Monday, August 31, 2009

Polka dot possibilities

Other recent felting included some further exploration of the possibilities of polka dots.
Solid blue-green is Lincraft Cosy Wool, and the self-striping is Sean Sheep Rockbank.

These dots are still embroidered on after knitting. I haven't yet figured out the two-layered structure I pondered before. Alwen might be onto something with the double-knitting idea, but I don't know if I'm ready for that.
freedom yellow
Twilley's Freedom Wool plus yellow spots in some miscellaneous 8ply.
And as for these fuzzy hairy bastards, too much acrylic content I think. I finally tried out the 'new' (several years ago) Lincraft Big Wool (50% acrylic, 50% wool). The old 100% wool version was a wonderful felter. This one I won't bother with again.

Edited to add: Forgot to mention the Big Wool is combined with a strand of feltable 8ply - without that the results would be even less like felt.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oh no my darling, not with that clown

This is an UPDATE of the old post
Last updated 13 Nov 09

This is a list of the yarns that I have successfully felted.

I certainly can't make any promises. Felting can be a fickle thing. To avoid disappointment and frustration you should make a swatch in the colour(s) you plan to use, or at least test the yarn, especially for a big project or irreplaceable yarn.

For a fully felted, smooth fabric, choose a 100% wool that is not machine-washable. Yarns with partial wool content may still felt, especially if knitted together with a strand of 100% wool, but there will probably be bubbles or other effects caused by the non-feltable content. You can get some interesting and fun effects this way. Similarly, carrying a strand of eyelash or other fuzzy, totally non-wool yarn with a 100% wool can be interesting.

With thick-and-thin yarns (TT) it can be hard to get an evenly felted fabric without any holes - spots where stitches with a thin part sit on top of thin stitches from the previous row. Normally larger than the recommended needle size is suggested for felting, but I find smaller needles better with thick-and-thin yarns, or holding it together with a strand of regular wool to even things out.

Here's the list so far:

Nature Wool (100% wool)

Burra Wool
8 ply

Merino spun (80% wool 20% acrylic)
Nurture (100% wool)
Vintage hues (100% wool)
Vintage twist (100% wool)
12 ply natural (100% wool, appears to have been discontinued, I have two older lots from an op shop)

8 ply 100% wool

Homemaker (Kmart)
Venice (100% wool)

Cosy Wool (100% wool)
Prism (70% wool, 30% soybean)
Big Wool - the old version which was 100% wool

Moda Vera
Mousse (70% wool 30% soybean)

Aspire (70% wool,30% alpaca)

Silk Garden (45% silk, 45% kid mohair, 10% lamb's wool) - did not felt fully - lots of stitch definition left. Best combined with something else.
and, I think, Kureyon (no label) - felted well.

Woolbale (100% wool)
Carnival pure wool 8 ply (NB they also make an acrylic called Carnival - don't bother trying to felt this)

Jet (70% wool 30% alpaca)

Sean Sheep (Big W)
Armytage (100% wool)
Rockbank (70% wool, 30% soybean)
Spirit prints (100% wool)
Spirit plain (100% wool)
Stonehaven (TT) (100% wool)
Wollert (100% wool)

Spotlight Basics
Empire (90% wool, 10% acrylic)
Meadow Pure Wool

Twilleys of Stamford
Freedom spirit 100% wool

I still haven't tried these yet but I am pretty sure they are good felters:
Bendigo Woollen Mills
Rustic (100% wool)
Colonial (100% wool) - I have email advice from Bendigo that both of these should felt.

**Note on Lincraft Cosy Wool**

Cosy Wool went 'wrong' for a year or two (a couple of season ago now) and was not feltable. This seemed to coincide with the move to 100g balls. The ones to avoid are tightly packed, don't look much bigger than the old 50g balls, and have the same black label. Cosy Wool in the older 50g balls should be feltable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leaping into warm purple pink gaseous fumes, purple pools

I took some of the mini pears in to the Craft ACT Shop today. They will be available both individually and as sets of three. And it looks like they had some adventures not long after I left them!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What happened next

bowl minis done
I suppose it's stating the obvious, but things do get a lot smaller with felting.
Elvis & minis
This bowl actually contains about three more pears than it did in my previous post. The dog is smaller too. I didn't felt him, it's just that he posed this time instead of his bigger sister.

prism minis
Lincraft Prism (wool/soy blend)
rockbank minis
Sean Sheep Rockbank (also a wool/soy blend)
pink minis
The last scraps of a ball of Yarn Bee 'Seasoned Spice' from Spotlight (earlier seen here; the darker pink is Cleckheaton Merino Spun.
jet minis
Patons Jet.
armytage minis
Sean Sheep Armytage.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A bit of what's happening here this week

unfelt bag

bowl minis

These are pre-felting pictures - this stuff is all now soaking in a bucket, nearly felted.

(TSS, it's been a while but I'm pretty sure one of these has your name on it.)

It's not the first time I've had a week off for making things, but it feels a little different this time. I think it might be because I had last week off too, and away in the skiing world, getting me right out of the routine. I'm more withdrawn from the 'real world', going out very little and really immersed in my own world. It's a taste of what it might be like to use some long service leave this way. But I do wonder how re-entry will be next Monday. Don't even want to think about re-entry after a longer period spent like this!

Monday, August 17, 2009

a place none of us has been

T&C socks with Riker
Another load off my mind. I made these socks for K's Mum, partly because she is about to have surgery and partly just because. She seemed pleased and very taken aback; I have never made anything for her before and she didn't expect it. (In fact as I dropped around without K - he was at work - she was worried that I had bad news!)

