Have Ewe Any Wool?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


This month, I spent a bit of time making felted flowers....from commercial acrylic felt to felted wool fabric.  It was a lot of fun...plus, it's given me a number of ideas for embellishing various

I found LOTS of fabulous instructions for these on the web, and attempted a few of them using the commercial acrylic felt.  These came out a bit better than the ones I did earlier this month.

For the top flower,   I cut out two layers of 5 petaled flowers and  stitched them together...filling the center with a button to finish it off.   I basically used the Classic Felt Flowers - Tutorial pattern for this, but decided to stitch the flowers together rather than glue them together.  The bottom two flowers were inspired by the Felt Daisy Tutorial and Pattern.    Instead of stuffing a bead inside the felt for the flower center, I rolled a rectangular strip of felt and stitched it together.   For the flower on the bottom left (above), I followed the basic pattern for the petals and rounded the edges of each petal for a softer look.   For the one on the right, I followed the same procedure, but left the petals squared off.   For both, I stitched them together on the underside rather than using glue.

The second type of flowers I made used 1 inch squares of felted fabric - it's a great way to use up bits of felted wool left over from rug hooking.  I ran into a bundle of felted squares of fabric at a resale shop and snapped them up.  They were just perfect for felted roses!

I pictured each of the 4 inch square blocks cut into one inch squares where they could be used as a single color or multiple colors to create felted roses.

The next step was to round the top two corners of each of the 1 inch square to make them look more "petal like".   I planned to make two flowers....one with a red center (components shown on the left) and one with a pink center (components shown on the right).    The layout on the right shows the basic layout for the center (4 petals) and the outer part of the rose (7 petals).

I stitched the 7 "outer petals" together...slightly overlapped about 1/4 inch from the bottom.  For the center, I stitched the four center petals together.....slightly overlapped as shown above....about 1/4 inch above the bottom.   I then roll the center and stitch the bottom to hold it in place.   Then, I rolled the "outer petals" around my center petals and stitch it together on the bottom - it forms a flat bottom when you roll the flower....perfect for adding a pin back or barrette to create a rose pin or barrette.

You can add leaves to the rose by simply cutting out a somewhat leaf-like shapes and attaching it to the bottom of the flower.   Below are the results.   I was quite please with how the flowers turned out (my photography....well, that's another story!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lily Lariat

This was a lot of fun to make and I like how it turned out.  It's not quite as professional as the one that the designer made, but she's had a bit more practice - LOL!  The pattern is" Lily Lariat/Bolo" by Ohmay Designs.   It's made in pieces and then sewn together.    It was a lot of fun to make.

 The pattern calls for cotton yarn, but I used wool instead - a sport weight of Cascade.220.   I definitely think I'll make this again.....perhaps in purple?    I may even try it with the cotton yarn...just to see how it comes out.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Baby, Baby, Baby!!!

I swear we're having a baby boom this year!   We had a baby shower in April at the office, a double baby shower in August, and we have two coming up in September/October!  And that's not counting family - my daughter and two cousins!    Oh, my!

For my cousin's shower this past Saturday, I made a "Lovie" from the Bunny Blanket Buddy Lion Brand pattern,  It used a very soft chenille.  I think it's cute.  It's basically the diagonal wash cloth pattern with added arms, ears, and a stuffed head.   It was fun to make too!    The design itself was quite clever.

Additionally, I made a pair of infant socks (up to age 2) from natural colored Dale Baby Ull - 100% Merino - nice and soft for the baby....plus, it can be machine washed a dried - a definite bonus for a new mom.   Oh...and wool is naturally fire retardant, so it's a great choice for baby clothing!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Very Special Blanket

I'm continuing to work on the blanket for my very special grandson!   It's a large round blanket - with lots of Queen Ann's Lace.  I had started it just before he was born and had the yarn and work-in-progress shipped to me when I went to visit him.   Needless to say, the package was delayed by SEVERAL days!    This is one of those projects that takes hours and hours to complete.....and I needed all of that time!   My job and dog keep me so busy that I have precious little knitting time in the evenings!

