Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Playing With Felted Sweater Slippers

My friend, Carol, told me to look at the slippers a woman on Ravelry was making from recycled sweaters. I loved them and found out that she sells the patterns (google Kriskrafter) and bought them right away. I've had many people tell me they wish I made slippers for adults, but I didn't want to fiddle with trying to come up with a pattern.

So those clogs above are my first attempt. Kriskrafter suggests using unfelted sweaters, but I didn't have any, so I used a sweater that hadn't felted really tight, and I'm really happy with how they turned out. They are an adult large (they almost fit my size 11 feet). They're still wet, and not done yet - I haven't added the ribbing around the edge that will help them look finished.

Here's the first pair I made from an unfelted sweater. It was not a tight knit, and I don't like how they came out. They are very light and raveled a LOT even though I sewed around the edge, and they're not stiff the way I'd like, even though they are quite felted.

This was my third try. This was an unfelted sweater, but I know this kind of sweater felts up well. The left slipper doesn't really look that anemic, it just didn't want to stand up straight. All of them are still drying and haven't been trimmed yet; that's why they look so furry. The pattern says you should sew most of the seams on the outside so that they are not on the inside to bug the feet. I didn't read carefully enough, though, and sewed everything with right sides together, and I like the way it looks.

Here's a pair I sewed the "right" way, with the seams on the outside, and I don't like it much. Also, even though all of these boots were HUGE before felting, they are not adult size now, which is disappointing. My remedy will be to use prefelted sweaters, sew them, and put them though a cycle or two in the wash to finish the felting process. If it works out the way it did with the tan clogs, I should get adult slippers.

These were a pleasant surprise. I wasn't positive this was a wool sweater - the tag was written in Japanese or Chinese or something, and when I was working with it I was very dubious about what it would look like. It was wool and felted up best of the boots I've made so far. This one I did with the seams on the outside and for these it worked well.

The fun of felting for me is that it's always an adventure. I never know how much something is going to felt, or exactly what colors they will be, since the felting intensifies some colors and heathers others.

I'm off to try some more clogs with prefelted sweaters!

The Critters We Live With

I've been telling Karen that I'd put up pics of our bunny, eventually, so here are a couple.
Introducing Mr. Bun, aka Celery and BunnyBoo. He's not an indoor bunny, but enjoys the times we let him come in.

The Boy is fascinated with hypnotizing the Bun. He goes into a trance-like state when you put him on his back, and the Boy was rubbing his sides. He lay there with his eyes almost closed.

Here's our kitty, Tali, in her fine lady pose.

And I had to put this one in so you could see her toes. All of them are white.
This is actually her house, she just lets us live here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Barn Owl

Here's a barn owl, or as close to one as a first attempt came. I got the request from a visitor to the Coventry market who has a friend who works with barn owls. It was a fun challenge!

I've had a little time to do some rummaging around on the 'net this week and found out that there is a group on Ravelry for people who have Etsy shops. I've seen some great stuff there! I also have found a couple of sellers on Etsy who have stuff I admire (I'm sure I'd find lots more if I gave myself more time to play!) - check out Fox Island Fancywork. I love her style.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What to do with Small Pieces

Mug Rugs

In my quest to use as much as possible of each sweater I do many things: first I'll cut out mittens, a hat, wrist warmers or a scarf. I can usually get a hat and a pair of mittens out of an average sweater. Then I start looking at what I'll do with the left-overs. I make treasure bags (wallet-sized pouches that close with a button), tiny treasure bags - just right for the tooth fairy, and cut the felt into squares for mug rugs (coasters). After that, the big-enough scraps go into the flower bag and the smaller ones into the stuffing box. I love not wasting anything!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Santa Gnome

I mentioned the other day a dearth of needle felted projects. I'm really digging here: this Santa was made back in the fall.

I think it's really interesting to see how his expression seems to change depending on the angle of the photo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Brown Bunny

I was at a show on Saturday where there was plenty of room for me to work, and plenty of time in which to do it. I brought flowers to cut and sew, and some felting. I was able to finish a woodpecker, and made this bunny. He's the first bunny I've made that is sitting up, and I'm thrilled he came out so well, especially since a lot of the work on him was done right-handed. I'm now living proof that it can be done (I fought it for a long time.)

