Craft Addict

"Everybody got their somethin'...." ~ Nikka Costa

Monday, February 27, 2006

Felty Felt!

Today I thought I'd take another shot at felting some of my thriftstore finds. I read somewhere that you should put your material to be felted into a lingerie bag or pillowcase before running it through the machine. This sounded like a good idea since, the last time I tried to felt something in our washing machine, I was picking orange fuzz off my stuff for weeks. I decided to go with the pillowcases off our guest bed since they needed a wash anyway (we never have guests so I figured they'd be a bit dusty and in need of a freshening up). Besides, my lingerie bags are mesh and that seemed to defeat the purpose.

First, I tried running them through a normal cycle with a hot water wash and a cold water rinse, and medium spin. My washing machine is a Whirlpool and very fancy. A little too fancy maybe. Everything is digital and there are about 15 pre-set cycles, though I usually only use the normal and handwash cycles. When our old cheapo washing machine crapped out last winter, we splurged and got this front-load beauty and the matching dryer. I feel like a domestic queen! So spoiled! Anyway, the normal cycle didn't seem to do much even with the hot water wash and the dish detergent I added. So I decided to try the Sanitary cycle pre-set on my machine. This is supposed to run hot water at something like 121 degrees for the wash cycle, so I figured this would definitely be hot enough to get some kind of result.

I let the sanitary cycle wash for about 10 minutes, then stopped it and programmed a cold water rinse and spin with a medium spin. One of the sweaters had been felted slightly when I purchased it, so this one was done after this cycle. The other one looked like it could use a little more felting, so I put it in on the sanitary cycle again and managed to forget it was in there so it got about 27 minutes of super hot water before I did the rinse and spin in cold. It looked great when I took it out - just about right I think. So, I may have figured out the trick to felting in the front loader.

I plan on making some knitting needle cases and accessory pouches with my new felty material. Check back if you think you might be interested.... I will probably be glad to pass on a few to other interested people :)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hah! Conquered the frenchy french yarn nest of knots! Now I guess I have to knit that swatch..... ~sigh~

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Still not working on the swatch from the frenchy french pink yarn out of spite. I recently discovered the wonderful knitwork of Jess Hutch and am now dying to knit some cute little creatures of my own! I'm scouring eBay for amigurumi patterns and other cute Japanese books for visual stimulation. Just what I need.... another obsession! As if I didn't already dream about knitting all night long and spend every waking moment dreaming about it too! I think I might have a problem.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

WTF!! (a.k.a. Swatches Suck!)

WTF!!!! For those of you who, like me, don't speak acronym this is translated as: "What the f**k". Here I was, trying to be all good and stuff and look what I got for it. Boo!! I have decided that I hate knitting swatches. I will do it because I don't want to end up with a sweater like poor Barbara's that I just can't wear because I've huge-ified it or shrunk it to Barbie size when just knitting a stupid swatch could have prevented all that. But I can't say I'll like it. My ball of frenchy french pink yarn completely unraveled during the trip to my knitting class last Thursday. And the more I tried to salvage some semblance of a center pull ball, the worse it got. My husband helpfully suggested that I just throw the whole ball away and start over with a new one. Sweet boy; so naive! I was tempted, but just on principle I have to unwind the stupid thing. I can't let it get the better of me! Besides, I'm a cheapskate and don't want to waste the 7 bucks I spent on it. I should have known better than to think my first project would go smoothly. I didn't knit a stitch today I was so mad.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Made Especially For You by Barbara

Poor Barbara. She made this lovely cabled sweater for someone special and it ended up at Goodwill for $3.99. All that hard work and TLC just to wind up rubbing sleeves with thriftstore riffraff. I'm sure you were meant for better things Mr. Cables! All you wanted to do was keep someone warm and they tossed you away like an unwanted wad of wool. Well, I'm going to make something wonderful out of you! Your existence will have purpose. Thanks Barbara, whoever you are....

