Casts and Hairballs, part 2

I could call this post Winter of Wool. Or Too Warm for Wool. Or Fiber Redux. (Actually, I like that one. If I ever start an Etsy shop I think I’ll call it that…) Anyway, for purposes of this post, it’s the Hairball part.

feltthings1(Gak. Who needs all this wool in sunny St. Petersburg?)

As usual, I’m late to the party, and, in this case that would be the fiber arts end of things. The whole damn world is shoveling wool around and much like writing a book, I’ve put it off so long that there’s no longer any pressure to perform. I figure it’s already been better written, knit, woven or felted, so now I’m just muddling about for my own edification. And, this year, Christmas gifts. Considering I spent half the year admiring alpacas and accumulating wool at fiber festivals, it seemed wise, during this lean season, to try and make something of it.

I mentioned earlier working on a wool throw for Bud made of my mother’s sweaters. Up at Lost Loon Lodge she had acquired many and with a generation between us there were only a few that my sisters and I wanted to wear. Plus, there’s that weirdness that goes with wearing dead people’s clothes. But Bud wasn’t willing to just donate all of them to Goodwill and they were very nice wool sweaters so I hauled some home and destroyed the washing machine shrinking them all up in the hot cycle. For a while there we were choking on lint and in that lifetime when I am rich I will have a beater washer-dryer pair for precisely this purpose. Then I cut them all into squares and, knowing absolutely nothing about piecework, I got them glommed together on my workhorse of a cheap sewing machine. (Buy a Brother. Ranks right up there with Tilley hats for good solid merchandise.). Sophie enjoyed the process until I mailed it off. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the thing completely pieced and then quilted with a nice vining stitch, so although a few of you asked, this is the best I can do. I think Bud likes it very much.


Then I moved on to slippers for the whole family with the left over scraps. These look ridiculously clumsy but surprisingly, they fit and don’t itch and keep the feet nice and warm. (One of the nice things about up-cycled wool is that it loses most all of it’s itch. Really.) These slippers are like one of those quirky comfortable things you like to wear and you can just laugh at them if any one points out how odd they are. So these have been a big hit.

abbysslip(These were Abby’s and the tops were raw hand-dyed wool that I felted while the bottoms were from one of mum’s sweaters. The buttons have a sea motif for my mermaid. The pine tree ones in the top picture were for Misha and those were all recycled sweaters.)

Feline footballs. If I did have an Etsy shop, this is the item that would sell like hotcakes. I felted these around plastic Easter eggs, removed the eggs and then put some fresh cat dope in a little net bag inside each one and laced them up with yarn. (This one isn’t laced yet.) Never have I seen such a successful cat toy. The combination of raw Corriedale wool and catnip is just too much to resist and Sophie had to try out every one before it went in the mail. She unwrapped 6 or 7 and got them all damp and fuzzed before I re-wrapped them.

felinefootball(Sophie sucked the life out of all the catnip parts.)

I made some little scrap felt ornaments to put on packages. Mostly birds but I couldn’t resist a few grouper for Florida friends.


Nuno silk scarves. They were more intensive in the labor department. Dye the merino wool. Dye the silk. The layout takes some thought and middle of the night inspiration. I boxed up a lot of my wool and mailed it down here so I could try to refine my skills with these this winter. I have a nice work table out on the screen porch and Rich propped it up on cement blocks so it is exactly the right height so I can work without back strain. Turning raw wool into a strong but soft felt takes some effort and by the time I’m finished with a piece I’m pretty tired physically.


(This one is silk chiffon, with hand dyed merino top and mulberry silk felted to the silk.)

mochascarf(Mocha colored merino top with tussah silk pattern. This one is extremely soft AND warm.)

mochadetail(These photos are dreadful, but here is a close-up. Before I could sell anything I’d have to figure out how to photograph it attractively. Wende is a whiz at that.)

Mittens and socks. Those were knit and then laundered to felt them and then embroidered. Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing and I thought I would share it with you because Cathy wrote a nice post about her passion for working with fused glass and wondered if anyone else was addicted to a past time that involves accumulating vast amounts of supplies.  I knew precisely what she meant. I could sit around and fondle wool until I choke on it. Which I do.

mitsves(Mittens detail and a small felted bowl for sewing odds and ends.)

Tomorrow or Saturday we will discuss casts. You know. The partially digested ones.

