exciting developments are afoot at madeWILD HQ. I’m amalgamating my website and blog, getting rid of the old ones and starting afresh.  I’ve been a bit on the tardy side in regards to posting and generally keeping in touch, so I’ve decided to put everything in one place to make life a little simpler.

I’d like to thank everyone who has followed this blog over the last wee while and hope you will continue to come read my musings over at http://mhairiwild.wordpress.com/

Once I finish doing all the techy stuff, my domain will be linked and everything will be in one place at http://www.mhairiwild.co.uk.  Hopefully, this will mean more regular posts for you to read and a more streamlined, improved version, for me. Win, win, really.

I will keep this blog live until the changeover, then it’s au revoir…

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Much has happened in the intervening months, since I last posted. Some good things and some not so good. One of the main changes has been that I recently found out I’m allergic to wool!! As you can imagine, this is a bit of a handicap since it’s my principal material. It causes puffy, red, runny eyes, a wheezy chest, and nasty skin rashes. I seem to be ok with long carded fibre for spinning, but cut fibre resulting from the felting processes I use, are the worst. It was only when I stopped working with it recently to work on a house design, that I saw the connection. Anyway, the upshot is that me and my felted lambswool are parting company.

My Mixed Media work has been very well received, and in a way, has led me in a circle right back to where I started out. It has always been an important part of my process, and until recently, I hadn’t realised mine or it’s potential.

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It’s a topic I taught at Dundee College, and was always one of my most popular classes. Happily, I’ve been asked to run a one day workshop at the DCA in October, combining Mark making, mixed media and textiles. It should be a fun day. I will post a link and more details nearer the time.

The other big change has been my son Sean’s health. He’s had a tough few months, but is thankfully on the mend now. Obviously, studio time has been scarce, but when I have managed to have a day or two, I’ve been working on a really exciting house design for good friends of mine. It is a self supporting timber structure, with a planted roof and strawbale infill. More details and photos to follow, once the final design is off the drawing board. I taught on the Interior and Environmental Design Course at Duncan of Jordanstone, my main areas of interest being, Performative Design and Sustainability. So you see…I have pressed the default. I’m very fortunate to have the freedom, materials, space and skills to allow for this switch and hope to further develop these two areas of interest.

None of this would be possible without the help and support from my wonderful Alan. Life has been tough round these parts lately, but he has never wavered, and has kept me smiling, and supplied with a good Malt, when necessary. What more could a girl ask for?

I’m hoping that this new/old direction will allow the flexibility I need at the moment until Sean is fully recovered. It will be interesting to see where it takes me. I love an adventure!

health, wealth and happiness for the coming year.

health, wealth and happiness for the coming year.

Here are some of my highlights of 2012…

rediscovering drawing thanks to 28 drawings later throughout February. Made some great new pals through the FB page.

rediscovering drawing thanks to 28 drawings later throughout February. Made some great new pals through the FB page.

took possession of the keys to a brilliant new studio space at Meadow Mill, in Dundee.

took possession of the keys to a brilliant new studio space at Meadow Mill, in Dundee.

took part in Open Studios and had a fab response from the visitors.

took part in Open Studios and had a fab response from the visitors.

attended Vanilla Ink Opening with the aid of some of my baked goods.

attended Vanilla Ink Opening with the aid of some of my baked goods.

Attended Woolfest with Elena Costella and a bus load of other fibre obsessives.

Attended Woolfest with Elena Costella and a bus load of other fibre obsessives.

found time to knit something for myself from Susan Crawford's fab book, 'A Stitch in Time', part 2

found time to knit something for myself from Susan Crawford’s fab book, ‘A Stitch in Time’, part 2

more baking of the wedding kind.

more baking of the wedding kind.

enjoyed playing about with some naughty stitching ideas.

enjoyed playing about with some naughty stitching ideas.

collaborated with Jan Shaw. Hand dyed and hand spun yarn for a mixed media project.

collaborated with Jan Shaw. Hand dyed and hand spun yarn for a mixed media project.

continued to be inspired by poerty and found objects

continued to be inspired by poerty and found objects

expanded my collection to include hats, collars, hat pins, and button brooches.

expanded my collection to include hats, collars, hat pins, and button brooches.

very special cape commission for a special lady.

very special cape commission for a special lady.

brilliant time with Paola McClure decorating and hosting a Christmas doo, on the 4th floor with our fellow creatives.

brilliant time with Paola McClure decorating and hosting a Christmas doo, on the 4th floor with our fellow creatives.

but most importantly, found time to get a wee break with my Alan, and spend time with my wonderful sons.

but most importantly, found time to get a wee break with my Alan, and spend time with my wonderful sons.

So here’s to 2013…may the best of the old year be the worst of the new.

I know, I know…it’s been ages! It’s been a tough year, but I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say, I’ve found my woolly mojo again and have been holed up in Studio 408, WASPS, Meadow Mill, in Dundee designing some lovely new Lambswool accessories.

