Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wonderful world of wool

Blogger gave me trouble posting photos, so I guess I avoided blogging for a while. But that doesn't mean things haven't been happening.
Here are before and after pictures of my felted bag for my aunt. The yarn is Valley Yarns Berkshire from my most favorite online yarn store, Webs. The pattern is my own, and I'm happy to post it if someone is interested (out of the zero people who read this blog), but its nothing that any knitter familiar with basics couldn't figure out herself. Now, before felting:

And after felting:

You should be able to see the "jogs" that I have in the stripes...thats because I did phoney seams at each of the four corners of the base rectangle in an effort to make the sides more gussetty (not that thats a word...). It didn't make enough of a difference to do again, especially if you are working with stripes.
As I said in a previous post, the first time in the washer it barely felted at all. We had it in there with towels. Then the second time, we put it in with jeans and then left the house...not something I would do again if I were felting, but it was okay, as you can see. To dry, I stretched it over the tote bag that I had used as a basis for the proportions of this bag, which worked out great. The handles and top hem are done in seed stitch which didn't felt quite as much as the stockinette. If I haven't said so, the stripes are actually a musical staff and I am adding notes to them.

I have ordered a needle felting tool and mat and some fiber from the marvelous, wonderful, new-to-me Paradise Fibers which should be arriving today or tomorrow. Then, I will needle felt the "notes" on to the "staff". My plan is to draw the notes on the bar with one of those blue ink disappearing marker things and then felt within those outlines. I've never done this before, so if anyone happens to read this and has some advice to offer, please do. I am felting the notes for the Shaker hymn, "Simple Gifts", which my aunt sang beautifully at my wedding. I guess I'll get the first two or three bars in.

The news in other projects:
I abandoned the world's ugliest sock. It was just too ugly, too small and I was hating it too much to make it worth continuing. I think I have a confession: I don't like tofutsies. I mean, I hated the name since the first time I read it, but also I just don't like its colors, its fineness, and I don't like the way it knits up. I am still going to try the green and white colorway I bought, but that yellow/blue/grey one was just blech. And who really cares if it has crabshells in it????
So instead, I started a Jaywalker sock with Great Adirondack Silky Sock, colorway "Fire". The yarn looks totally weird in the ball - A LOT of brown (which is my taste, but keep reading), with red, electric blue, purple and bits of other colors. Its for a gift, so I just picked the color sort of randomly. Fortunately, though, it looks GREAT. Jaywalker is an AWESOME pattern - rewarding but basic, a little something to keep you interested without comandeering your entire brain. I just started decreasing for the toe this morning during Spongebob.
Still plugging away on Mom's sweater...life has been kinda hectic lately, so not much has gotten worked on.
And the biggest news is I think I have had a minor revelation with the drop spindle. I'm finally starting to get a good, consistent, fine yarn. I do enjoy it very much, but I definitely lack the grace that experienced spinners have with a drop spindle. It would probably be so much easier with a wheel, but of course I'd rather have a loom than a wheel - the loom can make excellent use of drop spindle yarn, even singles! I have been spinning merino top which has been great. But in my order from Paradise Fibers I ordered some Icelandic (in honor of EZ, I suppose) and some olive green merino.
And I literally dreamed about weaving over the weekend. I was trying to wind my finished work on the beam but it was coming all loose. I was weaving something yellow. I wasn't upset or stressed out about it. I really want a loom. Oh geeze.

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