Slacker that I am, I finally sent my last Christmas present (and it has been recieved!) last week, so I can finally blog about my creations!
Every year, I always start out having these pie-in-the-sky aspirations of making everyone I know something that they’ll just love. Unfortunately, I start crafting the plans for all these amazing things that I’ll make right around August, and in order to realistically finish everything I’ve schemed, I’d have needed to start back in January. Ha.
So it’s always a subset of “everyone” that gets something handmade. Sometimes I have a person in mind that I’d really like to make something for this year, and it takes some searching & planning to come up with something I think they’d enjoy. Other times, I run across a pattern and immediately recognize that it’s tailor made for someone, and that idea sort of takes ahold of me and won’t let go.
This wasn’t my first felted project, but the others that came before never did come out as anticipated. However, my big advantage this time around was that I now owned my own washer & dryer, so I could run these suckers through as many cycles as I needed to get them perfect (without spending $1.25 each time). Despite this, I was still nervous about how this hat would turn out, because it crocheted up so BIG. You can sort of tell if you compare the ‘before’ picture (above, left) to the after picture. When I put the hat on, the brim went down past my nose. I started mentally preparing for a disaster.
I think the hat and feathers went through at least 3 wash cycles, with the water temperature on high plus a short stint in the dryer, just for good measure. I wasn’t really counting on the feathers to crinkle up like they did, so I ended up cautiously steaming them flat between the folds of a towel, so as not to melt the yarn itself.
I didn’t even attempt to sew the ribbon on, as my skills and patience in that area are nil, so it is hot glued down. The feathers are sewn on, each tacked down in three spots like an inverted triangle. All throughout this process, I repeatedly tried the hat on to make sure it fit after every step. I didn’t take into account that Lauren might have a different sized head! We had to have a resizing session where I loosened up the ribbon & hot glued it back down while the hat was still on her head, to ensure a comfortable fit (this made me very nervous that I was going to burn her!) But I ended up LOVING the result, and so did Lauren!
I knew exactly what I wanted to make my friend Kim after she commented on the flowered hat (Sept/Oct 2008 Crochet Today) I’d made for myself last year (it also didn’t hurt that she looked fantastic in it :). Unfortunately, the photo on the left illustrates the perils of being your own mannequin AND photographer. Most awkward pose ever! I was slightly worried because it was a bit tight on my head, but luckily it fits Kim perfectly! I think it turned out really cute.
These coffee sleeves (pattern inspiration) were a gift for my friend Jessica. They both were riffs off the initial pattern, and it was fun to dress them up a bit with buttons & “embroidery” 🙂 The button sleeve on the left is worked in a round like the pattern describes. In order to get the ribbing for the one on the right, I worked this in vertical rows until it was long enough to reach around the cup, and then stitched the ends together. I am really in love with the yarn (in Caramel Pumpkin Latte) that I used, and i’m glad I have some left over for a tiny project for myself 🙂
Dominique’s present might’ve been the most difficult to conceptualize, just because it’s a lot harder to crochet for men than it is for women! I knew I wanted to keep the scarf ‘manly,’ but for it to still have a bit of pizazz, so I decided to use this diagonal box stitch (pattern inspiration) (You can see the pattern above, bottom). I also wanted the scarf to be nice and warm, so I made it long enough to wrap around twice (above, left) and used Fisherman’s wool. The variegated wool I chose made the pattern a bit difficult to see, but I like that the scarf still has texture. I also went all the way around the scarf with a single crochet border, just to give it a finished edge. After i’d crocheted the scarf up & was testing it out on myself, I found the Fisherman’s wool really itchy. So I embarked on another experiment (it seemed like I was doing ‘experiments’ left and right!) to soften the scarf up a bit. I soaked the whole thing in hot water mixed with hair conditioner, and was very careful to not agitate the fabric very much at all, as I didn’t want to felt it. You can see the scarf blocked and drying, above, right. It might be all in my head, but I think the scarf turned out much softer afterwards!
I think Dominique liked his scarf; it’s certainly been a very useful gift with all of the winter weather Raleigh has been getting this year!
All in all, I’m declaring Christmas 2010 a success!