Tag Archives: fiber

New Feature! BLOG of the Week!

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Fellow yarn and garden freaks, it’s time to introduce this week’s blog of the week.  

This is a new idea, which coincides well with the, “Etsy Shop of the Week” idea.  I believe I posted that one on Tuesday..so let’s look for that on Mondays or Tuesdays, and look for cool blogs on Fridays or Saturdays.

Let’s kick off the festivities with Daniella Joe’s incredible blog.  This is one talented lady!   A true fiber artist, she is self-proclaimed as being, “not good with patterns.”  So, rather than be daunted by confusing text and convoluted graphs, she sees a need for something…and makes it up as she goes along. That stuns me to silence. What an amazing talent!

Her blog is a delight; Colorful, friendly, and endlessly informative. She gets her readers involved, always suggesting new ideas to tickle our own Muses.
Go on in and check out her pineapple doily, a work in progress. It will boggle your mind, that she made this piece up as she stitched. And, check out her magic Technicolor couch! You’ll be glad you did,

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This Is The Way We Felt a Hook, Felt a Hook, Felt a Hook!

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I’m baaaa-aaack!  Just like a poltergeist tangled in yards and yards of brightly colored yarns…I am back.

And I missed you!

It’s been a little weird here.  Not bad!  Just…quiet.  I’ve been busy, of course, stitching, dreaming, reading blogs, and endlessly wandering, collecting crochet patterns.  I even learned a new stitch or two, thanks to “Mikey’s” You Tube channel, and found a wealth of tutorial videos on Bob Wilson 123’s You Tube channel.

From Mikey, I learned this great “crinkle stitch,” for making a textured, dense fabric, perfect for sweaters, coats, rugs, blankets…anything you can think of.  He’s also got the tutorial video up for this stitch, for lefties!  Woo-Hoo!  We GO, Lefties!

From New Stitch a Day, I found the sweetest
single crochet stitch variation.  Very simple and basic, it adds a cool twist to our beloved, boxy single crochet.  Those of you who are just starting your grand journey into the vast and wonderful world of fiber and hook, will greatly benefit from any of these video tutorials, as will we veteran “hookers!”

I can not describe how much information I found in Bob Wilson 123’s YouTube  channel, or on their website, or Facebook page.  Not enough paper!

What’s that, Earl?  We’re not using paper? Oh.  Can I still change the color of the crayons I write the posts with? Yes???  Cool!

So, I have been doing my thing, stitching, spinning, dreaming…started the garden, finally!  LATE!  The weather isn’t the best this season, but compared to what’s been happening out West, I’ll take some Connecticut gloom.  It’s a banner year for weeds!

Among the infinite number of unfinished projects I always have going, I settled down to felt a few more of my older hooks, ones that didn’t have grips to make my fingers happy.

This time, you all get a little tutorial!

I started out with an assortment of aluminum and steel hooks.

Hooks to be felted 01

To keep things a little less splashy, I wrapped a piece of cardboard with plastic wrap.  And, to anchor the roving to the hook well enough to get a start, I used washable fabric glue, Aileen’s,  “OK To Wash It.”  That’s just what I had on hand.  Any washable glue will do, of course.  If all you have is Liquid Nails, go for it!  Just remember to wear gloves so the wool and glue don’t make you a new pair of unintentional fuzzy mittens.

I do not recommend the use of super glue.  You’re going to get a little glue on your fingers, and if you’re using super glue, you’re about to go through the rest of your week with a woolly crochet hook stuck to your hand.

Felted hook tools01

I put a selection of different colored roving pieces together, some dyed, some natural.  It’s way too cool to wrap your hooks in multi-colored roving, and you can even lay the wool out to make patterns!

Roving mix 01

Now that we have the tools and the fuzzy stuff, let’s get started!  This is so easy, and so much fun, you’ll soon find yourself ransacking your hooks stash to find more hooks to felt.

I grabbed a hook, and a small patch of roving, stretching the roving out to measure it against the hook.  I wanted the felted handle to cover the hook up to the finger grip, so that I would have that finger grip, and also be able to tell what size hook I had in my hand.  After the hook was measured against the roving…and believe me, this is not an exact science…I dipped the hook into the bottle of glue, covering it up to the grip, like so…

02-light glue hook to roving

I also made a hook with a “patterned” roving patch, which requires just a little more finesse, but really comes out cool.  For this, I got my loose measurement against the roving, with the pattern side UP, then when it looked good to me, I flipped the pattern side down to do the wrapping.

03-measure hook against pattern

Once the hook is dipped, just lay it down on one edge of the roving, and start rolling.

04-start rolling roving

Roll it all up and tuck in the end, close, but not too close.  Leave a little pillow on the end.

06-rolled roving ready to felt

Now, here comes the optional part of today’s program!  Any needle felters out there?  Here’s where, if you have some needles about, you get to needle felt the hook sleeve into place, making the wet felting easier.  Of course, if you really, really go to town with the needle felting, you won’t even have to wet felt.  Your cover will be softer and looser, but perfectly usable.  This hook was needle felted into place…you know the drill…poke, poke, jab, jab, all over, again and again, stick, move, stick, jab, swear, wipe up the blood…..

