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The front door needed something, something that was NOT the red berry wreath that has seen better days. I wanted to make a wreath that wasn’t permanent, not too fussy or prim, but would give us a burst of spring color.
Also, it had to be easy and quick. I pictured something along the lines of the ribbon wreath my daughter made last year. Or maybe a little like the Anthropologie thread-wrapped bricks I saw on Pinterest. Or the yarn-and-fiber wrapped rabbit I’d seen at the Ackland Museum Store in Chapel Hill. For the life of me, I can’t find the name of that artist or a link to her work, so let me know if you know what I’m talking about.
I bought a straw wreath form at Michaels and pulled out a bunch of spring-colored scraps: leftover strips from this quilt, scraps from this dress and this one, and Kool-Aid dyed yarns.
I started wrapping and pinning on the darker color strips, hoping a little dark poking through from the bottom layer would keep the color scheme from getting too saccharine. Though in the end there’s actually very few darks to be seen.
Next came the lighter and brighter strips, then the ribbons. Last, I started wrapping the yarn, but my five-year-old was really into that part, so I let him wrap until the whole thing had a good spreading of yarn.
In the end, I’m fairly happy with the results. It hit all my requirements, though it didn’t quite match up to my vision. Hubs wasn’t so sure about it at first, but it’s grown on him, he says. Either that or he just wants to make sure I make his favorite chicken salad this week.
For more of my posts about crafts, click here.
Is it spring where you are? We had lovely weather over the weekend, and things are sprouting up in the garden.
Meanwhile, I’m still inching along with the revision on my novel. I’m remembering something Katherine Paterson once said/ wrote….something to the effect that she had to sculpt her plot out of granite, using straight pins. My process is feeling something like that. I keep making headway but then realizing there’s so much more to do. What are you up to?
Sometime in the last few months I got it in my head that I wanted a cashmere blanket. Like, really wanted one. I think maybe I started obsessing when I was paging through Handmade Home and saw all the cozy, cozy stacks of blankets. I just wanted to curl up with them. I didn’t want to fork over the money for cashmere, though, so I started scheming. Could I possibly find enough thrifted cashmere to make a blanket?
Sometimes it’s hard to come by, but lo and behold, there was a bumper crop of cashmere at Goodwill this fall. Some of it was in perfect condition, in my size, with classic lines. What?! I washed those and put them in my closet.
The rest of it, the out-of-fashion, the holey, the wrong sizes, I cut into rectangles (excluding the holey bits) after washing it. I added in a few washed and shrunken merino sweaters, too, to round things out and make the blanket a little bigger.
In all I used six sweaters for the blanket. It went together pretty quickly, and the kids were very excited to help place the pieces. Everyone was already fighting over it before it was even done.
I had planned to lap the edges, but kind of forgot that plan until midway through. Oh well. Next blanket, maybe. I already have some cashmere pieces waiting.
Personally I like all the little weirdnesses of sweater pieces, the rolled edges, the seams and ribbing here and there. And it’s kind of nice to have a “smooth” side and a “wrong side.” I like them both.
For sewing the pieces together, I used (I think) a regular machine needle and upped the stitch length a bit. I had no problems with it. If you want specific instructions for sewing a cashmere sweater blanket, check out Betz White’s book Warm Fuzzies.
Random: love loved this fire and ice birthday party over at elsie marley. Almost makes me want to live in a frozen place again.
Also, has anyone been watching Parade’s End on HBO? I can’t fully follow the storyline, but wow, the clothes are incredible!
And lastly, next week I’ll be introducing you to a friend of mine, artist/ photographer Dawn Hanna. So excited! Her work is drop-dead gorgeous.
Okay, folks. Have a great weekend.
By: Emily Smith Pearce,
Blog: Emily Smith Pearce
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, Fiber Arts
, arm warmers
, felted sweater
, felted wool
, fiber art
, kool aid
, kool-aid dye
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These hand warmers began life as perhaps the most expensive children’s underclothes known to man.
