Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I remember how we'd play, simply waste the day away

Late finishing presents

It just wouldn't feel like Christmas if there wasn't a race to the finish line for at least a couple of projects. Late in the afternoon of Christmas Eve I thought there would still be time to felt Dad's present (which I think I only cast on that day) and give it to him the next day. I suppose, technically, that was true. Even though the knitting took a whole lot longer than I thought it would - and gosh, that happens so rarely - I did graft the bottom of it closed around midnight. And it was only at that point that I decided I really wasn't going to felt it that night. Granted, midnight is pretty early to quit - but I still had lots of wrapping to do.  

Big hanky holder

So Dad received a very large, floppy hanky holder with a promise that I would do the felting ASAP, and that then the item would make more sense. Sorry Dad.  But as you can see above, it's now doing its job nicely.

What is a hanky holder? Well, I don't think it's really a thing, except that it's a thing I have found useful and now some of my family members are adopting it too. I don't think it is going to sweep the nation, but you never know.

Mitts for Mum

And these are the Nalu Mitts designed by Leila Raabe, which I made for Mum, using some more of that red Zarina wool. On Christmas Day she received one mitt. That one mitt had knit up so quickly, back in November, that I became a wee bit overconfident about how easily I would finish this project. So I spent used up my time on other projects, and I think I may have only cast on the second mitt on Christmas Eve. Oops. Sorry Mum.

Of course, it will be far too warm for these to see any wear for at least a couple of months yet.

MItts for Mum

Friday, January 09, 2015

A flurry of felted things

tree before

I suppose this felted Christmas tree is really a prototype. I've often seen sewn and felted trees in that simple conical shape, so I tried to add my own spin by knitting and felting it in three pieces which are then sewn together. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately depending on your point of view) this makes the overall piece a bit uneven in shape - thought you could also say it is 'organic'. I keep changing my mind about whether I like it or not, I think maybe overall the cone needs to widen a little bit faster.

I had made the pieces weeks ago, and was spurred to sew it up and decorate it just a week or so before Christmas, when my friend told me that she didn't have a tree this year, and I thought she might just have room (mentally, physically, spiritually?) for a little one. Oh, once again I didn't measure, but it might be something in the order of 16cm high.

After I finished it, I showed it to K and he annoyed me greatly by suggesting that the tips of each layer should not be sewn down. This meant I basically had to resew all of it, But then it made me happy because he was right, I think it did look better. Funnily enough in photos I think the first option might look better, but in real life we really did prefer it as it is below.

tree flippy B
A couple of weeks before I finished work before Christmas, a colleague asked me if I could make a felted fruit bowl. She and her daughter had seen a felt bowl somewhere that the daughter loved, particularly the idea of a centrepiece that wouldn't scratch her table. She had missed buying it, and then heard that I might be able to make something similar.

fruit bowl
This is a nice thing to happen, but makes me nervous. I was at pains to point out that what they saw was most likely made with traditional feltmaking techniques, likely to be a firmer fabric than I tend to get with knitting-and-felting. We looked photos of other bowls I've made and talked about the kind of shapes I thought were feasible, as well as the kind of colours her daughter did and didn't like.

Personally, I wouldn't be inclined to use a felt bowl for fruit, simply because I often enough leave something sitting a bit too long and end up with a sticky mess to clean up. But the felt is fully washable.

My first try (the one at the back) came out a bit small for a fruit bowl - so then I sized up....A LOT, as it turned out. It's one of the biggest pieces I've made for felting. (Keep in mind, they shrink down to almost half the knitted size). I didn't measure either, but the wooden bowl next to it is about 21cm in diameter.

I took both to show her and she decided to take both, the smaller one for her other daughter to use for jewellery.

big fruit bowl

And in the lead up to Christmas I also made a few more pears for some family members who had gaps in their collections.

family pears

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Scrabble, sunset and Spot the cat


We had a family dinner the day after Boxing Day and eldest nephew had an opportunity stay out a bit later after his younger siblings went home to bed, to play Scrabble with his great grandmother and aunts. (Love these bits of informal family time)

Scrabble, however, was interrupted for a while when we noticed that the sunset was amazing, and had to run outside for a better look. And then we were joined by a neighbourhood cat that I've met once before: "Spot," the most friendly, dog-like cat ever.

spot the cat

sunset again