Here it is already August and the blanket STILL isn't finished....it's never ending!   LOL!   I love this blanket, but geez....it takes 30 minutes to comple a single row!   BUT.....I'm now about 18 1/2 hrs. away from completing it!   Wahoo!!!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lancaster Spinners and Weavers Retreat

Wahoo!   Another fabulous retreat at Refreshing Mountain Camp - organized by Beth.   It was sooooo incredibly relaxing!   The weather was perfect - not hot, not humid.....nice and sunny.   Sunday was a bit dreary and drizzly, but hey, it was the last day, and we had mostly indoor activities anyway, so it didn't really matter.  

I arrived in the early afternoon - the weather was perfect!   Beautiful sunshine, a light breeze, and nothing to do but enjoy the weather and wait for all the others to arrive.   Of course, I used the time to get some ice cream - a scoop of Moose Tracks and a scoop of Coffee Ice Cream.   Delicious!!!!   Once I'd finished my ice cream, I sat on the porch overlooking the pool and zip lines and knitted on my latest sock.

We had two rooms this year - one room for all the vendors and one room for spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting....or whatever needlecraft you choose.    Of course, there were plenty of snacks and LOTS of chocolate!   There were lots of the usual vendors - Jody with her tie-dyed shirts, Kim with her incredible sock yarn and roving, Linda and her daughter with awesome roving, handcrafted sheep, jewelry, yarn....you name it!, another girl (why can't I think of her name!!!) that did glass work -lovely tea bag holders/stitchmarker holders, pill boxes, etc, yarn holders that hold two skeins while you're working with them,  Pam's luscious alpaca - yarn, roving, and felted items.   I purchased some gorgeous green and white alpaca from her. and Audrey with big bags of some gorgeous natural colored roving - finn, finn cross, cormo (if I remember correctly), some other blends and some romney.   Needless to say, no one was "wanting" for any goodies to buy!

We all pitched in getting the room organized and the spinners and weavers set  up to maximize the face-to-face seating so people didn't have their backs to each other.


The sock knitters with their antique sock machines took the little nook off to the side.   

On Friday evening, Jane demoed her blending board - it's basically a carding cloth attached to a flat piece of wood.  She brought tons of roving with her to blend into fabulous color combos.   This video shows how she blends the fibers together.   She basically lays them on the board and then brushes them down....adds more and repeats.   Once it's "full", she'll then move on to the removal process.....

Once the fibers are blended, she then removes it from the blending board using a dowel.   She'd been removing it rolling it on top, but after trial and error, we all came to the conclusion that it was easier to removed by rolling it towards the bottom....it seemed to stretch roving and came off of the carding cloth a bit easier.   It produces rolags with bands of the multi-colors.  It was quite fascinating to watch.  The rolags looked like giant colorful caterpillars.  (I should have taken a photo of one of them....darn it!!!)

A couple of people brought their looms.   I watched this project grow from an unwarped rigid heddle loom to a finished scarf during the course of the weekend.   LOL....complete with commentary the whole time!   She was busily weaving and would take breaks....and Donna (a fabulous weaver) would catch her away from her loom and chastise her for not working on her project.   She even got "grounded" - LOL - part of the weekend - Donna wouldn't let her shop until she completed x amount of work!    (Donna didn't have her loom with her this time, so I think she enjoyed teasing the weavers a bit since she didn't have to focus on her own weaving.) Check out the unique weight (banana) used to provide tension for a thread that was added due to a break in one of the warp threads. 

Check out the unique weight - a banana - used to provide tension for a thread that was added due to a break in one of the warp threads. LOL!!!

Lots of weaving going on!!!!

 This one came in warped in gorgeous colors.   I watched the patterns grow and develop throughout the weekend.  It's just beautiful.  It will be very stunning once it's finished.  

Fredi was busy weaving with cards.   I'd never seen anyone actively weaving like this, so I found it absolutely fascinating!

A massage therapist came Saturday afternoon, and we all took our turns getting a message.   She was incredible!   We were floating on air after only 15 minutes!   The massages were done outside....it was such a beautiful day!

