Monday, 22 August 2011

Workshop at Urban Yarns, Vancouver

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year in Vancouver. This was the day planned for the Creatures Workshop at Urban Yarns.
We had three air conditioners going and it was still hot!
There were twelve participants, most of whom had never made felt before except by knitting and then throwing it into a washing machine. They all did brilliantly and we even managed to squeeze in a lovely high tea at a very posh teashop a couple of doors down from the yarn store. Urban Yarns has the most delicious yarns, most of which I had never seen before. A mouth watering selection of the softest wools, mohairs, cashmeres and fine cottons. I wanted to try out everything but there aren't enough hours in the day to do the things that I am trying to finish at the moment.
Here are some pictures from the day. Everyone had a good time and the birds all flew home.

Beautiful Vancouver

Beautiful Vancouver. At her best in the summer sunshine. Here are some images taken from an exceptionally nice restaurant on Granville Island. This is an exciting area of Vancouver with many artist and crafts galleries, a wonderful food market and eclectic clothes shops surrounded by a marina of fancy boats. Here also is another image from the city.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Wooly Canadians

By a serendipitous chance of fate I happened to stumble over a store in the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver that got my senses buzzing. Just walking into Cara Birkland's store Birkland Bros. Wool Ltd had me sniffing the air recognising all those lovely sheepy smells that Handweavers Studio in Walthamstow used to smell of.
Cara is the 3rd generation owner of this historic store from 1939. She welcomed me with open arms and proudly took me to see her fantastically large carding machine that was brought out from the UK.
I had come to buy some felting needles for the workshop that I am giving on Sunday 21st at Urban Yarns in Vancouver. Why wasn't I doing a workshop for Cara's store she wanted to know. When I told her I hadn't known of it she made me promise to come back another time to run some workshops for her. So Vancouver, you had better watch out, I will felt the city.
Here are some pictures of the store with Cara and Eri and one of Cara with the carding machine.
Her website is and has all wooly needs including spinning wheels and looms and everything in between.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The amazing Mary Ellen Frank

Strolling through Juneau on an a mid August afternoon I happened upon a sign for a doll museum. This was on the first floor of a building tucked away in a side street.

I climbed the stairs and followed the sign and found myself in the workshop of Mary Ellen Frank who is a doll-maker extraordinaire. Mary Ellen makes dolls, but not just ordinary dolls, these are perfect representations of Northern Native Americans. She makes to commission, portrait dolls which are now in numerous private collections and museums worldwide. Everything she makes is perfect in detail and scale and her people are correct to the smallest detail including any physical differences there may be.
Here are some of her dolls and clothes made for the dolls.
Please visit her website and

Ice, ice and more ice

Alaska is big! And i have only seen a tiny fraction of it. But what fabulous sights. Glaciers 400 ft high, icebergs so blue that you cannot believe they are real and settlements only reachable by air or sea.
We visited Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Katchekan. Sitka was a busy place with some very cute little houses. Juneau is the State capital. Amazing really considering that there are no roads in or out and can only be reached by boat or air. Skagway was a busy place thriving in summer with all the visitors but deserted in winter except for the local doctor and supermaket.
Here are a selection of images from these trips.

The wonders of the Frozen North

Wow! I have always wanted to be Anchored out in Anchorage (as Michelle Shocked sung) however it was only a fleeting visit to Anchorage and it was pretty grey, cold and rainy. I was actually anchored in Seward a 4 hour train ride away. Seward is delightful with cute house, boats and planes everywhere. Surrounded by mountains, this is where the cruise ships go from and it was where our cruise started on it's journey through the Inner Passage down to Vancouver.
A wonderful trip with amazing sites along the way. Here are just a few of the magical images along the way.
This is the view from the train on the journey to Seward.

Monday, 1 August 2011

What are you all doing on Bank Holdiay Monday? Well, if you have nothing going on why don't you come along to Lauderdale House in Highgate Hill, North London to the 30th anniversary of the Lauderdale House Craft Fair. Lots of nice things for sale, nice cafe and some musical entertainers. Open all day. Lets hope the weather is nice. Here are some of my friends who will be there with me.

Well, holiday time is here at last and I am off to the frozen north. I am off to Canada and although Vancouver is not going to be in the minuses when I am there I will be going North to Alaska. Flying up to Anchorage, a place I have always wanted to visit, and then on a cruise down through the Hubbard Glacier and on to the Inside Passage finishing at Vancouver where I am giving a workshop for Urban Yarns We are going to be making my crazy birds. Check out this picture of some of my Felted Friends.
I have joined the 21st century. I have a Felt Better Facebook page, name felt-better, and now I am officially a Twit. My Twitter name is feltyfriend so I hope that some of you out there will be 'tweeting' me from time to time. I have fought shy of being so available but that is really just silly. I need to be 'out there' to ensure that feltmaking can become even more available. Please check out my Facebook page and maybe even become my friend so that you can see all the things that are happening in my felty world.