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