24.3.14

My book and a giveaway


Last year, the most terrible of my life, also saw one of my life ambitions fulfilled. With ghastly irony, the offer from Harper Collins to commission my first needle felt book came just two days after Andy died, in January 2013. What should have been a joyous occasion was like ashes in my mouth. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered any more.




Yet this book was part of my future survival; I was left rudderless and precariously positioned financially. Somehow the mortgage had to be paid, the electric bill, the water rates, the council tax and now it was all down to me. So having been given a deadline extension and much sympathy from my publishers, I began designing the first patterns in March.




Believe me, when you have lived through your worst nightmare, when you have howled into the snowy night for your love to come back to you,  dreaming up cute toys seems like a monstrous irrelevance. And so the years of professional working kicked in and I immersed myself in making the best book I could, under the circumstances.  




Somehow I found the strength to get this book finished by summer last year, despite having to take a break to organise Andy's woodland burial. I worked seven days a week, 8-10 hours a day. I often found myself crying as I sat alone in my studio, just me and my felting needle. But I did it. And in the end, I rediscovered my love of toys, as I surrounded myself with more and more of them.



Most of the designs were new.


Some were old favourites, like the Roly Poly robin, who I've made many, many times.


And I was able to include a good section on techniques, including how to sew in eyes and how I get that firm, smooth finish people are always asking me about.



I also wanted to produce a book which had more challenging  patterns in - there are plenty of 'simple' needle felting books out there, and while I do have some very easy 'roll it up and stab' patterns, such as the Rainbow Mice, there are some more tricky designs for seasoned needle felters to get their teeth into. Over the space of four months, I produced a heck of a lot of creatures.


Although it is great to finally have my own needle felt book out, the person I wanted to do it for is no longer here. So these two lines are, for me,  the most precious part of it.

"This book is dedicated to the life and dear memory of Andy Macauley, 1971 - 2013. My Forever Love."


I have three signed copies of my book to give away - if you'd like to have the chance to win one, leave a comment here so that I know who you are, and I'll do the draw next week, when I return from my workshop at Oxford Fibreworks. I'll also pay the shipping costs to wherever the winners are in the world. so all you have to do is enter and keep your fingers crossed!


If you don't want to leave it to chance, then it seems to be available in major book shops all over the place, as well as  Amazon UK and Amazon.com. It's also available as a Kindle edition and iTunes. Harper books in the USA have also published it, so my American friends should have no problem in sourcing a copy. I do hope that people like it.

*GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED NOW!*

127 comments:

Soozcat said...

As much as I'd love a signed copy, don't enter me for the giveaway, as I'm off to BUY one. It's your livelihood, after all!

*much love*

Puddock said...

Gretel - the book looks gorgeous. You're doing so well - Andy would be proud of you.

Gail Bennett said...

I'd love a signed copy ... so please add me to your giveaway ... much love thinking of you often ...

I know Andy IS proud of you xx

Suzanne Taylor said...

Oh I would love to win a copy. Out of the dark days comes something beautiful Thank you Suzanne

Compostwoman said...

I bought one at your workshop and I treasure it. I have only started one creature so far but have enjoyed reading the whole book. it is beautifully written and beautifully illustrated.

xxx

Jopsy said...

It looks FANTASTIC! I love your work. It is a beautiful dedication too x
I will buy it anyway! (Just don't tell my husband ;) x

Jopsy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Vintage Housewife said...

Gretel, you're an inspiration. I'm definitely buying a copy so don't add my name to the hat. I just wanted to say you're fab! xxxx

Sarah (and Zakk)

Michelle Emery said...

Wow! I had no idea. My heart goes out to you. Your courage and talent are such an inspiration. May you be truly blessed for your generosity. <3

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Its a gorgeous book. Somehow I am sure he knows.
I have not felted but do admire it so. My dear friend who I lost about a hear and a half ago used to take me with her to find the best roving, and I'd watch her while she made round balls of wool out what seemed like air. I have much respect for the craft; and I think its a remarkable accomplishment of yours, the book, and what it took to complete it.
Best
Julie

Unknown said...

Awesome! Do you know if I can find your book in france? I'm so much in love with your work, I absolutely need one copie! :)
Best,
kallou

Simmi Duffin said...