T&C socks worn

The greyish brown for the toes, heels and cuff are made from (I think) Heirloom Argyle - from a bag of sock wool leftovers passed on to me by my grandmother. I think it goes well with the self-patterning stuff (Sirdar Town and Country, Volcano). That was a single 50g souvenir ball from my first to Tapestry Craft. Combining the two was a solution to not having enough of either for a pair of socks, but I also like the way a plain toe and heel with a self-patterned sock yarn can make the sock look more organised. There was a bit of ripping and reknitting in these, as the original plan was to have some cables in the cuff section. Although I added stitches to allow for the cables pulling in more than ribbing, it wasn't enough to avoid them being really stiff and a bit too tight. At least the reknitting went much quicker without the cables.

And the young Cmdr Will T. Riker? He kind of leapt into the shot just because he coordinates with the sock so well. But now that I think about it, there is a connection, as I used to sometimes watch Star Trek: The Next Generation at that house. I've just embarked on the series again. The pace is slow (thoughtful) compared to current tv shows, but I still love it. I would love to have a younger beardless Riker action figure as well, but he'll do.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Can you see me, can you see me, CAN YOU SEE ME! (wahoo?)

blue sky
Thank you for all your kind wishes for a good time and good weather on my ski trip. Unfortunately the weather was not totally on our side. The brilliant blue sky disappeared after the first day and was only sighted again on the way home - the above photo was taken in Cooma where we stopped for lunch. That's a bad sign, having lunch, instead of the usual dinner, on the way home. And this on a day for which we had valid lift passes! It just wasn't worth hanging around.

On Sunday we arrived late (started skiing around midday) because we had been warned we might not be permitted to travel with luggage on the Skitube during the busy morning period. It was a beautiful day and we had a nice afternoon's skiing to get back into the swing of things. Monday was less sunny but conditions were still excellent. We had a great day with the whole group skiing together, four skiiers and two snowboarders.

Tuesday it was snowing a little (not a bad thing, especially early in the week) and the visibility was a bit poorer. I woke up with a cold and we had a slow start. I spent some time shopping for new goggles, as mine were old, cheap and crappy. Apart from the lens not being the best, they didn't fit too well with my new helmet, leaving a small gap for the cold wind to penetrate, resulting in a nasty localised ice-cream headache. Even though I am a pretty thrifty person and am generally happy to use old gear as long as it is functional, and I've always bought my ski clothing discounted, still every year I seem to be in the market for at least one new bit of gear. (This year it was new boots as well as the new goggles. Oh, and the helmet. No wonder the credit card bill is impressive this month.) Each of these 'investments' guarantees I'd better keep skiing a few more years to make use of all this stuff! It's a lot of money for only one week or so per year. You have to love it!
The latter part of the week looked consistently like these mostly white photos, even on the lower slopes, which we barely went beyond. Although the lifts were open and we could keep skiing, it was not challenging in the fun, steep, wahoo kind of way. It was challenging just being able to see where you were going, and avoid other skiiers, including the inevitable uncontrolled idiots going way too fast.
We all came home unscathed in spite of some near misses, but on one day I saw three different people stretchered down the mountain, which I think is a record. BTW, I love my helmet. Don't know why I didn't do it sooner.
killing time
A game of noughts and crosses during a long lunch.

Although I am really disappointed not to have done more skiing, I must admit that in many years this was the first time I've been seriously held back by the weather. And although I still can - and want to - improve my skills a lot, I really enjoyed realising that I've finally reached a point where I can ski decently, and can face most of the terrain the resorts offer without much fear - even if I don't always do it with maximum style (or much at all), I can do it.

Putting aside the conditions, it was still a good trip, with good friends and very nice accommodation. We found many ways to pass the long evenings including movies, a group effort to complete a massive crossword (which came home with me still unfinished, in spite of help during the week from Wikipedia and DJZ's dad), a fierce UNO tournament, and Mexican night.
This deluxe snowman was inspired by a small one built by children, which you can see in the bottom right of the picture (turns out I have some seriously competitive friends). I stayed inside, sneezing, but admired their efforts - including mandarines for eyes, traditional carrot nose, three delicious choc chip cookies sacrificed for the buttons, funky bandana, and of course a beer to warm him up. Next day we watched the crows bypass the fruit and veg and delight in their discovery of the "cookie tree".

Now, to get rid of this cold, and get on with the making stuff (also known as 'felting the sh*t out of some wool') part of my holiday.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

apparently it's daggy to wear sunnies with a helmet


I'm now on holidays for two weeks. Exhale. Been running around like a chook tonight getting everything ready. Tomorrow I will be heading off for five days of skiing at Perisher. I've been looking forward to that, certainly. And we're staying on-snow which means nice long relaxing evenings. (I packed a little knitting of course.) But I'm really just as excited about the rest of my time off which will be spent at home making things.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Rich men wanna be kings

members & ladies

The reason we were in Sydney was to see the Sydney Swans play St Kilda at the SCG. Wonderful venue. I've also seen The Boss and, appropriately enough, one-day cricket there.


swans hat
This fan had an awesome hat but ended the night disappointed - the Swans lost by one point. K was beside himself though because it was the first time he's watched his team win live.
line ball
Referee throwing the ball in - it's a very athletic job.
The refs confer on a tough decision.
kids thump
At half time they set up several sets of goals and lots of kids come out to play several mini games. These two boys were full of beans, waiting for their game to start. I watched them doing that jump-up-and-bump-chests manoeuvre over and over again. By the time I took this photo they had grasped each others' arms in order to crash into each other more successfully - note the different in height.

Monday, August 03, 2009

We love our dogs in different sizes

tiny dog

As we were walking through busy Sydney streets last Saturday we found ourselves following a lady with this tiny dog on an extendable leash. The dog was so little we were a bit concerned he or she could be accidentally stepped on. The owner wasn't paying a lot of attention - I don't think she even noticed I took these photos.

Does anyone know what kind of dog this is?