Friday, 17 April 2020

Staying at Home, Crochet, Crafting and Shed Life.

Hello from north Fife!
This blog post should have been all about our upcoming Open Studios event but of course with everything being cancelled due to Covid-19, our annual event cannot go ahead. Trivial of course in the greater scheme of things. These are strange days and despite being someone who works from home, it has taken time to settle into a new home life routine. I have a 14 year old daughter and my husband at home so it's not the same work/life routine at all. Who could settle into a normal routine anyway! We're all just doing our best and it's appreciating the little things that will get us through. 

One of the first things we did as a family was tidy out and patch up our old shed and reclaim it as space to sit out and relax in. We know are very lucky to have a garden and outdoor space at this time and we are making best use of it.

I gave this shed it's first make over back in 2011. There is a blog post about it on here but it had become a dumping ground again and had started to leak. We thought it might be beyond repair but with lock down coming upon us we realised we wouldn't be able to afford a new one and couldn't go anywhere to buy supplies to fix this one so we re-purposed an old shelf unit for wood and used perspex from an old picture frame to replace some broken glass and we have our little shed back!

It's a great space to relax in as it's often too windy to sit outside here but this gives the feeling of being outside and is a nice change of scene.

It's great fun in the evening with the heater on and all the fairy lights twinkling.

The pattern for the crochet shawl I'm wearing above is Tasty Tamarind by Mijo Crochet made with a Blackberry Mint Chip Scheepjes Whirl.

I love the colours of this whirl and although the pattern is meant for Scheepjes Whirligig yarn, I found it easy enough to make with a 4 ply whirl. 

My next crochet project is to make another one of these wraps and write the pattern down as I go. I made this earlier this year and made it up as I went along. The yarn is by Monsoon Calamity. It's 4 ply stranded cotton and comes in the most amazing colours!

Crochet Gradient Yarn Wrap 
Designed by Me in Nova Cotton Yarn by Monsoon Calamity.

The next one I am making is in Fairy Lake also by Monsoon Clamaity

Another non crafty make was this fruit loaf and lentil soup! The soup was one of my best ever. The loaf is lovely but I can't make it often as it's just fattening. A tasty treat every now and then though.

The best thing about living where we do is having lots of places to go for a walk.
These are our nearest neighbours.

We have woods within walking distance of the house.

And endless fields to look out across.

There's a lot to be said for appreciating what is on your own doorstep.  

As I mentioned at the start of this post, our annual Open Studios event was due to happen at the start of May. I hadn't really started making in earnest for it before it became obvious that it wouldn't go ahead but I did make this batch of bookmarks in preparation. They are now listed on Etsy.

 Aurora Felt Bookmark

 felt sheep bookmark

I also have a few of these covered notebooks made. The picture on the front is an original felt piece sewn onto purple tweed. The cover is designed to be removable so the notebook can be replaced when full or swapped out for an address book or diary. 

I had also started a series of long pictures in readiness for Open Studios. I've sold two already but this is my favourite one and it's still available. 

 I'm also keeping my little stock of Sheep Brooches and jewellery pieces topped up. 

 felt sheep art brooch

So that's just a wee round up of life in lock down here at Aileen Clarke Crafts. I am still able to post parcels. I do all my post online and walk to the nearest post box. Anything too large to go in the post box gets collected by a friend who passes the house every day. I leave a bag on the door and the parcels get dropped at the post office which she goes into every couple of days anyway. Pictures get sent by courier. 
If you would like something sent directly to the recipient with a message from you, that is a service I can offer at this time.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Fun Felt Making Workshops



This one day workshop is a fun opportunity to try out some basic felt making techniques. It is suitable for beginners, or for those with some experience who wish to refresh or enhance their skills.
In this session you will make a wet felted flower brooch using merino and silk fibres. Learn how to form and layer three-dimensional flower shapes and how to make a felt ball for the centre.
The afternoon will be spent exploring dry needle felting techniques. You will learn how to apply your own design to a background. Either bring your own idea or use one ready prepared. We will work into these designs using fibres, hand stitching and beads.
Cost £50 which includes all materials, tea and coffee.
To book, please click on this Eventbrite Link

If you would prefer a half day workshop, I will be running the flower brooch workshop twice on March 14th.




