Felting Wool

I'm real close to going to Sheep Street in Morgantown Indiana and buy some roving it's amazing - I'm ready to kick it up a notch. This is a roving - for those new to the terminology:

It is top or sliver (long I) wool that has been washed, combed and carded and sometimes dyed. This is what you pull to nuno felt...can't wait. You'll be seeing the results so-o-o-o-n!!

I'm in the middle (2/3 done) of a Vest for a gift.

Actually is it a gift if the recipient buys the yarn and pattern?

I'm making a vest for Karen, she saw the pattern, bought the yarn and asked me to make it. This is the pattern, the blue yarn is Paton's Chunky Tweed. It is hand washable, 25% wool. It is a great yarn, thick, making a solid fibre piece of clothing. The dark color allows the tweed contrasting colors to pop.

The pattern is different as there are several variations to the patterns in the book, but each section of the item is in a different section in the book, i.e. front, back, trim, sizes, etc. Depending on whether it has sleeves or not, is long or short, has a collar or not, each section is highlighted so you can mix it up and design your own piece...this I like!! I'm about to do the trim on the second sleeve, then I have side seams, front trim and the collar and it is in the MAIL!!


Knit and Felt Tote

I'm on a roll here - got another bag ready to go - this one is a gift though.
The first picture is the knit project, and the second picutre is the finished project. The ends tuck in for a smaller bag, but pop out for a larger supply of groceries.

I have 6 ready for etsy, and was hoping to have 8 ready by October to start my store. I'm close.


Knitting and Felting a Bag

I just posted some instructions for felting a handbag. The knitting instructions were a few weeks ago, while I was traveling, just got the thing to a washing machine. Turned out pretty good, once it dries, I'll trim all the straggly yarn from the felting process, shave it, shape it and walla!!!

If you check out the following link (a post I did earlier today) you'll see this purse laid out on the same throw, the squares pattern on the throw show the amazing amount of shrinkage in the felting process.


The strap is cast on 13, knit every row. When this felts it does not felt as much as the bag, so instead of expecting a 1/3 shrinkage, allow for only about 1/4. Other knitting patterns have a tendancy to curl if you're trying to do a wide strap.

Another Step-by-Step Knit and Felt Post

This is the bag before felting.
It is Patons Classic Wool in several colors, Brown, Russet, Chocolate and Old Gold

This is the bag inside a pillow case in my washer - the next picture I've opened the pillow case to check the felting process.

After I remove the bag from the pillowcase, I hung it on the washer lid to show how it looks after wash and rinse.

This is right out of the felting process.

Weight Watchers and Accountability

OK - Starting Wednesday night at 6:00 PM ET I'm going back.

Anyone want to track their weight loss with me, I'm going to be posting my weight loss right along with my knitting progress.



Learn to Knit if you Learn to Crochet

Learn to crochet. Yep, if you learn this technique, you'll also learn to knit. Crocheting requires holding the yarn, string, wool, etc. in one hand and making stitches with the crochet hook with the other hand...assuming you have both hands, your finished work remains in the hand holding the yarn.

In knitting, the finished piece moves from the hand holding the yarn (and needle) to the other needles (while doing a complete row the finished piece is on both needles). If you lose your place most knitters start over - although there are ways to back up a few stitches or rows if you're well into the piece.

here's a great link to learning to crochet.

How to hold the yarn. If you crochet and are right handed, you hold the yarn in your left hand. I hold it from the ball it drapes over my pinky (smallest finger) from left to right, under my two middle fingers and over my index finger, under and around my thumb for the first chain stitch (and every cast on in knitting)

If you knit continental you hold the yarn exactly the same as in crochet. If you knit English (American) style, you end up learning a whole new method for feeding the yarn to the needle from the right hand...

I also have a pair of socks on some double pointed needles (now this totally intimidates me)!!
To get an even tension (all stitches equal) you need to wrap the yarn around the pinky once, it controls the yarn as you pull it from the ball.
I noticed this detail when I was showing Big Sis the knitting stitch this week - she was having a mental block.


Thankful for UPS

Yep, UPS took care of one of the bags that I knit on this trip. I got the bag finished, we had some other things to send home before the trips end, so ... UPS to the rescue. (I've finished two knit bags, since we left home late August.) Rode my motorcycle 5,000 miles so far, been in at least 15 state and have 4 more to go, but I knit nearly every day for a few hours, now I'm about out of yarn on the road.

