Heart Felt

DSC_3498

One of the reasons I’ve been wanting to start a blog has been to share some of the patterns and introduce some of the people I’m meeting,  whether on line or in person, and pass forward their ideas.  When you discover a good thing, there’s just something that makes you want to share the joy.

One of these people is MAGS KANDIS. I discovered her book Gifted  ( ‘ lovely little things to knit + crochet ‘) in our local bookstore about a year ago and couldn’t resist buying it.   Standing reading it and losing track of time, I knew this was a good investment for my bookshelf. Chalk full of ideas, her patterns are simple, her instructions are easy to follow and the pictures in the book really inspire.

Her  Knitted Felt Heart   were the first to catch my eye.

I like having a simple grab and go project when I head out the door in case I find myself with idle time.  I’m not great at concentrating on reading a book when I’m in a noisy , busy environment with lots of interruptions and I find my paints are a bit messy in some circumstances . But I love to have something to work on if I’m on the ferry, in a plane or when I’m travelling in the car on a road trip.  I’m thankful I can knit and not get motion sick and handwork that is not too detailed works really well for me to pick up and put away on short notice.

The idea for these colourful hearts really caught my eye.  I’m also a fan of taking a small gift as a gesture of thanks when I’m invited to a friend’s house for dinner or staying overnight as a house guest.  Two of the hearts strung together wrapped around a bottle of wine as a hostess gift were the impetus and I needed to experiment and see if they were in fact as easy to make as they were cute to look at.  The recipient of the wine bottle could choose to drape them over a doorknob for decoration or pass them forward as a gift themselves .

Once I mastered the making, I made a set and used them to tie around a baby gift for a friend’s new baby last year. When my friend sent her thank you card she also included a picture of the hearts dangling cheerfully on the wall in the babies bedroom.  Endless possibilities.

 

DSC_3324

I started with some balls of wool in a few different colours. If you want the hearts to ‘felt’ you must use 100 % wool and if you’ve never felted before you’ll find it’s really easy.  There’s lots of information on the internet.  The process is basically a combination of  exposing the wool fibres to soap , rubbing them together ( or agitating them in a washing machine in hot water ) and then laying them out to dry or throwing them in the dryer with an old towel. If you’ve ever accidentally washed a sweater that started out fitting an adult and came out of the dryer looking like a garment meant to fit a 3 year old, you’ll have had an accidental lesson in felting.

DSC_3326

I tackled the concept of knitting ‘ short rows ‘ and  found you can ‘ you tube’ anything. If you’re a visual learner this can be helpful.   There are only 12 stitches in the cast on and the heart shape builds on those 12 stitches , decreasing and increasing to create the shape.  The pattern isn’t a complicated cable / count / lose track, back up, move forward project.  Truly they are really quick and  easy. Once you’re into the rhythm of the pattern, they knit up very quickly.

DSC_3328

             I made a whole batch at once… stuffed them, and then threw them in the hot water for felting.

             ‘ Shocked’ them in a bowl of cold water…..and then threw them in the dryer with an old towel.

DSC_3502

 

Mags explains it really well in her book and is generous enough to share both the pattern and the instructions for these hearts in her free pattern.

I just delight in having a stash of these little guys on hand;  some in the half made stage and some ready to go.

 

Her book also has a patten for  knitting needle cases used to store short double ended needles.

  I adapted the pattern to create a holder for my paint brushes by making the length of the case longer .

DSC_5546 DSC_5545

As I said the possibilities are endless

DSC_3960

I have so many double pointed knitting needles and this is a brilliant idea to identify the needle size at a quick glance by counting the dots on the flap.  4 ‘dots’ ( french knots)= size 4  , 6 ‘dots’ = size 6 . Well you get the idea. You can see I even did a 3 .75  . A friend of mine used a fish shaped button and had her French Knots virtually floating along the case like bubbles in the number that equated to the size of needles inside.  So clever.

A great gift idea for a sock knitter ( not me ! ), socks are too finicky, is to make a case for those fine sock needles. Those needles are so fragile and tiny they apparently get lost and break quite easily.  A thought is to put them in a straw for reinforcement inside the needle case.  Another idea my clever fish – bubble friend did was buy a travel toothbrush holder to use as a reinforced sleeve for inside the wool case.  There you go, a good gift idea.  Buy a ball of sock yarn ( in YOUR favourite colour ) , knit a needle case in THEIR favourite colour. A perfect match.

If you know me you know I have a thing for collecting buttons and this gave me a good excuse to use some of my unique ones on these projects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I used a pattern my talented fish bubble friend shared and made this holding container .

DSC_5192

 I know you can make your own felt balls using roving, but I have my limit for time and patience ( not sock knitting ) so I bought a bag of pre made ones with colours that complemented my vessel.  I cut the balls in half  with an ordinary pair of scissors and attached them using embroidery thread with a french knot (did I tell you I love French Knots ). I  randomly placed them around the sides of the bowl to add punches of colour and a bit of dimension. If your familiar with felting you’ll see that the wool on the needle cases felted up better than the wool I used on the bowl holding the cases.  Ideally you shouldn’t even be able to see the knitted stitches once the felting is done if the wool and felting process meet in ideal conditions.  Lesson learned. Some wool is better at felting than others.  I still like the colours in the container and life isn’t always perfect.

DSC_5173

DSC_5174

                          I really like all the colours and textures and they all stand together ready to grab and go.

DSC_5178

I can’t recommend Mags work and her books highly enough.  These are just a sample of what she has to offer. So simple, so creative and so fun to make.  I hope you check her out.

4 thoughts on “Heart Felt

  1. Sandy, I absolutely adore the work you are doing. What heart felt gifts you make!! Now I also have a much better idea what felting is all about and how it’s done. Lovely.

    • You’ll have to try it Suzanne. So easy and you can’t go wrong. It’s also a great way to use up bits and pieces of left over wool. As long as it’s 100 % wool. Watch for the post I’m going to do about cutting up an old sweater, I think you’ll like that one too.

  2. Wonderful long, soft, cuddly and creative post. I love how the knitted lines still shine through on the holder. I love the way you labelled the knitting needle sizes too. Wonderful to see the practical, colourful and lovingly made uses for felt, something I am still to try (except I gather I am one of those who shrunk the baby’s clothes people who accidentally learnt how to felt!)

    • Glad you came by Suzi. A fibre artist from a long way back, I love the concept of felting. And I love to take something and make it into something else. Stay tuned. I have another post up my sleeve about and intentional sweater shrink incident. I think you’ll like it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s