20 responses to “Casts and Hairballs, part 2

  1. You are indeed a woman of so many talents. l so pretty. I must admit, though, that having lived in a hot climate all my life, just looking at it all makes me hot. I hope that everyone cherishes the handmade gifts tht you have bestowed upon them.

  2. What gorgeous wool goodies, Vicki! I love Abby’s slippers, and the felted mittens.

    I’ve lived 3/4 of my life in hot climates, where I had little use for wool. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve been thinking about taking up knitting.

  3. Love, Love, Love all your wool handmade items. I was intrigued with the catnip balls since my daughter has 4 cats and I am always on the lookout for new toys for them. The silk, merino scarves are really beautiful. I remember your felted penguins from awhile ago and never saw anything cuter or better made.

    I knitted my son-in-law a very simple charcoal gray scarf for the Washington DC winters and he loves it. So nice to have work appreciated…

  4. These are so beautiful! I especially love that sweater quilt. So cozy, and so memory-rich!

  5. I’m diggin’ the slippers. Now, if you make a pair in purple…

    You and my husband amaze me in the diversity of your collective talents — Renaissance people, both of you. He just unclogged the kitchen drain with his handy snake and I had to tell him again how handy he is to have around.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous. Every bit of it. How lovely to have such talent.

  7. Such beautiful things, Vicki. Every piece looks so lovingly made. I really like your artistry.

  8. Sophie is a rascal.
    Still a cat.
    But, I do see her charm.

    Your work is excellent and I think the sweaters into blanket idea is so touching.

  9. I am glad that everyone is well and to read what you are all up to. Your work is so beautiful, really lovely.

  10. Your work is absolutely lovely and the slippers are wonderful – not weird at all! I think that, having seen your “sweater” throw, I’ll never toss away a sweater again. Please tell us the process for “washing to shrink”, as I am imagining that there is something else to it other than just washing. Do the squares all have to be wool or can you mix sewater types?

    Happy New Year, my friend.

  11. Gads, your wool work is spectacular. The quilt you made for Bud is amazing. So beautiful.

    I can’t decide what I liked best of the rest of your work but I think it might be the felted bowl. I love needle felting but haven’t done too much (successfully) with knitting and then felting stuff. I’d like to try some more, though.

    And, your scarves . . . oh. my. goodness. They are spectacular!

    More. More. More.

  12. Oh, Vicki, how can you do all this and then tell us you’re a latecomer and a hacker? Most of us would practice for decades and not be this productive, or produce such nice results.

    I love the fish and the scarves and the cat toys and all the rest, but the blanket from your mother’s sweaters is very, very special. What a lovely gift – I’m sure I’m not the only one reading this and getting teary eyed.

  13. You really should have an etsy shop! Or at least let us (your favorites…wink, wink) place orders via email 🙂 xo

  14. Boy you are a good writer, plus which you are so interesting. And. flip the page, you are immensely talented. Boy howdy I love you still.

    I came across another bird blog the other day and almost had a heart attack. There was this picture of a bald eagle in what looked like frozen country — it reminded me of that eagle (s?) we saw at Lake Superior. And then I noted the guy was “driving down Avery road” and so on…Thing is, this Avery road was in Illinois. So I said Hi Bud anyway….

  15. You are gifted with the yarns.

    On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Whatever possessed me to put a recorder in everyone’s stocking this year?!

    Blessed Epiphany, sweet turtle dove! A soft kiss as a flute’s note in the air between the sky and the earth…
    Deborah Reis
    A Flauta da Lua… (The Moon’s Flute)

    To auld lang syne:


  16. You are gifted at the yarns, indeed!

    On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Why, oh why did I put a recorder in each of my children’s stockings?!

    To auld lang syne, my dear:

    Blessed Epiphany, turtle dove!

  17. I tried to post again after thinking my comment had disappeared. My little brain needs some inversions, perhaps. xoxo

  18. Love your finished products, especially the throw. What a beautiful way to use your mom’s sweaters. (When I felt my mittens and slippers and such, I put them in one of those pillow protectors that zips, which contains the bits of yarn so they don’t clog up the washing machine. I suppose it would be harder to do with something as large as a sweater, though.)

  19. Wow! I am really impressed. A relative newcomer to the knitting world, I haven’t tried any felting yet. You have inspired me to give it a try.

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