Yeah, there are two types of needle felters, those who have jabbed their fingers with those deadly sharp little barbed boogers, and those who will do so eventually.

I’m a veteran.

So, anyway. this is what that blue and black hook looked like, needle felted.

07-needle felted, soft ready

It’s ready to use!  It’s softer than I want it, though, so I’m going to wet felt it, with the others.

This is important!  You have to wait a day, for the glue to dry.  Otherwise, it will wash away and your hook cover will fall off, or worse, fall apart.  So, wait a day, and come back for the rest of the tutorial.

Oh, hi!  You’re back!  So, you have your hooks, with the roving glued to the handles, all wrapped up and ready to felt.  Cool!

And that brings us to…ta-daaaah!  The sink.

Wet felting the hooks is easy, easier if you did the needle step first.  If you didn’t, just take your time.  We’ll go through the process as though you had not needle felted your hook cover, first.

You’ll need hot water, and soap.  I just use the bathroom sink, and some liquid soap that I keep there.  Fill the sink with hot water, and dunk your hook.  Make sure it gets thoroughly soaked!

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Next up, grab up some soapy stuff.  You can see in the picture that I have liquid soap, but if all you have is bar soap, then go for it!  Very gently, get up a good lather, by squishing and releasing, adding a few drops of water when you feel like it.  No heavy rubbing yet!  If you are using bar soap, you might want to let the hook soak while you get a good lather happening in your hands.

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Now, remember, at this early stage, you’re working very gently, so that the wool doesn’t pitch a fit and fall off the hook.  At this stage, I bring up a good lather, and squish it between my fingers, being careful not to rub too hard.  You do have to rub a little, to get the fibers to start blending, but…not too hard.  Just use a light touch, and some gentle squishing and patting.

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The fibers will tell you when it’s time to start putting a little more pressure into your felting.  This is where I start to dig in with my fingers a little.

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Don’t forget the end of the hook!  A little squish-and-rub there would be a great idea right about now.  You’ll probably, sooner than later, have to start pushing the fiber down onto the hook a bit.  If your hook pokes out, just pull some wool back up over the end of the hook and keep rubbing.

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Now that you’ve got some rubbing, squishing and lathering done, it’s time to rinse, and check your progress.  Rinse your hook in hot water, then switch to cold, then back to hot.  This “shocks” the fibers and helps get them to shrinky-dink around the hook.  Hot water expands the fibers, then the cold water shock makes them contract. 

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Now, for more hot soapy water.  You can see in the picture that I’m involving my whole hand, squishing and rolling the fibers, putting some pressure on the wool.

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More rinsing and checking…again, hot to cold, back to hot.  You can now roll the hook between your palms, roll it between a couple of small sheets of bubble wrap, if you have it, dig in with your knuckles, if you like,  rinse hot to cold and back again a few times to shock and check progress…

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And now, as you see, I have a finished, felted grip on my hook.  It feels wonderful in the hand!  I went a step even further with my hooks, and after I wet felted them, I rolled them up in a thick towel to get the excess water out…then popped them into the dryer.  Oh, BOY, do they make a racket!  Toss something in the dryer with them, give them something to rub up against.  The added agitation is what makes them further felt in the dryer, and when they’re done, you’ll have perfectly felted hooks to enjoy!

08-finished batch

This seems like a lot of writing, but don’t feel daunted.  This is not a lot of work.  This is even something that the kids can do with you!  You’ll use warm instead of hot water, but that’s okay, as long as they get the rubbing down.  Felting has a lot to do with agitation.

If your sleeve slides off your hook, like one of mine did, just dip the hook, gently slide the (DRY) sleeve back on, and use the glue that squishes out to seal the open end of the sleeve.  That’s right,  just use a finger tip to work it right into the edge of the wool.  It will disappear, and be soft, as it’s fabric glue.  Then, just put the hook aside for a day while the glue sets, and you’re all fixed!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial…if you have questions, please feel free to leave comments, and I’ll get right to answering them, if I can.  If I can’t…I’ll Beseech The Gods of Google!

Stay tuned…next up, some VERY special crochet hooks….

MORE New Hooks!

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What’s this?  Even more new crochet hooks?  Well…these hooks are not new.  These hooks, bought however long ago, are basic aluminum hooks, sans embellishment of any sort.  They’re wonderful, balanced, smooth hooks and they really do the job.  My hands, however….

No big deal, just some arthritis, the bane of any needleworker, be it crochet, knit, embroidery or weaving.  The hands love a little grip, a little padding.  With crochet hooks, this is an easily-accomplished endeavor.  You simply add a grip to your old hooks, and give them new, ergonomic life!

I did this once before, where I added Sculpy eraser clay handles to a batch of old hooks.  They work well, and the best part about using polymer clay to form this kind of hook grip is that you can form it to your exact grip.

