Cut to March and I've finally found time to execute my plan. Not only that, my lovely friend Wye Sue presented me with raffia and "washed and combed Blue Faced Leicester locks" (from a wonderfully-named firm: Moral Fibre) whilst we were at SkipNorth last weekend. But the final inspiration for the project came as I made my annual, ritual SkipNorth 'phone call: I always ring Dad as we pass through Huddersfield, not least because the coach sometimes drives (literally) over where my grandparents used to live. (The house was demolished for road widening in the late 60s). As I spoke to Dad I had a sudden memory of my grandad showing me a blackbrid's nest in the garden, then taking all the eggs out and teaching me how to blow an egg. Not the sort of thing I'd ever consider doing nowadays, but it was legal back in 1966.
Suddenly I knew that I just had to have some felted eggs in the nest. So, carding combs in hand, I blended together wool tops in three different shades and then asked Roger Prime (the tutor of the wonderful experimental textiles classes that I go on Thursday evenings) if he could think of a way of using the felt-ball making technique he'd shown us to make felt eggs. And he did!
For the nests themselves, I decided to eschew my usual technique of crocheting, then felting in the washing machine, not least because I wanted to incorporate materials (raffia, sheep's locks) that were unlikely to survive the washing machine. Instead, I decided to pinch a technique from Irish crochet: crocheting around a cord. I dived deep into the stash and emerged with some ancient extra-thick green yarn to use as the cord, and some chunky brown yarn to work over it
I then cut snippets of raffia and some of my sludge-coloured handspun and worked these and the locks into the nest as I crocheted. I also created "moss" using some of the bargain, 99p, Wendy Cosmic yarn that I found at Coldspring Mill last Saturday.
And here's the end result (with one nest shown empty, though I have 5 eggs for each):