Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Having fun!

The weather is nice this afternoon, although it was raining hard this morning. I just couldn't stay indoors, so I took my feltmaking outside. Its been such fun!

Its the Half Term holiday, so I am able to indulge myself. Trying to fit in as many projects as I can before school starts again on Monday.

This is the feltmaking I took outside. Its the piece of felt I told you about in my last Blog entry. All the felt sections have now been cut up, rearranged, bits added and ready for felting. It was such a lovely change to get outside and work. It wasn't too windy and I was able to enjoy listening to the birds singing. It was so nice to hear children having fun in a nearby garden too. I am lucky to live in a village where there is no main through road, so its really peaceful.

Another project I have been working on today is to rebuild a shopping bag.

I had three of these gorgeous bags. (Coco is sitting beside my remaining two.) I use them for shopping, temporary storage of files and papers and so on. The handles are so well-made and exactly right for holding even when the bag is full and heavy.

One had been lined by me after the plastic casing on the inside failed and the bag started going into holes in rather awkward places. I had added a rather useful zipped pocket in the lining, the only thing I felt the bag design lacked. The fabric I used was a piece of furnishing fabric from my stash. Even the zip was one I found amongst my collection of "useful things".

Sadly, the bag deteriorated even further and I could no longer use it. The handles were really the only useable part - they were still as good as new - so comfy to hold too. I just could not throw it away, so decided to take the bag to pieces and rebuild it around the lining I had taken out.

I kept as much of the jute outer fabric as I could, and pieced it with more furnishing fabric from my stash. To reinforce the resulting pieces, I have sewn them onto some sturdy cotton fabric I had found on sale some months ago. This wonderful fabric was supposed to be a cover sheet for decorating! Why is it that people buy new fabric for this task? I find old almost-worn-out sheets perfectly good enough...................

Ah well, I shall post some more photos when I have got further advanced with this project.

The cardigan is now almost finished. I have started to sew it all up, so should be able to post some pictures of this soon.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Felt and knitting.

Well, I managed to get the felting done - I have now prepared two prefelts ready for tomorrow evening. The third (the darkest one) was prefelted during the course last week.
As you can see from the photos I have added stitching too. Theres a variegated woollen thread which I hope will felt into the background, a metallic thread which might just cockle and a synthetic thread which is very silky - I'm not sure how that will react to the next stage. The prefelts will now be cut up and rearranged, with other bits of wool and prefelts added. The resulting large piece will then be felted. A rather interesting evening to come......... Monday evenings are when I go to the Textiles course. I have been learning a lot about felting, the use of stiffening solution and soluble fabric. As well as playing around with different threads which I had never used before.
The cardigan is now halfway up the first sleeve. Its so useful to have the knitting or some stitching around when waiting for Blogger to upload photos........
This gorgeous Rhododendron is in full flower and is such a joy to see when I'm at the kitchen sink.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Feltmaking and carding.

Two posts so close together? Just feeling so excited, just had to share..........
I had loads of fun last night at the Textile Course. The little bowl got completed, it was first soaked to remove the water soluble fabric, then, whilst still wet, soaked in a solution (half water, half stiffening liquid) of Stiffy.
But then Ruth, our Tutor, surprised me with a give-away comment. "Now what about some beads." She was right, it does need something. Ruth, you have started me thinking. Beads......... now which colours............sparkly or plain.......... Its dangerous, thinking............
Now, not only did we finish those little bowls, we got to do some more feltmaking. This time we were introduced to the pleasures of carding. For me this was a first. I wasn't too keen on the carding itself, but loved the mixtures of colours which could be achieved. Magic...........

This was some of the range of wool colours I had started with. We were asked to find a collection of light, middle and darks.

The piece of prefelt (lightly felted wool) below is the result of felting my carded dark colours. The next stage with this is to introduce some handstitching.
I have some homework to do this week - to get my light and middle collections of carded wool to the prefelt stage. This will be great fun to do, however............... its such a messy process that I might have to set up a table out in the garden and get the work done there. The tiled floor of my kitchen is definitely not the safest place to get any felting done. I'm sure its probably me, but I get water splashed everywhere!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


So sorry it has taken me such a time to add another post to my Blog. Since my last post, I have been busily knitting my cardigan. To start with, I ended up unravelling the back - I'd found a really silly mistake! Typical!! I had not started the back as instructed. It should have had four rows of garter stitch, but I had knitted four rows of stocking stitch. So now I have got the back completed once more, finished the left front and started the right front.
The photo shows where I have got to on the right front. The pattern beneath is the cardigan I am making. The design is called "Heath". A rather different style for me, but I am looking forward to being able to wear it.

Getting all this done, I made the decision to rip back all the part-knitted cardigan. It makes far more sense to do this since I cannot see myself actually wearing that cardigan should I ever get round to finishing it. There is a rather nice tunic-style summer top in the Jaegar book, so I shall
start that garment after finishing "Heath".

My knitting bag - a Vogue pattern - V7887, it has been made out of an odd piece of upholstery fabric from my stash. The lining is an offcut of curtain lining again from my fabric stash.The pattern is for a gardeners bag, but it makes for a wonderful knitters bag too! Eight pockets round the outside and oodles of space inside. You can just see the part-knitted cardigan which I still have to rip back. The still unfinished Black, White and Red quilt adorns the back of the chair my bag is sitting on.

Tomorrow evening I shall be able to get on with completing my little bowl. It currently sits on this desk with me. I can barely wait to try adding the stiffening liquid. It will be so interesting to see what happens next..........

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Knitting and bowl.

I've been busy doing the Textiles course again. This time I have made a small bowl. This has been made using tiny scraps of fabric held together with dissolvable fabric and plenty of free-machine embroidery.

The bowl started off as a flat circle which, after some stitching, had slits cut from the edge into the centre. This was then pinned with the sides slightly overlapping to form a bowl shape.

This just awaits soaking in water and then in a liquid called "Stiffy" which is a stiffening solution. This will ensure that the bowl remains rigid. Sadly this will have to wait for two weeks since there is a Bank Holiday (National holiday - May Day) on Monday and so the course will not be running that night.

This process is probably one I shall try again, since there are so many possibilities available -forming a wide variety of different stiffened shapes.

This is a view taken of the top surface of the bowl.

This is the upturned bowl - a view of the underside.

The side view - it looks a bit lopsided. Whoops!

I shall wait and see how the bowl turns out before searching out this liquid.

Has any one else had a go with this type of idea? Which stiffeners did you find worked the best? I'd be very interested to hear your suggestions and recommendations.

I managed to get my scarves completed with all the ends sewn in. Then started on the new cardigan. I mentioned buying the wool in my last post. Its Rowan Tapestry. The yarn is gorgeous to knit with. Really soft on the fingers. However, because it is so soft it is a bit of pest to work with when needing to rip back..... But oh, I look forward to being able to wear the finished item. I hope that I can finish it before the weather becomes too hot.