Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beautiful Dish Cloths

Linda H. sent word of a website with absolutely beautiful knitted dish cloths. Here is the website for you avid knitters:

Felted Crochet

On this topic, I am the messager rather than the expert. I have done a little bit of accidental felting by putting a couple of afghans in the washing machine. They come out a little bit fuzzier every time I wash them.
Here are the basics as I understand them. It's useful to make a small sample from the same yarn that you are planning to use for the project. The yarn should not say "Machine Washable" and it should be at least 50% animal hair. Wool, llama, alpaca, and mohair are good choices. Sometimes the colors will fade or blend at the edges of stripes.
To felt by hand, you soak the piece in warm, soapy (use pure soap like Ivory) water and rub the yarn against itself, changing directions as you go so that every part gets rubbed. When you think it's fuzzy enough, dip the piece in cold water and rub a little more to make sure it's the way you want it to look. If it isn't finished, put it back in the warm water because the soap and heat help loosen the fibers. Rub some more until it's the way you like it.
Squeeze out the water. Roll the piece in a towel to get rid of more water. Block the piece and put it in a warm, dry place to finish drying.
Felted pieces can still shrink after they have been processed like this, so treat them like other woolens and wash in cold water.
The library has a book with instructions and patterns called Felted Crochet by Jane Davis. There are also at least six books on how to felt with knitted work.
You can find patterns and instructions, written or on video, online. Put "felted crochet" in the search bar - and happy crafting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two degrees

This morning my husband was watching the news (and I wasn't paying close attention), when I heard in passing something like this "If you lower the temperature in your house two degrees, we'll contribute to such-and-so charity". Maybe it's time to go back to big, fuzzy house sweaters.
The library has sweater patterns in both knit and crochet. Family Circle Easy Sweaters: 50 Knit and Crochet Projects by Trisha Malcolm might be useful in times such as these.
Also Crochet Pattern Central has almost 100 sweater patterns in crochet and, if you switch to the other side, Knitting Pattern Central, there are way more than that. And that's only in the Women's Clothing section. The men have just as many, but not so nicely separated. They have sweaters, vests, and other clothing patterns jumbled together.
When I make a sweater or house robe, I like to make them with three-quarter sleeves so I can cook without getting food on myself or setting the sleeves on fire. Just a thought.
May you dream warm dreams, and happy crafting.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pocket Pets

Have you ever heard of amigurumi? It's the Japanese style of crocheting in a spiral. Usually amigurumi is used to make small animals which you stuff with a little bit of poly-fill and give to the wee ones in your family. Some of these creatures can be made small enough to hang as a decoration on a backpack. If you start now, you could make enough for your Christmas tree. (chuckle)
The library catalog has several listings for amigurumi pattern books, all of which you will have to put on hold to have sent here from somewhere else. There are all kinds of amigurumi patterns on the internet. Just put "amigurumi free patterns" into the search bar and choose what you like. Almost all of the patterns will be crochet, as that is the traditional medium for this style of craft, but you might find a few patterns to knit.
Pocket pets are hot, so work up a couple of little creatures and put a smile on someone's face.
Happy crafting.