Now, I’m using wool.  I’ve fashioned a half dozen hooks (so far) with felted wool grips, and they are marvelous.  They’re soft, warm and supportive, and I got the wool onto the hook in just such a fashion as to be able to see what size hook I have.

No, they’re nowhere near as cool or decorative as the beauties I got from Dot Dot Smile, and I wouldn’t even attempt to do what Kelli has sent me.  Too much tiny detail!!!  For me, it’s the simple, the utilitarian.  I make them colorful…and comfortable.

To make these hooks, I measured enough roving to amply cover the end of the hook, spreading it out past the end of the hook just a little, and making a bit of a pillow around where I wanted the handle to have a grip.  The more wool you wrap around the hook, the thicker your grip..and the longer it will take to felt.  

I dragged out an old bottle of washable fabric glue,  Aleen’s, “OK To Wash It,” and smiled when I shook it and it was still good.  I simply opened up the bottle, and dipped the handle of the hook into the glue, stopping  just short of the finger grip where you can read the size of the hook.  You can dip, or apply the glue to the hook with a small brush.  

I let the excess glue run back into the bottle, then stuck the beginning end of my pre-measured length of roving into the glue.  I wound the roving around the hook, loosely shaping it into a handle. When it was suitable, all edges covered and puffy, I put it aside for 24 hours to let the glue dry.  The drying step is not optional!

Now, here’s where I got to choose, needle felted, or dry felted?  I chose both.  I needle-felted the wrapped wool into usable grips,  jabbing my needles in and out of the wool until the roving became fabric.  This needle-felted step is one that I consider optional.  If you want to do this, and you don’t have felting needles, you can easily skip this step and go right for the hot, soapy water.

My needle-felted hooks came out perfectly usable, but I wanted a denser,  smoother fabric grip.  I further felted the wool in hot, soapy water by wetting, soaping, and rubbing in between my hands, with my thumb and fore finger, with finger tips, however it worked to make the dense wool grips I now have on my hooks.  I paid special attention to the end of the hook so that it would felt properly without having the hook jab its way free of the wool.  I rinsed and rubbed, going back and forth between hot water and cold, to further shock and felt the wool, and finally wound up with these great hook grips.  If the “hook” end of the wool came unglued during the felting process, I added a tiny drop of glue and worked it in with my fingers, securing it smoothly to the hook.  

Here’s the last step I took.  I stuffed all of my wet hooks into the dryer with an old towel and let them roll around in there until they were dry.  The heat and agitation of the dryer further felted the wool handles, and they came out of the dryer ready to use.  This is a purely optional step.  You can let your hooks air dry, as I am with the last of mine right how.

One hook needed a lot of wet felting.  That was the hook that I didn’t needle felt first.  For that one, I started felting with the hot water and soap, and rather than rub right away, I squeezed and patted, squeezed and patted, until the wool told it me was okay to start rubbing.

I must have been in a hurry to have that hook, because that’s the one I started felting without waiting for the glue to dry!  Of course, if the glue is still wet, it isn’t going to stand up to hot water!  So, I carefully finished my hook, got it dry, and slipped the cover off the hook.  I re-glued the hook, and carefully slipped the cover back on.  No problems from there on!

I think they came out colorful and cool.  I know they came out soft and ergonomic, treating my poor creaky hands to a layer of comfort.  

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See that blue one in the middle?  I needed that hook!  You can see that I have a very tiny Feets started, and that hook, as I took the picture, was done with needle felting only.   It works!  I have, since, wet-felted that hook, and it is air-drying now.  (The incredibly tiny Feets got transferred to a different hook…you’ll meet him as soon as he gets stitched.)

Like these grips?  You can do this!  All you need is a little wool roving, a little fabric glue, and a little time and energy.  

Have fun!

 

 

I….Love….Etsy.

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Gentle readers, my affinity for crochet tools is still alive, fat and happy.  I found an Etsy (don’t you just adore Etsy?!?!?) shop that sells the coolest, happiest crochet hooks and knitting needles, I couldn’t leave the shop without putting in a custom order!

The name of the shop is DotDotSmile, and the owner’s name is Kelli.  Kelli sells the sweetest polymer clay-embellished knitting needles and crochet hooks, and also, hand-made knitting notions and other cool cuteness. She’s a great gal, with quite a nice array of hand-made knit and crochet tools.

You would think that the clay tops would throw off the weight or balance, but that isn’t the case.  The tools I bought feel beautiful in my hand, smooth and perfectly balanced.  I bought bamboo, so they’re also superbly light-weight and warm in the hand.

My sister is a huge, life-long Dr. Who fan, and one of her favorite things is the Tardis.  Lo and behold, Kelli has a set right there in her shop!  You know, I had to buy them.  When I got them home, they feel so good in my hand, I want to learn how to hand knit!

