Every so often a friend of my Mum’s brings me a huge bag of hand-me-downs. It’s such a treat. After her last visit I plunged my hand into a bag, rummaged around and pulled out a huge knitted jumper. It was a chunky, grey wool knitted in loose, wide stitches. The body of the jumper was a T shape, two large squares for the body and four smaller squares for the arms. I loved it, it looked dreadful on me.
But did I give up and throw it to one side? Oh no, I wasn’t letting this one go to the charity shop. So here is what I decided to do with my new jumper instead…
1) First I cut both arms off the jumper leaving me with a vaguely square bag shape. When you cut into a knitted fabric you have to stitch along the edges you are about to cut otherwise when you snip through the stitches your jumper will unravel. For smaller knits you can do this on your sewing machine using a zigzag stitch. I used a tapestry needle and a strand of the wool I was using for my edging to catch in the stitches around the arm holes.
2) Next for a nice chunky edging. Using three strands of double knit yarn together I single crocheted all the way around two sides and the bottom of the bag, closing all the openings as I went.
Hmmm, not so much plain as blank don’t you agree? I decided to stuff new bag with squashy balls of yarn for some wooly inspiration. Once the bag was full there was really only one way to go…
3) I cut eyes, nose and whiskers out of some pre made felt and I had all the best intentions of stitching them on, but ended up sticking them to the front of the bag with fabric glue. (They will fall off eventually, there wasn’t much surface to stick them to but when they do I will actually take the time to hand stitch them on, promise!).
From misfit jumper to the cat’s whiskers of a yarn bag in an hour and a half, and I had everything I needed in the house already. Purrrfect.
I’ve been spinning and spinning the time turner I was given for my birthday but I can’t manage to create even one extra hour in my day. Back to elbow grease and self discipline I guess! I’ve been feeling a little flat about all the felt making and social media madness recently, I’ve been working hard and don’t seem to have much to show for it. So today I am focusing on the successes.
I finished my first round of eggs this morning and I’m pretty pleased with them. These eggs have taken a little longer to hatch than I had hoped but I now have a clutch of about 40 done. Some of these sets will be gifts for family and friends, but I hope to get some on etsy and maybe find one or two fairs to take them to before Easter.
Usually I get all of my tops from World of Wool. Their roving is just gorgeous, lush colours and great to work with. This time though I used a bag of Merino tops from Wingham Wool Works. A friend recommended them to me as she had used them on a felt making course and I have to agree that they are equally as lovely to felt with and good value too. I love these pastel shades (not a phrase you can expect from me often), pics of the vivid brighter shades to come when I have finished the next batch.
While we are on the subject of Easter gifts I am also in the process of making thislittle guy as an Easter hunt jackpot prize. Depending how long he takes I might make a few.
A good productive day all round….and that’s not all I’ve done today but you’ll get to see the rest in good time…..
Whether your lantern has just started to soften and sag, or your cat has mistaken it for a comfy sleeping spot, the following steps will restore your lantern to its former glory.
You will need:
hand hot water
a tea towel/ drying rack
Sit your lantern on a flat surface.
Inflate the balloon inside the lantern. The idea is that when you have inflated the balloon and tied a knot in the end, the knot will be roughly in the middle of the lantern opening. The curved top of the balloon gives the curved shape to the base of the lantern. When inflating the balloon it is important that the walls of that lantern should be taut over the balloon to avoid too many wrinkles, but not so tight that it puts pressure on the neck of the lantern. But there is no need to be overly precious.
Now we need to wet the wool. I always use hand hot water to wet the wool first and just a touch of olive oil soap. (You can use a little of whatever hand/ dish soap you have by the sink.) Agitate the wool gently, make gentle circular movements across the surface of the felt for 1 or 2 minutes. Trial and error has taught me that if you apply too much pressure you can end up forcing the balloon to bulge on the opposite side to the one you are rubbing and because the wool is wet, it can stretch the shape.
Rinse all of the soap out of the wool. This one needs to be done with cold water. Turn the cold tap on to a slow steady flow and holding the lantern close to the spout of the tap allow the fresh water to gently displace all of the soapy water.
Leave your lantern to dry. Apply some gentle pressure to press some excess water out or pat with a clean, dry tea towel and then it’s up to you. You can leave your lantern on a windowsill, on the radiator ( if you have the sort of radiator that has two raised lines across the top you will get lines in the bottom of you lantern, but there are worse things that can happen!) or you could also dry them upside down by resting them in a bowl. How long they take to dry will depend on so many things – how much you patted them dry, how thick they are, how warm the room is. I guess the best advice I could give you is don’t dry them with a hair dryer but don’t let them stay wet for so long that they start to smell like a damp sheep.
Pop the balloon and your lantern will be as proudly upstanding as the first day it was made.
If I haven’t made the process clear, or you’ve tried this and think I’ve missed something out please let me know, I’m only to happy to help and am always on the look out for new hints and tips!