Figuring out the right gear for the weather in Germany has been an ongoing education. When my three-year-old’s kind, dear kindergarten teacher told me he needed undershirts, I listened. He needed not just any undershirts, mind you, but silk-wool undershirts, from a boutique. I can’t even bear to tell you how much I paid for them.
Meanwhile, it’s very un-German of me, but I haven’t been able to kick the big ol’ energy-wasting American dryer addiction. Maybe there’s a 12-step program I can enroll in and by the time we leave here I’ll have cleaned up my act. Dryers do exist in Germany, but it’s much more common, regardless of income level, to use a drying rack. I do this some but not enough.
Sadly, this is what happened to one of the costly silk-wool undershirts:
Gasp! All those Euros gone to waste! I couldn’t handle it becoming just a doll shirt, and my daughter had been asking for a set of hand warmers. So I broke out the Kool-Aid (brought from the U.S.) and dyed it, using roughly these instructions.
If I had it to do over, I’d probably use one less packet of Kool-Aid to get a slightly lighter color, but oh well. It’s done. After that I just cut up the middle of the shirt and trimmed the top down so that the arm-piece of the shirt became the thumb-piece of the warmers.
I used an old T-shirt to line the arm warmers and finished them off with blanket stitching. Voila! You could certainly make a similar pair with a shrunken sweater, using the underarm corner as the under-thumb corner.
“It’s just a cup of flour, a cup of sugar and a cup of fruit cocktail with the syrup, stir and bake in a hot oven ‘til golden brown and bubbly. I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness.” Dolly Parton as Truvy in Steel Magnolias
For awhile I was calling this the Candy Rainbow patchwork, but now when I look at it, I keep thinking of Truvy serving ice cream with her Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa cake. The intense, sweet colors here were just begging for a little something to cut the sweetness.
I’m liking the quiet spaces the white is making. The front of this is finished now, so hopefully I will finish up the back (all white) and show it to you soon.
I’m getting a little weary of the candy colors, or at least in using them all together. My next new quilt will have to be something a little quieter.
For earlier pictures of this patchwork, click here.
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy seeing an earlier patchwork of mine that appears here.
This was a fairly simple and oh-so-satisfying project. I bought the pashmina (silk and cashmere) for a few dollars at a thrift store and used it as a sort of throw in my son’s room when he was a baby. It was just the right color at the time, but after it outlived its usefulness, I felt obligated to wear it.
The problem was, it just wasn’t my color, so I never did. It seemed too luxurious to get rid of, so finally I decided to overdye it. I had to choose a color that was in the same vein but deeper. This coral color (Deka calls it “Hibiscus”) seemed just right, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. The color is very slightly uneven, but to me that’s just part of the charm of hand-dyeing.
I have to confess, though, that I’m still a little lost as to how to wear a pashmina shawl—maybe I should look for an online tute? The beading is also a little fancy for my taste. I could remove it, but that feels a little drastic. In the meantime, the shawl is keeping me warm at home.
For tips on overdyeing, see my post How to Overdye. If you’re in the US, I recommend dharma trading for supplies and directions. Remember: only try this with natural fibers, and please not with anything precious, because you never know what your results will be.
I threw in a few other things while the dye was ready, including this tablecloth from the thrift store here:
You may remember it from this earlier post. I love the dipped-in-Kool-Aid look it has here—so much more interesting than the brown on white. I’m planning to make some travel sacks for my daughter to pack her shoes and dirty laundry in. This always seems to be an issue when we travel, and it’s nice to have something handy and cute to use.
Speaking of fiber arts, the haiku sweater is off the needles (woowoo!) and Amy Karol had this great post on knitting attitudes the other day. And by the way she seems to have found a similar cookie thing like ours (where you can print letters) at Williams Sonoma. She’s a much more patient mommy than I am because she let the kids do a bajillion different words. I’m inspired.
