Monday, January 30, 2006

Felted Fortune Cookies

In honor of the Chinese New Year which was celebrated on January 29th, I whipped up some fortune cookies. No not the edible kind, the knitted kind.

* More pictures below...

I can't begin to tell you how fun these were to make. My gift to you is the "recipe" that you'll find below. Whip up a few and throw them in a chinese food box (you can find them at most craft stores). You can use them as party favors for weddings and baby showers. Write up some naughty fortunes and give them to your significant other for Valentines Day. Keep some on hand to give as gifts. Its a fun way to not only practice short rows but to use up your wool scraps (as you can see, several of my "cookies" are unusually colored). Please, send me pictures of your fortune cookies so I can see how yours turn out.

Keep your eyes open for Felted Fortune Cookie Kits in my Etsy shop in the coming week!

IndigoMuse's Felted Fortune Cookies

Yarn: Cascade 220 (color #8010 is off white) or other 100% wool yarn
Size 10.5 knitting needles ( I used Clover Bamboos)
Darning needle
Sewing needle and monofilament (clear) thread
1/2 inch wide or wide (I used 7/8") Satin ribbon

Gauge: not necessary

Tip - I slip the first stitch of each outside edge row for a neater circle.
K = Knit
Sl = Slip stitch without knitting
W&T = Wrap and turn; knit to the point where the pattern says to turn. Bring your yarn to the front of the work, slip the next stitch from the left hand needle, take your yarn to the back of the work, Slip the stitch back to the left hand needle. Turn your work and place the yarn at the back of your work before knitting to the beginning of the row.

Large Cookie:
Pre-Felted diameter - 8"
Post – Felted diameter - 6"

CO 15 stitches (leave a 12 - 15" long tail that will be used to stitch up the center when finished knitting the unfelted cookie)

1. K3, w&t, k3
2. K6, w&t, k6
3. K9, w&t, k9
4. K12, w&t, k12
5. K15, turn, sl1, k14

Repeat steps 1 - 5 until you have enough wedges to make a complete circle (approximately 14 - 15 wedges). You are not binding off the stitches at the end of each wedge but are knitting wedges together to form a circle.

Stitch the two sides of the circle together with the tail and your darning needle. Stitch center circle closed and weave in ends.

Small Cookie:
Pre-Felted diameter - 6"
Post- Felted diameter - 4.25"

CO 10 stitches (leave a 12 - 15" long tail that will be used to stitch up the center when finished knitting the unfelted cookie)

1. K2, w&t, k2
2. K4, w&t, k4
3. K6, w&t, k6
4. K8, w&t, k8
5. K10, turn, sl1, k9

Repeat steps 1 - 5 until you have enough wedges to make a complete circle (approximately 11 - 12 wedges). You are not binding off the stitches at the end of each wedge but are knitting wedges together to form a circle.

Stitch the two sides of the circle together with the tail and your darning needle. Stitch center circle closed and weave in ends.

Put fortune cookies in a zippered pillowcase. Prepare washer by setting it to the lowest water setting, the hot/cold wash cycle and the heavy duty wash setting, if you have one. Add your detergent of choice and some towels or jeans so that the cookies get plenty of friction while washing. Check progress after each wash cycle (you may need to put them through more than one cycle to get them to felt with little or no stitch definition). Block felted cookies until dry.

Using satin ribbon, fabric or paper, write some witty fortunes for your cookies. If you need help, there are some websites below. Insert the fortune in the middle of the cookie. Fold cookie in half. With sewing needle, lightly tack the middle of the cookie closed. There's no need to stitch the entire edge closed unless you want to. Fold in half again, fortune cookie style and tack the inside where the two pieces meet. Voila! Your fortune cookie is finished! Enjoy!

Fortune websites:

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tickled Pink

Travel back with me for a minute. Back to October which now seems like a lifetime ago. I bought a small selection of ProChem acid dyes with the intention of dyeing yarn for holiday projects. And then I did something mind numbingly stoopid and accepted a commission for a fuggly holiday stocking and all those delusions of grandeur came to a skreeching halt. Damn. Double damn.

Fast forward to the first week of January and the first time that I wasn't stressed about knitting projects and classes and life in general. The dyes beckoned me from their hiding place in my stash. In I dove and immediately learned that "real" dyes vs. Kool-Aid produce really dark yarn. I present to you exhibits A and B...

Garish hand dyed yarn

Mini unfelted Buttonhole Bag knit with garish hand dyed yarn

Holy Moly Donut Shop those are some dark colors. Armed with my newfound knowledge, I eased up on the concentration of color and end up with better results but still the colors were crazy-go-nuts D.A.R.K.

