Friday, 27 January 2012

A very SILLY present :)

As mentioned in the last post, my husband is rapidly approaching his 40th birthday, just 2 days left to go.  Presents were needed - I thought long and hard and came up with the handprint project I showed you last time.. but I wanted to make something FUN too.. something a bit silly. 

One thing with Gary - he likes his hair neat.. short, and neat.  As soon as it starts getting long enough to curl, or stick up.. it must be cut.  SO, I decided to make him a hat :D  a big.. mad.. HAIRY hat.

Scoured locks laid tips down,
 this is a shetland/jacob cross fleece
 I used the resist I normally use for berets (not the oversized ones, the more fitted type).  Laid the locks to cover it the added merino tops to cover the locks.
Nice brown and tan merino, layer 1

Layer 2 radiating out from the centre
 And somehow I seem to of either forgotten to take the photos of the next stages, or deleted them from the camera!  I flipped it over folded the edges in and laid the locks & merino in the same way on this side.  Then felted it the same as any other resist project.

In hindsight the beret resist was still a bit too big.. I had to work the thing so much that it actually became more of a HELMET than a hat :)

Well its certainly silly - bordering on MAD I think lol
My sister-in-law is hoping that he will wear it to the restaurant when we all meet on the night - not very likely.  Actually, fun though it was to make, I can not imagine Gary wearing this in public unless he is going to a fancy dress party as Dennis the Menace, or Sideshow Bob.  I'm just looking forward to the fun we shall have when he opens it :) and seeing him with big hair.

Today I have been baking madeira sponge cake.. which I shall be sneakily icing and decorating over the weekend.  OMG I have just realised - I dont have Monday to work on it - Gary has booked his birthday off of work - YIKES...  I am going to have to work hard and fast while he is golfing on Sunday!


Saturday, 21 January 2012

January.. the month of many birthdays!

The birthday run down for January; dads is the 9th, sons the 15th, nephew 19th, mother-in-law 24th, husband 30th & brother-in-law 31st.. its a busy month.  And of course I have been making gifts.. not for everybody.. but I crocheted a couple of hats for my mum-in-law and felted slippers for my dad..

Its my lovely husbands 40th birthday.. I didn't really know what to give or make for him.. but I thought long and hard and came up with a couple of ideas.  This is the more sensible pressie I've made :D 

Whenever I get into my hubbys car after work, I have to move an armful of paperwork off the passenger seat first. Soooo I decided to make him a nice felted wallet / folder to keep it all nice and tidy.  I didnt want it to be boring, or silly either (can't have him embarrased if his boss needs a lift now can I?!) 

SO, I decided to make it nice and bright, and decorated with our handprints..

Decided on 3 nice colours that went well with the base batts & made prefelts

Stupidly I was suprised at our handprints..
wasn't it just last year that the kids hands were half the size of mine?
Which is which?
 As all of our hands are pretty much adult sized now I decided to felt them in so that they shrunk down with the felt - I think they would of dominated it too much otherwise.

Some of my favourite slubby red yarn wound around the hands. 
All wetted out & ready to go

Felted nice and hard to withstand wear and tear

Look how tiny my handprint is now .. its like a 8 year olds! lol

Trimmed the 2 long edges and machine stitched (twice) up each side

Secret messages freemotion machine embroidered on the inside cuff..

where nobody else will see them.

Finished with a vintage button from a button tin Gary gave to me..
the colour is perfect for picking up the duckegg handprints
 I made the buttonhole on my sewing machine.

Finished.. hope he likes it
I have also made a very silly present too.. but I think I shall save that for next time :)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Making Mittens

I hate having cold hands!  One thing that always freezes my fingers to the point that I could cry is scarping the ice off my cars windows.. so I decided to felt an ice-scraper mitt; a thumbless mitten with the handle of the ice-scraper going through to the inside where you hold it and keep warm.  I didnt take process pics, but made 2 at once by using a double resist which I cut in half part way through felting.. giving me 2 scraper mitts

I cut a slit at the end & 'healed' the edge as I was felting.. this is where the scraper goes
 I decided to give these to my aunties for Christmas.. hope they liked them (I havent seen them yet)  They should be good for ice-scraping as they wont get wet.

Now I needed to make for myself.  Oraigionally I planned to make a thumbless mitt, but I have I've always fancied a pair felted mittens that I can wear out and about.. last time I tried it turned out like a felt boxing glove lol (I'd used way too many layers!).  Also I wanted the thumb to be positioned slightly to the front rather than at the side..  Gary solved this for me very simply, he pointed out that I can turn it slightly as Im working the felt so the thumb is where I want it.

covering the double resist with nice golden orange merino

I used 3 layers.. so it would be thick and warm, but still flexible

On the 2nd and 3rd layers I added blue for the hands
keeping the orange clear for the wrists

For surface decoration I used a pink and yellow silk cap that I dyed a while back
and some pretty variegated finger roving brought back from Wonderwool Wales

Wetted and rolled, just about to cut them apart

healing the edges

After working the left mitt look at how much it shrunk after it came off the resist

Finished front and back
Generally I am really happy with these.. I shall tweak the resist next time to make the finger area slightly narrower.  When I made these I didnt want them to restrict my fingers, but I think there is just a little too much room there.  I may wet them and work the fingers a bit more yet. 

Safe to say there will be more mitten making in the future :)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Time flies!

And once again its been ages since I blogged - I really must get back into the habit!

Before Christmas, I went with my friend Brenda into Birmingham to visit the German Market.. a huge Christmas market that is there each year for the month or so leading up to Christmas.  We had a lovely time and spotted lots of lovely things.. the best treats of course were the real handmade /artisan made stalls.  There was an Egyptian potter with exquisite wares, a stall with hand knit socks (that looked soooo warm and snuggly) and hand woven scarves in camel, mohair and yak, both of whom we had a good chat with.  A stall selling the work of several local Birmingham artists which was very nice to see, and the glassblowers from the Jinney Ring were there too (also local to me)  I hope that they all did well. 

There was also quite a bit of felt.. but that was a bit of a downer to be honest, from what I saw all of it looked to be cheaply brought imports being sold on still at too-low prices.  It makes me sad and irritated at the same time; sad when I think of how little the makers will of been paid for their hard work (must be pitifully little seeing what the end sellers are asking) which makes me irritated at exploitation, and then also irritated at how this practice devalues felt!  Not good!!

We also visited an exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery - Lost in Lace.  Quite an interesting take on 'lace', there were pieces there that I really am not too sure quite how they relate to or were inspired by lace.. but there were also some stunning pieces.  Anyone who finds themself in the vicinity its worth taking a look - especially as its free entry!  Very glad to say photography is allowed so here are a few pics I took..

My favourite.. I found this intriguing.
Entitled ' After the Dream'
These wedding dresses are really tall & behind an intricately woven spiders web created from string, which must of taken forever to create!
It reminds me of old, crackled photos..
Stunning HUGE chandalier created from 600 swarovski crystals..
I can't even imagine how difficult this installation was!

Beatiful Panel with walkthrough archway created in needlelace.
You can just see the 'flying carpet' behind it

This is the first thing we saw.. beautiful, peaceful and so graceful
These columns are suspended, and they just keep on going up and up!