Tag Archives: machine felted sweaters

Foxy Ladies – project 29

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Foxy Ladies – project 29

Remember the days when ladies used to wear little dead creatures, faces, feet and all, draped about their necks?

Yeahmeneither. I am much too young.

Well, I probably remember when old ladies occasionally did it. I definitely recall when such things turned up at garage sales full of vintage clothes. In fact, I, er, bought a little mink back in the days when I was a college student with a wild assortment of vintage, new wave, proto-goth and own-personal-style wearables. It had a little hingey thing so it could bite its own tail to secure it as you wore it.
Even irony can’t carry off dead things for very long, though, so it has been long gone.

At any rate, I’ve noticed foxes are a Thing now. They have possibly become the New Owl. I recently saw a sweater in a catalog which had a knitted-in design that looked like a fox stole, and I thought CUTE! Ironic dead animals without the animal death!

Which got me to thinking about the merino wool sweater I bought many years ago at the Burberry outlet in Vermont. Gorgeous tweedy russet, my first wool without itch. But it was a size that is distant history, plus pullovers are not my speed anymore, since tearing them off at the first sign of a hot flash is not the most discreet move. So I started playing with the notion of making my own wee fox, starting with an amazingly thick felted raglan sleeve, which already had a critter-suggestive shape.

I kept looking around online for a pattern, but most of those were for knitting or a stuffie, neither of which was helpful. After searching and considering and being very nervous about the whole thing, I took it to women’s art night at the local arts center for moral support, where I hacked one of the sleeves free-handed to make a fox-shape. It came out encouragingly well. I got a tail out of the same sleeve, then cut four legs from the sweater body. All of this was eyeballed and then cut freehanded, and at no time did I feel terribly certain about the whole thing. The tail, in fact, I amended a bit when I looked at some fox pictures online to see how much white I should put at the tip. The ones I looked at had a broader tip than I had made, which was rather pointy. I went into my stash for a white felted sweater, and used the sleeve to create that brushy effect, leaving the seam uncut so I could surround the original tail tip. I had some glossy white non-wool roving in my stash, so I needle felted that onto the white part to give it a more dimensional feel, and obscure the hard-lined border between the russet and the white. I dithered about whether to felt in some white around the nose area to give my fox a narrower looking face, and I’m still uncertain whether I love it or not.

And speaking of eyeballing it, I finished it off with the obligatory glassy eyes, which I got from the hobby store. I measured the distance to get them even, which is the first and only thing I measured in this whole project. After that, I sewed on a couple of pointy little ears, and some velcro hooks under the chin — the felt itself provides the loop part.

So…the finished item:

Does cooking/baking count?

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I did both today, making brunch for a friend who came out to visit and catch up on some “Supernatural” episodes she missed getting onto her DVR, so she can mainline the whole season.

I have a terrific, adaptable recipe for a frittata that bakes in the oven, which I made with potatoes and vegetables from a Green Giant variety called something like Backyard Grilled Potatoes or something, which had red and yellow peppers and onions mixed in. It may be the best lazy version of this frittata I’ve ever made. The coffee cake was a mashup of a recipe and 2 variations I found on one of those recipe sites. This time out there was no extra creativity involved; I just followed the recipe I had cobbled up before. Still, cooking is work and it’s beautiful and useful. It counts, right?

Also, this long weekend I threw two sweaters into the wash to felt them, and they both came out beautifully, including one I was very dubious about. One had a long zipper, so I cut that off and am going to finish it up into a zipper bracelet, but I need a lobster claw clasp to do so.

Oh, and this Wednesday I’m going to share some of the stuff I’ve done with bleach pen decorating with the art gals.

Yow, total energy drop. I am going to sign off and curl up.

Aside

Well, besides the time-suck thing.

