Remember way back in June/July when I went to France? Well, in the small town we stayed in for our second week, there was a yarn shop, Au Fil et a Mesure, just a few blocks down from the house. Since I had much more down time there than in Paris (because there aren’t so many places you just HAVE to see in a small town), I decided to pick up some yarn and needles.
Sixteen balls of DMC Natura and a set of sock needles, to be exact. I decided my souvenirs would be socks made of French yarn on French needles. I had already picked up some wool to make Cassy’s Zooey hats for my mom and I while I was in Paris, but that project would have been a bit involved to pick up and put down whenever I had a few free moments.
So I set about making Cassy’s Earlybirds (btw, Cassy blogs atKnit the Hell Out and designs some amazing things that I just happen to be mildly obsessed with.) for four different people in four different colors. Not all at the same time of course.
I made mine in green:
Reddish-purplish for Mama:
Blue for Terry:
And purple for Gaga:
(Clicking on the pictures will take you to their respective project pages. Which should eventually be all updated with the specifics of each sock.)
It’s been a long time since I had made socks before I decided to do this. These were also the first time I had made socks in actual sock-weight yarn. Before they were out of some awful acrylic stuff like I was using to make everything at that point because ALL my yarn came from Wal-Mart. Not like there was much of anywhere else to get it where I started knitting anyway.
Even the heels are cute in this yarn. The only thing I did majorly different from the pattern is using a cable needle on the cables. I knit pretty tightly and was having a terrible time trying not to pull the stitch out while it was dropped. I still like making gloves better, because they seem to take less time, but I think I may be warming up to sock-making in general.
I had seen a bit about needle felting before, but this video from Bubzbeauty got me really interested. (In fact, I think her Totoro design is going to be the first 3D piece I try next.) I was wandering the aisles of Michael’s with a 50% off coupon one day and saw the Dimensions Feltworks Butterfly “learn needle felting kit”.
The kit comes with pre-printed felt, two colors of roving (unspun wool), yarn and embroidery thread, felting and embroidery needles. The first thing I would suggest is to get something better than the foam block included with the kit to felt on. The foam deflates very quickly, especially as much as you have to stab the needle into the felt to get it to hold. You can buy a special “felting mat”, but I went with a plastic-bristled scrub brush from the cleaning supplies aisle at Target.
The felting instructions are really easy to understand, as are the instructions on how to create the butterfly and use the finished butterfly. The embroidery instructions may be a little difficult to understand if you have never done embroidery before, but there are always great instruction videos on YouTube. All in all, this is a great little kit to get started felting, and a great project for beginning felters. Plus, it’s an adorable butterfly. What more convincing do you need?
Another thing, besides the felting mat I mentioned before, that might make it easier to learn is the Clover Pen-Style Felting Tool. You can use 1, 2, or 3 needles at a time, and it extends to two different lengths. Let me tell you, three needles at a time makes the whole process go a lot faster, at least when you are working flat.
I love layering. So much so that I have a drawer’s worth of plain colored t-shirts and tank tops that exist solely to be worn underneath other shirts or vests. I mean, I could wear them by themselves, but that would be boring.
One thing my dresser has been missing for a while in the layering department is what I like to call a “mesh shirt.” I’m sure it has another name, but I am too lazy to actually look it up. I had one for a long time that was pastel tie-dye, but it had a few holes that were bigger than they should be because they got snagged or torn in the wash.
Browsing for projects (because I never have enough projects lined up, right?) I came across the Breezy T pattern by Brenda Bourg on the Red Heart website. It was so perfect I even matched the color of the sample.
It turned out extremely well. This was my first attempt at crocheting a garment. Many hats before, and a couple of arm bands, but never a shirt. That kind of thing I tend to reserve for knitting. Because (for those who don’t know) knitted fabric tends to have more drape and be more suited for clothing than stiffer, crocheted fabric.
Because of the mesh structure, though, this shirt is quite nice and soft. The one thing I changed from the pattern was the sleeve edging. What was written does not seem like the edging in the sample picture, plus it was way too wavy. Instead I used a simple edging that would give me a similar shape to the picture (details here if you want to know, along with all details for the project).
This may become my favorite layering piece of the summer if the temperatures stay where they are. Turn a tank top into a work-appropriate look without making me feel like I’m boiling in my skin when we are outside.