Sunday, December 30, 2012

Needle Felted Snowman

This is probably my favorite of the Christmas ornaments I make. It's also the hardest. And I'm going to attempt to show you how I do it. Hard isn't the right word...more like overly complicated...because my 6 year old son made that one...and I am a lazy and overly complicated person.

The snowman is almost entirely recycled. So thrifting is important. Here are some of the supplies. Needle felting is all about supplies. So you'll need felting needles, I use one at a time, but that pink contraption holds 3. It's not as precise so I tend to just use a single needle and use the three needled situation at the end to catch any stray threads. Also a foam block. It's a spong-ie foam, but styrofoam can also be used. The needle needs to poke all the way through the wool to lock the fibers together, so use something poke-able. Other supplies include wool felt and an uravelled sweater.
I found a white wool sweater at a thrift store and it failed to felt for me! So I unravelled it and invented my snowman. 
Here's my amazing storage container that I made from old diaper boxes, rubber bands and fabric swatches, or ziploc bag, which I use to hold my curly yarn!
I use this yarn because randomly works well for carrot noses:
And this yarn here is scraps I keep for needle felting...all wool...
This is the wool jacket I felted (washed a few times in hot water and lot of soap) and use for the backs of the snowmen.
Here is an example of needle felting and what it does. You poke the yarn through the wool felt into the foam. 
See how it sticks?! Because the wool fibers are locking together. At this point, I can still pull it apart. But it stays in place with just a few pokes. Keep poking and it gets harder to remove.
Here's the back of the snowman. See the fiber coming through the back?! Magic.
It's because of the crazy needles with the little burrs in them.
So, back to the snowman...take the unravelled sweater and poke it into the shaped felt. Poke until it's covered. There's no "right way," I've done the edge and then filled in the rest or saved the edge for last...it's the same.  Just keep poking. And try to stay perpendicular to the foam, I've broken a ton of needles trying to get fancy.
Keep going...
There's more...
All done! And it only took about thirty minutes!
Now it's time for the nose. I use this crazy thick/thin yarn that sort of makes its own carrots. I just cut it accordingly.
See? Organic carrots!
Then I poke the fat end of the carrot yarn into the middle of the snowman face. To keep the shape, you have to hold it with your thumb and poke. Otherwise the whole carrot will get sucked in.
I like to keep the carrot sort of loose, so I only secure the end. (If the placement seems off, you can pull it out, or just use some of the white curly yarn over your mistakes).

Next, the eyes! Here's where the scraps come in handy. Poke the yarn in and kind of twist it into a spiral to keep it round.
Trim the yarn and then poke the ends in.
Scarf time! I use two scrap pieces of yarn and lay them across the snowman.
Then I trim one side and tuck the ends under. Now when you felt the top, the ends get felted into the back. 
Here's a close-up of the side.
More scraps for the buttons. Just poke them in like you did the eyes.
When he's buttoned and scarved, I use the finished snowman as a template and cut out a back from the vintage wool jacket. It gives it an heirloom-ie quality. I also knot a piece of yarn, usually green to disappear into the Christmas tree. The one my son made was white, because we have a white tree.
Sandwich the holder between the felt pieces and then blanket stitch the layers together.
I do the first stitch in the middle of the "holder," it keeps the yarn in place and looks tidy.
Here it is all finished! Well, the back anyway. 
Here's the front...sideways because google likes to rotate my photos and then won't allow me to un-rotate them. See? 
So as you can see, it's not hard, just overly complicated and requires a bunch of supplies. You can probably start with just the felting needles and a scrap piece of styrofoam. And it also requires thrifting. New wool sweaters and jackets would be way too expensive to cut into pieces.

Now I have to get back to making the snowmen. I promised my mom 20 for her office. And it's gonna take awhile.













Saturday, December 29, 2012

Picture Pages.

I got a new DSLR camera for Christmas this year. Just when I figured out my point and shoot, now I have a whole new bucket of knowledge I need to pour into my brain. And the only way to learn is to take pictures.

We have crazy weather right now in Southern California, so I haven't been out. Today it's raining! Raining! And it's so cold outside we keep expecting snow. 

So I'm stuck inside on a gloomy day in a rather dark house trying to figure out not only a new camera, but photography basics. 
It was really dark when I took the previous two photos, but they turned out ok...

Earlier in the week I tried to force Hartwell to pose for me...but Jessie was on, so I only got a few of these:
...but mostly I got a lot of whining.

Although that was nothing compared to Beckett:
Not a fan of photography. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pom Pom Club

Need something to make when you've given up knitting? How about a garland of pom poms?!

I haven't exactly "given up" knitting, it's just that I've run out of things to make as I live in Southern California. How many scarves do I need, really? And I can only do like two or three stitches, so that cuts back on the patterns I can complete.

 Luckily(?) I have a ton of yarn. And I saw this:
from a subtle revelry. How cute is that?! So. Now. How to make pom poms.

There are a like a ton of tutorials and videos. I tried a few and settled on this one. Using my hands. Start with some yarn, I got this from Big Lots for $1. (I'm pretty fancy).
Then you just wrap it around your fingers. I used three fingers. The end disappears inside, don't worry about it.
Now just wrap. For a while.
More...until...now. That's pretty good. You could keep going if you want, but this will work just fine.
Next you slide it off your fingers. I slip my thumb and forefinger into the middle and pull it off keeping the loop intact.

You'll also need two 8" pieces of the same yarn. I use two for strength. Some of the yarn I used doesn't want to be tied in a knot.
Lay the yarn bundle on top of the two strands of yarn and tie in the center into a knot.
The knot should be as tight as you can without breaking the yarn. I had to take the picture, so it slipped out a bit.
See? Nice and tight. And right in the middle. With loops on the top and bottom.
Now I hold it at the knot and snip all the loops in the middle.
Keep snipping until you get all the loops. And try to cut the loops in half.
Now you have a misshapen ball of yarn with a giant knot. Yay!
Next you trim the ends until it's a pretty ball of yarn. I turn it and flatten it at the top and bottom, press out the sides and snip in a circle. Then fluff it out and hold it up looking for strays. Then I keep turning it until it looks good.
See? Still a little uneven...
...and a cute little ball!
I put together a color palette I liked and made a bunch in different sizes. I used 2 fingers for small ones, 3 for medium and 4 for large pompoms. Then I used a big, fat needle and threaded them onto some yarn. (I used a strong wool for the garland).


I have no idea where it should live. I put it on my yellow cabinet, in front of the tv. Or maybe I'll put it on the bottom of a jacket or sweater. It was only outside so I could take its picture. The weather is so brooding and complex right now...so winter-y. 
Which is not exactly what I'm used to in Southern California. Maybe I do need some more scarves.









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