New Wips to Add to Blooms

There is a special power that happens with sharing online. When we share images and videos of what we've been pursuing creatively, we open up spaces that otherwise remained out of view. Making and processes that are often tucked into the domestic spaces of our homes suddenly become visible. Studios I'd otherwise never see are there for me to drool over and dream of one day having myself.

Process is a big part of the #wipsandblooms hashtag that I cohost with my friend and talented ceramicist Katie Robbins on Instagram. From hosting this hashtag I've enjoyed getting to know a community of handmade business owners and makers who are crafting their online spaces to communicate the wonderful journey of realising creative ideas. Dresses, illustrations, mitts and prints nestle side by side with bowls, biscuits and bunting. To say it's my favourite place to cruise at the end of the day is an understatement. More than once I've fallen down a rabbit hole of clicking through to someone's profile and pouring over the images that they've left almost like a trail of breadcrumbs for me to find. 

It's why I am so pleased to share last month's winning entry with you. I've been absolutely thrilled to discover Rebecca thanks to her story telling of her #wipsandblooms as a natural dyer. It's a fascinating journey to observe and so beautifully captured for us to see. Congratulations Rebecca, you win a hand bound journal courtesy of last month's sponsor, 

Image via  @rebeccadesnos  for #wipsandblooms

Image via @rebeccadesnos for #wipsandblooms

So while diving down rabbit holes lately, I've been noticing I'm getting drawn increasingly to weaving. I kind of feel this was inevitable for a fibre lover such as me but with the forthcoming move, I've had visions of beautifully puffy clouds of merino roving and less frivolous plied wools sitting happily side by side in the same wall hanging. I'm intrigued, so it was particularly serendipitous when Fran from the We Make Collective jumped in as sponsor and collaborator for this month's #wipsandblooms. 

Fran has been also been hosting the #myhandsmaking hashtag so this month we're joining forces. If you would like to participate, you can join us by taking a picture of your latest projects with some seasonal blooms and get your hands in on the action too. Post them on Instagram and add #wipsandblooms and #myhandsmaking for your chance to win one of  Fran's incredibly popular hand-loom travel kits. You can read more about the We Make Collective here:

Image courtesy of Fran at We Make Collective (@wemakecollective)

Image courtesy of Fran at We Make Collective (@wemakecollective)

I can't wait to see what people invent this month!

Oh and for those of you wondering if it takes an Instagram husband to achieve such shots, a make shift tripod and the timer setting will work just as well or simply holding your phone high up to capture just one hand. Trust me on this one ;)


Wips & Blooms: October

Oh Autumn!

Autumn making

This is the month that makes my heart soar every year. The minute I feel September getting into its stride, I'm daydreaming about the leaves turning, the snuggly feel of wool and planning all the baking I possibly can. By the time we trundle into October, I'm bursting with excitement at all the best of the season. 

Wips and Blooms October

In my own making, I've been on something of a swatching journey. I spent a lot of the last month working on article commissions and material for the podcast, exploring local-to-me yarns. The journey has been soothing and fascinating. It has also been the perfect preparation for what I refer to as Knitting Season (yes, capitalised). 

To celebrate a little, Katie and I decide that this month's #wipsandblooms entries on Instagram should have the chance to win a seasonal treat. We would love to see the best of what October has to offer both in terms of sharing your process of making and the 'blooms' you've foraged and found. It's becoming sparse out there in the Northern Hemisphere; Winter is creeping in. However, there's still much to be found from rosehips to rosemary. We can't wait to see. 

All entries tagged with #wipsandblooms between now and October 31st will have the chance to win a special package kindly donated by Mimosa Street. I first discovered this independent store a few months ago and created a virtual wishlist for the new home when we eventually move. Most of Mimosa Street's products are handmade and they work closely with designer-makers to create beautiful items that can only be found in their store. 

When I asked for something to reflect October's foraged and found emphasis, I received the perfect items:

A Floella Vase: A fairtrade hanging vase made from recycled glass that would be perfect for little sprigs and blooms to brighten up indoors and outdoors. (I would love a little string of them on an outdoor snug!)