How cool are these sci-fi knitting gems!!!

tardis needles 02

tardis needles 01 

Now, me, I have a life-long love of all things fiber, as you know…and cows…and clowns.  I love clowns!  Apologies to those I just creeped out, but there it is.  I will be seeing Kelli for a Cow-embellished hook.  And why not?  A Clown-Cow!  It can be done, Kids.  This little guy was a custom order!

clown cro hook

Yes!  This is that size-G Tunisian hook I needed!  I am, of course, still using the little one I made, on another project, but I started using this the very next day after I got it in the mail.  Smoooooth and balanced, warm…everything you can want in a hook, and the Happy-Fun Factor is, shall we say…off the hook!

Of course, staying on task is a challenge now, as I have to stop frequently and gaze at my little grinning clown…

Isn’t he the bomb?!?!?!?

clown cro hook detail

Now,  you have the links, you even have a widget in my side bar!  If you’re in the market for a cool new crochet or knitting tool, stitch marker, needle threader, or cool desk goo-gaw, go see Kelli.  Turn around is fast!  You’ll have your new toy in short order.

Have some FUN today!

My New “Thing”

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You all know I have an affinity for crochet hooks, right?  I love them.  I study them, collect the new and different as much as I can, go ga-ga for vintage hooks, make Sculpey comfort handles for them, and keep my favorites (Susan Bates aluminum hooks with bamboo handles) within easy reach.

I also love, love, love anything and everything bamboo!  Smooth, warm, light, versatile and sustainable, bamboo is the way to go, from garden poles to walking sticks (made from garden poles), to paper, to yarn, and…you guessed it…to crochet hooks.

I recently got my paws on a free pattern for a great head band, which I’m working in Paton’s Silk Bamboo (there’s that amazing bamboo again), a DK weight wonder of a yarn.  It’s so soft and smooth, so light, I just love to run my fingers across the ball!  To work this yarn, though, I needed a size F or G Tunisian hook.  Not a long one, but a Tunisian, all the same.  Unfortunately, I do not have, nor could I find, that size Tunisian hook.  

BUT…I did find a sweet set of 3.75 (size F) bamboo knitting needles!

So, I got out a coping saw blade, a retractable razor box cutter tool, and some emery boards, and set to work.

My first two attempts resulted in snapping off the business end of the new hook, but I persevered, and now, after having only lost about an inch or so of length, I have a lovely, smooth size-F Tunisian hook!  It’s a shorter one,  seven inches from the tip of the hook to the end knob, perfect for a small Tunisian project like a head band.

I whittled and sanded, smoothed and formed, tore the sand paper off of the emery boards to get into the tiny inner surfaces, and the result is a smooth, warm, sassy looking hook that is a joy to work with.

hand made tunisian 01

Here it is, with its knitting counterpart, which might become a hook, or might stay a knitting needle for a while.  They look nice together!

hand made tunisian 02

As you can see, I didn’t lose too much length.  The hook measures 7″ from tip to knob, the needle measures 8.5 inches from tip to knob.

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It came out with a sweet in-line head!

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The depth of this hook is perfect for my DK weight yarn, and so smooth, I’m working with it without having used any sealer or wax.  

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And here’s the test…it works like a dream. No snags!

Yup…I have a new “thing…”  and a yard full of oak, tulip and magnolia sticks!

Stay tuned….

 

A New, Unusual Feets

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Good Evening!

I have a special guest!  Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to our newest Feets family member, “Senor Huevo Feets!”

From his bright, multi-colored hair to his yolk-hued feets, he is every inch adorable and sweet.

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Senor Huevo is a Companion Feets, who has gone to live with a very nice man, to keep him company at the office where he works.  He’s a “Desk Friend,”  as he chooses to put it, and will sit contentedly on his person’s desk, keeping him company through the long day at work.

His human friend has very kindly promised not to eat omelets or egg sandwiches at his desk!

Senor Huevo though that the “closey peen” concept was cool…as long as he has a loop.  He did politely decline having a “Sow-ing peen” put, tribal-style, through his head, something that made him distinctly nervous.

His brothers treated him very gently, as will his person. because, as Chauncey pointed out, “He’s a Eggie and he’ll go SPLAT !”

Just before I very carefully packed him into his travel pouch for his great adventure to his person’s office, I got a picture of him with Chauncey and Earl…who are already asking me when they can go to “Eggie’s office” to visit.

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Soon, Boys!  Soon!

Meet B.H.Feets…and She’s a Grown-Up!

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Dearlings, we have a new member of the rapidly-growing Feets family, B.H. Feets!  And, get this…she’s a grown-up!  She’s my first all-grown-up member of the Feets clan.

Right off the hook, she had an air of knowledge about her, one that shone clearly through her beautiful blue eyes.  She has a gentle wisdom and a level of confidence  that only comes through experience, even though she’s a brand new member of the family, and really hasn’t had any life experience.  B.H. is a mature soul.

“B.H. ‘” stands for “Birmingham.”   I joined a very cool crochet group that meets once a week, and we meet in an vintage building, one that was built when towns named their buildings.  I stitched the lovely B.H. up as a community pincushion, a gift for the group.  Our group meets in the Birmingham building, hence B.H.’s name.  While she loves her given name, she also wondered if it would seem a bit pretentious in a casual group setting.  Initializing her name made her seem more casual, and feel more comfortable.