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Pink 'n Pretty Girly Girl

Yesterday I went down to one of the yarn shops in our historic Fairhaven district, Sweaterbabe pattern in hand, to buy some yarn. The sun was glowing and spring fever abounded in our usually gloomy city. I was so ready to make something other than a dishcloth (the required project for my knitting class) and something summery was exactly what I had in mind. But when I asked the girl at the knit shop about how I should figure out what size to make from my pattern, she took one look at it and told me the yarn they used was something really chunky and that pretty much all I'd be able to use would be wool. I thought about this, about having to wear this creation I'd made out of sheer desperation to show my knitting adventure hadn't been a lost cause, while itching and sweating my way through a summer afternoon like a big fat drippy marshmallow. Hmm. It didn't sound appealing. So she showed me the new issue of Interweave and pointed out this pretty little dainty camisole which I instantly loved - of course it helped that the tank was pink, my absolute favorite color right now. But I sadly told her that I was just a beginner and didn't think I'd be able to make something so complicated. She said it was actually a very easy pattern (one of the things I don't like about Interweave is that they don't tell you the difficulty level of their patterns for knitting idiots like me) and she thought I should be able to knit it without any problems. I could always come back for some quick info or pay for a private lesson if I ran into trouble she said (when I told my knitting class instructor about this, she told me I should be more than able to get help for free from her knitting group- is she serious? Do other knitters really want to take the time away to from what they're doing to spoonfeed a newbie?). So I let her show me the frenchy french pink cotton/linen blend yarn, and with the prospect of sipping margaritas in my girly-girl camisole I'd knitted my very own self floating dreamily in my mind's eye, I plunked down the plastic and bought into my first knitting fantasy.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Sky Blue.... I'm felting you!

This poor GAP sweater was my second unraveling victim. The seams zipped out even better than on the last sweater I tried except- horrors!- the shoulder seams were serged! I don't think I really lost that much yarn though. As you can see in the photo on the right, I actually got quite a lot of yarn from it. I have to say, bulky sweaters are definitely easier to unravel and much more satisfying when you look at the amount of yarn you get from them. The plan is to make this plain, sad little sweater into something beautiful by giving it the chance to rise from its boring beginnings in a glow of pretty sky blue. I'm hoping to felt it into a bag or needle case and embellish with something girly. I'm not sure how it's going to felt, it's 50% wool/50% acrylic, so I'm going to have to waste some of it on a swatch which I'll then felt. Suck! I also thought about using this for a sweater pattern I got from but I'm not sure I want a summer tank top made from something this thick and itchy (I, of course, had to try it on before unraveling it to make sure it wouldn't suit me). Today I scored again at the Goodwill. I stumbled upon a Monday only sale and got two more sweaters for $2.79 total!! A pretty buttery yellow American Eagle wool sweater that I might actually keep, and a GAP blue striped wool sweater that has already partially felted. I'm thinking about using this to make a tote bag using the pattern in "Alterknits" by Leigh Radford, or maybe a needle case.

The sun is shining outside and all I can think about is knitting! What's wrong with me? Knitting obsessed...

Monday, February 06, 2006

French Elf

Unraveling the Abercrombie sweater was pretty easy. Most of the seams zipped right out, though I had a little difficulty due to the stripes and ended up with some spots where I couldn't get a continuous run of yarn. After I finished I felt a little bit like a story I'd read when I was a kid called French Elf, in which a new bride forgets to purchase thread for the wedding dress she's having sewn for herself. When French Elf overhears this, he conjures up the perfect ball of thread with all the colors she needs, and rolls it across her path. Delighted, she sees it and takes it to the seamstress who finds it to be the perfect thread to sew with, and exactly the right amount of each color is on the ball. However, French Elf has a trick up his sleeve and on the bride's happy wedding day, he causes all the thread to magically disappear from her dress and in moments she is standing in front of everyone in just her underwear! Surrounded by all my small balls of yarn unraveled from this sweater, I felt as if I'd magically stumbled across something created by French Elf. There seemed to be just the right amount of each color for the flowers I wanted to make, and everything came out so perfectly. Now that I've begun to knit with it, everything is going so swimmingly that I'm a little afraid I'll wake up and it will have disappeared or come out with snarls or something. We'll see what happens when I felt it, but until then I'm keeping an eye out for French Elf.....