Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mother's Day Secrets, shh!

A bowl before felting
For this year's Mother's Day presents I'm working on crocheted felted bowls for my mom and mother in law. The original pattern was in Felted Crochet by Jane Davis but I wanted it bigger so I increased the pattern repeats. After the 7th row I added (working in the pattern repeat) a row of 6 dc, a row of dc, and a row of 8 dc. Then I worked even for 4 rows instead of 3.

The yarn I'm using is Decadence (100% Superfine Alpaca) from Knit Picks, it is a little smaller guage than what the pattern calls for but worked fine. It is a bigger skein than the pattern calls for and would be enough for one bowl if you followed the pattern. With my increases one skein is just a smidge not enough. I solved this by doing the last "work even" row and the final row of sc in a contrasting color. I was hoping to get one of the larger bowls from a skein but it didn't work out.
note: I haven't felted the first bowl yet, so this is the other color I made, not a drastic change in color during felting. ;-)

After felting I couldn't come up with a bowl the right shape and size to dry it over* so I dried it on a kitchen towel with tightly wadded paper towel stuffed inside to the shape I wanted. That worked really well. The mother's day gift will be a bowl, on a cardboard cake round for stability, filled with goodies (blank book, lotion, candle, hand soap, cat shaped pencil sharpeners, etc.) and wrapped up in cellophane.
The other design plan is to make some all in one color and then embroider on them.
* You should have seen me trying all my bowls on my head when I made the first felted hat. ;-) One turned out to be quite perfect.


In my house we are quite fond of cheeeeese. A few weeks ago my sisters, mom, and I went to Color Me Mine to have a little fun. I decided to go for something a little different when I saw the new little add-on figures they have. I painted a plate to look like swiss cheese and added a little mouse on the edge to make a very cheesy (in every meaning of the word) cheese plate.

My husband has a very corny sense of humor so I knew a cheese plate made of cheese with a mouse would be right up his alley. ;-) We used it for the first time tonight and it seemed to handle the brie well.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Needle Felting 101? 201?

My mom and sister and I went to a needle felting class that was supposedly beginner - my mom was the only one who had needle felted before. We knew we were making little things with faces but figured they were simple faces. Yeeeaaah. When the teacher started talking about eye lids, upper lips, nostrils, etc. we were a little concerned about the "beginner" level. It was pretty involved and kinda tricky.

I was also working with a bit of a problem because I had brought my own alpaca fibers to use since I can't use wool. Alpaca felts but differently than wool so I couldn't exactly copy the others.

Here's my little lady. She turned out pretty cute but it was a bit of a trip there. ;-) When I started with the black body and white face it looked Nun like so I was psyched to be making a cute little Nun. Then I added my face. I wasn't so good at the face thing and it originally had nostrils. My sister decided it looked like a gorilla and ordered I add a banana. I wasn't really going for the gorilla thing so I took out the nostrils and added the hair. That helped, but now she (according to my sister) looked like a crazy bag lady. So I added a little scottish beanie kind of hat. I thought that helped take away the crazy bag lady look (although of course, a crazy bag lady could wear a hat). Whatta ya think?

The GD Shaker Rug

Back in January I got the Lion yarn catalog and pattern guide-thing. I saw this great Shaker-Inspired Rug and decided it would be a great wedding gift for my sister's wedding in April. I even paid for the pattern, which I usually try to avoid doing (well, it was only $4). (Speaking of buying patterns, Lion has a nifty thing where when you buy one of their patterns online you can choose to have it shipped to you (shipping charge) or to immediately receive it by pdf. That's great! I love instant gratification.)
Anyway, I got the pattern and went shopping for the yarn. The pattern (of course) called for Lion Cotton and Cotton Ease. Local stores only had them in a few colors, not the many needed for the pattern so I used mostly Lily Sugar 'n Cream with a few Lion Cotton and Cottons Eases - whatever it took to get the closest colors to the pattern. (bonus - Sugar 'n Cream is a lot cheaper)
I really wasn't thinking this through when I picked the pattern - do you see all those color changes? Yeah, you change colors every 3, 5, or 8 rows throughout the pattern. That translates to roughly 4 million color changes. Which is annoying enough when you are working it, but then when you are done? That's right, 4 million ends to weave in. Plus it was all double crochet (I think, I don't have the pattern in front of me. It was all one stitch whichever it was) so it was pretty boring. Actually, as annoying as the color changes were, they were the only thing to break the monotony. It took me a few months to do the crocheting since I could only force myself to do a certain number of repeats each night. When I finally got the crocheting done, I wove in all 4 million ends.
Then I looked at the pattern. Then I tried to form it into the circle. I realized the pattern didn't tell you to weave in the ends until after you sewed the circle together. I'm not positive if that's why it was incredibly hard to get it to form into a circle, or if that's just the way the pattern was. But, I spent a few nights trying to get it to go which ended in tears with me thinking the months of work were for naught. A co-worker who is a long time knitter suggested wetting it down to sort of block it into shape while forming it and sewing it. Thank the FSM that worked. I wet the whole thing down in the sink then kept spraying it with the BadKitty spray bottle while I worked. I thought I had it done and left it to dry overnight (pinned to a towel). Nope. The next day the center spiral (the hardest part to spiral) was all bumpy. I had to cut the thread holding that part together and try resewing it. After that, it came out pretty good and I just stopped looking at it. I knew I would be the harshest critic and it looked as good as it was going to get. So there it is! I do really like it and would like one for myself but won't be subjecting myself to it anytime soon.
Oh, one more pattern change - the outer edge you crochet after it is sewn together was supposed to be done in pattern with the color changes. Unt uh. I was done with the color changes so I did the whole trim in black.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I'm all signed up for the sock knitting class! Three Saturday mornings in June I'll be taking a sock knitting class at my LYS. I can't wait - I really want to knit socks. Of course I still need to learn more about knitting than casting on before then, but it is open to all levels and I have plenty of time to go to some of their beginner knit classes before then.

They were also having a sale the weekend I signed up so I got my supplies and extra yarn for future socks. They only have one non-wool sock yarn there so it is all the same kind - Cascade Fixation. It comes in cute funky colors. See?

Excuse the glare - I'm paranoid I won't be good at socks and will want to exchange it for something else. ;-)
This one shows the one I opened up for the class - the brightest colors.

The colors don't have names, just numbers. This one is 9877, the peach is 4545, and the pink/green/white is 9970.
So stay tuned for sock knitting news in June!

Made by Lena