Needlework groups are great fun.  You’re  in a comfortable setting, with like-minded people, talking stitches and crochet math, asking questions and trading patterns…and it’s a form of therapy, isn’t it?  It is for me, for sure.  When I get hyper

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or tired,

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or just have a less-than-perky day, I relax with the hook and yarn, and come up with something productive.  The trials of the day melt away with each stitch formed.  Talking things over with other crocheters once a week just makes it all that much more fun, more relaxing, and more therapeutic.  As if this particular cake needed any icing (seriously, a cake without icing?),  being in a group setting with a bunch of yarn junkies allows me to be completely free with my own yarn addiction.

So, in addition to being a group pincushion, and a grown-up,  B.H. is a “certified” crochet group therapist!  Really, how cool is that?

And now, Dearlings, because they’re hopping up and down and begging for the opportunity to write their own post, I’m turning the post over to our intrepid siblings, Chauncey and Earl,  to introduce their new, “Little-Big” sister to the WordPress world.  I’ll just sit back, spell-check at ready, and watch the fun.  (I’ll be in italics.)

Looong post…the boys get distracted easily…Strap in, Kids!!!

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Enter Earl, who will start tonight’s post festivities, as Chauncey is busy, happily running around in a perfect circle on the bed.

Earl:  “Hi, Everybody!  Wendy’s letting us post tonight!  Isn’t that  cool?”

Earl:  “Um…Hey, Chauncey…Um…We’re on…”

Chauncey:  “Is it time to talk to the Word Pressing peoples?”

Earl:  “Yuppers!  Dude, you running around and around like that is making me dizzy.”

Chauncey stopped so abruptly he fell over onto his face.

Chauncey:  “Whoa!  That was cool!  I wanna do it AGAIN!”

Earl:  “That was cool!  Let’s do that after we do our post!”

Chauncey: “YEEE-HAAAA!”

Earl:  “So, anyway, Wendy is letting us have our own post tonight, like BIG guys!”

Chauncey:  “I like bouncing up and down on the kee-bored to make words!”

Earl:  “Me, too!  And Wendy says she likes reading our stuff, and she gets to play lots and lots with something called, “Speel-check.”

Chauncey:  “What’s that?”

Earl:  “Dunno.  Maybe she’ll let us play with spell-check, too!””

Chauncey:  “I bet she will.  She only says, “no” to wrestling on the tee-vee, and M-and-M’s.”

Earl:  “Yeah, that’s ‘cuz she says they both make us crazy.”

“Chauncey:  “Ahm-pee Memmie lets us watch wrestling and gives us M-and-M’s!”

Earl:  “Yeah!  She says she gets to spoil us ‘cuz it’s her Ahm-pee job!”

Chauncey:  “Yeah!  And she says she likes to wind us up like tops right before she goes home!”

Earl:  “I saw tops on the tee-vee yesterday!  We can play tops when we finish with our posting!”

Chauncey:  “We have a new Little-Big sister!”

“Earl:  “Yeah!  She’s our little sister ‘cuz she’s younger than we are.”

Chauncey:  “And she’s our big sister because she’s bigger!  Not older, but really bigger.  And she’s a grown-up!  That makes her older than us even though she got stitched last.  I think I’m confused now…”

Earl:  “Yeah, she’s all grown up, even more grown up than Ruby!”

Chauncey:  “Yeah!  Ruby is a teen-ager, and B.H. is even older than a teen-ager.  She must be really-really old if she’s older than a teen-ager!”

Earl:  “Do you think we’ll ever be grown-ups?”

Chauncey:  “Nope!  Wendy says we’ll be her cool little kids forever and ever and ever!”

Earl:   “Hahaha!!!  Remember when we saw that moo-vee on tee-vee ?”

Chauncey: “Yeah-Yeah!! And then we waited for Wendy to come home and said, “Come play with us, Wendy!  Forever and ever and ever!”

Earl:  “Wooooo!  She got all red and looked at us funny and left the room really fast!”

Chauncey:  “Yup!  And that’s when we learned about Pare-ant-tail Corn-trols” on the tee-vee.  But we still get to watch cartoons!  Did you see in Kid vs. Kat when Kat….”

“Guys.  B.H.?”

Chauncey and Earl:  “B.H!”

Chauncey:  “B.H. is our new Little-Big sister!”

Earl:  “And she’s a peen-koo-sheen, like us!”

Chauncey:  “Yeah!  And she’s some kind of crow-shay thair-ah-peest, too!”

Earl:  “What’s a thair-ah-peest?”

Chauncey:  “Dunno.  Wendy, what’s a thair-ah-peest?”

Me:  “A therapist is a person, or in this case, a Feets, who helps with specific things.  They work with a specific problem, and help it get better.”

Earl:  Oh!  Like when you got a big boo-boo in your hiney and you went to the fizz-ah-kal thair-ah-peest?”

