fleece sorted out with little felting.

I’ve earmarked some for a friend, but I hope to do a workshop with the Brownies at some point, so I might try to spin some up before then.

What a happy, woolly day!


*Almost full, the really nasty bits full of poo had been taken off.


I seem to have bought lots of wool

When the postman knocked this morning he handed me a respectable-sized parcel. Nothing mind-blowing, just a white bag taped up with an address sticker on.

It was my order from Wingham Wool Works, in Yorkshire – just a few different types of wool and some lightweight hand carders to try out with my new wheel. Remember I ordered this on Sunday night, about 10pm, and it’s only Tuesday morning. It beat my Amazon order.

As soon as I opened it, the beautiful smell of wool hit me.

I opened bag after bag – each with their own scent.


Black Welsh – probably the most ‘sheepy’ smelling one, slightly musky, feeling slightly coarser than the others. A beautiful 80% dark chocolate colour.

Texel – Long staple length, so it should be an easy spin. Quite sheepy and a great vanilla colour.

Cotswolds – Feels hairier but softer than the texel, probably due to having less crimp. The least sheepy smelling one, apart from the flax.

Dyed Merino – I bought the 250g Brights mixed pack, to top up the merino I bought when I started spinning on the drop spindle. This is 21 micron and very, very soft and silky. Much softer than my last batch, which was probably more suitable for felting. The colours are just what I expected, maybe a bit pink-heavy, but a fair range. I’m very impressed.

Flax – bought to test my spinning skills and to try out something a bit different. It feels soft, looks hairy and smells like sunshine and grass, in a good way.

Although I was initially disappointed by the amount of fibre in the bag, I have left the bags open, and the contents is slowly expanding now it’s no longer squished. I seem to have bought a lot of wool. What a delicious adventure…