There are times when a girl falls in love with the oddest things, such as this wall, just outside Cockermouth:
As Lakeland walls go, it isn't an especially romantic one. The stones are quite large and I feel sure that mortar has been deployed in its construction (no doubt there are health and safety rules to ensure that any wall with integral stile must be constructed so that it is held together by more than gravity!) But I loved the variety in colour in the stone (there are iron seams very close by, which may explain the pinky-red colour that you can see in places) and, in particular, the lumpy, bumpy surfaces. I was also quite struck by the splotchy wash of mud (or was it cowdung?) at the bottom.
Even as I squeezed through the stile (and it was a squeeze, believe me) a pot began to take shape in my brain. Grey wool, shot through with flashes of other shades of stone. (How would I do that? Tapestry crochet? Applying another colour on the surface later? Spike stitches?) A few muddy lowlights at the bottom. Lumps and bumps. How about capturing some of the greenery that was sprouting from the side, or would that be too much? Before long we were in a wooded valley, where virtually every surface was covered with moss. Moss that reminded me of some very green, very frondy yarn (something by Crystal Palace, I think) that I'd purchased from Woolly Workshop 2 or 3 years ago, with no particular project in view. I pictured a wall topped with moss, then turned my mind, eyes and ears towards the urgent business of squirrel-spotting; all thoughts of crochet were forgotten.
Once back home, on the edge of the Fens, I decided to use one of my mossy photos (the "green candyfloss" of last week's blog entry) as my avatar on Ravelry. Fellow Raveller Danielle mentioned that she thought it might have been something that I'd crocheted... prompting me to remember the walk, the wall, the moss, the planned pot....
A quick dip into the "yarns for felting" bag and I had grey eco wool (for the stone), a scrap of brown eco wool (for the mud/cowdung), Freedom spirit in a greyish/reddish/brownish mix for the colour variation in the stone). Then a dive into my freeform stash (subcategory: posh/expensive/use in moderation yarns) for Rowan tweedy 4-plys (which I've been collecting for years) in 2 shades of green and for the aforementioned Crystal Palace frondy stuff.
Then the fun began. Streaks of mud and lumps and bumps. Seams of ore. Always two yarns spiralling their way up the pot, but only one colour at a time being used for the stitches, the other just being caught in place. Most of the time I was working in half trebles but, whenever I felt like it, I'd put a few more wraps round the hook and work into a stitch further down or off to one side. Sudden increases and decreases were carefully stacked to form pouches in the sides.
It was slow going (though it guzzled up yarn alarmingly quickly), but I enjoyed it. Finally, it was moss time. For most of the time I worked with all three moss yarns held together, increasing in every third or fourth stitch on the first row and every stitch on the second. I (deliberately) worked just the first fifth or so of the third row, to emphasise a bulge. And every so often I made a tiny deviation. Using just one of the greens and a small hook I did a small chain, worked a few half trebles in the end of it and slipstitched my way back, to make a few little fruiting fronds.
Then the terror set in. This would be the first time I'd felted something with so many different yarns and textures. Into the machine it went (with one small sea anemone pot, and two pots destined to be fringed anemones). I kept going through to the garage to see what was happening. Would the synthetic green fluff melt at 40 degrees? (Fortunately not).Would it shed over the other pots? (No, thank goodness.) Would all my textural and colour work be flattened out and muted by the felting process? (Slightly, but not too much).
And here, at last, is a more respectable photo than that originally used!