Thursday, January 28, 2016

a sweet valentine treat

woolly cupid corn
This past weekend my husband and I toured a college with my daughter, and spent the day in Kenosha, Wisconsin, not far from the home of the Jelly Belly factory (Pleasant Prairie, WI). We didn't tour the factory this time, but I have in the past. What a fun tour! As a result though, I have been craving these little juicy jelly beans ever since we left Kenosha. But enough said about jelly beans! Let's talk candy corn, which by the way, Jelly Belly manufactures as well.
traditional colors

In the process of creating my pattern, Woolly Candy Corn (either PDF and booklet format), I called the Jelly Belly company to verify the names and colors of their candy corn so I could duplicate them in wool. Thus the pattern gives instructions for turning your woolly candy corn into: cupid corn (Valentine's Day), bunny corn (Easter), original corn (traditional colors), harvest corn (Thanksgiving), and reindeer corn (Christmas). Candy corn for every season of the year!

embellish your candy
What I love to play with are the varying sizes of these candies using different weights of yarn and needle sizes: tiny (fingering weight), small (sport), medium (worsted) and large (bulky). So simple but so much fun. A bowl of felted eggs and candy corn in various sizes is a whimsical display for any table top. Less calories too, not to mention all the calories burned knitting them!

Experiment with a variety of yarn weights, the different seasonal corn colors as well as a great way to practice those embellishing skills on these little works of art. Enjoy!

Happy knitting!

Below is a fun little Valentine's Day trivia taken from the Jelly Belly candy's website. A time when life was much simpler, eh?

"The saying 'wearing your heart on your sleeve' is from the Middle Ages. Boys at this time would draw names of girls to see who would be their 'Valentine' and then wear the name pinned on their sleeve for a week."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

book review: 'cause I felt like it

the tools of the trade

"The wool fibers expanded and wrapped around each other, locking together and creating a tight fabric through which no winter wind could blow."
-- Kathleen Taylor, Knit One, Felt Too

I start out the first chapter of my book, Whimsical Woollies, with this quote. I love it! Felting is so magical and unpredictable yet so scientific and predictable as well. The first chapter is entitled: 'Cause I felt like it: The Basics of Felting. I write about the details of felting such as the materials needed (shown in the above photo), the how-to tips and tricks to felt perfectly each time, an explanation on the washing machines available for felting (the front loader, the top loader and the Wonder Washer), as well as how to hand felt those smaller and more intricate items. Each section is sprinkled with my favorite ideas, tools I use, what I like and don't like.
loose and sloppy knitting

Included in this chapter is a section on felting white versus cream yarns (why some work, some don't); what makes a successful felting yarn and how to knit with it; what to do if your project is not felting enough; how to prevent color bleeding; and how to make a project smaller and bigger. 

Do you have questions on how to felt, how it works, why it doesn't work sometimes? I am happy to answer them all in Whimsical Woollies

The next chapter for me to review is For the Love of Detail: Embellishing (coming soon).

Happy knitting!

hand-knit for you

hand-knit for you
I knit custom orders for customers all the time. Sometimes they want a sample to knit from while they knit their very own. Sometime the hand-knit is a special gift for a special someone, or finally it comes down to it that they don't knit but appreciate hand-knit items.

The beauty of custom knitting is you can request details that can be added to your little sculpture -- such as size, specific colors, expressions -- all contributing to that truly one-of-a-kind custom order!

So if you have been admiring one of my patterns for some time, but have been hesitating, why not consider having it custom knit for you. I do all my own knitting and felting, and look forward to working with you soon. Don't hesitate to ask.

Happy knitting!