On Felting and Finished Objects

It has taken me a few days to get these up, but I had another great course at the Gateway Fibreworks back on Saturday. This time we were focusing on a single type of felting, wet felting.

I present, without comment, by Steampunk Felted Dragon Mittens

Dragon Mitts

The "Normal" Side

The Slightly More Wild Side

I wish I had a picture of the merino braid beforehand, but needless to say it had strong varegation.  Although they are not my usual colors, I love the way they turned out.  We used fuffy white alpaca for the inside, milled on-site.

Fluffy Alpaca Goodness

As with the previous week, the instruction from Gail and Vikki was amazing, and materials beautiful.  I wish they were closer to Parry Sound, the hour long drive to Gravenhurst is a bit tough to swing, especially because the Starbucks doesn’t open in time to get caffeinated before the drive.

Since finishing those mitts on Saturday, I have finished two other projects.

On Tuesday, I finished Clapotis.  While this pattern seemed to have spread with the virulence of an infectious disease through the knitting community, I remained immune to its charm until I discovered Dream in Color Starry.  The plain, but attractive. pattern, plus an amazing material worked out to a beautiful product.  I will be debuting it in a post sometime in the next few days.

Okay, maybe just a sneak-peek.

Just a Taste

After finishing such a repetitive and lengthy pattern I was inspired to make something quick.  Some Knit Picks Swish Bulky and a hat pattern were just the thing I needed. My Winter Leaves hat, using the Foliage Pattern out of Knitty, was finished less than 24 hours after starting.  I quite love this hat already, and I am sad that the Squirrel Heather I used has been discontinued.

Winter Foliage Hat

Either way, I have had a productive week, and it is only Thursday!

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Felting 101 and Project Pictures

This morning I had the great fortune to take Felting 101 with Gail and the good folks at the Gateway Fibreworks in Gravenhurst, Ontario.

For those of you not familiar with the Gateway Fiberworks, it is a small scale mill and retail outlet.  They primarily focus on alpaca and works with lots of small farmers across the province.  They are a great outfit who operate out of a green building in a Muskoka.

While I think I will be quitting my day job, or even knitting and spinning to be a felter, but it was great to learn about an interesting technique to make embellishments and another way to use up my increasingly large fiber stash.

Here were a few of the things I made during the course:

I chose the colors to honor my love of Sour Patch Kids

It is shaped like a sting-ray, much like my first dishcloth.

It was supposed to be a duck, but there was no yellow. I call it Ryan, because it is a Gosling.

An iris made of "Canadian Merino" ie. not merino.

Since I got my camera out to take pictures of my felting, I decided to get pictures of a few other projects. I didn’t manage to nab one of my Carla’s Mittens because she always has them on her hands or stashed away in her purse.  However I did get a few beauty shots of my Norway Spruce, using the Hawthorne pattern by Susanna IC in the Fall 2010 Twist Collective.

Autumn in Parry Sound, made greener by Madelinetosh DK.

Up close and beautiful, both the yarn and the pattern.

Also, I am sending them off tomorrow so here are the cousin hats!

Hanging out for the last stage of "blocking".

I love the way the colors work together.

I am hoping to get a picture of all four of them wearing their hats.  It was tough making a hat that would fit anyone of them (well the red one is for a four-year-old so it is sized differently) but the other three are for guys of very different head sizes and I wasn’t sure which one each of them was getting.

So, there is your photo overload for the weekend, I hope you enjoyed them.

On Cousin Hats and Selfish Knitting

As I write four alpaca hats are sitting in my sister’s bathroom sink, just starting their pre-blocking bath.  These hats have caused me more anxiety than I would care to admit and I will be very glad to see the end of them.

The backstory on these hats is that over the summer I was in Ottawa at a wedding and I brought some of knitting with me to showoff to family and friends.   I was staying at my Auntie E’s house and my Auntie M was there as well.  My Auntie M was admiring the Canada Hat (later renamed Sam’s Big Brother Hat) I had made from Knit Picks Elegance Yarn (70% Alpaca and 30% Silk).  She asked if I would make hats for her boys (three of them) for Christmas.  Now boys is a relative term, because two of them are older than me, and the third one has a boy of his own. Against my better judgment I agreed to make the hats at “cost” plus overage. Now, a couple months later I am finally done.  The whole process of choosing a material, because much like Costco, Knit Picks has pretty quick turn over on its yarns and when I wanted to order more Elegance in August it had been discontinued.  Then it came to picking a pattern.  I had initially wanted to design something, but every time I tried I just epic failed. I finally came across a ribbed, top down hat pattern designed for Knit Picks Andean Treasure yarn (the material I decided to go with in the end).

This whole process has brought me around on the concept of selfish knitting.  For the uninitiated Selfish Knitting is a state of mind where a knitter only knits what he or she wants to.  That does not mean we only knit for ourselves, but rather when we feel moved to make something for another person we make it out of the goodness of our heart, rather than obligation or request.

I really like my cousins and I don’t resent them or my Aunt at the end of this process.  However, much like assigned readings in school, the requirement to make them by a deadline meant that much of the joy I get from knitting was shockingly absent.

Now that they are done it is time to redouble my efforts on other projects including the Clapotis I am making for my Mom (of my own free will) for Christmas and making a pair of mittens for me, it is getting cold here.