Wednesday, March 26, 2014

an edible bunny mix!

bunny mix
I love edible mixes such as this one! I love texture and color and a variety of shapes. This bunny mix satisfies all of that and just in time for Easter. A sweet hostess gift: a hand-knit Woolly Bunny along with a little bag of bunny mix tied with a springy-color ribbon!

cheddar chickadees
This recipe comes from the blog, Bubbly Nature Collections. The blog's author, Rachel, gives her readers two recipes: Bunny Mix and 'Sweet' Bunny Mix. The first being more savory and the latter obviously, more sweet from the added marshmallows and chocolate eggs. I gave up sugary items for Lent, so the salty version bunny mix recipe was my first choice. FYI, here is the original link to Rachel's blog: Bunny Mix.

The recipe is a simple one. No baking. No fussing. It only requires opening up packages, dumping them into a large bowl, and a little mixing. Once I got into the stores and saw all the fun shapes of crackers out there, I changed up Rachel's recipe slightly, adding a few new finds of my own. Below is my new version of the Bunny Mix.

Bunny Mix

1 cup Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunny Crackers
1 cup Annie's Organic White Cheddar Bunny Crackers
1 cup Annie's Organic Pretzel Bunnies with sea salt
1 cup Target's Market Pantry brand Cheddar Chickadees
1 cup Veggie Straws, broken in half
1 cup original Kix cereal

Mix all the ingredients together in a large serving bowl. You may want to double and triple the recipe cause it goes that fast! Enjoy!

Happy knitting!

Friday, March 21, 2014

part 3: how to stuff a woolly egg

woolly stuffing
Another 'egg-stra' special tip I have come to like to do once the egg is boiled (felted) to perfection is in the stuffing. I stuff my sport and DK weight eggs especially with Woolly Stuffing. Wool stuffing aids in stabilizing the egg's shape. After the egg is stuffed, I re-wet it (stuffing and all), so it's completely saturated. Then I squeeze out the excess water and reshape the egg like you would a piece of clay, molding it into a perfect egg shape and allow it to dry completely in this position.

Wool stuffing like wool yarns has memory to it, so once it dries in a desired shape, it stays that way with the emphasis on 'stays'. You have to love a trained piece of yarn!

The larger-size eggs I still use polyester fiberfill to fill the eggs mainly because of the size. It would take a great deal of woolly stuffing to fill a dozen larger-size eggs, so economically, the fiberfill is a cheaper fill. If your eggs stuffed with fiberfill lose their shape, they too can be saturated with water and reshaped year after year.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

part 2: how to fill a carton of eggs!

striped and embellished woolly eggs
Hope your hands have been busy knitting and felting a carton of eggs by now.

When creating a basket or bowl full of eggs for myself or a client, I usually like to knit and felt at least a dozen eggs in various sizes, colors and embellishments. Here is the formula I like to use: 2-3 striped versions, at least 4 solids in various colors and sizes, 2-3 highly embellished beauties, and 1-2 polka dot-like versions using needle felting, felt applique or buttons. This creates a bowl with plenty of variety and interest.

I like to also knit my eggs with 3-4 colors in mind and adding a good feltable cream as a perfect neutral color, like Cascade 220 #8010 Cream. Then I can use the same yarns when embellishing my eggs, such as in needle felting squiggles and curly cues, roving-like polka dots or even using the same yarns for simple embroidery stitches like French knots.

Do you have a hard time picking out colors? I suggest finding a piece of cloth or upholstery fabric with your favorite colors in it. Then take this fabric swatch to the yarn store with you and use it to pick out coordinating yarns pulling the color combinations from the fabric. Another idea is to take the sofa pillow and create a bowl of eggs that coordinates with your living room color scheme. And finally, when in doubt, take a child along with you and have them pick out 3-4 colors that love. You will be surprised how many compliments I have received from the color combinations of eggs or ornaments that I have created from my kid's color selections.

Remember to have fun playing. You can't make a mistake with knitting Woolly Eggs

FYI, Part 3: how to stuff a woolly egg.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

woolly eggs egg-stravaganza!

woolly eggs
Let the Woolly Egg season begin in all its wonder!

In the next couple of weeks, I will share a few of my favorite woolly egg decorating tips and ideas, plus a few fun ideas for decorating the good ol' hard-boiled kind too. But let me start with the pattern in general.

The pattern consists of instructions to make both a Grade A Large-size egg using worsted weight yarns and a Grade A Medium-size egg, using sport or DK weight yarns. It is basically the same pattern with the differences coming from the yarn weights and needle sizes used. FYI, I still have a few Woolly Eggs Kits consisting of worsted weight yarns still available for sale in my Etsy shoppe.

The pattern instructions are quick and easy, only 30 rounds of knitting! You can knit an egg in 15 minutes plus or minus. Everyone knows though the real fun is in the embellishing: no two eggs EVER need be the same! But more on the embellishing later.

I have improvised my Woolly Eggs pattern slightly since it was printed. That is, I have cut out a few rounds to make the egg less long-looking. This is a recent change I have been playing with and I like the end results. I knit the egg according to the pattern, but when it comes to Rounds 9-23, I only knit 10 rounds instead of the called for 15. I really like the shape of this new size egg.

Remember to play with stripes and bigger blocks of color to create a variety of eggs. The key word here is PLAY. When doing stripes, remember to knit at least 2 rounds for a stripe, otherwise the stripe 'disappears' in the wash and melds too much into the other stripes. A two-round rule stripe is a good one to keep, unless the color yarn is dark and the overall desire is super thin. A one round dark stripe will show up but be fuzzy, if you know what I mean. When creating stripes I carry the yarns up rather than cut each one. Unless you choose to have several colors then cutting them is okay too, just a little more work in the end, but still well worth it.

FYI, Part 2: how to fill a carton of eggs.

Happy knitting!