Friday, November 20, 2009

Continuing the tradition...

I come from a family of sewers:

My Dad wooed my Mum with a pink felt elephant, and made me a witch costume for my Brownies Halloween party.
My Mum made almost all my party dresses until I was at University, and most of my curtains since.
My Granny made nightshirts for everyone, every Christmas, for years.
My Auntie made our bridesmaids' dresses and waistcoats for all the boys.
And this week, my daughter and I made a lavender bag:

My new wooly dryer balls

Okay, not the most exciting of things I admit, but very useful. I've been using plastic dryer balls for a while but one of them split in half recently so I needed to replace them, as I do think they help reduce the drying time and soften things up. Since I bought them I've read that they are made from PVC which isn't the most eco-friendly of materials, and I've seen (expensive) felted wool ones available to buy online. Seeing as I'd just ordered some natural merino roving for some other projects, I thought I'd have a go at making some felted wool balls myself. I used a combination of needle-felting and wet-felting to form them and then finished them off by sticking them in the washing machine inside an old nylon tights leg. I started by making four smaller ones like I'd seen online, but after running them through with a load of laundry I realised that it would drive me nuts trying to locate four golf-sized balls in every load, so I enlarged two of them to about the same size as the plastic balls. I decided to leave them natural because I didn't want any dye rubbing off onto our laundry but I think I might add some coloured roving to other two balls and turn them into the kids' presents for inside the Jack Horner pie. I just need to be a bit more careful when I'm needle-felting because I managed to stab myself twice and then snap off all five needles on my tool whilst making these.

I enjoyed trying out the wet-felting for these and I've just got this Feltique book which has some lovely projects for all different kinds of felt, so I think I might try making some wet-felted sheets of felt soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A hat for the princess-obsessed one

There's not been much crafty stuff going on here the last week because we've all been flaked out with the flu, but I've finally managed to get an action shot of a felt hat that I made for Freja. A crown for the princess-obsessed one:

I also made another needle-felted pouch. Needle-felting is so much fun, I've just ordered a load more roving so will hopefully have some more projects to share soon.

I need to get cracking on a few things for Christmas presents which I won't be able to post until after Santa's been (sorry Mum, no use trying to get a sneak preview here!) and of course, I need to come up with some little pressies for our Jack Horner Pie.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Felt and Stitch Projects - part 2

And some more things from the workshop:

A needle-felted pouch.

A "Jack Horner Pie". The idea with this is that you serve it up on Christmas Eve and inside is one little present for everyone. I thought this would be a nice family tradition to start, particularly for the years when we're doing Christmas British style, not Swedish.

Felt and Stitch Projects - part 1

The 4-week Betz White online workshop I've been doing is over today so at last I can share some pictures of the things I've been making.

Some Christmas trees, the big one still needs to be decorated.

An angel, although I'm thinking about making it into a fairy by making it a little crown and wand.

A poinsettia brooch.

A poinsettia brooch made from felted sweaters.

Another poinsettia (these are fun to make, can you tell?).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A cashmere hat for Magnus...

I've managed to find a few cashmere sweaters in the thrift shop recently and they are soooo soft. They don't felt up like wool does but they do go a bit thicker and fluffier if you run them through a hot cycle in the machine. I thought I'd try and make a hat for Magnus based loosely on a fleece one that I saw in the Crafty Mama book I borrowed from the library recently. It's two pointy pieces stitched together and then knotted in the pointy bit. I like the idea that as his head gets bigger the hat can be made bigger just by moving the knot. We had problems last year with a Santa hat that kept falling down over his eyes in the car because his head disappeared up inside it! I didn't have the pattern so I just eyeballed it and cut one piece out from each of the sleeves. I stitched them together and added an extra bit of ribbing from a different cashmere sweater round the end so that it could have a turn-up without exposing the seams. We've just been out to the park and he only pulled it off once so that's a good measure of success for me.