I have followed you for a while and was so so very sorry to hear you had such a sad year, but that you have managed to produce what looks like an amazing book despite such pain is a testament to your incredible talent and hard work. It's already on my amazon wishlist so if I don't win I'll be hoping to get a copy for my birthday! Simmi xx

Gill Edwards said...

Ever since i had a go at needle felting using a kit i've wanted to try making something from scratch.
It looks a very special book and i would be so happy to win a copy, thank you for your generosity.
Gill xx

Thora Chase said...

What a beautiful book! I would love to have a signed copy. Alot may have happened last year, but this year will prove to be a great one. I am new to felting and love your style. Hoping the best for the years to come.
Linda (aka Thora Chase)

sarah gray said...

I would love to win a signed copy, I could learn so much from you.You are my needle felting hero!!! Xxx

nini said...

Thank you so much for sharing this ordeal with us. I had no idea, none of your cute little creatures show what you went through. You are strong and generous and it would be an honor for me to get a book directly from you.

Thank you again. ♥

lemonade kitty said...

You lovely, lovely, lady, you have a heart of gold and you should be ever so proud of what you have achieved at such an enormously sad time in your life.The brightest star is shining down on you. Thank you for the chance to win one of the signed copies of your book. xx

Abbie said...

I so admire your fortitude. What a lovely book to come from such adversity, I'd be honoured to win a copy.

Dana Carey said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.
What a beautiful book you've made! Best wishes for the future.

Nancy said...

I have already purchased one from Amazon. I even just got in some lovely balls of fiber for me to seriously try to make these. Since I've been so sick I can't use needles (neuropathy) but lately I've been doing better and wanted to try something new and exciting. I already have my needles from your Etsy shop so the first little feltie I make I'm naming it Gretel and posting it on my blog.

Unknown said...

Congratulations on your new book, you are an inspiration for all of the felting community. The book came at the right time for you to work on because it gave you something to fill your time with while mourning the love of your life. Things happen to us both good and bad that we don't always understand the reason why. I would love to win your book, but will buy it if I don't.

Lilus said...

What a lovely work. Just now I was trying to complete a letter for some vet students in order to encourage them to continue and continue working & researching despite all. I paused for my lunch break when I saw your post on fb.. and I think we all should be like you, permanent fighters. I think I won't be having trouble finishing that letter now.

Hugs from El Salvador,
(please consider me for the giveaway)

Irma Vides.

tut-tut said...

Gretel, I'm in awe of you and your abilities. I'm glad to read of your workshops on FB.

Suze said...

Bless you Gretel. I am spellbound by your beautiful work, and your incredible inner strength. I would be exceptionally grateful if you would put my name in the hat, please :) (I'm Sue Longley on Facebook)

Wishing you Love, Peace & every success with all your ventures. Thanks for the chance! :) xXx

Deb said...

I am so sorry for your loss. But congratulations on your book. I have followed you for a while now and I love the whimsy of your designs. I would love to have a signed copy from you and I will definitely mention your book on my blog. I am just staring out on the web. I sew and knit and love to bake and learn new things. Thank you for your designs they always brighten my day.

Heather Kingsley-Heath said...

I am so beyond proud of you Gretel, your book is beautiful and an awesome achievement. I'll be buying my copy! hugs xxxHeather

Heather Kingsley-Heath said...

I am so beyond proud of you Gretel, your book is beautiful and an awesome achievement. I'll be buying my copy! hugs xxxHeather

Caroline B said...

How wonderful, having followed your progress since those first needlefelted creatures, I'm so happy you have reached this pinnacle. It did come at the right time, it came when you needed it most.
C.x

Rachel said...

I came across your adorable work by chance, so sorry to read of your loss. Your book looks wonderful!

Bead Soup said...

I am sure that Andy was right there with you every step of the way! You have created way beyond cute from heartache. Hang in there Gretal

Things Hand Made said...

A raft across stormy seas.
Thanks

Lila said...

Gretel, I`m really sorry for your loss... Can`t imagine, what you must have been going through and what a strong person you have to be, to manage such a great work in this circumstances. Sincere respect! Love your work and art and I would be really really happy to win one of your signed copies. Hope you`re doing a bit better after reading all the nice comments :).

