Alpacas Galore!

After my previous trip to the Petlake Alpacas open day, it was a no-brainer that I would go again this year, and drag friends along to revel in the fluffiness.

Alpaca group

Like last year there were several baby alpacas to squee over, including several that were rolling down a tiny hillock. I walked an adult alpaca called Casper (first photo below) - he was quite fiesty and kept getting tangled up with the others being walked. The next person to walk him was a small child - by that point he'd had enough, started jumping around then escaped into the middle of the field.

Alpaca collage

(thanks to Anna Marie Haworth for the non-me photos in the collage).

Last year I bought a painting of a cow (below) by Lucy Tidbury. She was at the event again this year with some gorgeous paintings, but sadly I only had enough money on me for postcards.

Cow painting by Lucy Tidbury

In honour of the alpacas, I have rounded up some awesome alpaca crafts from Etsy!

WildOlive alpacas embroidery pattern

This cute embroidery pattern is from Wild Olive's shop (she also does the seasonal stitching clubs that I have failed to keep up with, her latest club is a year-long 50 States quilt). Also check out her blog which has loads of tutorials and free patterns.

Lucyravenscar alpaca family amigurumi pattern

Lucy Ravenscar's adorable alpaca pattern makes me wish I could crochet properly. Check out her blog for more details on her patterns.

PrintsbyLucyPerry alpaca linocut card

I love this linocut alpaca card by PrintsByLucyPerry. She also has a print of the same design.

WestWightAlpacas alpaca hat pattern

You can now pretend to be an alpaca with this cute hat pattern from WestWightAlpacas! She also makes glass alpacas.

Art House Summer Exhibition

I was so excited when I got two of my textile art pieces into the Southampton Art House Summer Exhibition. These were pieces that I originally made during my City & Guilds Level 2 Machine Embroidery. Here they are hanging in the exhibition.

"Castles" - inspired by moss, plants and weathering of ancient castle walls after visits to Chepstowe and Corfe Castle. I created printing blocks using giant pencil erasers and lino cutters, then used a heat transfer press to create the pattern on the fabric. I added batting and thick calico backing, then I quilted using dense machine stitching to suggest moss, adding some hand embroidery in places using different types of threads (including buffalo wool!). I couched various wool to create vines, and used soluble fabric to embroider leaves to hang at various points from the vines.

"Falling" - a large piece combining tea-dyed calico, organza, satin and scrim. I machine embroidered leaves in various neutral tones onto the calico, and created individual leaves using satin and organza, singeing the edges with an incense stick! I shredded holes in the organza and scrim to create a tattered effect and strung it from a large twig.

The exhibition is on until the 28th September and includes lots of lovely pieces in many styles and mediums. The Art House hosts a huge variation of live acts, workshops and other events and serves gorgeous chocolate cake!

FFFoF "Black" Swap Part Two

This is the "black" piece I received from mausheart (check out his Flickr stream here - the owl hoop is so cute!):

I love the use of black embroidery thread on black Aida, it's very effective and the cobweb is amazing! It's also a really unusual hoop (at least I've never seen a metal hoop like this before). It's very "me" - I like most spiders (except for the ones that are mostly spindly legs and the ones that are too big to fit in a pint glass...). I suspect this will end up on my bedroom wall, it will look especially good once I've finally painted the walls purple instead of the current corpse colour, bleugh.

Speaking of local wildlife, we found this guy under a (very diseased) rose bush:

He was HUGE - that's a really big magnolia leaf he's sitting on. I love his fake eyes! I suspect he is an elephant hawk moth caterpillar. I'd never heard of these before this summer, until Miskit dragged one of the moths in (luckily she didn't injure it and we let it go). I was a bit shocked by the size and the way it was skittering around, for some reason I thought it was a crab in the low light...

July Instagram

Some of the things I was up to last month...

I'm MadMonstersUK on Instagram - are you on there too? Would love to check out some new feeds.