Me:  Exactly!  Actually, it’s my legs, hips, and sacra-illiac joints.   The physical therapist helped make my boo-boos a bit better by giving me exercises and advice, and B.H. will help people make their crochet projects better by providing tools to work with, like stitch markers and other stuff.”

Earl:  “What’s a steech-mar-ker?”

Me:  “You know all those safety pins in B.H’s hair?  They can all be used as stitch markers.  And the little scraps of yarn in her pocketbook can be used for that, too.”

Earl:  “Safe-tee peens?  Oh!  Closey-peens!  WE have closey-peens!  And we have sow-ing needles, too!”

Chauncey:  “We’re peen-koo-sheens, just like B.H.!  And, and, and…WE even have crow-shay-hooks in our hairs!”

Earl:  “Can we have scrapping yarns, too?”

Me:  “Absolutely!”

Chauncey:  “I want TWO scrapping yarns!”

Me:  “I’ll give you both two scraps of yarn, right now, and perhaps our readers will forgive the diversion.”

“Earl:  “They will.  Our readers are the best!”

Me:  “Look, I even got you new needles for your hair, and these cool bamboo stitch markers!”

Chauncey:  “Neato!  Do we still get scrapping yarns?”

Me:  “Of course.  Here you go, two scraps each.  I’m going to use your safety pins to hold them so they don’t get lost.”

Chauncey:  “That’s ‘cuz we don’ have a pockie-book, like B.H.”

Earl:  “Steech-mar-kers in steech-mar-kers!'”

Chauncey:  “This feels niiiice!”

Earl:  ” I like these bamboo sticks!  Ooooo, these are your special hand-spinned woolly scrapping yarns!”

Me:  “Only the best for you, my boys.”

Chauncey:  “Lookie!  We’re crow-shay-inng wif our feets!”

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Chauncey and Earl:  ” We could be crow-shay their-ah-peests!!!”

Me:  “Yes.  Yes, you could.”

Readers, we have to take a short break now, as both of my little boys are spinning and running around in circles….

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Me:  Well, boys, now that you’re all tuckered out from running and spinning, would you like to show everyone your pictures of B.H?”

Earl:  “Yeah.  We’re tuck-kerd out.”

Chauncey:  “Yup.  Plum tuck-kerd!”

Earl:  “Does anyone say that any more?”

Chauncey:  “I just did!  Hey!  I found the pee-chers of B.H.!”

Earl!  “Cool!  Which one first!”

Chauncey:  “I like this one!  She just came off Wendy’s hook, and we gave her a big sow-ing peen and closey-peens for her hairs!”

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“Earl:  “I love her eyes, they’re so pretty!  And here’s where Wendy put her green peace sign!”

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Chauncey:  “What’s that all about, anyway?”

Earl:  “Wendy says that a long, long time ago, she went for a ride with Unkka Eddie and Ahm-pee Leez, and Ahm-pee Leez threw a piece of paper out of the car,  and Wendy made Ahm-Pee Leez go out of the car an’ get it, ‘cuz that was lee-tuh-reeng, and lee-tuh-reeng is bad.”

Chauncey:  “Uh-Ohhhhh….”

Earl:  “An’ Unkka Eddie said Ahm-Pee Leez shouldn’t do that in front of Mizz Green Peace.”

Chauncey:  “Who’s Mizz Green Peace?”

Earl:  “Wendy!  So now she puts green peace signs on everything.”

Chauncey!  Oh.  Cool!  Sometimes the peoples can get confusing….”

Earl:  “Yeah.  But I like the green peace signs!”

Cauncey and Earl:  “Wendy!  Can WE have green peace signs?”

Me:  “I’ll work on that, sure!  We can hang them off your pins.”

Chauncey and Earl:  “Yaaaaaay!”

Earl:  “Which peecher is next?”

Chauncey:  “Ummmm…Oh!  Here’s one with her pockey-book!”

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Earl:  “Good one!  And here’s one that shows the cool tools she carries in her pockey book!”

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Chauncey:  “And this one shows her cro-shay thair-ah-peest card!”

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Earl:  “And here’s what being a crow-shay-thair-ah-peest is all about!”

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Chauncey:  “And this shows she has all her cool stuff.”

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Earl:  “Not ALL her cool stuff!  In this one she has US!”

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Chauncey and Earl:  “We love our Little-Big sister!”

B.H.:  “I love you, too, boys.”

Chauncey:  “Can we fall on our faces some more?”

“Actually, Gentlemen, there’s one more picture to take tonight.  Why not hop into your photo nest and let me fix you up?”

Chauncey and Earl:  “K.  Wait!  Is that????  WE GOT GREEN PEACE SIIIIIIGNS!!!!!”

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Stay tuned!

Meet Ruby and Blueberry Feets!

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The Feets are flying off the hooks!  Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to two new members of the Feets family, Ruby and her little brother, Blueberry.

Little Blueberry Feets is a “Good Luck” Feets!  Yes, they are all “Good Luck” feets, but Blueberry’s whole way of life is to bring good luck to a garden.  This time, it will be “Unkka Mike’s” garden, a very special garden, indeed!

