Monday, October 13, 2008

Ravenna Update:

An update from my ravelry project page:


Did a little more needle felting yesterday…I have >30% to go. I need a new piece of foam as the one I am using is on its last leg.

Did a little more needle felting last night. I think I still have 35% to go. I put this one on hold to get a few designs of mine (felted half and half, carry all tote and shoulder pack) finished up, published and I also had to start prepping for my annual Xmas show (made a bunch of felted coasters today).

Still on the hunt for handles…..haven’t hit any thrift stores yet.

Its the first week of school for all 3 of my kids so I haven’t had time to get into my needle felting zone…..
I am on the hunt for an inexpensive bag with awesome straps.
I tried the silver bead with yarn needle felted inside it (see my 8/26/2008 entry) and have decided to adjust my plan. The stuffed beads look great BUT I think that they are too small in scale. Maybe, I will use them on the straps. I’m thinking, to get the same scale as the crazy expensive Jul feet: use 4 silver filiagree ring cigar band rings with a felted bead stuffed in the center. I know that will work for sure. We have a local shop that has FABULOUS prices on silver jewelry. I am sure to find 4 rings there.

I almost have 1 side completely done….this requires patience folks:)

Monday, October 06, 2008

My 3 New Designs

Felted Half and Half:

Felted Shoulder Pack:


I just finished publishing three patterns and wanted to take a break from designing to just make something simple and fast: CALORIMTRY Head wraps....woohooo!

For the 1st one, I followed the pattern exactly. The wrap looked great but I have a tiny little head and it was too about 3 to 4 inches too long. I'll try to sell it at my annual Christmas art show.

So I made some modifications:

1) I used heavy worsted wool.
2)I used size 9 needles.
3) I CO 90 not 120.
4)I continued with the increase pattern until 20 sts were between the markers.

Now it fits my wee little cranium WITHOUT any excess length:

I discovered I like wearing it upside down… that odd?

It keeps the back of my neck warm and my ears are still covered. The top of my head has so much hair (think Chewbacca) that I don’t really need it covered unless it gets really cold, which in VA is rare.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Another cool gizmo: A YARN SHOP Finder SEARCH ENGINE!!!

About KnitMap

KnitMap is a Yarn Store finder. It's a site that catalogues and maps the locations of retail shops that sell yarn, knitting supplies and knitting accessories. You can search to find these locations in the US, Canada, UK and most of Europe. Its anywhere that Google maps will work, and the list is growing everyday! Once you've found a shop, you can rate it's attributes, leave comments, upload photos, and add it to your Favorites.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Needle Felting Video and a few Projects

My Big and Honking Bag with needle felted flowers made from scraps:

And my felted pyramid in a funky retro Hawaiian motif:
Marta McCall has just released an amazing pattern that uses this techniques to soften and contour her floral Ravenna bag:

As you can see from the close up shot, needle felting is the key to a polished look. So if you have felted using intarsia and your image isn't what you hope for, try needle felting!

I was so taken by this bag that I just had to make one for myself. I am at the needle felting phase right now. I honestly believe that it will take me almost as long to needle felt all of the intarsia as it did to knit it.....but what a pretty bag! I have made a lot of notes on my work on my Ravelry page. But for those of you who aren't part of Rav, (and ALL of you should be!!!!), here are my notes and pictures of my progress so far:


I played around with the needle felting…..this is going to take a lot of time. But, again, its worth the work to get the look of Marta’s bags.
The bag is all shaped and ready to be embellished. I might play with the needle felting tonight. I’m not feeling very energetic today.


Turns out that my sewing machine cover its a great form to block my Ravenna with. I will hopefully get to play around with the needle felting tomorrow.
Felting is done. Everything looks just fine….woohoo. I have just added a Pre-de-fuzz-ified & unshaped pic so all of you using Zitron will seen what to expect strait from the washer.
Ironically, now that my bag is felting, that ball of green 1238 zitron loft that I ordered came in the mail. HEADS UP GREEN #1238 LOFT HUNTERS: Suzoo Wool Works has it……its full price……and you will pay for shipping BUT its in text
3:55pm: Pre-felting pics are in my project pics. You can see that not all of the stitches are perfect BUT that is what is so great about felting…it makes little imperfe4ctions melt away.
For the pre felt pic, I stuffed the back cushion to an over sized club chair into the bag for the pic.
I’m felting in the washer now. I am shaping the corners every 5-minutes or so. Looks good the lambs pride worsted is playing VERY WELL with the loft.
I will need to give it a quick de-fuzz-ifaction (TIP: I use a pair of old hair clippers instead of a disposable razor to speed this step up).
I hope to start embellishing it tonight.
I’ll share post felt pics soon.

