Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I got there.
Having had a good speaking voice now for 4 weeks plus, I decided that I must go and give blood.
So, after leaving my pottery class in Nottingham last Wednesday I dropped in at the NBT clinic.

It was back in June '89 when I gave my 25th donation.
I think that I'll be disqualified by age if I take that long to give the next 25 donations.

Here is the discrete badge that was hiding in that big box.
It is firmly attached to my backpack shoulder strap, but I think that only those in the know would even see it.

The pen I got also has very discrete printing on it.
It wasn't worth trying to photograph it.

I clutched the box all the way home in the hope that someone would see that at least.

Having just missed a train, I wandered down to the station in plenty of time for the 16.38, then found that it had been cancelled. The 17.00 was packed but I got a seat for the 10 minute journey.

Now it is just another 4 months until I can make the next donation.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's in the post ... or saved by a scouring pad

Yes, one more deadline met.

This is my entry for the members exhibition at the forthcoming ACJ (Association for Contemporary Jewellery) conference in London. With a need to get this to High Wycombe early this week I have thought of little else for a while.

But that was the problem, I was thinking how to achieve this result.

Angora mix yarn from Silkwood (in the plum wine clouring) was my starting point together with one of my handmade porcelain beads. My first attempts to needle felt the angora yarn just left me with a floppy mess that had a great aura.

I needed a way to stabilise it all. After several experiments, I knitted a ring from similar coloured merino wool yarn. I already knew that I could successfully needle felt this.

For a week I tried to think of what core I could use for felting the angora onto the wool.

I experimented with free-form felting onto a dense foam block, but this didn't hold the shape.

I tried to work it around an offcut of copper plumbing pipe. That wasn't any good.

I wrapped foam pipe insulation round a thin wooden dowel, but that was too large a diameter.

Eventually, walking through the kitchen I came across the answer.

I took a green scouring pad, cut it down and rolled it tightly, securing the ends with string.

This was the ideal core.

Using cotton sewing threads I was able to make near invisible stitches to hold the extension in the correct shape. Small amounts of deconstructed yarn were needled over the stitching.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Launch of the Long Eaton Art Room

After months of preparation, we had a great launch event for the Long Eaton Art Room on Saturday, 1st April.
I was a latecomer to the group of artists involved, having joined in December last.

As you can see, we have spacious premises in an annexe to Harrington Mills in Long Eaton, near Nottingham.

We are offering studio sessions four days a week, and a varied programme of workshops and visits.

So, this will become my second home.

We had many visitors on the day, and the picture above shows poet David Woods reading a couple of poems he had written while at the launch.

I supplied some of the handknitting materials and examples of my wire knitting.

Ukhandknitting shows more images, including the exterior of the mill, on its knitting news page.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Garden frenzy

This post shold have appeared a week ago, but I was too busy to put it together.
Saturday 25th March was warm and the garden went mad.
We went out and tidied up.

The frogs (highest count 133), not content with having congregated at the pond since before the 6th March, were out in full voice.
By the end of the weekend we had well over 40 clumps of frogspawn.

We even saw the first snails and ants of the year, not quite as welcome.

Now after a week of activities, often far from home, I ventured down to check for tiny wriggling tadpoles and could only detect 4 clumps of spawn.

But, I did see many newts.

Somewhere a year or so ago I read that newts like frogspawn.
We have observed them nibbling away at the jelly.
Could we end up like last year with next to no tadpoles?