2016 can be the year of learning new things for me-at least for the moment. I have discovered a new craft-though strictly that was in 2015 but I will continue it this year. It is apparently an old craft, and I don't know how I could have missed it. It is called needle punching and can be used to make rugs if you have a big needle (I have ordered a big one but it is taking a long time to fly here from America) You use a punch needle, which is long and hollow. You use a wire threader to pull the thread though the needle, and then through the needle's eye. I discovered this by finding a kit for £4 in the charity shop (where else?!) It had some rolls of thin wool yarn, some transfer pictures and a red thing and I thought I would take a chance. When I got it home I realised the red thing is a clever tool with the needle inside. You turn the handle to change the length of the needle and the roll of thread fits onto the top so you have a continuous supply. Then you push the needle through the back of the fabric, it makes a tiny loop, you move the needle along a tiny amount, punch again and gradually fill the area with the colour. It gives a lovely texture, like a very small rug, and is easy to do. I bought the kit on the Monday of the school holidays before Christmas, made my brother a present in time for Christmas, and my Dad one in time for Boxing Day. The picture below is my last one, which is for me. A moody face, of my preferred type!
The plastic ring also came with the kit. It is quite sturdy and fairly large.
I embroidered the jumper.
The hardest part to do was the tiny highlight in the eye.
On the back you leave about an inch of thread at the start and the end of each colour. If you pull on the thread it all comes out so mistakes are easy to rectify. I put an interfacing and felt backing on the ones I gave away to stop any threads pulling out, though I did frame them.
The black hair took ages.
The red on the cheeks didnt work so I just used solid pinks in the end.
These are the other pictures I made. A portrait of Sadie with a Santa hat for my Dad.
The Amineko Christmas cat was for Joan, his wife.
I made a sugar skull for my brother. Here it is in its new gothic setting!
This is traced from one of the pictures that came with the kit. Kitsch bunny!
My other new thing for this year is sign writing.
I am about to do a week long course to learn this skill. I have always enjoyed drawing and painting lettering, and have had an interest in signs too. I love seeing the so called 'ghost signs' left over from past advertising. I hadn't really thought about learning to sign write, then I saw a post on Louise's blog (my friend and I went on a course that Louise ran a few years ago about how to make your own rubber stamps. She is a multi-talented lady!) about a course she had been on, and immediately wanted to go on it too. And, two years later I am about to. I am a bit nervous but very excited too. I have just finished reading a book on sign writing, and it has made me feel slightly pre-informed. The course is run by Joby Carter, and is at his vintage fairground. I am as excited about seeing the place as I am about the course. I will be staying in a B and B which is not really one, but is someone's house and they rent rooms to people doing the course. I expect to take lots of photos!