I will be finishing up the last 10 rounds tonight as I sit on my butt and enjoy the boob tube. I would have finished today BUT I had yard work to tackle and other mom related jobs. I should be able to felt it tonight too:)
I have developed a “plan” about the bag’s feet since I cannot/will not spend $160.00. At a local bead store, I found 4 very heavy/sturdy filigree beads that are kinda shaped liked doughnuts without the hole in the center. I was thinking that I might be able to work a little of my yarn into the center, use my felting needles to create a wool bead inside the filigree. Maybe the red or the robins egg color as I think it will make the filigree details really “pop”. I’ll sew them onto the bag’s base using my super duper strong Kevlar beading thread. Its a great concept. I just hope it executes itself well. I just love re-purposing stuff to suit my needs… should see my cute kitchen cafe curtains made from shower curtains:)

As always, I will take pics and share….


Finished the intarsia section today and 1/2 of the black band. I’ve really enjoyed being able to “power down” my designer’s brain and simply follow someone else’s pattern for a change. I never use size 15’s…..I love mt 10.5’s. I will enjoy seeing how double yarn in this gauge felts.
This yarn shop has the Green Zitron. I ordered it in case I want to knit another one in the future.


I am on line 27 of the intarsia. I am delighted to see how fast this is knitting up. I may have found a source for the green Zitron…will share with you if the shop has them in stock. I just couldn’t want to wait for the shop to call back. I am rolling with the Lamb’s Pride Limeade and very content with my choice.


Mr Postman brought my goodies!!! The colors are so ME!!! I am tickled to death!
But there is a problem…. the green ball for the leaves was NOT included. They said its been discontinued by the manufacturer.
Hello yarn shop guys? You let the computer printout/receipt tell me that? How about an email for goodness sake?? Sheeshh!!!
Despite quite some effort of my part, I couldn’t track down that color on the web. Plenty of the light green, 1237 but not the lime. I need the lime to balance with my palette. SO…………………………………..
I am going to use a skein from my stash. Lamb’s Pride Worsted in a bright lime green color. Its single ply. like Loft, and I know from experience that its felts well with other brands. Life is to short to waste any more time on the pursuit of this discontinued color.


Sniffle……the mailman didn’t bring my yarn today…and it’s my birthday…sniffle…..


Got an email from Wollfactory. They shipped it out to day.
I was right about the price of the sterling sliver purse hardware Marta recommend. The filigree feet (set of 4) cost $160.00 and the 4 rings are $68.00/4 at Good grief!!! What do I look like….a Kennedy??? I’ll just have to clever and cheap…….which I excel at.
If one was to buy everything the pattern called for at retail pricing the bag would cost well over $400.00. If you can afford that: MORE POWER TO YA!
The bag is lovely…….so pretty. Needless to say, my bag will cost much less than that and still uses the Zitron loft specified in the pattern….thank good for yarn sales and google. That’s all I am saying.


Finished the back section. All that I can do now is wait for the mailman to deliver my pretty colors ………………….and work on my other projects.
5 out of the 9 balls of black remain.
The pattern gives you two options for construction: 1) knit all the pieces separately, felt them and then sew them together. The pictures used in the pattern are from a bag assembled in this way.
2) Knit and seam all pieces together BEFORE felting.
I can sew……. I have made many a slipcover, bedding pieces and drapes for my family and friends BUT to be honest, its not my favorite thing to do SO I will be using option 2.
One thing you cannot see from the Tinkknit site is that the intarsia/floral part of the bag is only on 3 sides! I HAD NO IDEA! That is an awful lot of lint attracting felted black fabric for my beloved cat to lounge upon….and you know that he will.
Right now, I am awaiting the delivery of the colored balls of Loft. Meanwhile, I was able to knit up the base last night. I can work on the blank black side while waiting for the mailman to bring me the colored balls.
I am also going to use black straps taken from a discount/thrift store find instead of sewing a pair of the suede cover straps in the pattern.
To give you an idea of dimensions: You use 2 strands of loft on size 15’s. The base was CO 48 and K for 41 rows…….it whipped up very quickly.


