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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Second Time Around

You may remember me posting a while back about trying out needle felting.  While I enjoyed it, I didn't really get the feel of it.  I did pretty well adding details to things like birthday banners but, I just couldn't seem to get the hang of the 3 dimensional needle felting.  That all seemed to change last Sunday. 

I had run into the craft store for a few supplies (we recently moved to Frankfurt so I was craving something familiar.) and I came across the felting section.  I quickly snapped up a foam block, a few needles, and an assorted bag of wool.  (all for less than 15 euros)  That next day (Sunday) I felted the entire day.  I didn't really start out with a plan I just looked around on Pinterest for some "pinspiration" and started felting. 

Now first of all let me say...I'm totally not an expert in needle felting.  That said, this little project turned out so much better than I could have hoped for. 

The Wonky House

It also helped me see where I might have gone wrong before.  So here are a few felting tips based on my (totally unprofessional) experience.

1.  Use the material.  Seriously.  Last time I remember thinking "I don't want to use too much wool" and that was totally stupid.  You're supposed to use it.  Quit being cheap!

Interior detail.

2.  If you're making something 3 dimensional with walls and you think they're thick enough...they're not.  Double the thickness and you may come close.  With this house I realized after I attached the walls to the base that they were not thick enough.  I "cheated" this by making another wall section and adding detail for the inside and putting those layers together.  It would have been waaaay simpler to just make them super thick to start with. 

Two walls stuck together.

3.  Use quality wool.  Now, I'm not saying you should spend a fortune here (my wool was only 7 euros)  but you want it to look like it came off an actual sheep.  The roving I had purchased in the US was not the same quality I bought here.  It was too shiny and too "perfect".  This stuff LOOKS like it came of a sheep and was dyed funky colors.  I could have totally imagined this but the wool here looks less processed.

4.  The more you mess with it...the worse it looks.  Less is totally more with this free form stuff.  I like tightly felted beads as much as the next guy, but structures look better with less felting.  (again my unprofessional opinion)

I really like the furry little details.

5.  I think the most important thing to remember is that you'll probably suck at first.  How unfair would it be if you were just great at everything on the first try?  Try it again.  And again.  And again if you have to to get the hang of it.  The wool really isn't that expensive. 

Those are really the main lessons I learned with felting.  It was so much fun and I can't wait to get more wool (my house needs furniture).  And I'm thinking I want to try one of those play mats too.  I'll keep you posted of course. 

Oh and don't poke your finger! 


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just kidding...this hat.

Remember how I was knitting the Jacques Cousteau hat for my dear husband?  Well I finally finished it right before his birthday.  (score!)  It took and I swore I'd never knit that pattern again.  Tiny needles.  Anyway, turns out it was HUGE.  Like, we could have both fit our heads into it, huge.  So....I had him choose another pattern (which I followed the alternate directions for - he likes to have his ears totally covered) and started knitting another hat.  We decided on The Boyfriend Hat and I'm so glad we did!  I knit it while unraveling the first one which just felt wrong, but this one fits SO MUCH BETTER!  I'm so happy I redid it.  I think he's much happier with it too (although he'd never come out and say he didn't like the first one - he's awesome like that.).

I couldn't get picture in natural light.

I tried to take one this morning with Little Man wearing it but
it's just too cloudy here.  He's cute anyway.

So that's what I've been knitting.  I just visited my new yarn shop here in Frankfurt last night and bought something for a warmer hat for myself.  I imagine I'll cast that on tonight and you'll see it next week sometime. 

I'm finally finishing up Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett on my nook.  I'm also working my way through What Your First Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. 

Linking up with Ginny at Small Things today for the Yarn Along.  Can't wait to see what everyone is working on!


Thursday, January 24, 2013


This may come as a shock to you but...I've been knitting.  I know! 

I brought a few small projects with me to Frankfurt and I've been using up the leftover yarn from those to make other stuff.  (I have found a couple yarn shops here but my husband works 6 days a week and somehow it's just not as relaxing to go to yarn shopping with a 4 & 7 year old who really don't want to be there.) 

I had several small bits of cotton yarn that I'd been making dishrags with when I came across this pattern on Ravelry.  It's the perfect project to use up leftover yarn.

And it just so happens my children are collectors of treasure.  I made these a little larger than the original pattern.  You can see my Ravelry notes here.  This way they also hold a little snack before you start collecting.

It really is a great size for a small apple or orange.

Try this project out!  It's quick and simple.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Borrowers: The Beginning

Hello all and Happy New Year! 

We made it to Germany about 2 1/2 weeks ago and have been slowly coming out of our travel haze.  Yesterday was our (the kids and I) first real get out and adventure day.  We were on a mission to find fireworks.  (turns out Germans really like to blow stuff up on New Years Eve.  Really.  Craziest thing I've ever seen as far as booms go.)  Anyway, we found them, had fun blowing them up and staying up late.  Today has been rainy and cold so we decided a movie day was in the cards.  (cause we haven't had any of those lately - she says sarcastically.)  Since I've seen all these movies I decided to craft...

Okay, you need a little back story first.  We are starting The Borrowers by Mary Norton as a homeschool book project.  It's a fantastic book if you haven't read it and I was more than a little obsessed with it when I was a kid.  I like little things.  Fairies, gnomes, pixies, borrowers, etc.  Anyway, when we moved here (we're not here forever FYI) we left all our stuff and 90% of the kids toys at home in Colorado.  So part of our Borrower project is to make a Borrower world to play with.  (Kill two birds with one stone?  Yes please.)  This will be ongoing and probably my favorite project ever so expect more Borrower posts. 

I feel like my last few posts should come with a cuteness warning and this one is no exception. Cuteness alert!   Here we go.

Oh yeah.  It's a Borrower bed in a blueberry box.  That just happened. 

About a year ago I made Piper this tiny little Rapunzel for her birthday.  (I made Eugene too and I imagine we'll see him when we make up the boy room.)  I used Sally Mavor's book Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects which is super awesome.  Tiny Rapunzel is one of the 2.5 inch dolls.  The perfect Borrower size.  Peg people would work for this project also.

I've been knitting a lot lately and decided to make up a blanket for her little bed.  It's nothing complex or counted or measured.  I basically made a gauge sample.  

We brought a small bag of scrap fabric and sewing notions for just such an occasion.  I hand stitched  a tiny mattress and pillow to fit in the blueberry box.  I used fluffed up cotton balls for the stuffing.

The crayon props up the lid.  You could use anything.  Corn dog stick.  Sucker stick.  Stick from the yard.  Crayon.  I thought the pink was a nice accent.

It all folds up nicely too.  If you don't want to commit to an entire world you can just have a tiny plaything for your purse or backpack. 

This may be my favorite thing ever.

This is going to be such a fun project...for me.  The kids will enjoy playing with everything even if they aren't super into making the stuff.  I may not want to share that part of the project anyway.  :)

Hoping you have a fabulous (and crafty) 2013!!