I sent home one of the bags I'll be felting. It's pretty much made from scrap balls of wool yarn. I made a long base only about 3" wide before felting. This bag should end up about 9" wide, 11" high and maybe 2" wide base, the handle will be about 1 1/2" to 2" wide and will be slightly wider at the base on each side, because I'll be attaching it some distance down the side, rather than using grommets and an i-cord. I love designing bags. This is another picture in Paint software that I did to imagine the color combinations.

I don't have my etsy store set up yet and I've sold 4 bags, three are yet to be designed and 1 is finished and "spoken for." My goal was to design the bags write the patterns and get people fired up about knitting. But these bags are pretty popluar.

I do need to pause in a week or two and start making Mother/Daughter fingerless gloves for Andrea and Aven, I promised. Also have an order for some leg warmers.


I'm on YouTube Again

This time it's a short slideshow of a couple of my bags in the planning stages. The first YouTube video I made I didn't put captions in explaining the projects. so I did this one with a few details built in. Not only am I learning Knitting and Felting, and designing, but I'm learning YouTube and Google, whew. And all this while I'm on the road - camping or in motels, travelling by motorcycle. I'm worn out just thinking about it.

The youtube video is at the bottom of this blog.

Also, check out a new link to one of my reader's web page. http://www.thetwistedpurl.com/


Road Construction, Hurricanes, and Motorcycles

OK, I'll only mention a few ROAD CONSTRUCTION areas that we've come across on the motorcycles this trip. A few days ago we got into some RAIN (imagine that) aftermath of IKE, and the road we were on had been GRATED, that means they take a huge machine with "tooth comb" edge scoops and scrape up all the tar blacktop road down to a vertical (runs with the direction of the road) grooves. No warning, not a sign other than the usually merge down to one lane, major BUMP and we're in the rain riding the grooves for 8 miles. My grip on my throttle was frozen. My wrist still hurts, it's been 5 days.
The front wheel of the bike squirrels around like the bike is out of control, and the rear (this powers the bike) keeps pushing forward, like it's unaware of the unsteadiness in the front. No place to QUIT!! Because there's no where to go but with traffic, did I mention the drop off on both sides? OK so now we're out of the groovy highway issue, and right into two lanes that have about a 4 inch height difference -
Give me some kind of sign.

All these years of traveling - and I've come to the conclusion that HIGHWAY construction people need to borrow a motorcycle and ride it on the roads that they deem safe for traffic!!!!!

Public Bathrooms and Road Construction

Well, traveling over 5,000 miles on my motorcycle has certainly given me pause ... I'm pretty well an expert on my preference for public bathrooms, and the highways in the U.S. are in somewhat poor shape.

Let's start with bathrooms. First of all, once I've ridden my motorcycle over 100 miles I'm ready to use the bathroom and get some gatorade down me, walk around and stretch. Going into the available public bathroom always causes me a little anxiety. I'm not that much of a neat freak, but others before me, and those who maintain the building usually don't have cleanliness at the top of their list.

Today I'll just talk about the hilarious placement of toilet tissue dispensers. Unless the bathroom is new, there is always more than one toilet tissue dispenser. One or two broken ones and a newfangled one that is LOCKED, and usually empty or almost empty, with a roll of tissue on the back of the stool. The other day I was in a stall that actually had just enough room for a 4 year old, and the TP dispenser was one of those GIANT rolls but it was placed about 2 feet from the floor, there was not room for an arm to get down under the dispenser - reach up inside and pull paper down, once the paper was started on the roll it tore off in little 4" squares - one at a time, OK that's when I broke into the new GIANT roll that was on the cabinet behind me. No one could've used that dispenser, the toilet would have to be removed to open the case to refill the dispenser. I'm serious.

And whoever invented these little dispensers with tiny napkins???


I Hand Felted This One - No Washing Machine Available

The top picture is the finished project before felting.

