Category Archives: Gifts

I’ve discovered felting

Right, when the last thing I needed was another needle & fiber-craft. I took a two hour course on felting. I went in completely ignorant of how to shape wool fiber or roving into all sorts of forms, came out being able to put together cute little animals and creatures.

The ingredients needed for a successful felting are the following:

1.) Felting mat (usually made of a thick piece of foam or a wide flat brush with thick bristles).

2.) Wool roving or fiber (that is washed, combed and processed).

3.) Felting needle.

That’s it… no glue, no wires unless you’re creating an armature or skeleton to make your felted creation bendable and pose-able… though this sounds tricky & fiddly and perhaps a bit dangerous. Because essentially when you’re needle felting you’re taking the felting needle and jabbing it over and over again into the roving bits to shape them. For example in both the owl and the Totoro figures below, the body is simply just a rolled up wad of roving that has been poked and shaped into a body form. The ears on Totoro and the owls’ wings are smaller clumps of roving shaped into the appropriate form. I didn’t cut those pieces out. I basically poked and prodded at them until the wool took the shape I desired.

This is such a simple yet rewarding craft… even children (who are responsible and responsive to safety instructions) can master this skill within an hour or two.  It’s a great introduction into fiber-craft.  Looks like I may not have to knit or crochet everyone a present this year.

Want more ideas for felted cutestuff?

My 2nd Totoro - completed in less than 1 hour

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Filed under Craft, Creativity, Dolls, Felting, Fibers, Gifts, Kitsch, Needle Felting, Toys

Almost 25 Ways to Get Rid of my Sock Yarn

What do I do with all of this?

Two years ago, I didn’t buy loads of sock yarn at the Sock Summit, because I already had a serious butt load of sock yarn… including a bunch of Drops Fabel and Regia Sock Yarns which have become my fast favorites because of their durability and dependability (I sound like a commercial from the 50’s). I do sometimes struggle with making socks.  You can see the sweater most of the time… socks you’re the only one who knows you’re wearing a work of gorgeous Aran artistry and cablework. So I decided to use Ravelry and my websearching skills to compile a list of things I could possibly create with the multliple boxes of sock yarn I have stashed away. I’ll try to post more as I find them.

Crochet:

  • Fingerless Mitts: Look quite warm and snuggly for your hands.
  • Chihuahua Sweater (double stranded):(though I’d have to make a lot of these just to get rid of my KP Imagination.
  • Vera (gorgeous shawl pattern that eats up to 2000 yards of sockyarn) –  I’m linking to a photo fo the pattern here to entice you. Vera Shawl by Katie Grady
  • Snowflake Christmas Ornaments: forgot about fabric stiffener. These look like great fun.
  • Reusable Tampon (Oy, not for the faint of heart) – I probably will abstain from making these… unless, of course civilization comes barrelling down around me and I can’t buy what I need from a store.
  • Eyeball with Nerve Endings: Make a bunch of these for your Halloween party. Then through them at your guests… then they can say they had the unique experience of being pelted with eyeballs.
  • Monkey (OMG this monkey is so cute)
  • Naalepuder (flower-shaped pincushions): Really cute especially with variegated or rainbow yarn. Original pattern in Danish. Floral Pincushions

Knitting:

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

Pirate Mittens (Available on Ravelry as a free download):

Pirate Mittens

Pirate Mittens

The Beanis (warning may offend… what is it? It rhymes with ‘beanis’… you figure it out. No I’m not posting photo here.)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pirate Eye-Patch for your cat. I couldn’t post because the pattern/website no longer exists. But one could easily use their imagination to create one of their own.

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Filed under Aran, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Fun Stuff, Gifts, Knit, Knitting, Pattern Links, Patterns, Project, Sock Summit, Socks, Stashbuster, Yarn

Am I dyslexic or just lazy? I can read charts but I can’t write them

I love Elizabeth Zimmerman’s writing, but sometimes I lament that she doesn’t make enough use of charts. There are times when the mathematician in myself would prefer to scan over visual charts instead of reading Zimmerman’s written pithy instructions. I’ve decided that it’s ironic because I myself would rather give verbal instructions when teaching than write the instructions out with diagrams.

I made up a simple little pattern for a pair of fingerless mitts about a year or so ago and I gifted them to a friend who taken up knitting since then. It was a nice little number…. a simple O cable panel surrounded by two panels of a zig-zag eyelet pattern on a stockinette background. I added a bit of snugness by fashioning a mock cable rib along the underside of the mitt. Don’t ask me for a picture because again, I’m two lazy to draw or produce one.

She asked me for the pattern and yesterday I tried to write it out, and I discovered… I’m crap at writing out patterns. At the very least, I need more practice writing them and I make excuses all the time telling myself that I don’t have the time and I’d rather spend my free time knitting. Okay, I realize that this is a very bad attitude to have and I’m sure that eventually I’ll reckon with my testy impatience and selfishness. After about twenty minutes and five or six crumpled pieces of graph paper… I just told her that I would walk her through the process telling her what to do row by row. I figured that after two repeats of the very simple pattern she would be able to do at least the length of the arm and section before the thumb hole on her own. I’d later show her how to join the mitt and then finish with a ribbed edge.

It was so bloody cold this weekend. I took a break from knitting gifts to make a pair of mitts for myself. I have a different variation which I finished this weekend. I will post a picture of these when I have the time. I used a very chunky and somewhat polar bear (beige) colored furry yarn that I purchased at a sale at JoAnn Fabrics (Sensations -Angel Hair) and knit a version of the mitts I described above on US size 10 and 11 needles. Result… in about three hours I had a pair of warm toasty hand warmers to wear in the cold outside…. with clothes, a coat, scarf and hat, of course. I love them because they make me feel like a cave woman.

angelhair.jpg

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Filed under Challenge, Craft, Creativity, Gifts, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Math, Patterns, Reflection, Stockinette, Teaching, Techniques, Yarn

X-mas shopping complete

dragonfly.jpgI know Thanksgiving means hanging around with family… so that means you cannot knit anything for them in front of them. I just knit for those not present at the gathering (I’m not publishing a list here because I’m not sure who in my family reads my blog)… In addition to the gifts I’m knitting, I bought a ton of very nice soap. Well, not literally a ton. I also got a few other things…maybe, for myself.

You can read more about the Soap Opera store here.

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Filed under Art, Gifts, Knit