Sunday, February 28, 2010

Felting - 'Dhobi'-Style!

Its has been my long-time dream to try felting. And, I finally got around to trying it over the weekend! I being myself, made a felted bag.. Now, its an universal truth that I can never have enough bags.. and, most of mine are hand-made by me! I used the pattern for a felted entrelac clutch by Meg White. Its an awesome pattern and very well-written for a first timer trying entrelac. Did I tell you that its my first entrelac project?! I am totally proud of myself with this bag! My Hubster is impressed too! Here is the finished bag:

I followed this tutorial on hand-felting and, let me tell you.. it is very tiring to hand-felt a big object.. This is how I hand-felted this bag:

I used the yarn Wendy Aristocrat in two colors. I doubled the yarn and knitted the bag body on 6mm straights and knitted the top on 5.5mm cirs as I didn't have circs in 6mm. On hind thought, I should have used 5.5mm needles through out! The colors reminded me of guava fuits.. green on the outside and pink on the insides! Though I wanted the pink to tone down a bit, I am happy with the way it turned out in the end. This is how the bag looked like before felting..

I filled my kitchen-sink with HOT water..added a mild soap to begin with.. and soaked the knitted bag in it. I kept agitating the bag in the sink every 5 minutes. I did this till the water came to a 'bearable' temperature.

Once the water cooled down a bit for me to put my hands in it, I started scrubbing the bag like crazy! Felting took a long time to start. I changed the soap to Surf Excel as the mild soap wasn't cutting it for felting! I had to scrub for 45 mins before I got the light-bulb moment to change the soap. Once I changed the soap, it started felting easily. (Excuse the BIG.FAT.ARMS. here!)

I was merciless while scrubbing. I kinda scrubbed the life out of the bag in typical Indian 'Dhobi'-style. I took the bag now and then out of the water and pounded on and kneaded it to aid the process. When the water became lukewarm, I drained some and added some more HOT water and Surf Excel.

Once it started felting, it went pretty fast.. I quit the scrubbing after the bag shrunk to the size I wanted(or rather after I got tired of the workout). The entire process of hand-felting took me an hour and a half to get the final results. Boy! was I tired or wat?! I think it was pure crafter's adrenaline that got me finish the felting.. I didn't realize it would tire me out so much! So, all those you want to try hand-felting anything substantial, have an energy drink at your side.. ;-)

Tip: To speed-up the process of felting, dunk the FO alternately in cold and hot water during scrubbing. It will be handy to have a bowl or a bucket of cool water. 

After all the elbow-grease in soapy water, I rinsed the bag in clear water and rolled it in a Turkish towel and jumped on it to squeeze the water out! Hubster had the fun of watching me jump like a clown in the middle of the house, though Alvin was immune to it!(And, NO!! there are no pictures to document this step in felting!) Then, I stuffed the felted bag with plushies and towels to give it a good shape and let it to dry on a table and started clicking photos!

Here is the project on Ravelry: Felted Entrelac Clutch!
Pre-felting dimensions: Height: 16 inches; Width: 17 inches
Post-felting dimentions: Height: 14 inches ; Width: 15 inches

It gives me a high to try new and different techniques in my crafty hobbies and I am glad conquered felting! I see more felted FOs in the future! But, all this resulted in Ravelympics 2010 FAIL!! Work was hectic last week and I couldn't think of working on a 300+ stitches-and-still-growing shawl at the end of a tiring day at work and this entrelac bag fit the bill nicely. I would work on a few squares each day and I finished the knitting in 10 days!:-) But, here is my Ravelympics 2010 failure project(Some day soon, I will see it to completion!):

But, I have one more good news on the crafty side! I finally finished hemming the half-circle skirt I made way back in October last year! I followed a few online tutorials and the book Sew What Skirts!! for making this skirt. Despite all the high-school math I recollected about pi and the circumference of a circle, I ended up with a waistline that would require me to put on a few hundred pounds more! so, I made a casing for the waistline and inserted elastic cord through it to make it snug around my waistline! Here is a picture of the skirt after it was finished:

So, it was a highly productive weekend craft-wise..and to top it all, I have an off on Monday on account of Holi! Happy Holi to all.. May this year be colorful and cheerful for all of you!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Highs and lows of a crafty life!

January was a crappy month for me! I totally lost my crafty mojo and didn't feel like either knitting or sewing! I come back home from work tired and wouldn't have an ounce of energy to think about anything crafty. It went to the extent of me worrying why I lost my drive to create anything..then, I stopped and told myself.. my hobbies should be a way for me to unwind myself..they should not be the cause of my worries. So, I accepted the fact I am taking a break from my hobbies..I decided to get back to some cooking.. tried a few new recipes.. So now, I have decided to try one new recipe every weekend...something simple and different from our regular meals. So far, I am on track!

Instead of wallowing in my craft-less misery, I decided to browse the WWW for inspiration and came across a few good sites.. Here are a few links you might enjoy!

If you are DIY-kinda person interested in home decor projects, here is the site for you: Sew4Home Awesome project ideas for those who sew.

This site is for those who knit, crochet or sew! the purl bee awesome site to get inspired and create.

So, after getting inspired.. I decided to tackle the easiest sewing project on earth! Pillow cases!! I got 16X16 pillows and decided to sew cases for 'em. I had this cotton fabric print for a long time.. I made 2 circle skirts and 2 box bags out of it and still had miles of it. So, I decided to use it up for the pillow cases. I just read about the basic construction of the pillowcases and started on my own. I used my shiny new Olfa Rotary cutter to cut the fabric. Its liberating to use a rotary cutter rather than the dressmaker's shears! So, after sewing for 3 days after work, I had these pillows to decorate my living room!

Here is the front and back of the cases..

I still had enough fabric left to line the Jamaica Pouch I knitted 3 months back. The yarn was a RAK from Bebere from Ravelry. Its the softest cotton yarn I have ever worked with. The pouch is very stretchy!The size of the pouch is perfect for one small or medium-sized project. This one had been languishing for 3 months to be lined. Here is the pouch after lining:

Here is the project on Ravelry: Jamaica Pouch

I leave you with images of 2 on the needles and one on the hook! The first one on the needles is the Melody shawl from Morehouse Merino Farm. Its mindless stockinette knitting with a capital 'M'. I call it Stockinette Therapy! Here is my Stockinette Therapy Shawl in progress:

The next on on the hook is the Stella circular shawl.. Its like a giant doily.. I just started it 2 days back. Here it is in the beginning stages:

Hope February is a fun month for all of us!!


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