Also, regarding fiber arts, I was totally happy to see the return of annekata. She had quit blogging for awhile, but she’s back!
2 Comments on Overdyed Pashmina Shawl, last added: 1/27/2012
I first read about these looms in an issue of Craft magazine, back in the good ol’ days when they still had a print edition. With the article, there was a pattern to make your own loom with cardboard, and although I’m sure that works fine, it wasn’t until I found out the author of the article was making hard plastic looms for sale on etsy that I decided I had to try it. Oops! Looks like his store is currently closed, but hopefully he is just on vacation or something.
I got the loom for Christmas and tried it out a few weeks ago using some wool sock yarn I found at the thrift store for 2 euros. Score! Actually, I think it was like 1 euro 60 because they were having a funny promotion where you had to roll the dice to see if you could get a discount. I did. Yay me!
Anyway, the video the loom maker (Travis Meinolf) provides on youtube is very helpful, though I found doing the setup to be a little trickier than I thought it would be. I guess practice will make it easier. I also had grand ideas of the weaving being so fast—like, faster than my snail-like knitting—but because I chose such a skinny yarn, it hasn’t been all that fast.
The good news is, the weaving itself is pretty fun, and the kids and even my husband had to get in on the action. I’ll admit the kids’ weaving isn’t as neat as I might like, but they had a good time, and the labor was free.
The edges, as you see, are pretty uneven. I’m not sure if this is something I would get better at with practice, or if I should just view it as charming and deal with it. Or, another option, to cover it with some kind of (silk?) bias binding, like the professional weaver downstairs does with her gorgeous blankets.
I love this shot of Cinderella (below) at the loom. It’s somehow totally right for Cinderella to be weaving, don’t you think? People in fairy tales do stuff like that.
Next we’ll be spinning wool and warning against pricking fingers on spindles.
I seem to be stuck in an almost-finished project mode. The Haiku sweater is done except for blocking. A dress like this is almost done, but I’m so frustrated that it’s not turning out the way I want it to.
Meanwhile, I’ve been writing and researching on my book projects. I’m reading another great writing book called
I was supposed to be at the health club swimming. I was supposed to be at school putting up bulletin boards and dissecting the Social Studies Standards. I was supposed to be folding laundry.
Instead, I was standing at the sink snipping basil leaves from basil stems. Endlessly. I should have taken pictures so you could see just how many leaves there were on my four basil BUSHES this year. Suffice it to say, I made six batches of pesto. Six food processors full.
Six containers of distilled summer, captured and preserved on this crisp hint-of-fall day.
As I snipped and washed and packed and ground and glopped and slopped, I had a lot of time to think. I thought about summer and photosynthesis. I thought about fall and endings. I thought about winter and snow.
Thoughts of snow turned to thoughts of Robert's Snow, and the enormous amazing outpouring of support for Grace Lin and her family and all those whose lives might be touched by the cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
I feel like I live in parallel worlds. In the one that is most tangible, strangers rarely reach out to strangers. Yet in the world behind and beyond my computer screen, connections that start as invisible electronic impulses become a web of heart strings that give me hope for humanity.
Details from the posting at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast:
"This year, more than 200 well-known children’s book illustrators from around the world have been given a five-inch wooden snowflake to decorate at will. Like actual snowflakes, each design is unique. The 2007 online auctions for bidding on these hand-painted snowflakes will take place in three separate auctions, open to everyone, from November 19 to 23, November 26-30, and December 3-7. You can read here for more information.
What we in the kidlitosphere community want to do to help drive traffic to the site for this year’s auctions and help raise money for the cause is highlight at our blogs the illustrators who have created snowflakes for these upcoming ’07 auctions — as well as post the unique snowflakes they have made (one at a time at each blog, which the DFCI has graciously given us permission to do), ultimately driving as much traffic as we possibly can to the Robert’s Snow online auctions."