Annie said...

Some things are meant to be Gretel and this is def one of those. Losing yourself in a project like that must have helped through such an awful time. I'm so thrilled to see your wonderful book and would love to be in with a chance to win one.
Huge hugs,
Annie x

thesoupdragon44 said...

I would love to win a signed copy of this book, I stumbled upon needle felting by accident only a month ago, and now I am hooked! I think this book is just what I need to get my teeth into, and I wish you all the luck with it. Thanks for sharing your heartache and persevering with this project.

Biba said...

I'm entering the giveaway to try for a signed copy; if I don't win one I'll definitely purchase it! I love and admire your work, and your personal strength. You're an inspiration.

Much love,
Mojca x.

Karen Lybrand said...

Gretel, I know what it's like to have such a cruel curveball thrown at you. In my case I still haven't been able to return fully to my creative self. My hat's off to you.

Kim @ Him, Him Me said...

Congratulations on the book. The dedication is so heartfelt. I would love to win a copy.

Sarah Veness said...

Hi Gretel
one of my favourite sayings is 'Don't curse the darkness - light a candle' I am sure that this book will bring much light and joy to others and you have lit a candle and created it in a time of darkness
May you be blessed with the knowledge that Andy would be so proud of you and all you are achieveing
Creative Sarah

Unknown said...

Having watched you through the years, rambled along on your countryside walks, watched your tiny garden grow, and loved the nooks and crannies of old bookshops with you through the years, I am still in awe of your courage and your talent. I'd love to have one of those books, even though I know I'm way too clumsy to jab a sharp pointy object anywhere near my clumsy fingers. I can dream though! Love the little turtle. You'll always have a fan in Indiana, USA. Karren

Lorna said...

All the best!

Chelle Grimes said...

Gretel, this is so beautiful, I would love a signed copy, but as you have to earn a living, I will happily buy one from Amazon. Good luck my dear.

Michelle Kondrich said...

I've been dying to try needle felting and your work is beautiful. I would love to have a copy of the book. Thank you!

Marta-Jane said...

I love your work and admired it for years now. I would love to enter your giveaway. If I win, I'll pay the postage costs. Thank you for all your work and kind heart. Andy would be proud of you.

Celeste said...

Well done! It looks fantastic. I'm so please you got your dream, even if it was rotten timing.
I'd love a signed copy. I've been a huge admirer since I first found you through the Society of Secret Fairies. But if I'm not lucky enough to get a signed copy I'll be swiftly buying one anyway.

Pasakute Daivadolls said...

Do not stop to love and create. Your love is your strenght.

Genevieve Monks Keller said...

I would LOVE to have a chance to win a copy of your lovely book. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you! May this year ahead be joyous and peaceful for you.

Wendy said...

Your writing, as it often does, brought tears to my eyes. I am so pleased Gretel, that this has happened for you and I can only wish more and more for you in the future.

And if I don't win, I am going to buy your book!!

Andyc said...

I'd like a copy please.......not for me, but my talented girl, Liz Baker. Thanks.....

susanne said...

The perseverance it took to complete that book brought an ache to my heart. I am so sorry for your loss and though it may not bring you comfort the joy the book will bring to needle felters around the world will be immense. I believe that every little creature that people make from your book will have some of your love's spirit in them.

Julie Pitkin said...

Truly beautiful :) sending fairy sparkles to light your way :)

Lynn Hardy said...

Gretel, I have followed your blog since I heard of your plight last year. I am full of admiration for what you have achieved with the book, especially since it must have been so difficult for you without Andy. He will know - and will be so proud of you.
I have dabbled with needle felting, but haven't tried making animals yet as I didn't know where to start. I would be priviledged to have a signed copy of your book - it's already on my Amazon wishlist. Thank you for your generosity. Much love, Lynn x

Razmataz said...

I have worked with felt, but only wet felting, never needle felt, so I would love to try it. Congratulations on your book which I feel is an amazing accomplishment given all you have been through, and a lovely tribute to your husband.

Barbara said...

❤️This is just so lovely. What a wonderful tribute that will bring love and light to so many. Thank you.

mvink said...