A poppy Seedball tin: Autumn is the perfect time to scatter poppy seedballs which were created by conservation scientist to offer a new twist on seed propagation. The wildflower seeds are rolled into little balls with clay, compost and chilli powder (to deter predators) and are a perfect way to grow native wildflowers that encourage bees and butterflies. 

Retro floral pocket notebook: Designed and printed in England and made from recycled paper, this pretty notebook is just the right size for musings on the move. 

wips and blooms October

So what will you be making this Autumn? You might even be preparing for warmer weather if you're in the Southern hemisphere of course! I'd love to see your making and crafting progress and hope to see your #wipsandblooms on Instagram soon!



Objects in Focus: Wendy Fowler Pottery Yarn Bowls

This sponsored blog post is brought to you by Wendy Fowler Pottery. Opinions and views expressed here are my own. To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, please email me using the envelope icon on the bottom left of your screen. 

Wendy Fowler handmade yarn bowl

Wendy Fowler handmade yarn bowl

If you've been following me here, on Instagram or Twitter for any period of time you will recognise my yarn bowl. My yarn bowl was my first ever Mother's Day gift and I loved it instantly. I spotted it at Unravel and while I wasn't looking, my mum swooped it up to present to me a few weeks later. I loved it instantly, presenting it with my current sock wip for it to house in all it's splendour. I've used and used this beautiful handmade bowl and snapped it many times to show my current knitting project or yarn obsession. 

I wanted to share a little about Wendy's talent for creating yarn bowls that not only look stunning when holding my current wip on the sideboard but also don't snag. These bowls are high on wow factor, often attracting admiring comments, but they're also totally functional. This is something that pleases me enormously. Tools that make life just a little bit easier and prettier are pretty much perfection in my mind! I pop the cake of yarn inside, thread my working yarn through the hole and it spins along merrily, snag free and stops anything from getting snarled and angry. Calm and pretty knitting- divine!

Wendy creates each unique bowl by hand using stoneware clay before adding a beautiful glaze. I fell in love with the different glaze effects the first time I saw them and blame Wendy for my growing obsession with hand thrown, hand glazed ceramics. I love the bumps, nubbs and little fluctuations that makes each piece to individual.

"I started making yarn bowls about 4 years ago after I was asked to make some by Helen at Woolly Chic. She wanted some to sell on her crochet stall at wool shows. I had quite a bit of technical difficulties at first and very nearly gave up! But after experimenting more I got it sussed! I then started making them to sell myself and that started on my road of many woolly shows! I throw the bowls on the potters wheel and when they have dried a bit I trim the base and then cut the slot and holes.  As I am a knitter I like to think I know what is needed in a yarn bowl. I make them deep enough for a good sized ball and always make sure they are lovely and smooth so they don't snag the yarn. I find I'm thinking of new designs all the time, I've recently added small holes to the bowl to attach stitch marker rings to hold stitch markers to the bowl. I make doubles and recently a triple bowl. These are good for holding multiple balls of yarn." - Wendy Fowler
Wendy Fowler Yarn Bowls 

Wendy Fowler Yarn Bowls 

"My Sea houses bowls are inspired by my visits to our coast and the quirky sea side houses that can be seen. I love the free painting and the use of ceramic wax crayons to outline the houses. They all have a row of bunting around the top. I love making yarn bowls and have some lovely feedback from happy customers!" - Wendy Fowler

As someone who crafts, I really love the fact my tools and notions are handcrafted too. It feels like a circle of makers, supporting our creative endeavors- it really resonated this month when I'm thinking about my own Creative Identity and what that means to me. I think I can safely say that I much prefer purchasing from creative businesses where you can really see the way their hands have worked to make something special. When I work with beautifully made items, it inspires me to complete projects as best I can. I want to make inspiring things too!

If you want to learn more about Wendy and here work, you can visit her website here to see an impressive portfolio of exhibitions. She'll be vending at Fibre East this coming July and also has an Etsy store, Wendy Fowler Pottery