Woven eccentricities (or a wonky weave of a geriatric Jack Russell)

Since topping up my sleeved sweater stash (see previous post) we have had a mini heatwave here in the South of England. With temperatures soaring to 30 degrees and little let off at night I have found it difficult to get stuck in to another knitting project. So what to do with yarn that doesn’t result in sweaty hands and squeaky needles and allows a little air flow around the old bod? Yep, you got it, back to the tapestry frame and warp speed ahead on another coptic inspired weave of a wonky portrait, this time Nelly being the muse.

low res nelly woven

“Today I shall mostly be fabulous!” Hand woven tapestry in wool, cotton and metallic yarn.

My aim with this one was to use eccentric weaving (where the weft is not at right angles to the warp) to mimic the nap of the fur and to help give the illusion of three dimensions via the suggestion of contour lines. And here is the result: Nelly looking resplendent (and slightly worried i.e. her usual expression) on a majestic looking cushion. Note to self, for the next weave try to create a design that can be woven the right way up rather than on its side as previous ones have been if I wish to avoid developing a permanent kink in my neck and spine from regular progress checks.

Now, what to do next I wonder? I still have a knitting itch to scratch and the temperatures are becoming more conducive to picking up the needles again. However, I wouldn’t want to upset the Big Dog by showing favouritism to the Little and Noisy One so perhaps I should be sourcing some Weim coloured yarn for another wonky weave. Mmm, decisions, decisions, perhaps a cup of tea (or at least the tea leaves) will help? Until next time…….

More Doggy Doodles and my new Nicky Barfoot Etsy Shop is now up and running.

I’ve been quite productive since my last post, utilising the luxury of a couple of lazy weekends in revisiting the embroidery threads and pointy needles.  The result has been more doggy doodles, with the finishing touches put to this doodle, “Tune”, this morning.

"hand embroidered doggy doodle on painted calico"

“Tune”: Hand stitched on painted calico, decorated with vintage lace and mounted on Khadi paper.

“Tune” is currently available to buy and has just been listed in my new Etsy shop.  Do have a look.  More items, including knitting patterns as pdf downloads, will be added to the shop over the coming weeks.

A Doggy Doodle Obsession

I had so much fun creating Gaspode and Fifi, and Bert version 1 (woven) that I have got a little carried away with the doggy doodles in recent weeks.  There might also be diversion tactics at play here, i.e. using “colouring in” of light hearted images while subconsciously mulling over ideas for my next major project (there is one in the pipeline, it just seems to be a little stuck!). I have also had a couple of lighter weeks at work and with no knitting on the needles at present, have used the odd half an hour in between clients to draw.  Consequently I have been getting home from work with a sketchbook full of felt pen characters that are begging to be embroidered.

"Doggy Doodles, felt pen, tapestry and embroidery"

A trio of Berts: Felt pen on paper, woven tapestry and cotton embroidery on calico

I often find re-creating the same image in different media fascinating as each method brings its own characteristics. With the three versions of Bert that I have produced so far, I particularly like the way that in the woven version the relatively large size of the warp used and the resulting pixel size, enforces a charming crudeness on the image which to me adds to its appeal and interest.

In “Russ and Ollie” I think I may have found an enduring character in Russ the Jack Russell Terrier as he has begun to crop up in a few more of my felt pen drawings.  Oh dear, I feel another book coming on……….


Doggy Textile Taxidermy

Just back from the most fantastic workshop at West Dean.  Dogs and textiles, what more could I want?  OK so the dogs were photos brought along as reference material rather than the real thing but four days spent in the company of seven crazy dog ladies and the lovely and talented Donya Coward as our incredibly hard working tutor, was my idea of Arty Heaven.

The brief was to make a terrier head and as luck would have it I share a house (and often a bed!) with a smooth haired JRT so I had the perfect model on which to base it.  This was not a quick process and some of us were working up to 12 hours a day to get the job done.  However, after months of excited anticipation that I may have found the ideal way in to 3D work to suit both my skills and interests I was not disappointed.

"textile taxidermy first stages"

Day 1: A Gremlin

"Jack Russell Terrier textile taxidermy head"

Day 4: A JRT

She came out a little butcher than I had originally anticipated due to my use of bulky fabrics (recycled felted knitwear) but I am still really pleased with the end result.

"textile taxidermy JRT and her inspiration"

Nelly and her Alter Ego

I can barely wait for my bloodied fingers to heal before I start my next one!

Another Cartoon, “Noooooo!” (WIP)

Finally got around to inking up the last cartoon I did at the fabulous John Freeman cartooning course at West Dean.  It’s still WIP as it now needs a background.  Working from imagination requires so much brain power!  At least I used one of my everyday experiences to draw on (pun intended).

"cartoon dog chasing a bird"


I have been criticised by a close friend of mine for only using one of my much loved dogs in my art work.  So, to show there is no favouritism, here’s Nelly.  Again, the magic of “painting” in cross stitch means that the image becomes clearer if you step back from it.

"Jack Russell in cross stitch"

cross stitch in various natural blend yarns on gouache and paper background