A bunch of us gathered up our wheels and moved outside to spin as well.   The weather was absolutely perfect.   As we spun, we'd watch the kids on the zip line just to the right of our meeting room.   How they have the guts to zip along and flit from tree-top to tree top is beyond me!   I'll stay on the ground...thank you very much!!!!

While we were spinning outside, I finished spinning the teal BFL/Silk blend (85% Blue Faced Leicester / 15% silk) from Misty Mountain Farm.  It spun beautifully and made a gorgeous two-ply skein.

I got some tips on combing wool as well as a nice demo from Beth on how to ply from a center pull ball.   Once I finished spinning this roving (an art batts from Misty Mountain Farm) I tried my hand at plying from a center pull ball - more on that later in this post. (The roving is merino,mohair, silk, alpaca, and nylon.)

Sunday came too quickly, but it also included a special treat.   Tom Knisely from the Mannings gave a 2 hr. presentation with numerous tips on how to finish a weaving project.

I learned so much!   He demoed several techniques - both left and right handed (there were three lefties in the audience of about 15 weavers).   He also had several rugs with him that had been finished via different methods that we got to touch and examine as well.

On the left, the start of a weaving project - complete with the stabilizing rows and hem-stitching.   On the right, sample with hemstitching at the other end as well as a couple of examples of twill.

I nearly finished spinning the coral colored roving Saturday evening, so I'd hurried back to our meeting room early Sunday morning to finish the singles so I could start plying.    Oh, my!   Let's just say that it seems like I needed 2 more hands to properly control the ball and my plying!   What a challenge!  The two hardest things for me when plying this way were:
  • Re-attaching when one of the plies broke
  • Smoothing out lumps and bumps as I normally do when plying - it's nearly impossible to do when both hands are fully occupied! 
I finally seemed to get the hang of it though, and managed to finish up after lunch....with about 15 minutes to spare!  The resultant skein was not the most elegant.....and it's not up to the standards of my usual plying, but it will suffice.   I DEFINITELY need to do a bit more practicing!

We needed to be out of the meeting rooms as close to 2 pm as possible.We all pitched in to clean up and pack up so we all could hit the road and head back home.    The weekend went way too fast!!!! It was such a wonderful weekend that we all hated for it to end - it brought out the "kid" in all of us!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Felted Flowers

One of the things I did when I took a felting class in July was to make a felted flower for an embellishment.   I decided to try that again....this time, outside of the class.   I attempted to "free style" my flower by creating two layers and then needle felting them together.   It didn't come out nearly as well as it did in class!   I definitely need to hone my skills at this craft!

I started by cutting two circles from some felted wool basically wool fabric that was tossed in the washer and washed in warm/hot water and then dried in the dryer.  Then I cut petals from each circle.

Then I gathered up my felting materials (a felting needle, part of a "swim noodle" for something to stab into, and a bit of roving) and felted a center to the flower.   Definitely not the best flower, but you get the idea!

I'm leading a floral-a-long on Ravelry in the Monthly Adventures group, so I'll have to try some other types of flowers.   Hopefully I'll have better luck at them.   Also, I plan to go through how to make a rose from felted sweater pieces or felted wool.   The rose below was made last year at a craft table at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival - it was a lot of fun!  (Please pardon the very awful sewing job that I did attaching the pin-back!!!!)

Friday, August 09, 2013

Another Pair of Socks

As always, I'm busily knitting or completing a pair of socks.   I finished up a pair last month as part of my Ravelry Nerd Wars entry, and decided I needed to start another pair this month.   It seems that I've spent a bit of time waiting around or riding as a passenger in a car because I seem to have finished this latest pair in record time - one week!!!

Once again, I've used the Opal sock yarn - great colors and great durability.   I love the colors in these socks...not to bright, but not totally blah either - perfect for under a pair of jeans!    I can't remember how many pairs of socks I've made, but it's definitely been quite a few!

Wahoo.....one project down, four to go for this battle! 

(Of course, you KNOW I'll have to start another pair right away!!!!)