felt like recycling

caladium06_19

it’s been quite rainy here for the last few days; some parts of our region are experiencing heavy flooding, in fact. thankfully for us, it translates only to more mowing and weeding time as the garden sucks up all that water and turns it into something green.

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i can’t get over how fast everything is growing out there.

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you can see all my rows of seeds germinating and the tomatoes getting very bushy. but it’s been too muddy to get out and prune—that’s going on the list for this weekend.

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i am really grateful for those planting mounds that david created—all this water would be laying close to the plants if it couldn’t drain off.

speaking of floods, i think we are about to experience one of a different kind

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our squash plants seem incredibly happy at last (knock wood). and in the “what the heck was i thinking” department, i planted enough to offset any losses from the kinds of problems we’ve gotten used to seeing in our squash section.

so we will soon have an ocean tide of summer squash, heh.

from left to right above, we have yellow zucchini, yellow zephyr (which is a yellow squash that is half green, really pretty!), and tiny butternut squash already, too. the vines are beginning to spread outward across the lawn the way i was hoping; they add a cheerful note to our side yard and a nice garden border. if i didn’t have to rotate each year, i’d always plant some there.

and i noticed while looking up those links that wow, we are getting squash—as wells tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant—a LOT earlier this year than the usual first week of july. after such a late start, looks like we will be harvesting table eats this weekend. yay!

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with the solstice just around the corner, it gets light here a lot earlier too, which i’ve been looking forward to since december, haha. i’ve been getting up early every day, which gives me a little time to knit in the morning over coffee. not a lot, but enough to see some steady progress on my oculus scarf, which i’m designing in sweet georgia cash silk lace. the woodland colorway is straight out of the garden. i just love working with feather light brushed mohair—it’s very fine, but so pretty knit up.

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i’ve also been swatching with various cotton yarns to prepare for our summer cotton KAL that sarah is heading up in our ravelry mothership group. we’ve ordered in scads of organic, color grown cotton—every shade available and every weight. it arrived today and we are now trying to organize all the photography and store listings so we can open sales on it next week. what i’m swatching with above is a new-to-me brand—pura bella fingering weight, a silky ten-ply organic color grown cotton. it’s lovely and we’re thinking of bringing this in as well; i’ll expand on working with it in sunday’s post.

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another thing that i’ve been attending to are preparations for my trip to denver next week, where i will film another class for craftsy. i KNOW, thrilling, right? this one is wonderful, too; i couldn’t be more excited. i think it’s going to be one of those ones that everyone will find most useful—a survey of finishing techniques; everything you need to know to get almost any project to the winner’s circle. all those techniques you’ve been wishing would be compiled into one class—now they will be; how about that?

it’s a lot of work though—we’ve had several production meetings that ran all afternoon, there are tons of stepouts to be constructed, samples to be pulled and organized, and (as you can see) lots of graphics to be sketched so the craftsy staff can draw them professionally. fortunately, i can re-use some of the stepouts and swatches from other classes, but the biggest lifesaver is that our friend cherie agreed to help me by knitting the new ones we need from scratch (haha, i just love her latest ravater, don’t you?).

but it’s all good; we are very excited about this new opportunity and i’m looking forward to my trip. i’ll get to visit with my cousin once again, as well as my friend anne merrow, and also with our dear friends luci and scott—luci was here a few years ago to visit; you might remember that she is my friend who makes the super-cool one-minute films that she posts weekly on her moving postcard site (seriously, i could spend hours there watching films from berlin, my old brooklyn neighborhood, and now, colorado). and if you enjoy her work as much as i do, please consider using the paypal button in the right hand column to make a small donation that will help out with production costs.

which reminds me—i received my travel itinerary yesterday and i need to let all of those people know, so we can make plans. one thing i noticed is that there is a race in luck’s town on fourth of july—i should enter it, right? it will be fun.