He sort of reminds me of our bunny, in shape and expression. Someday I'll have to take a picture of Celery to show you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Posting Pot Holders

They say that on Etsy, to get your stuff seen, you need to not post lots of stuff, but to post something every day. Somehow that gets you a higher rating. I'm no expert, so I don't really know how that works.

I do know that writing my blog gets the juices moving for me, so that when I get to listing an item I'm able to write its description more easily. And that, though the mittens and hats I make are really well received in person, that doesn't seem to translate on screen. I'm sure it has something to do with the photos.

Last year, however, people on Etsy liked my pot holders, so that's what I've been listing lately, in the dearth of needle felted stuff around here. So here's a pair I like because of the snowflake design.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Grateful for Boosts

I got two surprise blog-boosts when I opened up the computer today.

Yesterday when Karen from Rabbits Eat Quilts (check her out - great fun) saw my bunnies she posted a link to my blog so folks could see them. I had tons of hits from that!

And today in the newsletter from the Billings Forge farmer's market (I'll be vending there tomorrow) Rita posted the link so customers could see what will be available tomorrow.

I'm so grateful for these, as every little bit counts in getting the word out about my business. Thank you to Karen and Rita, and welcome if you're new to my blog!

On this snowy (or not) day I walked to Sally's (my favorite place to get materials, aka Salvation Army) and got 2 more coats for the rug I've begun, and a couple of black cashmere sweaters, a lovely purple angora/lambswool one, and a lovely camel of indeterminate lineage, but it does have a tag "dry clean only" so there's hope it will felt up nicely and maybe even turn out to be cashmere.

Here's the start of the rug, and some of the fabrics going into it:

The family who ordered the rug wants earth tones, and I'm having fun with that, since that's what I gravitate toward naturally.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Little White Bunnies

As I sat getting the photos ready for this post, our very own little white bunny was sitting on my lap, warming me, though he had come in from outside. He has caramel colored spots all down his back and on his nose.

These little ones are modeled after a bunny in my mammals book - I think it's the arctic hare (and I'm too lazy to get up and fetch the book!).

They're all ready for the snow that might come tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Milestone

If you've been reading this blog in the past few months, you know I've been complaining about my felting arm troubles. My plan for this year had been to felt a bird almost every day, but the arm has not cooperated with the Plan.

I've been practicing felting with my right arm, making bees. It's still slow going, but this morning I hunkered down and determined that I Was Going To Make a Bird With My Right Hand.
And now I'm thrilled to introduce:

Mr. Right Handed Goldfinch.

You should've seen me, bent over the felting, tongue sticking out the corner of my mouth. He really didn't take all that long, but I really had to pause many times as I realized I had positioned the work for left-handed felting, and how would I move it to do it right-handed?
It was a challenge, but now I feel so left-brain enriched!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cool Texture Red Bag

The sweater I made this bag from was given to me a couple of weeks ago at market. I'm thrilled that it was, as I might not have bought it if I saw it in the store (my favorite being Sally's, aka The Salvation Army). When I felted it up the texture was just amazing and I think it makes a really cool bag. Here's a close-up so you can really see that texture:

I added a felted button that I made a while back, and it's good to go. It'll be interesting to see where it sells.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Something Different

Here's something not usually seen here - something knitted and felted. It's from the stash that Kris gave me, and the yarn felts beautifully. I love how the texture is all nubbly and the colors get fuzzy. It can be a mail pouch or a knitting needle holder or whatever a person fancies.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I think the chickadee is my favorite bird. They are so little, and busy, and I love their twitterings and calls. Right now making them is good for me, too. Since they are so small I can make one in two fairly short sittings, and it's not hard on my arm. As much as I love making the larger birds (and people seem to like buying them), making smaller birds makes more sense right now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grandmother's Garden Skirt

It's the beginning of February! I have a friend who tells me that the ancients considered February to be the beginning of spring. I acknowledge that by temperature we are still in the depths of winter, but my heart wants to leap to spring. And there are definitely signs that we are turning toward the equinox - the sun is up earlier and down later; the cardinals are singing their spring morning song; the sun is warmer.

So here's a skirt that celebrates just where we are - it's felted and warm for winter, but looks bright and springy. It reminds me of the old "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilts. It's made from a recycled, felted sweater, and the flowers are scraps from lots of other recycled sweater projects.