Gretel your book looks amazing & I'd love a chance to win it. It would be such a great asset!! Andy would be very proud and it is amazing the beauty that can come with great sadness. Your designs always bring a smile to my face as they bring such happiness to me.
Thank you for the chance to win a signed copy.

Deborah Flint said...

I already have a copy of your lovely book now, Gretel, so although I am sharing the linky, if I am selected in your draw please pop my name back in the pack and draw again.

Hope you get lots of interest.

Much, much love,

D x

Liverbird said...

Your one true love will always be with you, life is about inspiring, he does for you and your work touches and inspires many, many, many others. What more can we ask other than to be a meaningful part of someone else's life?

Alex Wallis said...

Gretel - Fantastic - Well Done. I can't wait so have just ordered a copy from Amazon. I will give it to Becky after digesting it cover to cover. Ulterior motives of course. It's so she will be able to make them and give to us at Christmas. :-)

Julie Crispell said...

Looks like a beautiful book! Congratulations! I would love to win a copy for my children's Waldorf school!

Julie Crispell said...

Looks like a beautiful book! Congratulations! I would love to win a copy for my children's Waldorf school!

Jenny Maidment said...

Thanks for sharing your story - it must have been hard to do. Please enter me for the draw.
Jenny

Natasha said...

It looks a fabulous book, and I spotted some of your drawings in there too. Congratulations, I'm really pleased for you pulling this off at such a difficult time. xxx

Puntík said...

I admire your work, congrats on getting your book published, I wish you lot of strenght.
Your felted creatures are very inspiring and cheerful.

Christy said...

I do love you work, you're a gutsy girl to finish this book at a time of personal tragedy.

I know there would be techniques I would love to learn.

Christy
Lilbitbrit

Diana Arseneau-Powell said...

I've been admiring your work from afar (well, Warwickshire) and would love to do a workshop with you one day. I do so admire your tenacity.

Leonor said...

Eek, I so want this! I am a seasoned needle felting artist but just love your work. I love that you added a few more challenging pieces, it is indeed rare to find a book with such items.

I'm just really sorry your making of this book has been in the midst of such pain. I wish it weren't so, but maybe this will be a way of you looking back and not seeing this last year as just a terrible sequence of events. Sending you much love xx

Brisja said...

This is a beautiful book, and a beautiful story of the strength of the human spirit. I am glad you have found your love of creating toys again.

Sophie B said...

I am so touched by the way you have managed to come back from the brink after the terrible tragedy you suffered last year. Your new book looks beautiful and I have just ordered a slinky fox kit to practice with.

The Mindful Spirit said...

You serve as such an inspiration and source of light and hope. Bless you for your bravery and how I would treasure your book forevermore.........

lonely hearts said...

Love your work and the book looks amazing, if i am not lucky enough to win a copy i will be saving up to buy one.

Frances said...

Gretel, you've written this beautifully.

As you already know, I am now awaiting delivery of my very own pre-ordered copy of your brand new wonderful book.

What I am also looking forward to is...packing this copy in my suitcase on my next flight to the UK (whenever that might take place and I hope it's this year) so that I can have you write a little bit in the front of the book for me...and also show me how to needle felt.

A bit selfish I know, but I really do look forward to that future day.

xo

Lin said...

Wow. That's a lot happening all at once. I'm a believer that things happen for a reason. Well...not Andy dying...but the book coming so soon after. We don't always know why or how...but there was a reason....

Speaks volumes of YOU that you pulled this off...and so well. Hats off to you, amazing lady. That is something. It looks wonderful!

Shirley Bush said...

Dearest Gretel .. You are such an amazingly strong and inspiring individual .. I wish you well and am so very sorry for your loss .. Shirley xx

Be Grim said...

Thank you for offering the chance to win your book. It looks beautiful! So much work; congratulations on making it happen. I love your work, and you've been in my heart the past year....

simone said...

Incredible that you managed to produce a book with so much going on. AND such an amazing one! Just started needle felting, it is quite therapeutic and satisfying. I am rather addicted. Have been eager to try those little doggies in molly makes ... how I found you. If I don't win the book I will most certainly buy it! You have my thoughts for the coming year ahead.

Sasha said...

You can be proud of yourself - and proud of your book. Both are wonderful!