Blueberry is mostly green,

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Save the blueberries growing between the leaves in his hair.  

 

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He’s very sweet, and a little on the quiet side, like Earl, and he has a way about him, a patient wisdom that shines in his black button eyes, which comes from being close to plants, and to the Earth.  

Now, Ruby, on the other hand, takes a little more after her big brother, Chauncey, in her verve and vigor.  She isn’t as hyper, but just as energetic, just as happy, and just as sweet.

Ruby is, as all Feets family members truly are, a “Companion Feets.”  Ruby, like the young woman she went to live with, is a “Tee-Nay-Jar!”

She’s unique, from her big blue eyes to her long red hair with blond highlights, tied in a swinging pony tail at the top of her head.  Ruby is mostly shades of pink and red, save the black scrunchie she ties her hair up with.  She even has red-painted toes in her vivid purple feet!

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Ruby asked for two “closey peens,”  which balance out prettily, like ear rings..sort of…Feets are all about feet and don’t have ears.  And, she has an added safety pin in her pony tail, homage to Chauncey’s tribal needle-through-the-head thing.  She thought that the “Chauncey Needle” was “Uber,”  but asked that I refrain from driving a needle through her skull.

I know that Ruby looks like, and perhaps even seems like, a  bit of a Diva, but she really isn’t. She’s kind and generous, polite and energetic, and made sure that little Blueberry’s aesthetic needs, his safety-pin decoration, were met first.  She cuddled her little green brother,

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to make sure he was feeling safe and loved.  Then, she cuddled with her big brothers, too,

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to assure them that all is well, that she and Blueberry were going to live with great people, who would love and care for them,  “the same way that Wendy cares for you!”

Ruby is very, very cool.

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Next up, you’ll meet yet another new member of the Feets family…and this one is a Grown-Up!

Stay tuned….

 

 

 

Simple Knit and Crochet Scarf

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Remember the Fugly Christmas hats?  Aside from that almost confectionery Masterpiece of Ultimate Fug, the hat I did for my brother, there were two ear-flap hats for my land lady’s grands, plus an open shell cowl I stitched for her daughter from a pattern I bought from G-Ma Ellen.  I also did a heavy oven mitt and potholder set for my land lady, who we will lovingly refer to as, “Nona Lucy.”  Really, when you’re with your land lady for more than twenty years, and you all watch the kids grow up together, you become a whole lot more than land lady and tenant…you become family.

Anyway, Nona Lucy asked me if I had time to stitch up a simple hat or scarf, so she could go for walks in the cold without freezing her ears.

A simple, “would you please,” from Lucy?  Kids, I was THERE!  I was just all over that, ticked pink that this dear friend would ask for anything stitched from me, because not only is she my dear friend, she was a professional fiber artist!  Sew, quilt, stitch, knit, embroider, crochet…she’s done it all, and taught it all.  I was flattered to have been asked!

So…she needed it simple, and she needed it fast, as it was hitting single digits out there.  I grabbed up a brand-new skein of Simply Soft, in a beautiful, snowy white, and rather than take up all that time with the hook, I dusted off the knitter.

I saved and saved about a year ago, and got my hands on an Addi Express King Size Knitting Machine from Paradise Fibers.  I loaded up the machine, and cranked off a skein of white yarn, lickety-split!  When I got the tube finished, I took it off the machine and finished the ends with a reverse “extended” single crochet.  In the center of each end, I borrowed from G-Ma Ellen’s cowl pattern again, and dropped in a single big open shell, such as Ellen uses in the final round of her cowl.  It looked great!

Except for….

Well, no machine is perfect, and if you go too fast, or a clump of fairy dust gets into the needles  (or you catch Chauncey and Earl riding on the crank handle), these machines can send out a few weird stitches.  My finished tube had three rows of weird stitches, three stitches wide.  It was a small thing, but for me, glaring.  

So, my neighbor Lola and I (we’re lefties!) put our heads together (sometimes that means, “Yikes!”  But not this time.) and came up with something-surface-cover-it-up-crochet…in other words, do NOT frog…decorate!

I picked up the piece, and a hook, more white yarn, and just laid in one evenly spaced and stitched round of extended single crochet, at the top of the … shall we call it a schmotz?  Yeah, schmotz.  Great word, that.   Anyway, I went around the scarf with a surface round of extended single crochet, joined my round, and, moving down toward the end of the scarf, laid in three more rounds, this time in front post single crochet stitches.  I was working off of the previous rounds all the time, until the schmotz was sweetly decorated.  When that was done, I centered yet another of Ellen’s beautiful open shells in line with and above the shell at the edge.

The result was simple, and elegant.  I loved it!

From there, carefully counting up rows for where to start, I did the same with the other end of the scarf,

My own Mom, who was another woman who could do anything with a hook or needle, passed several years ago.  I count myself blessed that I have Lucy, this generous, loving surrogate, who loves everything I give her…even if I make it for my own Mom and pass it on to her!  So, I was as pleased as a child giving her mother a macaroni Mother’s Day card when Lucy got her scarf, put it on, and said, “Ahhhhhh!”

