Thursday, 25 November 2010

Felted Flock

November 2010

Seems like just about everything I make at the moment become my new favourite thing... but these guys really are something special.

One skein of Cascade 220 was just enough for two sheep, which is great yarn economy, and all three shades felted beautifully (each sheep got roughly two 15 minute sessions at 90 degrees). The pattern warns you that white yarns can be difficult to felt, but that wasn't my experience.

The only anomaly was the black sheep, appropriately enough. Her face is made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, which didn't really seem to felt much at all. I should have known, as it's machine washable, but I was sure I had managed to accidentally felt it in the past!

The eyes came from Duttons for Buttons in York, and the sheep are stuffed with high-loft polyester stuffing from Craft Basics in York. One of the white sheep has embroidered eyes, because they plastic ones are unsuitable for children under 3 years old.

I can't recommend this pattern highly enough. It's a very quick knit, and the finishing isn't too arduous. The felting part itself is great fun, and something I'd definitely like to do more of. And the finished object is just awesome! The only trouble is, you can't just make one.

Pattern: Felted Flock by Bev Galeskas
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool / Cascade 220 Quattro / Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
Amount: One skein of each
Colourway: 8555 Black / 8505 White / 9402 Grey Mix / 009 Grey
Needles: 5.5mm
Size: about 8" x 8"
On ravelry: here


November 2010

This is a great design for a little boy - it's very cute but at the same time not in the least bit girly. It's also good to be reminded how handsome simple garter stitch and stocking stitch can look in a reasonable yarn.

King Cole Merino blend 4-ply is great value for money. Being washable it's perfect for baby clothes, but it has lovely subtle heathering which makes it more interesting to look at than a lot of baby yarns.

I modified this by replacing the sheep motif which came with the pattern with a sheep motif based on the ones in this cardigan (because I thought they were cuter) and repositioning them so that they sat in the middle of the yoked section.

I also used press-studs to close up the shoulders rather than buttons. I can see that a neckline which opens all the way across the shoulders is a very handy design detail, though.

This was my first dabbling with intarsia, so I made quite a few practice sheep first. It really wasn't too difficult, though - it just takes a bit of patience and a lot of untangling of bobbins. I'm glad I finally gave it a go, because I've been dragging my heels over colourwork for far too long.

Pattern: Liam by Justine Turner
Yarn: King Cole Merino Blend 4-ply / Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4-ply
Amount: 3 skeins
Colourway: Clerical 49
Needles: 3.25mm
Size: Custom
On ravelry: here

Baby Sheep Hat

November 2010

I really didn't choose this pattern, it chose me. It was made for a 10 month old called Reuben. Reuben's Mummy picked out this jumper for him and so the sheepy goodness began.

Then I noticed that I had a section of blue-into-green yarn leftover from this shawl and it became obvious that the thing to do would be to make a 4-ply version of Melissa Burt's Baby Sheep Hat.

That was fairly easily done, but there's a technical breakdown on my ravelry page. The trickiest bit was working out how big to make it, since Reuben is big for his size, and I wanted it to be custom fit.

I found it difficult to work out how much ease I would need. I just couldn't seem to track down much in the way of sizing information along the lines of the Craft Yarn Council's Standard Body Measurements as far as heads are concerned, and so my first attempt had no ease at all, and was big enough to fit me...

The second attempt came out at about 16" around, which seems to fit Reuben (whose head is 19") very well. The earflaps and ties were an attempt to overcome the perennial problem of babies and their love of escapology, but I'm not sure how effective it will be...

Pattern: Baby Sheep Hat by Melissa Burt
Yarn: Aade Lông Artistic 8/2 / Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4-ply
Amount: Less than 1 skein of each
Colourway: Rainbow / 2080 White / 2066 Black
Needles: 3.25mm
Size: About 16"
On ravelry: here