Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Knitting fast and furious....and felting!

Could you find felt in the color blends of this flower? Could you find a perfect wool to make a matching vest, purse, etc? Here's been my experience with felt machines on the market.

I can't wear my reading glasses at the moment, so it limits everything I can do. However, I can knit. How do I accomplish this at a time when I am so eyeglass dependent? Big thick yarn, size 15 needles and the wonders of felting. I always tell myself, "felting is very forgiving"! I learned just how forgiving it is through Debi Light of the Whole Nine Yarns as I made my first project with her help many months ago. Since then I have become a felting fanatic. I love to felt knitting projects, and also to felt old sweaters and make those into purses, wristlets, book covers.... I think you get the idea of the level of my felting illness.

Since I am limited to what I can do, now I am working on my felting machine. Several companies have their own version of them. Babylock has the Embellisher which does a fabulous job of felting roving and other wool and blended fibers. Janome has a version of one, as well as Nancy Ziemen. Other companies have attachments that you can add to their sewing machines like Bernina, Brother and I am sure there are others but these are the ones I know about. I have both the attachment Feltscaper on my Brother and the Babylock Embellisher. There are pros and cons to both. The Brother attachment which mounts on the PQ1500 is 5 barbed needles in one replaceable unit. The Embellisher has 7 barbed needles individually replaceable. I have looked at the Janome and it is similar to the Embellisher style of machine. For those with limited space, having a separate machine may not be the solution. All the felting machines are light weight as I am far from muscular and can easily carry the felting machines. So a shelf is all you need, but if you are an out of sight out of mind person, than the attachment is best for you. No matter which style of Felter you have be sure to clean it out regularly.

I have gone nuts with these machines as I can actually do this safely with my current sight as all of my machines have safety shields and I can definitely see those. Keep your fingers away from that area and there are no problems. You can also felt by hand using a small affordable tool for under $10 but it does take MUCH longer and I wouldn't dare do it without my glasses planted on my nose. Those barbed needles are painful. I have purchased several of these units for when I travel that I ended up with one too many in a box, and raffled one off a few years ago at a show, and the winner, Denise Spanos, has truly embraced her machine. The business she has created Try Our Designs is a wonderful place on the Internet to purchase supplies, and gather great tips. She even dyes her roving to make gorgeous colors and has very good pricing. Mind you when she purchased her raffle ticket it was to help the children of Kids IN Distress never imagining she would win this.

I love the look of smashed roving, but sometimes I want the final fiber product to look like store purchased felt because I need an unusual color for a project. I use roving, and felt it with my felting machine while blending shades and then I put it in a small bag made out of tulle, lay it flat in a baking tray of hot water. I shake it back and forth for a few minutes and voila - great personal colored felt! It looks just like any other felt you would purchase at a store except you can't duplicate the color at JoAnne's or Hancocks.

Whether I need a felted wool garment or accessory or a piece of felt for a child's project - I can match it perfectly with my Felt machine and quality roving dyed to perfection. I know many of you have machines in boxes or on a shelf, pull them out and give it a try. Think of the cute felt ornaments you can make in minutes, or some wool flower pins for your jackets. My poinsettia will be done this week as well.

My family is jumping for joy that I am at home this week because I am making the cushions for the kitchens of my home and my daughter's. It's the same old story of the plumber's wife who has leaky faucets or the shoemaker whose kids need shoes! Let me mention also that having a magnifier on at OTT Lite by your sewing machine has really been useful this week. And frankly, not being able to digitize yet has given me the time to catch up with friends. Sometimes we can be so work oriented we forget that spending time with family and friends is what matters most!


Anonymous said...

I am VERY excited about my custom kitchen cushions. But now that i've read your blog,... i'm wondering if i should wait until you are able to sew with glasses on... jk:)

Cookie Gaynor said...

Yes, well glasses for adding the piping will be a necessity, but I expect those to be on my nose hopefully by Friday.

T.E. said...

i await with great anticipation!

T.E. said...

I Still await with great anticipation!