 

Thank you all for reading as long as you have!  Now, finally, we can look at the cool, crappy cell phone pics of the finished scarf!

G-Ma's open shell laid into the center of the edging

G-Ma’s open shell laid into the center of the edging

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Another open shell laid into the last round of surface crochet

The finished end of the scarf, with detailing

The finished end of the scarf, with schmotz cover…er, detailing

The finished piece, simple, soft, warm, and surprisingly quick!

The finished piece, simple, soft, warm, and surprisingly quick!

P.S…My niece’s beau, Sergio, a warm and wonderful man from Guatamala, whom I gifted with a simple, colorful scarf from this machine for Christmas, passed along a, “Would you please?” for a plain black, simple scarf.  I don’t need to tell you…

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Felted “Shadow” Scarf Completed!

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I hope this finds everyone enjoying their day!  I know I am…I’m working on making toys, making scarves, making…well, whatever Miss Muse brings up! And, I’m delighted to share with you, my felted “Shadow” scarf is finished, washed, and ready to join the world! Shadow scarf Before Felting See those gorgeous gray undertones?  I’m calling this one my “Shadow” scarf because that’s the name of the sheep that the roving came from.  This scarf is about as natural as it gets, in that I got the prepared, ready-to-spin roving from Lynn, who got it right from Shadow.  I spun the yarn for this scarf on my favorite hand-made drop spindle, and crocheted it with a very basic extended single crochet stitch throughout.  The most decoration this piece has is in the finished ends, which I did in a reverse extended single crochet.  That’s crab stitch…with an extra loop.

I decided, when the piece was finished, to lightly felt it.  I didn’t want to lose all of my stitch definition, but I wanted a softer, less scratchy piece. So, borrowing from instructions for felting Artfelt (and I’ll go down that very cool road, soon…) I washed and rinsed the scarf, and, still very wet, layered with:  Plastic sheeting, then scarf, then at the leading edge, a rolled up dish towel, and rolled it all up.

Unbelievably bad rendering of Artfelt rolling technique

Unbelievably bad rendering of Artfelt rolling technique

This, I put into a nylon knee high, then tossed the whole thing into the dryer and listed to it go, “Bang!  Thumpthumpthump, Bang!” for about a half an hour.  (Please note that Artfelt instructions call for fifteen minutes in the dryer at low heat, but since I had a heavy piece, and am running a very apartment-sized dryer, I ran it through for half an hour.)

Now, I’m going to stop right here and share with you the very first thing I learned about this felting technique.

Never use a printed shopping bag.  Ever.

The video instructor on the Artfelt site claimed that “any plastic will do,” and, as far as possible melting would go, I’m quite sure she was correct in this assumption…the plastic, no matter what you use, will not melt in the dryer at low heat for fifteen to thirty minutes. I initially used a few Shop Rite bags, cut open, handles cut off.  What a great way to recycle these sunny yellow bags with their bright red market logos!  I did my thing, rolled it all up into the shopping bags, stuffed it into the stocking, and ran it through the dryer.  

When I took the piece out to inspect my handiwork, I thought, “Hey, this doesn’t look bad!  Maybe one more run….” and unrolled it all the way to find… A bright red INK SCHMOTZ all over my hand-spun, hand-made crocheted wool scarf.

Huh!!!  Okay, so now I’m standing over the piece, my hair tightly grasped in my hands to keep my brain from expelling its neurons out through the top of my skull, when my eye fell upon my hero,

 

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Eureka!  Sanctuary!!  Up went the prayer, down went that bar of soap into the big red schmotz, out came the water bottle to make sure I had plenty of slick lather rubbed in, and sure enough, the splat rubbed out, disappearing into the ozone.

I do not know what is in Fels Naptha.  I do not care what is in Fels Naptha.  I only know that I have yet to find a stain that this stuff can’t tackle.  I’ve tried a lot of stain removers in my time, and always come back to this, this 99-cent grocery-store miracle.  It just works.  That’s probably why it’s been on the market, mostly unchanged, for over 100 years.

So, my hero removed the big red schmotz, I rinsed out the scarf, washed it again in Jodi’s magic laundry soap, and did the Artfelt thing again, this time with some light weight clear plastic sheeting I had kicking around.  I took my “package,”

scarf ready to dryer felt

and tossed it into the dryer to ka-thump-thump-thump about for another half hour…you see, it isn’t just the heat that felts the wool..it’s the agitation! With this second time around, the scarf felted exactly the way I’d hoped.  I have a stronger, softer fabric with better drape.

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My edges are smooth, and the stitch definition, while smoothed out a little is  still prominent, with very little loss of texture.

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All of Shadow’s natural tones are intact, even showing up better now, and I didn’t even lose any of the tiny hay bits!

Shadow Scarf felted detail 01

I’m delighted with this scarf, relieved that I didn’t destroy it, and planning on further exploring the wonderful world of Artfelt.

Stay tuned….