Not a bad problem to have but a problem when you're shooting for lighter shades of color. This batch is being knit into wrist warmers for my hair dresser.

A bit discouraged, I went back to the drawing board, this time to try to replicate the color pink from one of my felted bags. Call me stupid but I was willing to at least give it a try. I bought a huge pot, toyed with diluting a small batch of my red stock solution (which is suspiciously fushia in my opinion) and voila! Kettle dyed pink yarn.

I can't begin to tell you how happy I am with the results. It matches perfectly. It's variegated. I'm now hooked on kettle dyeing and plan to do much, much more as soon as King Thing goes out of town again. All those dyes in our pristine white kitchen make him want to faint. Some things are best not seen, non?

Yes siree, I've been as busy as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest (For those of you who don't know, that's a Southernism. I'd love to hear your favorite if you have one). Anyhoo, between teaching knitting classes, private lessons and serious amounts of commissioned knitting and my regular job and oh yeah, being a domestic slave err... mother and wife, the Muse has had very little time to blog or read blogs. I've managed a bit of drive-by blog reading this week with a quick comment here and there. I hate not to comment like I used to but right now, time really is money. My mantra for 2006 is balance and I'm working hard to maintain it. I've been fairly successful and hope to keep my noggin above water this year.

So what's on my needles right now? A simple mindless felted tote bag - one of many - that's destined to be a birthday gift for my former California now North Carolina best friend. I'm lusting after a new knitting challenge but I'm not sure what that is just yet. And considering how little time I have for pleasure knitting right now, I might just need to stick to small projects or I'll be knitting the larger ones forever. I have WAY too many WIP but none of them are calling me from the stash. And spinning sadly has been practically non-existent. I think I might need to try to focus this year on either spinning, knitting or dyeing but I'm not convinced that I'm ready to commit to just one yet. Am I fickle or what?

What I CAN say that I've learned about myself over the past year is that I'm not nuts about sweaters. I know its blasphemy to say it out loud and I might lose my license to knit in saying so. Don't get me wrong, I love Rogue and some of the others that I've made in the past but for the most part, I really enjoy knitted accessories. I think people tend to gravitate to the knit bloggers who tackle sweaters and frankly I admire them too. But I think I've found my niche and plan to delve into deeply this year. Hope I don't bore you in the process.

Well back to work and life. I'll try to stop in more frequently but no promises. Many thanks for the kind words of encouragement. You're all too kind and I've missed you more than you'll ever know.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Road to Hell...

Are you familiar with the phrase "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions?" It's always in my head. Especially when I intend to do things and then can never seem to get around to them. Such have been the last few weeks. I've intended to do a LOT of things and actually got around to doing some of them but many more remain in a state of limbo. My knitting room is still a wreck, I'm way behind on paperwork, and the I intended to bake lots of my famous holiday goodies and give them as gifts. And yet for the second year in a row, it didn't happen. I intended to knit ALL of my holiday gifts. I'm happy to say that 90% of my gifts were knit but that 10% is eating away at me. December was a blur of teaching knitting classes, working on commissioned knitting projects, working full time once again in my "real" job and lots of entertaining. And while I'm a bit exhausted now, this holiday season was truly everything that I'd wished it to be. I got everything I wanted and SO much more. I spent several special evenings with various groups of friends including my newfound knitting buddies from the past year. Nothing is more fun than food, fun and fellowship in my book. My parents, brother and nephew spent Christmas at La Casita de Muse this year. We haven't spent Christmas all in one house in years and it was just as magical as I dreamed that it would be. But the best gift of all came from our California friends - who are now back on the East Coast in North Carolina and only three hours away - who drove all the way across the US just in time to spend New Year Eve with us for the first time in 13 years. I'm still pinching myself that they're here and you'll be hard pressed to rip the permagrin off my face. You see, for me, the holidays aren't about whats under the tree but the joy in my heart. I'll long forget what was given to me this year but I will never forget the conversations and laughter that was shared round the kitchen island, the roaring fire and by the Christmas tree.

My resolution for 2006 is to work harder year round to maintain the spirit that Christmas instills in me. And to enjoy the gifts of love, laughter and friendship that have so generously been bestowed upon me. I look forward to sharing more yarn related adventures with all of my cyberfiber friends this year. I have truly missed everyone over the last few months. I'm very slowly catching up on emails and blog reads so please be patient with me. This little Phoenix is just starting to rise from the ashes :)