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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Able to cable

I'm knitting my first proper jacket in about a million years (approx). It's been ill fated from the start. I bought the wool in a hurry. Who can make a sensible choice in a hurry? I took the sales person's advice. Sales people are employed to sell things. I should know this, I am one! It drives me nuts when customers ask me which one they should choose but there I was, all simpery, asking my sales person which wool I should work with.

She recommended Sirdar Peru. No complaints there, wool and alpaca with a little bit of acrylic to make it manageable. And to go with that Madam, may I recommend.......Sirdar Click, 70% acrylic! (She didn't tell me that bit). It wasn't until I held it in my excited little hands, sticky with anticipation and instantly let it go again with that arghhhhhh, acrylic, get it away from me feeling that I realised the enormity of my purchase. In more ways than one. She sold me far too much, enough to knit jumpers for the whole of Peru probably.

This was to be a three colour jumper. I'm now trying to squeeze the whole thing out of the two Perus, giving the acrylic a body swerve. Let's hope she sold me too much to be enough for this adjustment, if you get my drift.

Next on my list of things to make and do is to learn to cable without that dratted, slippery little eel of a needle which disappears between every row.

Here's what it should look like.

And here is my attempt to make the pattern more legible. I was given the idea by man who suggested I might find tap dancing more accessible if I tried doing if on the head of a pin.

Still, good practice in pig headed determination. I'm thinking of taking that up an an Olympic sport.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The final curtain

'What is it?' the kids asked. 'Is it a blanket?' They have a point. I'm a big believer in form and function but in this instance our work of art was purely decorative. As a final flourish the kids couched down the black lines they had felted around pipe cleaners a la Kandinksy.
The end.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

finished felting

Well I am, finished felting. The children have one more chance to embellish their hanging tomorrow morning. Today I've been doing the assembly work for them.

You'll see how extremely sculptural the felt became in the washing machine. All hills and valleys. I also machine felted all the scraps and decided to use them, just as they came out of the machine, to join the pieces together.
Buttons and button holes did the trick and here we have all these strange amorphous joining pieces looking like shrunken socks.
A few of the scraps assembled themselves together in the washing machine and became an impromptu sea creature. Must remember this for future projects!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Practicing scales

Here's the fish puppet resplendent with his paper scales. This worked well and I'm pleased with it although I think I might be making them and the kids might be decorating them. Still, good collaborative fishing.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

More puppets for the special needs kids who are having an under water theme. These are made from circles of foam I found in the scrap store. It's self adhesive on one side. The sticky side is on the outside of the fish making it very easy for the children to decorate. They can either stick on paper/fabric scales in a systematic fashion, throw scraps at it randomly or roll it in some glitter, depending on their abilities. The inside of the puppet's head is also sticky - in a good way. The lightest of touch with your finger tips and it adhere to your hand making it very simple to operate and impossible to drop. When you're finished playing with it, none of the stickiness transfers itself to your hand. Photos of possible decoration to follow.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Keep your sunny side up

I nearly made a dreadful whoopsie at felt school yesterday. Here is all the soft felt disappearing under the first layer of tops that will eventually become the background. We are making our wall hanging like an upside down pizza, to be flipped over when complete. These pictures were taken after the mistake had been rectified. Can you guess what it was? I was strolling round admiring all the lovely surface decoration on the soft felt pieces. Surface decoration that was rapidly being smothered by a snowdrift of background tops....

'Stop!' I hollered. 'Turn all your soft felt over so the best side is facing the table. The tops on top is going to become the tops on the bottom!'

And they wonder why kids today are confused.....

Having rectified my error the kids all achieved three clouds of fleecy tops lying over the offending pieces. We damped our clouds with warm water - and the bell rang. Timing couldn't have been worse.

From my dim and distant felt making past I can remember heating cold and wet pieces up in the microwave before I started felting them again but won't be an option for us. Guess we'll just have to add more hot water and hope for the best.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Meanwhile back at felt school.....

The kids have been cutting shapes from their soft felt ready to add a background of more carded fleece and re-felt. There is a great felt makers list hosted by Pat Spark and there I learned how to cover the original collage with a piece of acetate which enables you to reproduce your exact design in felt pieces. If you dampen the felt pieces with soapy water they 'stick' in place while you add your background layers and re-felt.

I was lucky enough to find an old glass washboard a few years ago. It's been in my cupboard ever since waiting for a jolly felt making outing and today's the day!

Introducing Mr Mophead

I have a puppet project starting after the holidays in a special needs school. They want to make rod puppet so here's my simplified version made with a dish mop and some clothes line. An elastic band round the mop part gives you instant delineation between face and hair. I painted this face which worked well enough. You could also paint the hair but I think I'd me more likely to add some kind of wig or other headgear.....and clothes of course. This will be happening in January after all!