There are two chances to undertake this exciting three-hour workshop, led by feltmaker Aileen Clarke. This is a morning session, from 10 till 1. In this workshop you will make a wet felted flower brooch using merino and silk fibres. This includes learning how to form and layer three-dimensional flower shapes and how to make a felt ball for the centre.  You will go away with a finished piece ready to be sewn together when dry and full written instructions so you can carry on developing your skills at home.
£25 per workshop includes all materials, tea and coffee
To book, click on this Eventbrite link.


Same as above but from from 2 till 5. 
£25 per workshop includes all materials, tea and coffee
To book, click on this Eventbrite link.

Monday, 6 January 2020

January SALE!

My annual Sale is now live with 40% off lots of pendants and earrings plus a few other end of line pieces. 

Pendants were £26 now £15.60

Earrings were £18.95 now £11.37

Check out the SALE section of my Etsy shop to see everything that's available.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Felt Pictures, Textile Jewellery, Scottish Gifts and The Handmade Show!

The weeks are rushing by as we head through autumn and The Handmade Show is this Sunday the 17th of November!
I have been busy making a selection of new textile and resin jewellery in lovely deep blues, some of which I have added to my Etsy shop.

New felt brooches include the leaf shapes above in mixed merino and silk fibres. The bird brooches are made with Harris tweed and I have different motifs including treble clefs, thistles and hearts.

I also have a selection of these Treble Clef Brooches available. Makes a nice gift for a musician, singer or music teacher!

My range of printed gift items featuring my artwork is starting to run low. I tend to restock in the Spring so if you have your eye on anything shown here, be aware that there are only a few left.

I've also been working on some original felt pieces including this picture

Inspired by the coast around Rosbeg near Ardara, I wanted to capture the light and sky as well as the headland, rocks and beach. I used a variety of fibres to create the effects I wanted including some fabulous had dyed Shetland fibre I got in Aberdeen earlier this year.

These two cottage pictures both feature hand dyed fibres I sourced at Woolfest and Loch Nesss Knit Fest this year. I love meeting the dyers in person and getting my hands on unusual fibres that add texture and colour to my work.

I'll have more of my Textile Trinket Boxes available on Etsy by Tuesday 19th November. There are a few on there just now but I plan to make more this week.

To see what's available click here

So you can see all of this in person at The Handmade Show this Sunday the 17th November. It's held in the foyer and Norrie Miller Studio inside Perth Concert Hall, Mill Street, Perth PH1 5HZ  from 10.30 - 4.30 and it's FREE to get in. 

Don't forget that my 2020 Calendars are still available.

The Calendars feature a different print for each moth plus a whole calendar page to write on. Prints can be framed after use.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

2020 Wall Calendar and Events for Autumn

My 2020 Calendar is now available! The calendar features a different image for each month with a whole calendar page to write on.

Some favourite images include the wee alpaca, Big Sand beach and new for December is a red squirrel with snow capped highland mountains in the background.

Available now on Etsy and Amazon
£12.50 including UK postage
Please place International orders using Etsy.

My first event for Autumn 2019 is Loch Ness Knit Fest in Inverness.
The marketplace for the festival takes place on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th October in Inverness Leisure Centre. 

The vendors list looks really exciting! 

You can buy tickets online here 

You can also find me at Pitcairngreen Village Hall Craft Fair on Saturday 26th October. This is a lovely little fair that I have been exhibiting at for the last 15 years! There is a small entrance fee but it includes tea, coffee and home baking.

