on the diagonal

Yeesh! I didn't mean for nearly a week to go by between posts. Forgive me. Here's a fun wooden-bead bracelet I recently made. I'd never worked with wooden beads before--I love how fun and bold these beads are.

coming soon

You'd think with all the beadin' going on, I'd up and quit knitting. Nope! Here's progress on my next felted bag, a twin for the last tote I felted. I love this shade of blue! It's one of my all-time favorite colors. For the top border/handle I'm thinking orange, because ... I have an obscene amount of orange wool on hand and can't think of any other aesthetically-pleasing uses for it! Well, maybe I'm exaggerating (I only have three skeins of the offending orange wool). And I really do like the color combo.

Happy Friday, everyone!

heavy metal

I recently restrung a bracelet for a co-worker that consisted only of metal beads and spacers and beautiful chalcedony-like, blue-green stones. It was stunning. Inspired by that bracelet, I thought I'd play with paring things back a little, forcing myself to use the elements I always disregarded as "transitional filler" as a true design element. I love this look! The repetitive silver patterns really allow the beads to "pop."

beads, incognito

Just blending in with the local scenery ...

Here's a better view:

I stumbled across these paintbrush jasper pendants at a Spokane bead shop and fell in love with them. They were strung together horizontally, like a belt. Lots of mottled grays and agate-like accents. They've inspired a bunch of necklace designs, but these are the first two creations!

pearls of summer

I love making earrings. Such instant gratification! Here's a few pearl combos that will be going into the craft fair inventory.

a new bag story

Excited by my success with this little pink number, I charged ahead on bag numero dos ... this time I thought some lime green polka dots would be kind of fun. Had I ever tried intarsia before? Nah. Did I bother researching the proper method? Nah. Full steam ahead!

This polka dot turned out perfect ...

This one? Not so much ...

Struck by the fear that all those wholes and bumps would lead to a pretty lumpy finished project, I abandoned my polka dot dreams. Luckily I hadn't gotten too far in my knitting.

One finished bag, ready to felt! (sorry bad evening lighting)
I should have put something in this photo for scale--it seemed huuuge. It could cover my entire head and shoulders. Look honey, I'm knitting a humongous sack!

Hooray! Another successful finished project! It even stands on its own. Amazing!

(an inside shot)

beaded bonsai

(Photo: The Needle Nook)

How fun! Ever wanted a bonsai tree of your own? Why not bead one? :-D I'm bummed, because one of my local yarn shops, The Needle Nook, offered this as a class this summer while I was on vacation. They promised it will be offered again soon ... (like I need a new project with all my current knitting and beading!)

lessons learned

So you can better understand my excitement over the success of my most recent felted bag, here is a quick history of my previous attempts at felting. Enjoy!

My first bag! Not so bad, eh? Knit in the round with an attached i-cord handle. The only problem? The contrasting yarn I chose to line the top felted at a faster rate than the rest of the bag, forcing me to stop the felting process before the stitches had fully disappeared.

And the bag's opening is a smidge cozy....

Second attempt: this time I seamed the bottom together ... which turned out a little wonky. Kind of apple-shaped, in fact. Oops!

Third attempt. I loooove these colors! This time I knit a bunch of rectangles and seamed them together. Not so bad--if I had blocked this guy, it would have turned out great!

Fourth attempt. This is the felted version of the "tote in progress." I still enjoy the switcharoo in dominant colors. But this yarn shrunk up much more than I expected.

And my seaming still leaves something to be desired.

baggin' it

(Really high-tech blocking materials here: plastic grocery bags)

I think I have finally stumbled across the recipe for creating a felted bag that I can be proud of. Ingredient #1: knitting a rectangle bottom as my first step. Ingredient #2: picking up stitches around the entirety of the bottom and then knitting the bag in the round. Ingredient #3: blocking the bag immediately upon removing it from the washing machine. Knitting an actual bottom for the bag improves the shape so much--previously I had been knitting large rectangles and sewing them in half (which didn't mesh well with my utter lack of proper seaming skills!). Those initial bags pale in comparison to this method. And I am embarassed to admit that I just didn't block my previous attempts at creating felted bags. It makes a world of difference! I'll never skip blocking again.

No wonky bits or bumps!

Next step: attach the handle and add cute ribbon as a final touch.

beaded beauties

A little more progress on my craft fair inventory ...

Double-stranded pale green pearls.

A summery blue-green combo.

one bag, two ways

Triangle, or traditional square-edged tote--take your pick! The "triangle" version is the result of folding in the top corners, which happened naturally as I was constructing this recycled sweater tote. (Recycled sweater crafting is surprisingly fun: find a fun wool sweater at a thrift shop, purposely felt it, and then use the material to sew into your object of choice. Martha makes stuffed animals, mittens, and more out of re-purposed and felted sweaters this way.) Originally I planned on adding a snap that would purposely close the bag into a triangle shape, but I never found any I liked enough to add. The fun heart on the corner? That's hiding the only blemish the sweater had--a hole that was badly sewn shut. Probably the only reason the sweater ended up in a thrift shop! The lining? I ended up opting for the orange rose pattern. I love how funky and fun this bag turned out, but it's orange overload for me. Into the craft fair pile she goes!

2021 year in review

  Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...