The trouble is when you find a project you really want to do, then when you click the link you get a warning about how Pinterest is not gonna let you go there because the site has malware, and every other source gets blocked because it has content from a site with malware, and all you’ve got is a series of tiny photographs that someone has made into one big pin. I’m trying to go on with just such a project, because I’ve done plenty of felt creations before, but there are two pictures in the strip that I just can’t quite figure out what’s going on.

SIGH.

And I’ve been very low on energy the last couple of evenings, so I’ve cut out my project, but I haven’t gotten further than that. Please be patient, and I’ll try to get this done and posted soon.

For now, I’m going to grab my Kindle and head for bed.

The trouble with Pinterest…

A quick cuff upside the head (Project 16)

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A quick cuff upside the head (Project 16)

Since I forgot to transfer the pictures I made of this week’s project to my computer, I couldn’t post my project on the usual day.

This is a pretty simple and quick craft, since I was away last weekend visiting my friend on the other side of the state, and then this whole week has been taken up with Wiscon art show prep.

My friend and I had a quick bite at Alterra coffee before she had to go to her pre-performance call, and I stuck around and had another tea and did some quick needle felting. I made three cuffs, all cut from the ends of sweater sleeves. I left them in a circle rather than fussing with figuring out a closure system. My only problem was the fact that the size of the felting mat (which is actually a brush that holds up the material you’re felting to while letting the needles penetrate), while still small, is big enough to stretch out the cuffs a little bit. I used two balls of felt for the bigger decoration — one looks like yarn but is just roving that’s about a finger width around instead of a largish skein; the other is actually yarn with fatter spots and thinner spots. I just freehanded it, winding the bigger pieces of roving into various designs including a handlebar mustache, and putting little designs around the others.

Two by two…

…hands of blue.

Another thing I used was a little disk of lint that came from the lint trap at my mom’s house when I was felting sweaters there. She has a lint trap that fits over the agitator, and it formed several adorable button-sized disks, so I saved them and dried them. The two-toned circle on this one came from one of those lint bits.

Smaller bits from the lint trap also make nice starters for wee paisley. Just shape it a bit more, pop another color in the center, and there you are.

And here’s the third one I made while perched at the cafe waiting to head to the concert. I call it the Karwacki, after the cop with the astounding handlebar ‘stache who presided over my first car accident.

I went a little wild with it, size-wise, so you can’t see both ends of the ‘stache in the same view, but you get the idea.

I have a writing project I’ll be doing for an upcoming project, but it probably won’t be done in the next week. I’m thinking something fairly low-key is still a likely outcome. It’s been an exhausting month, and other aspects of life are fairly tiring just now, too.

Doctor, Doctor give me the news

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Doctor, Doctor give me the news

Finished!! In all its hasty, half-assed glory!

With a break for a run for meds and groceries and another for a phone call with my brother, I got the thing done in about 13 hours.

There is an embroidery needle at large somewhere on the sofa, so that adds this week’s danger quotient.

So here are some process pictures and the finished project.

It's sloppier on the inside.

While I like playing around with six strands of embroidery thread, it can get hopelessly knotty on occasion. As it did way early in the embellishment stage. But y’know, this project was meant to have a screen-friendly microfiber partial lining, so I said to heck with teasing the whole thing out. It wasn’t going to budge.

My eye doc recently gave me one of those nice glasses cleaning cloths, which I figured would make a good liner to keep the scratches on the screen to a minimum. Unfortunately, not big enough to line the whole cozy. But microfiber is a bear to push a needle through, so it’s just as well.

Then I had some additional embellishments and the closure to add, and here’s the result. With trademark imperfection, but I rather like it.

Unfortunately the call box sign is a wee bit off kilter, but I am not going to mess with it further. Its imperfection is charming. Isn't it? ISN'T IT??

And here’s a closer view of the closure. The loop is made of elastic, which I had to run out and buy, since the package of elastic I remembered and dug up in my sewing kit had the Woolworth’s label on it. (!) Got some nice multiple-purpose 3/8″ white elastic. I had a brainstorm as I was contemplating how I wanted to attach the elastic loop. I took a set of Sharpies I’d bought some time ago and drew stripes along the elastic.