Then on Sunday 17th November I'll be exhibiting at The Handmade Show in Perth Concert Hall. This is a fabulous annual event with lots of fantastic artists and makers exhibiting their work for sale.
 Free Entry too!
As usual I am busy making things for all these events while trying to keep my online shops stocked and send things out to stockists as well. Remember you can keep up with what's new on Instagram and Facebook.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Fun Felt Making Workshop with Aileen Clarke Crafts

Join Me for a Fun Felt Making Workshop 
Saturday 14th September 10 – 3pm
Off the Rails Arthouse, Ladybank, Fife, KY15 7JT

In this workshop we will make a wet felted flower brooch using merino and silk fibres. Learn how to form and layer three-dimensional flower shapes and how to make a felt ball for the centre. 

The afternoon will be spent exploring dry needle felting techniques. You will learn how to apply your own design to a background. Either bring your own idea or use one ready prepared. We will work into these designs using fibres, hand stitching and beads. 
£50 includes all materials, tea and coffee. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Upcoming Events June 2019 and Some New Makes for May

I was beginning to think that I might never blog again but here we are half way through May and I have finally got a chance to do an update! What a busy year so far! Not much point in talking about events that have already past (Make::Wool at EYF and Open Studios North Fife) except to say that they were a huge success and have kept me extremely busy for the past few months.

My next event is at Aberdeen Yarnfest on Sunday June 9th. Last year was the first AYF and it was really good. The vendors list has been extended this year and looks excellent! As with all the yarn shows I exhibit at, I am excited to be going as a vendor and as a customer! Can't wait to get my hands on all that yarn and fibre!

I am really excited and delighted to say that I will be exhibiting at WOOLFEST in Cumbria this year! I have always wanted to go as a visitor but never been yet and here I am jumping in at the deep end as a vendor! I have been training my husband up to man my stall so that I can go shopping while I'm there! You can find me on stand K255.

Back in April we spent a week in a caravan at Laide up in Wester Ross and I took the opportunity to gather lots of inspiration for new felt seascape pictures.

Sketching on the beach at Mellon Udrigle

Big Sand Beach, Gairloch

I made quite a few larger pieces. Big Sand Beach and Evening Light are both bigger than the piece I am holding above which is pretty big for me. I usually work small scale. The piece above sold but I am taking the larger ones to exhibit at Woolfest.

Evening Light at Mellon Udrigle

These two are around the size of the one I am holding and are available now on Etsy  priced £225 including UK delivery.

I also put some of the seascape inspiration into these textile and resign jewellery pieces. I won't have these with me at the wool events but I do have lots listed on Etsy here 

Pendants £26, Earrings and Rings £18.50

I had quite a few new cushion designs made for Open Studios this year including the cockerel and sheep. 
(Overseas orders are sent without the inner padding.)

Earlier this year I made a little alpaca picture which sold immediately but I had him printed on cards and tins and he is proving very popular! I now have four tin designs all of which are available here 

New brooches for 2019 include these lovely green tweed birds with thistle motif.

I have lots and lots of items available on Etsy and will have a huge range with me at both Aberdeen Yarnfest and Woolfest. 

Building up stock for events takes up most of my time and I have really neglected blogging. I think a lot of makers that have had blog pages for years have let them slip at some point. I also took up crochet and probably do that more in the time I used to spend updating my blog. Got lots of beautiful scarves and shawls though! 

These are two I made this year using Scheepjes Whirls. I like whirls because I love gradient yarn, they are cotton so not at all itchy and they come in 1000 m balls ready to work with and that's plenty for a full shawl such as these. There are also lots of great patterns that suit whirls. I do love hand dyed yarn from independent dyers as well and buy it when I can.

Bruinen Shawl Free Pattern on Ravelry made with Scheepjes Ombre Turquoise Turntable

This is a bought pattern and I love the effect. It uses about half of a Rosewater Cocktail Whirl. 

So that's it for now. Hope to bring you news of new products soon. If you regularly visit my blog, thanks very much for sticking around! If you are new to it then thanks very much for dropping in.

All contributed content © Aileen Clarke