Revisiting Old Pieces

There was something about this piece that always bugged me. It didn’t fit on the chest where I really wanted it to be. The ends flared in an ugly way, the felt retained the imprint of the bubble wrap. In every way it just looked unfinished, like I’d whipped it out in a hurry without taking the time to work it fully (felt never lies).

As I have grown in my feltmaking skills, looking at this piece day after day irked me, but I left it there as a reminder of my progress, humility being important as an artist and parent. There was another part of me that was too impatient to return to a piece, however imperfect, when there was something new to try.

table_runner

Because the chest sits by the front door, it is the logical spot to dump books, keys and bottoms (cat and youngest child being the primary perps). After picking it up from the floor for the umpteenth time, I couldn’t bare to smooth it out again. So I brought it back to the studio for a little extra felting.

corner

After soaking it in hot water for a few minutes, I worked it on the glass washboard, giving special attention to the uneven edges, pulling them into line. When I started working on it, the runner measured 49″ x 12″. After just a few minutes of agitation, it started to shrink dramatically.

fixed

Now it measures 37″ x 10″, is mostly rectangular and fits pefectly on the chest. Last night I smiled as I looked at it across the room. The colors have faded as the amber fibers migrated further to the front, but I think it works better now. At least it gives me satisfaction instead of pangs of disappointment.

Recycled Sweater Cases

A few weeks ago, friends alerted me to a clothing swap at a West Seattle co-housing community. My mind immediately started thinking about picking up sweaters for recycling. I brought home four, but decided one was too good to recycle.

glasses_case.jpg

These small pouches were made from the sleeves of two different sweaters, both partially fulled by their previous owners.

camera_in.jpgcamera_out.jpg

We’ve needed a new case for our teeny camera for several months. Ironically, the old one turned up at my son’s preschool the day after I finished sewing this together. The circles are cut from a sushi-felted tube I made around Valentines for class cards. I sliced of a bit and needle felted them to the wool before sewing it together.

bachelor_out.jpgbachelor_in.jpg

As this scene came together, I imagined a garden full of bachelor buttons. This is more of Marti’s roving, with more left for additional projects.

Two Three Birds in One Day

A work-in-progress finished:

crochetscarf_detail.jpgcrochetscarf_owen.jpg

The 100 Crochet Flower Scarf, made with only 22 flowers. Ran out of yarn, but really just the right length for me. Any longer and it would dangling in the squash soup.

This project was so fast it didn’t even have time to make it on to the project pages. I thought of it this morning and it was finished by noon. For the record, that never happens to me. I spend a good deal of time stewing, mulling, gathering, and procrastinating. This time I knew exactly what I wanted to make and actually had all of the materials at hand so I could just start.

camera_case.jpgcamera_case2.jpg

My mother bought a new digital camera last week, which didn’t come with a case. I thought it would be nice to whip something up for her, as a thank you gift for being so great. I used scraps from my fulled dog pillow project and a zipper that was in my sewing.

I started by needle felting the design, then sewed on the zippers just in time for my mother to walk in the door, twenty minutes earlier than she had predicted. I so wanted to finish it before she arrived, but since I was using her hand-me-down machine, I was having trouble getting the sewing machine to work through two layers of felt, her timing was perfect. Rather than sewing a straight stitch down the sides, she used an overcast stitch that bound the two pieces together along the edge, as if she was finishing the edges of a frayed fabric.

Lance thinks this is a lovely little bag, but a poor camera case; he is worried that loose fibers will make their way into the mechanics of the camera. The next version will be lined.

I almost forgot a new block print:

guitar.jpg

In honor of my father’s birthday next week, I made this block print for him. It was part of a gift that included a denim shirt embroidered with a guitar on the chest. He’s a swell dad whose been working hard to learn the guitar in his retirement; he is working so hard I thought he deserved two guitars.

A Fulfilled Teapot

fair-isle_teapot.jpg

The conclusion to the Fair Isle saga: full the knitting and turn the piece on its head. Since I don’t wear hats very often, this bit of knitting will be better appreciated as a teapot cozy, as I pour my third and fourth cup of tea, still warm thanks to the lovely cozy.

Anyone interested in the technical difference between fulling and felting can get the full dish at nonaKnits. Basically, fulling is shrinking knit or woven fabric, while felting starts with abusing simple roving.

Synchronicity

This felted bag started out as a cable sweater for Lance but for various reasons, the project was shelved when I arrived at the armpits.

The project sat unfinished in a basket for months until I suddenly remembered a bag I’d seen at last year’s Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat created by Leigh Radford in the Teacher’s Gallery. She felted an oversized men’s red cabled sweater; check out AlterKNITS to see a photo of it.

Normally, I wouldn’t put this much work into a felted tote, but I’d wanted one this large for a while, and it seemed a shame to rip out all that knitting, so I decided to finish it off with a mitered bottom. The pattern was knit with Cascade EcoWool; despite the fact that it wasn’t knit on very large needles, it still felted quickly.

When I was at Madrona this year, I saw Leigh Radford in front of the elevator. I told her about my felted bag, inspired by hers.

saxon_braidsweater.jpg

What I failed to realize at the time was that she designed the original sweater pattern which I knit for myself before starting Lance’s version; it was published in the Fall 2002 Interweave Knits.