Of course, the orange one is my favourite…

This little beauty was the most popular, this weekend…

We had Open Studios last weekend and had a wonderful turnout, with over 1,000 visitors. There was a really fantastic atmosphere. There is such a diverse Arts community in the building, I never pass up a chance to see Artists and Designers in their creative space.

the light in my studio is wonderful at this time of year…warm and soft

I’m working on all sorts of different projects with some exciting things to come soon, so I promise to update more often and let you see what’s happening in my new studio. Pop on over to my Facebook page, Made WILD and see if you likey, too.

You haven’t seen a blog post for ages and then two of them come along at once.

I felt a change in the air this morning and noticed that some of the leaves in the garden had started to turn.  Most of my flowers are waning, but the ones left are predominantly pinks and purples….

This is my first year growing ‘Cosmos’ from seed and I’m really happy with the results…they just keep making new blooms.

This fuchsia was in the garden when we moved here, and struggled initially.  But with lots of care, feeding and pruning, it gives quite a show now.

I love a lily, and although they don’t really fit in with the rest of the garden, I planted some bulbs this year in tubs and was rewarded with this beauty.

Another one of my favourites.  I usually plant the tall blue variety of cornflower in the back garden with Camomile Daisies and Red Field Poppies for company, but this year I tried some multi-coloured dwarf ones.

The bumble bees love these Globe Thistles, they’ve been buzzing around them ever since the blooms popped open.

As I said earlier, the leaves are turning, but there are still delights to look forward to like…..

We have a number of self-seeded Elderberry bushes in the garden, which will turn into Elderberry Port and Jam……

….and brambles for Bramble Jelly.  If I can find enough, I’ll make some wine too.  That should help to keep us warm through the Winter.

I’ve been very lax in my blogging of late, so felt I should show you what I’ve been up to.  I’ve been experimenting with new bits and bobs, including hand spun yarn and buttons…..

single printed buttons to spell out words…..’cosy’

hand-dyed, handspun BFL fleece…..

handwoven, tabby weave covered button.

possible design for cushion cover.

I’m also glad to report that Elena Costella‘s lovely yarn emporium is open again after all the dreadful flooding we had recently.  Elena, Leslie and all the willing helpers really worked hard to get the shop open again as soon as possible, so I hope everyone rushes down to replenish their yarn stash.

My loom is unfolded and ready for action.  I’m going to have a bash at some warp dyeing and have a folder of design ideas to try out.  Not all my activities have been wool related.  I made some yummy scones, using the River Cottage recipe, but replaced the cream with milk, and apple, rhubarb and ginger jam to top them off.  There was also some oranges in need of using, so they were turned into spiced marmalade.

Check out these bad boys!!  Big and crunchy on the outside and fluffy as a fluffy thing in the middle.

I was never keen on Rhubarb and Ginger as a child, but the addition of Apple made this lighter and really more-ish.

I spiced up the marmalade with some nutmeg, two cloves, and a little mixed spice.  I don’t like sweet marmalade, so the spices soften the sharpness of the fruit.

They are all residing in a wee cupboard in the kitchen, which Alan has renamed, ‘Bob Marley’……well there is jammin’.

As you know…I’m a knitter, amongst other things.  I used to be of the ‘find a pattern, select the yarn and knit the project’ kind of knitter.  I wouldn’t buy yarn on a whim, or hoard patterns.  I would only start one project at a time and keep going until it was finished…..even if I couldn’t stand the sight of it, by the end.  I went through a love/hate relationship with knitting for a while during my teens and early 20’s.  I am flighty and easily bored, so having only one project on the go, unless it was small and quick, became more of a chore than a joy.

However, things change……I am now the proud owner of a comfortably large, but not ridiculous, stash of yarn and have several projects on my needles, so I thought I’d share my Work In Progress.

This is the back of a jumper I’m knitting for my lovely hubby.  I’m using my own hand spun 2ply in gorgeous Oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester.  The yarn has a slight slub to it and is chunky weight.  The finished jumper will have a pouch pocket, hood and 3 buttons at the neck.  I got the idea for the design from ‘The Knitter’ Issue 14. The pocket and hood will have a cable pattern and I may run it up the sleeves, but I haven’t made my mind up yet…..

I’ve been dying up some gorgeous luxury yarns and knitting up samples using different stitches to see how they work.  This is a wee sample using ‘Elderberry’ laceweight Bluefaced Leicester.  Can you tell, it’s my favourite fibre?  There is quite a strong variegation, so a simple stitch pattern works well.  One of the semi-solid yarns would work more successfully with a more intricate pattern….

This one is purely for fun!  I’ve always wanted a traditional knitted cosy, but have never gotten round to making one, until now.  It will have two big pom poms on the top.