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as for the here and now, guess what? we are finally ready to release the wheaten cap and mitts pattern. it will go on sale tomorrow (friday the 20th); david, emily, and erica are organizing a kit listing with our fingering yarns. sarah and i are scheming about which cotton yarn we’ll knit our next wheaten hats with (well sarah may actually ask her mom to knit hers).

i don’t know if i mentioned it but the hot weather has arrived here—and since it’s also very rainy, it’s pretty humid, too. iced drinks are a must whenever possible and for me that means iced coffee, mmm. i’ve taken a shine to these cold cups that beckie introduced me to last year—you put them in the freezer and the gel inside the walls turns to ice. i love them.

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anyway, i bought a few new ones this spring, but they don’t have the usual collar to help with the grip. once the weather got humid, this became annoying, so i solved the problem by cutting the leg off of a clean, slightly felted, but worn out sock. it’s one that i used handspun coopworth yarn to knit; these socks wore like iron, but eventually one gave up the ghost. david was saving this one and we came across it when he was sorting out his closet the other day, so i grabbed it for this use. much better than having all that handspun loveliness sit unused in the closet, i think.

and it has the added bonus of working a treat as a cold cup collar; it absorbs all that excess moisture, evaporates it into the air, yet it never feels soggy or even damp. and as you know, the wool adds an extra layer of insulation; you can’t ask for more!

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anyway that got me thinking about other handspun handknits that were hiding around the place and what what helpful items i could make out of those. i went through a pret-ty big felted bag and hat period before you and i ever met—and many of the castoffs from that time have been aging in the attic closet (lots of not-so-successful experimenting). i discovered this yesterday when sarah and i went up there to look for something else.

not that i needed to take a crafty break in my day right now, but we have been desperate in our house for some really decent coasters that handle moisture well and i’ve been thinking that old felted fabric could work. when i saw that bin of old felted things, the spirit hit me and i went with it—and limited myself to just a half hour’s worth.

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the first thing i did was make a straight cut from brim to crown and then cut out the flat top with its little rim—these i will use as coasters for pitchers of ice water or wine; they can double as hot pads too.

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seriously, this project takes just a few simple tools and about a half hour—if you’re trying to keep kids busy, you might be able to stretch that out by making fancier shapes or something, haha.

you’ll need scissors, something to trace for a shape (anything circular or large cookie cutters will work; four to five inches is a good size). and then something to draw with—this marking pencil was not a good choice; i tried a few other things and finally settled on a good old sharpie marker. that worked best.

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trace your shapes and then cut them out. what did i tell you—stupid simple, right?

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each of my hats made six coasters, which are totally washable, i might add.

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they were a little puffy and wobbly so i fired up the steam iron and gave everything a good pressing to finish them off.

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lovely; now they are evenly thick and flat, so drinks will have a steady base to sit on.

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i love them. i am SO making more of these—they’ll be great stocking stuffers for christmas and i’ll get rid of another box of unused stuff.  total crafting time: about 30 minutes from start to finish (including time spent digging out the felted things from the attic).

ok, i think that’s all i have for tonight and it’s time for me to put together the wheaten release for tomorrow morning. have a great weekend; see you on sunday.

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6 Responses to “felt like recycling”

  1. Katharine says:

    The garden is looking fabulous! Well done on all that hard work after such a brutal winter. Props to you and David. Those squash blossoms are gorgeous.

  2. alhbooks says:

    I’ve never been big on felting but these coasters are definitely da bomb! Of course, the colors make a big difference…what a clever use though, and I know I’ve got some elderly socks that might need to be reborn as cup holders.

  3. Rose says:

    I love your classes & have all 3 – if there are more than 3, let me know. I am really looking forward to the one you’re going to do on finishing. I need that class.

    I too went thru a felting period. Not only did I knit for felting, I also felted every sweater I ever knit, but no longer wore. That included all the stranded knitting from my Alice Starmore period. I see some coasters in my future.

  4. Anne Marie says:

    And I was going to bring you coasters the next time I visited. These are way cooler than anything I could have bought.

  5. GeniaP says:

    Oooh, sounds like time for zucchini bread and ratatouille chez Anne and David!

  6. josiekitten says:

    I’ve not seen those cold cups before, they look perfect for the summer. Your coasters are great fun! I had some delicious courgette (zucchini) and lime cake recently, perfect if you have a glut. I’ve also made a delicious soup with them, and also used them in a risotto with brie. Yummy. Let me know if you’d like the recipes.