I was lucky enough to be given the book called 'Slow Stitch' by Claire Wellesley-Smith for Christmas.
This book advocates the process of stitching purely for enjoyment and the medative health benefits which stitching can give. It also suggests that using cloth which is either found, made in your locality or from recycled clothing makes the process more personal. Another idea is the making of a stitch diary. Rather like an art journal in cloth.
I admit I am not usually a patient person when it comes to getting things done. I like to get them done quickly. I do enjoy the process but always have so many ideas I can't wait to get started on the next project. This sounded like a good activity to be more relaxed. Something I could do gently in the evenings.
I racked my brains for local cloth as old clothes are always recycled into rag rugs in our house. Then had a light bulb moment when I came across a bag of fleece shorn from our own sheep a couple of years ago. Feeling and looking at the fleeces I was surprised to discover I knew which sheep each fleece had come from. A couple of them have died from old age since these fleeces were put away. One of them was a grey Welsh mule called Cadbury who was a real character and my favourite sheep. I decided that cloth made from my own sheep was as local as I could get! I also decided I wanted my cloth to have lots of texture and a sort of homespun look so decided to Nuno felt it with muslin and let the muslin show through in places.
Next job was to prepare the fleeces. Here is a photo of fleece which I have decreased but not yet properly washed. It is from a sheep called Sally whom we still have.
Since then I have cleaned, carded and felted the fleece. I didn't make a huge piece of felt because big pieces are just too much hard work. In keeping with the slow ethos I decided to make more pieces of felt as and when needed.
Then another idea popped in my head. Why not make a sort of memory blanket from my rectangles of felt? I will remember the characters and feel of the sheep whose fleeces I use. I may even stitch their names on to the blanket at some time. A lot of the fleece is white so I have also decided to dye some of them with natural dyes.