Vix Petrie said...

What a moving story. This will serve as a beautiful dedication to Andy. I have a close friend, who has only just discovered the joys of needle felting, that I would love to give this book to. Being signed by you, along with you story, would prove to be a really personal gift.

Vix Petrie said...

What a moving story. This will serve as a beautiful dedication to Andy. I have a close friend, who has only just discovered the joys of needle felting, that I would love to give this book to. Being signed by you, along with you story, would prove to be a really personal gift.

Greenorchid said...

Congratulations on completing your book... hope it sells well... both to raise funds for you and to encourage creativity in others too.. love Cass x

Smitten said...

Gretel,I can only imagine the pain...but the joy you bring with your creations and art are immeasurable. They are truly loved. I would treasure a signed copy of your book but I will purchase it if I not lucky enough to win it. Bless you. Jacqui x

sara said...

What a great achievement.

Louise Peers said...

would love to win one , if I dont I shall buy one . You are an inspiration Gretel . xx

charlotte said...

I have followed you for a while - to do this is the last year has been incredibly brave!

Michelle Palmer said...

Congratulations, Gretel~ An amazing journey your heart has taken. Your perseverance is an inspiration to all of us. Wishing you much success with your wonderful book and all that will continue your way! Thank you for sharing so much~

Twiglet said...

Oh Gretel that looks amazing! I hope it is a huge success for you.
I will flag it up on my blog tomorrow. All the best. x Jo

Vintage Jane said...

Well done you ... you are an inspiration and your dear Andy would have been so proud of you. Please enter me into the draw but I will be buying a copy for a friend too.
M xx

Gillian Hird said...

You're an inspiration to us all. I've just started needle felting, so, your book would be very welcome. Thank you.

Gillian Hird said...

You're an inspiration to us all. I've just started needle felting, so, your book would be very welcome. Thank you.

Gaia Marfurt said...

So cute! :)

GILLIAN CHAPMAN said...

What an amazing book, made even more remarkable considering what you were struggling through! You have an amazing creative spirit and an incredibly generous one too...

Shrimpton and Perfect said...

Please put my name in the hat for a signed copy of your book. I have been a huge fan of yours for just about forever.
Love
Jean x

QWERTY Mum said...

The book looks glorious xx

tea and cake said...

Gretel, I can't believe this is how far you have come, in the last year! And, yet of course, I can. You are one strong woman. Bless you.
I must have a copy of your beautiful book, and will buy it, but thank you.
lotsaluv,
Karen

Cynthia G said...

I have silently admired your work for some time, your designs are charming and lively and make me feel like a child discovering a new toy.
Knowing the difficult time you have had while making your book makes me blush to ask for a free signed copy.
I admire you for your talent, perseverance and generosity. Thank you for continuing to blog and create. And yes I would love a free copy of your book.
Sincerely, Cynthia Brooks USA

petal said...

I would love to win a copy of your book. Your animals are beautiful.

Jo Booth said...

Gretel I can't believe you managed to make such a beautiful book under such terrible circumstances. I hope it has helped you through some of the darker days and that there are lighter days ahead of you. I think it is lovely that you have dedicated it to Andy. God bless xx

Jane Jazz said...

I have been a follower since you lived in the Cotswolds and I lived in the Yorkshire hills; now we've both moved to Shropshire and you have been through the worst year of your life.
You may not always realise just how many people read your blog, and how many have shed tears for you, as I have, but the huge response to this beautiful post has shown that we're all here, all willing you on, and all so proud of your achievement - not just with the brilliant book, but with the way you have coped so bravely with the unthinkable. Take care Gretel xx

tlawwife said...

The book looks lovely!

Jessica H said...

You've always been such an inspiration to me as a fellow needle felter but even more so after everything you went through last year. I'm really looking forward to seeing what goodies and tips are inside your new book. I'd love to win it but will more than happily purchase it if I'm not one of the lucky ones! Best wishes to you..

Vicki Coleman said...

Would love a copy of your book thank you

BumbleVee said...

Oh, Gretel.... good for you! How wonderful....

I love your new header with the Rainbow Mice... such cuties!

Ursula Shaw said...

Beautiful book! Would love a signed copy!

Kim said...

