Tuesday, April 28, 2009

it's been a long time....

I used to do a lot of felting. If you look back at the beginning of my blogging days you will see early felting experiments that I documented and shared. I loved the technique and my ability to design bags with it. I made many of them in a vibrant array of colors and sold them in my etsy shop, gave them as gifts, and donated them to be auctioned off at community fundraisers. Then, last winter, I stopped making them. Just as my store became successful and as I had my washing/felting times down pat, I decided I had enough, and moved on to other projects.

Felting (or fulling,) I should explain, involves working with 100% wool yarn on larger needles to create an object that will intentionally shrink when you wash it. Much like when you accidentally wash a wool sweater, the fibers tighten and you get the effect of a solid, fuzzy fabric where you can't see the stitches. It's great for making sturdy things, like purses, clutches and Christmas stockings as well as other crafts and accessories.

One of the reasons I got away from felting was that I moved to a new apartment without a washer dryer of my own. Feeding quarters in the machines at the laundry mat to wash our clothes was enough of a nuisance, getting used to the new equipment and all those test cycles just wasn't in me! Also, I found after a long time of knitting numerous projects that would later be felted and not show my stitches, that my stitch definition was getting sloppy and I wasn't progressing with the new techniques I wanted to learn (sweater shaping, lace work, socks, etc) so... it's been awhile, but I am back to felting, for today at least. I made a couple of soon-to-be-felted bowls, which look like stretchy ski caps before they run through the hot/cold cycle. The bowls are for a workshop I will be teaching at Unravel in May and they are pretty fun to make. As long as you have a washing machine that cooperates!

It's amazing how quickly things dry here in the desert! I removed my two bowls from their third trip through the washer (I have cleaned just about everything I own by now!!) and started stuffing them with plastic shopping bags to form the rounded shape. Honestly, after a few minutes in the warm New Mexico sun they were dry! They do kind of look like little Jackie O. hats, don't they?

Friday, April 17, 2009

a good read.

I love to knit, but sometimes find it eats into my reading time, big time! does anyone else have this problem?

In May, Nick and I are traveling to visit family and friends on the east coast. I am really excited to visit my "home" and also looking forward to the quiet, downtime our 6 hour flight has to offer. Usually, I bring some knitting, but this time I am thinking of just bringing a good book to read, since it feels like it's been months (oh, wait it has been!) since I actually finished reading one. I've been knitting so much lately that I haven't given any attention to the list of books I want to read... it keep growing and growing! Here are some of the titles I am considering for the plane. I thought I'd share with pictures:

This book is sooo good! I am already about 1/3 a way through and hopefully will be done by the time we leave, but it's not entirely likely!

I have heard only good things about this book, and would love to sit down and devote 6 solid hours to it in the air!

Last fall I read On Chesel Beach and enjoyed it, despite it's odd reviews. This would also make a nice airplane read.


I always love Murakami's mix of sci-fi, fantasy and magical realism, set against a dreamy yet modern Japan.

I've been reading bits and pieces of this here and there. Thoughtful, informative and beautifully written, with important stories to tell, I really should focus on reading it all!

Choices, choices!! Any other thoughts or suggestions from you kind readers would be delightful. I miss the the pleasure of a good book as well as the satisfaction of finishing one! What have you been reading lately?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cherry Blossoms.

I finally finished my plum tree yoke top (designed by my dear friend Rosemary of suzy smalls handmade) and am happy to wear it as the weather gets warmer.

I had really wanted to photograph the top outside but it's been so windy and everything here in New Mexico is so... brown that it was hard to get an interesting photo. So, here I am in front of the boring ol' white wall in my bedroom again.

I really liked constructing this top and even though I ran into a few small issues (my own issues, not the patterns), I learned how to correct myself and already bought fabric to make another. It's a comfortable shape and doesn't need to be too "fit" ... no zippers, darts, buttonholes or bias tape trim! wooohoo!

It's funny to think that I have been sewing for twice as many years I have been knitting. My skills with a sewing machine and fabric have not improved as greatly as my skills with needles and yarn. (Not that I am any expert knitter, but I have a lot less trouble reading instructions and completing projects with knitting than with sewing.) Perhaps there is something about the simple, tactile qualities of knitting that I just "get", as opposed to working with a machine? I know that there really isn't anything wrong with that, I have found my niche and found what I like, but I do realize that my skills as a sewer will not improve if I don't keep sewing sewing sewing! As I often tell beginning knitters, you'll only get better with practice!