Well here is the NEW IMPROVED plan. After some consideration. I feel like the 4 golds from my stash are just too strong to be the background color.
SO……..I found this shop online, link text. It is selling loft classic at $6.99.
I am going for a cool tropical vibe.
So my color palette will be:

Borders/inside: BLACK
Floral Background: a very light AQUA
Big n’honking central flower: RED
Secondary flowers: ROBIN EGG/TURQUOISE
Flower eye/small detailing: GOLD
See my pics for all the pretty colors.


I never make other designers bags BUT OMG, this one is just too chic!!! I must have it.

On a quest to find Zitron Loft in the quantities required AND at a $5.00 a ball instead of the average price of $10.50. If I were to pay retail for all the items needed for this bag, I would shell out $170.00 (Paradise fibers) just for the yarn (tax and shipping included)!!!!

I cannot even track down a price on the BEAUTIFUL hardware Marta suggested using at but since it is sterling silver with semi opaque gemstones and the metal looks hand tooled……you can just imagine that they aren’t going to be cheap…..SO PRETTY. I plan on taking straps from an old/thrift/clearance bag…and hopefully the feet as well. That really is the best way to procure higher quality straps and hardware that don’t look ‘craft store’ bland. I can always use some jewelry findings as feet too.

My first lucky break: Carodan Farm Wool Shop had the black colorway at $5.00 each…..the pattern requires 9!!! What a savings!! That was the biggest challenge! WOOOOHOOOO!!

I already have the Gold 1218 in my stash from when my beloved Unraveled of Richmond went out of business. I have 4 of them. I may use all them instead of the light pink. I paid around $3.50 for each ball. IF I do substitute the gold for the pink, then I will adjust the other colors. Pink really isn’t me any way. I love to knit with all the hues of pink BUT I always end up selling the bag. If I don’t substitute, I just use the one as called for in the design as an accent color.

SO…..that leaves me on the hunt for 4 - 8 more balls depending on the use of the gold I already have.

The pattern calls for:
4 in light pink/1235..which I may switch out for my gold balls in my stash
1 orange/1221
1 green/1238
1 lavender/1240
1 gold/1218

I am sure that I will play around with the color choices for the final 4-8 to make the bag more “Me”.

I will be keeping an eye on my fellow raveler’s stashes to see if any pop up for sale.Be warned Loft owners: I am watching you:) Contact me if you have some for sale/trade.

The design uses a velcro closure. I REALLY question this b/c velcro is a lint magnet and the top part of the bag is black.That just doesn’t seem like a good pairing to me…….maybe a zipper or some sort of snappy-flappy type deal instead.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I have a design in Interweave Felt 2008, due 9/9/2008

HUGE NEWS!!!! I am just so delighted!!
The cat is finally out of the bag and as a result I can finally share the final product with you. This project was made for Interweave’s Felt 2008 special issue due out on 9/9/2008. Check out the preview Its called the Striped Pyramid Tote and is described as: “Eight colors are knitted in stripes in this flirty purse.”

Woohooo! My design's photo made the preview page! How cool is that for a first time in a national magazine?
Here are some pictures of models that I made test knitting the pattern. As you can see, there is a lot of room for personal expression/pimping your bag:

Motley mitts and Sheep Shop yarn online

I fell in love with Lisa Shroyer's (Interweave Press) Motley Mitts which is knit using just one hank of Sheep Shop Two yarn.

One Planet Yarn and Fiber has a great selection. I liked 'em so much that I have added their shop's button onto my blog's sidebar.....take a minute to check them out and click on their button.

For my mitts, I selected g123, which is very autumnal. I made them both in one night of watching the boob tube.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Firefly Pilot Episode

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yarn tails and felting: a little tip

You really don't need to weave all those yarn tails into your bag.
Just make sure they are all secure ( I simply knot 2 together) and no longer than 1 to 2 inches in length to prevent tangling.
Assemble your bag and felt as usual. AFTER felting take a pair of scissors and snip all of those felted down tails off. They will look like dreadlocks. WHAT A TIME SAVER!
Inside view of post felted bag:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008