Remind you of anyone?

Like last week’s project, this was all repurposed stuff, or something from the stash except for the elastic, and I did actually have elastic, but it was a good 12 plus years old — well, five years older than that, because Woolworth’s closed in 1997.

So…very…tired… Am nodding off at the keyboard now, and I have work in the morning, so it’s nighty night for now.

And a moratorium on felt. Next week I’ll see what other types of trouble I can get into.

Ocupado!

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Ocupado!

I’m thinking stabbed fingers and hand/arm/finger cramps count as danger

As I sit here waiting for a sumptuous lunch of fake-Kraft Mac n Cheese (I love its name in Canada even more–Kraft Dinner, aka KD), i am 99% done with my project of this week. (Which is fitting, and you will see why very shortly.)

I decided this was the perfect year to enter the annual birdhouse contest at a store called Phoebe’s Nest. But my initial thoughts were “I can’t think of anything to do!” and “My woodcraft skills are questionable!” Then I thought of something. Not a woodcraft project at all, but a tent, made of (this will surprise no one who has been following along so far) felt.

And like the wildass that I am, I freehanded the whole damn thing (which is occasionally obvious).

And I really really like this project.

Almost every bit of this is made of recycled materials, and the rest from leftovers from past or undone projects, which is one of the things that pleases me about it. The floor and side walls of the tent are made of a sweater I got at a thrift store and felted in the washing machine. I reinforced the floor by sewing a piece of cardboard from a mail order purchase between two pieces of the thick felt.

Two layers of felt with a piece of cardboard sewn between.

I made a frame of a heavier gauge wire from my “I’m going to make jewelry!” phase, slipping it into slits in the floor and sewing it to the tent walls.

Getting the frame in place--o hai thar, foreman!

And attaching frame and walls to floor.

The end flaps are made of a square of a burlappy sort of material that came in a bag of fabric scraps from the costume shop at American Players Theatre.

Pretty purple fabric, trimmed off a costume-in-progress at American Players Theatre.

Then I made the signs from pieces of another thrift shop sweater, needle felting the words on them. As you can see, my freehanding tendencies — and Eyeball once, cut multiple times philosophy — sometimes get the better of me. #Occupy has some serious kerning issues. I did better with the long banner, which may have been helped by felting in We and then 99% and then filling in the middle 2 lines.

The stark black stitching is intentional — those are meant to be tie-strap thingies.

Birds do twitter too.

So woo hoo! Finished! Except not. I really wanted there to be some things inside the tent. So I made a sleeping bag and a matching one that’s rolled up, and a red backpack. And I decided on one more thing, both to make the shape of the backpack less flat, and also because I didn’t like the empty backpack any more than I liked an empty tent. So I made a wee book to go inside. I used stick-on Velcro to put the pieces in place — hooks only, as the felt provides the fuzzy.

Personal effects.

One more bit of verisimilitude to go, and it will be done. So now, full of KD, I go downstairs to photocopy or scan (whichever looks best) the cover of the CD version of an album I owned in vinyl back in the late 70s. It came with a stencil so you could spray paint the cover everywhere, which was my inspiration for making a sign of it.

As it turned out, I photocopied it, but the copy came out black and white. So I added the incandescent yellow of the album graphics with a yellow sharpie. Mod Podged the whole thing onto cereal box cardboard and used staples and a bit of Velcro to place the sign at the mouth of the tent. And this is the version I submitted to the contest:

Occupy Birdhouse

And Tom Robinson, those songs are still pretty relevant today (sad to say). Rock on.

While in past years the birdhouses were all sold and donated to a fund to restore the local theater, this year they will be returned to the artists. So I plan to be showing this at Wiscon this year, where it will probably also be for sale.

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