Would you believe I’ve never knitted socks!  I have crocheted quite a few pairs, so decided to have a go…..not having the fun I thought I’d have, so these bad boys are destined to be welly tops instead.  I’m using pure wool DK from New Lanark Mill in Cherry, and birch dpn’s.  Birch needles are probably my favourite, but I do use bamboo, steel and plastic, depending on the project and yarn.

My blue/lilac/purple/jade cardigan is almost completed.  I didn’t like the cabled yoke in the pattern so have changed the design.  It has short sleeves and three buttons at the neck.  I bought the yarn from MCA Direct in Stirling, and the finished cardie will be for wearing in the studio.  The short sleeves will be super practical for when I’m dyeing…..I have more dyed cuffs than I care to admit!

….and where does one put ones stash when the footstool is full?  In the fireplace, of course!  Colourful, cosy and full of potential…..a bit like me, really.

As you know from my previous post, I’m one of the Maker’s of the Month for Concrete Wardrobe, in Broughton Street, Edinburgh.  When James and Fiona invited me, it was suggested that I could design something special for the window.  Well…where to start? My collection is mostly accessories, so I didn’t want to stray too far from that area.  I fiddled around with ideas, and finally came up with a design for a cape.   The definition of words is commonly a starting point for my work.  Cape works well on two levels,  not only as a ‘sleeveless outer garment fastened at the throat, and worn hanging over the shoulders’, but also as, ‘a point or head of land projecting into a body of water.’

The colours, textures and form of the cape were directly inspired by the coastal headland around Auchmithie, on the East coast of Scotland.  It was my favourite beach when I was growing up.

It’s a pebble beach, covered in some of the most beautiful stones.  I recently spent 3 whole days there recording the sound of the sea, collecting, photographing and making small site specific yarn related things.

……hand dyed yarn, found pebble and seaweed.

…..natural yarn, crocheted and attached.

…..abandoned boat, with the mist lifting.

You never grow out of looking for ‘stuff’ in rock pools.  Although the weather was pretty poor with the haar off the water taking hours to clear, it was still a wonderful experience.  It was very much a case of….to sea, but not seen.

As usual, most of my pictures were of the macro variety, leaving Alan to take some wonderful seascapes.

The resulting cape design consists of a combination of azure knitted felt, vintage checked tweed and some gorgeous self-coloured Harris Tweed, finished off with a wooden button.  I hand dyed the silk lining to create an effect redolent of water ripples.

This cape is a one off never to be repeated design, and I have to say that I found it difficult to part with!  I hope it finds a lovely home and is enjoyed by whoever buys it.

Just thought I’d post a few wee sneaky peaks at the new designs.  They are being launched on 1st August, at Concrete Wardrobe, Broughton Street, Edinburgh……..very excited!

‘peat stack’ egg cosies….

‘gansey’ tea cosy detail…..

‘gather’ together skinny scarf….

‘peat stack’ coffee cosy, button detail…..

There’s also a one off show piece for the window display, but you’ll have to wait until the launch to get a look at that.

It’s been ages and I apologise.  I still need to sort out my time priorities, but I’m working on it…slowly.   Around this time of year we are always on the look out for some special visitors in the garden.  We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by countryside and love watching all the creatures, big, small, feathered and furry, but there is one species that appear in abundance, practically overnight……..

I’m not exaggerating when I say that we get hundreds of wee toads and frogs migrating through our garden.  With all the heavy rain we’ve been having lately, their journey hasn’t been so difficult.  Usually we have to pick them up into containers and transport them over to the burn that leads to the lade where they will grow and eventually spawn.  However, because it hasn’t been too hot, there has been less danger of them drying out or hiding somewhere damp until it’s safe to move.  The only downside is for about 2 weeks we can’t cut the grass and have to be very careful where we walk…..not that we miss cutting the grass!

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in the studio.  I have been dying yarn on and off for quite a while for myself and as commissions, and the feedback has been really good, so I decided to take the next step and design some colour ranges to sell.  I’ve been experimenting and am really happy with the results so far.  My own handspun yarn is particularly yummy!

Once I had played about with some other colourways and different fibres, I sat down to work out how they would work together, and which yarns would be most suited for the collections, by season, project and cost.

Over the next wee while I’ll be designing patterns to go with the collections, and hopefully offering them in kit form, as well as individual skeins…..so watch this space.  They will be available on Ravelry, I am wildwoolwifey, and I will be opening a Folksy shop, too.

In the meantime, I am dreaming up some lovely handpainted warps for my loom, which I will be breaking out very soon.  I’m also knitting a long waited for cable hooded jumper for my hubby.  I’m using handspun oatmeal Blue faced Leicester, which is so soft and gorgeous, with brilliant sheen and stitch definition……my favourite fibre.  Other WIP’s are a blue cardigan for myself, which is nearly there, and tension squares of all the lovely yarn I have been dying.  I like them all so much, I’m not sure how I’m going to part with them.