The next pic is after hand washing in very hot water for a long time, I mean I had to keep heating up water in a teapot and adding it to my water, because it kept cooling off, and was overworking my camper water heater. Then I stopped after about 20 minutes, towel dried and rolled the piece, and later did another 30 minutes in hot soapy water before it finally started getting very tight fiber. This piece I call Tailored Tweed Stripe. It is spoken for. It holds a standard size laptop (15" to 17") and has a sweet pocket on the front to hold the cords. There's room in this bag for a 3 ring binder or two and some folders if needed.

The straps will be attached via grommets, and it will be one continuous strap that crosses over the top opening, serving as a guard for the computer inside.

These are so much fun to make, I'm polishing the pattern for publication.


Common Knitting Problems

When you knit a long piece, ie. scarf, strap, etc., does it go into the closet in a bag because it curled on the edges? It was supposed to be a gift, but won't lay flat when finished. Another FAILED PROJECT!! I'm making a 2" wide purse handle, and if I knit one row then purl the next, I end up with curled edges. I'm experimenting with knit two at the beginning and ending of each row, but alternating knit and purl for the rest. hmmm. I think it may work out!!

Check this out. This web page answers tons of questions about knitting. It is printable too.



More Details on the Striped Purse with Chunky I-Cord

This is a picture of the i-cord close up. I made the purse handle chunky on this one because it's a small bag and needed some character.
I put a pendant on the strap with a bead chain. I made the pendant from Polymer clay, and made a bead to match. The colors all blend, the photo lightened the pendant some, so it doesn't do it justice.
This was a very simple bag. The base and bag are two strands of merino wool (size 4) yarn held together (ALL WOOL OF COURSE) and knit up from the base. The i-cord follows the i-cord instructions in a former blog:


I held 3 strands of yarn together for the i-cord instead of two, thus a chunky strap.

The polymer clay is blended colors for the pendant, and layered sheets cut into thin strips then wrapped around the sides of the pendant. I cut the hole for the chain, and wrapped a ball of clay in the remnants of the clay stripes and baked 30 mintues.

More on polymer clay in the future.


Enchanted New Mexico a history of Fiber Arts including Navajo Weaving

Well I'm in New Mexico. Left one week ago from Indiana on my motorcycle, and arrived today in Angel Fire, about 50 miles from TAOS ... it's all meetings and hooking up with friends, so no time to go Southwest Yarn shopping, bummer...hate being this close and yet so far!!

This link outllines a history of Fiber Arts.


Pretty Interesting.

I'm working on two projects currently, the previous post - Market Bag, which I totally forgot to mention that it is important to knit the entire project holding two strands of yarn together. I'll edit the pattern right now.



Here in Denver, CO, you have to pay for each plastic bag you need to walk out of the grocery. So-o-o-o I have a special order from Jenn to make a Market Bag. It will be similar to the large denim bag I made this summer, but will have a flat base about 3 inches deep, then be every bit as tall and wide with large wide straps, This one is about 16" high and maybe 15" wide with no base, just a big deep bag that holds a laptop a three-ring binder and variety of samples for the distributor. It could be a market bag also.

The newest addition will be in a color called Harvest from Patons. The finished piece will have the triangles that form from the short striping effect of the yarn, and large bands of RED, LIME GREEN and PURPLE. Awesome colors, getting started now.
VERY IMPORTANT: Knit the entire project holding two strands of yarn together.
(unless you go with size 5 bulky yarn rather than the suggested size 4 merino wool).
Here's the basic pattern, Circular needles size 13, Patons Classic Wool, (2) Harvest (1) Red, (1) Green (1) Purple
Cast on 80, slip the first stitch (with yarn held in front) in each row and knit all remaining stitches. The base will be about 3 inches, so once there is a 4 inch (allowing for shrinkage in felting process) base, pick up and knit a stitch in each of the end "slipped" stitches, your count may be different than mine, and pick up and knit a stitch in each of the 80 cast on stitches, then pick up and knit the same number of "slipped" stitches on the other end of the base, you now have 160 stitches plus the number of stitches on each end. Now knit in the round on your circular needles.
The height will shrink more than the width. Nearly 1/3 of the project so keep knitting away. It will look 1/3 longer than it is wide when you are ready to cast off and make your straps. Cast on 11 k1,p1 every row, until the straps (make two) are 1/3 longer than the desired finished length.
Sew on straps, felt. I know this is basic enough, but if you have questions on any of this, COMMENT!!

You can buy this poster.