“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
~Henri Cartier-Bresson



Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Honey, I don't know where your wool sweater is. Honestly."

It's more felted wool madness. I just can't get enough of this.
First I would like to show you some finished pieces so you don't think that I'm just going berserk with this new hobby and not finishing anything. This is a scarf that I knitted with two colors of the same yarn (a light and dark gray) together and a rib stitch.
I knitted two separate pieces and attached them after they were felted. The ribbed pattern still shows and gives the scarf a nice texture. I used two vintage buttons . The ends flare because I shaped them that way where I was fulling the scarf and let it dry that way.
It's a heavy scarf because I used two yarns together but the extra weight is nice and it's really warm.
Then I made a long scarf for my niece.
It was fun, quick and acrylic, so you don't felt this one. Felting can only be done with natural fibers. Scarves are great for practicing your stitches and experimenting with different yarn.
Then I made a neck scarf, also called a "scarflette", for a friend's birthday. She lives in Michigan and needs to keep her neck warm in this year's long and very cold winter. Little bear wanted to model the scarf... then she didn't want to give it back.
I used Lion's Brand Hometown USA yarn. It's 100% acrylic and super bulky which, with big needles, makes the knitting go fast and easy. Then I crocheted all the way around it with Lion's fun fur yarn and added a big red button. It's also stretchy so you don't feel like it's choking you.
I made a few other scarves for Christmas but they are gone to their new owners and I forgot to take photos of them.
So..... Now I'm working on a purse. I knitted the purse with Lion's brand Fishermen's wool. It even says on the wrapper that it's perfect for felting. I knitted it with HUGE needles (plastic-#15) and then I double crocheted the sides and around the opening at the top.

It was quite pretty this way but very loose and open, so I threw it into a mesh bag...
and machine felted it in hot soapy water for about 10 minutes. Here it is after it was shaped and dried.
Now it feels like fabric only it still has an open texture. It will need a lining. The crochet on the sides almost disappeared so I turned it inside out. I love the top though. The double crochet made ruffles.
What was it that someone said about arts and crafts?.... you don't make mistakes, just "happy accidents". For me, this process of felting is one "happy accident" after another and, each time, I learn something new. This edge is much prettier than a straight one and it gives the purse a wonderful frilly look. I only did the crocheting to sew the sides together and strengthen the piece. Who knew that it would look so pretty.

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Well, look what we have here. SNAKES in the kitchen sink.
Oh, no... sorry. These are the I-cords that I knitted. They are in the process of being hand felted in the above photo. They will be the handles for the purse. My sister showed me how to knit an I-cord, in the round, and I think this will make a good strong cord to attach to the purse. The cord looked something like this before I started the felting process. This is the yarn that the purse is made out of.
This is a smaller I-cord (above) but it's the same yarn.
You dip the cord in hot soapy water and start rubbing it back and forth in you hands, like rolling out ropes of dough. Lots of pressure and turning makes those little fibers felt together until you have a strong solid rope of knitted yarn that doesn't stretch or pull apart. It's just a magical thing and finally, after your arm muscles feel like they are going to pop right out of your arms, you get this...
And when they are dry.... these.
Generally, knitted felt shrinks 15 to 20 % in width and 25 to 40% in length.  You can control this by how long you felt the item. All yarn shrinks differently, so it's a good idea to make swatches (a small knitted piece that you can felt to see how much shrinkage there will be.) with the size needles that you will be using.
I will line this purse with a cotton fabric and add some decorations.... maybe. It's all an "add as you go" process and I love it. Please feel free to offer any ideas that you might have. I'm always open to creative ideas.

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I think I better stop now. I have two new pieces of clothing hanging in the laundry room that are calling my name. I bought them at the local thrift store for $3.50 and $4.00 a few days ago, felted them in the washing machine and there they hang waiting for their rebirth.
 The vest is an Eddie Bauer and the long sleeved sweater is an Old Navy. Both are really good 100% wool sweaters that , after machine felting, look like they might fit my grandchildren. They were medium sized adult  sweaters and they shrank down considerably. But , look at them. I can cut them up anyway I wish. I didn't have to knit them first (that saves yarn and time) and they were very inexpensive. Purses?, scarves? artwork? The possibilities are endless. Hmmm, I wonder what's in my husband's closet.



13 comments:

Sue said...

What a wonderful little scarflette! I've never seen one of those. It would definitely keep us mid-westerners warm on our cold, blustery days! Love the purse you're creating. I envy people who can crochet and knit. Takes talent and dedication. :-)
Hope all is well w/you! hugs, Sue

Sandy said...

Well that does it...I've been wanting to re-learn how to knit and crochet and now you've gone and made it worse with all your "lovelies"! :) Those yarn cords were really cool.

Tatersmama said...

Wow.. I love that little scarflette! What a fantastic idea - my mind started turning over at the thought of all the possibilities/color combinations and decorations.
Now why it's doing that... I haven't a clue, because I couldn't knit if my life depended on it, but still...

Thank goodness there's people like you, with all the talent!

Madeline's Album said...

I love the scarfs, you did a great job. You are so talented and crafty. Thanks for sharing this post with us. The purse is looking good. Have a blessed day. Madeline

Diana said...

Wow you are having way too much fun with your new found art. The scarves are just great and the purse so soft and romantic looking. Can't wait to see how you finish it. I am sure that all the people being gifted with one of your scarves will treasure it.
Tootles
Diana

Midcenturymadam said...

You are so talented! Wow! They are all so beautiful. I need to retire. This working stuff is getting old.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

You are one felting crazy mama! Love it all...makes me want to go shrink some stuff!

jojo said...

I am adding knitting to my list of things to learn this year...I am hooked, hehe! I just love the scarfette. I have been looking for ways to hide my surgery scar (on my neck) and this would work wonderfully...I must do some research! Looks like you are having loads of fun!

Jess said...

Your scarflette looks absolutely darling, especially on the bear. The Fun Fur trim was an excellent touch. I also love how your bag is turning out so far. The crochet ruffle was an excellent touch. Thanks for using our yarns, and happy yarncrafting!

With warm regards,
Jess H.
Lion Brand Yarn

Chef E said...

Ha! They are right, you have having too much fun...I know there is nothing in our closets, I cannot wear wool, I have some reaction to it, not allergic, not sure. How cute your creations are!

LV said...

You do a great job on your knitting. I love all the things you shared today. I never learned to do that.

Peg @ Bloomfield Farm said...

Your new purse is beautiful. I have been meaning to post some photos of the ones I made so you could see them. I used i-cords for straps too but I was lazy and felted them in the washing machine. Your idea to recycle old wool sweaters is interesting; I am anxious to see what you make from them.

I also enjoyed your cute post about the goats and the lovely photos of the old farm tools! I was behind on my reading, but got all caught up.

Paxie said...

You, my dear, are making me want to knit again. Something I haven't done in many years....

You are awesome. Plain and simple.