Wow! Congratulations! I have thought of you often this past year and am so happy you have this book...I hope it brings you some joy as it will undoubtedly bring joy to others!

Mary Beth said...

Helen just surprised me with our copy - so excited to bury myself in your beautiful works! Congratulations!!

glitterandglue said...

Gretel, I have been to your site several times recently, and love your needle felting. This post is so beautifully open and honest, and you have shared your heartache and mourning with us all. Bless you for that. I do trust this will be a lovely opportunity for you, as you move forward little by little, a day at a time.
God bless you with His peace.
Margaret

Gill said...

Congratulations!!
I would love to win a copy.

sandraspencer said...

I have followed your blog for several years now, and you are always an inspiration.

sandraspencer said...

I have followed your blog for several years now, and you are always an inspiration.

rabbitquilter said...

I came across you when your friends asked for help. You are one brave and amazing lady. I wish you much success.

mimi k said...

Congratulations Gretel- it looks amazing!

HOA Mgr Lady said...

I would love to win one of your books and have you send to my BFF in Binfield UK and I can buy my own. Such a lovely post to go with your publication. Such beautiful work from such a sad time.
Ruth in Oxnard CA.
Rcederstro@aol.com

Stratonike said...

I would love to have this beautiful book.

emily lai said...

Hi Gretel, congratulations on your new book released! I love your work so much! The characters you created always inspire me in my crochet and knitting.

Handmade products need a lot of time and patience to complete. I really salute your creative works!

Keep up the good work! :)

Love
emily

Rosie said...

Dear Gretal

I have already purchased your book and it is just stunning. I admire your courage to forge ahead and have purchased other items from your etsy shop to enable me to attempt a project. They came so quick such excellent service. I hope there is another book. You are a very talented lady.

kind regards. Rowena

ellieandoliver said...

Hi Gretel, Congratulations on your book, you should be so proud of it. xx

Mo Leverton said...

Ooh, I bought the book a few days ago and absolutely love it...I can't wait to start learning to needle felt! It's a beautiful and inspiring book. I was aware of your terrible loss, Gretel, last year and you have been in my thoughts and heart often since then.I wish you so much success with this gorgeous book.
maureen x

Meliors Simms said...

Congratulations Gretel, it looks like a beautiful book to honor your beautiful work. All the more special for having emerged from such a difficult painful experience.

My heart is here said...

Congrats! I love this book :)
mmyheartishere@gmail.com

ale balanzario said...

Congratulations for your new book, what a lovely post, your book looks beautiful, and your story about it touched me, its good to see good things happens when you need them most,
send you a hug,

Anne Moss said...

You are an amazing woman! I do believe that Andy is watching and is very proud of what you have achieved, and very rightly so xxx

gulka said...

Ohh I love Your work very much and Your book is awesome! I would have it in my hands :))
pokraczne@gmail.com

Camille said...

Such a beautiful book and wonderful result of all your work. Congratulations! Fingers crossed. Hugs.
Camille

Homebird said...

Hi Gretel, please count me in for the giveaway. But like others say, I will buy the book if I'm not successful. You deserve a lifetime of happiness, with Andy safe in your heart. Much love x

bea said...

what a great giveaway, working with felt is something i always wanted to do!! nice

Tanja Priebs said...

Dear Gretel,

I am reading your blog right in the middle of Germany for a while now, because I find the characters of your creatures incredibly special, funny and beautiful. While reading I also encountered your terrible loss and admired the way you found words to describe the tragedy.
Congrats on that beautiful book and keep on rocking.
Tanja Priebs

Nevernotknitting said...

blessings and admiration all the way from Madison, Wisconsin. USA. Thank you for all your blood, sweat and tears.

Lyn said...

I will pop over to Amazon right now! you must of found it so hard and I can remember the post you wrote when you shared the awfully sad news of Andy's death. I am so glad some thing good happened in that awful time and I hope you go from strength to strength.
I love the fox..... xxxxxx

april's craft nest said...

I bought your book a few weeks ago and it arrived last week. I've been following your blog for a while now since I wanted to find other needle felters and gain more expertise. I admire your work and am glad you had something to help focus you during a tremendously trying time. I enjoy your book and pray for your continuing peace.