Sometimes Life Just Isn’t Pretty

I try to keep it real here on the blog, but not be too much of a downer. This week has been filled with things going sideways pretty much everyday. Basically its been one of those weeks that makes you want to build a blanket fort and check out of adult life for a week…maybe longer.

I was planning on doing an awesome post about all my adventures turning my crocheted pencil roving circle into a felted fabric for my weekend post.

Instead this week got especially interesting with my oldest son having a really bad day at school mid-week. Such a bad day that he didn’t go to school the next day. He wasn’t suspended, but things were tense. I guess this is some of the excitement of parenting a teen-age boy in today’s world. There were some important conversations about what had happened and lots of teachable moments in managing this.

Together he and I created a “medicine bag” necklace for him to wear. It’s amazing how much it has already helped him. We also worked on him taking some space each morning to center himself and breathe. Something that the daily rush often doesn’t give us.

Then there was also the crummy snowy wet weather, husband out of town for work, and the looming deadline for a large crochet design sample. It hasn’t been the best week. In a word, exhausting.

But there are always a few bright moments.  Like….

I made this tiny little “pocket” angel using needle-felting. I was pleased that I managed to make this small project without once jabbing myself with the very sharp needle. It is the danger with working tiny in needle felting, the needle can go right thru the object and into your supporting hand if you aren’t very careful.

I also made a fun felted toy for my youngest son. He has named it “Kitty Rock”. It was good practice for working out the shaping for a cat face.

He didn’t want me to add anything to the body, so it ended up being a palm sized oval with a large cat face. He loves it, and with the way this week was going, I’ll take the mom win.

My order from the Woolery came with some new tools for working with fiber. These are little carding brushes for preparing fiber for felting or  to return yarn into loose fiber (I’ll be utilizing that a lot). I actually put them to use when I made my little pocket angel.

The other tool from that order is a big sheet of ArtFelt Paper from Skacel. Not real exciting looking, but I’ll hoping to have a lot of fun with it once I have a chance to experiment with it.

I also got 2 packages of commercial felt sheets. One of the packages contained felt sheets that were 30% Wool and 70% Polyester. The other package the sheets were 100% wool.

I’ve played a bit with the sheets from the first package. They are very difficult to pierce with the felting needles, so I’ll be sewing with those instead. The colors are gorgeous and the quality of the fabric is really nice.

These are the sheets from the second package. They are a bit thicker than the other sheets and only 5 x 5 inches. Other than taking this photo I haven’t had time to experiment with them yet.  Depending on how my experiments go, I may be getting some more colors in this felt. I’m hoping to be able to incorporate commercially available felt sheets into my needle felting creations.

For the moment, I need to buckle down and get a lot of crocheting underway to finish the sample and be ready for shipping my samples off by Wednesday at the latest. How did May get here so fast?

Hopefully I’ll have some pretty crochet to show you next week, as well as my felting adventures with the crocheted pencil roving.

Crocheting with Pencil Roving

I’ve been spending about half my crafting time with needle felting lately and discovered that some of the fiber I purchased from Brown Sheep looked like pencil roving. I’ve crocheted with pencil roving before, and thought this might be a good way to create some felted fabric that could become part of one of my felting projects.

The last time I felted crocheted pencil roving I made this little bowl. After felting it I embellished it with some novelty yarn around the opening and added beads.

It was crocheted in the round with single crochet.   For this experiment I wanted to make a flat piece of felt.

I used one of my favorite crochet stitches, the Half Double Crochet (hdc), with my largest Clover Amour hook (size P/Q 15mm). I’ve found the hdc to be one of the best stitches in crochet to felt. I decided to work it in continuous rounds to allow for the fabric to contract evenly as it is felted.

I like the way the hdc looks from the back as well. In the continuous rounds the back bar on the hdc stitch creates a pleasing spiral. The size hook I was using worked well with the size of roving that I had found in the bag of fiber. But I had to create a bit more “pencil roving” to finish the fourth round as I was crocheting. My finished circle was just a little under 10″ in diameter.

This is the ball of wool top pencil roving that I was working with for the bowl. I used about half this ball to make the bowl. That gives you an idea of how quickly you can use up your pencil roving.

Crocheting with roving is an interesting process, there is no twist to the strand so the act of crocheting actually creates the twist. If  you are wanting to crochet with pencil roving and not felt it, I recommend that you use the smallest hook you can comfortably crochet your fiber with.

Working with a smaller hook when crocheting roving means that your finished fabric will be more durable. If I didn’t felt the circle I had made it would not have stayed nice for very long. I loved the squish factor of the finished fabric, but the twist I had created would not have stood up to normal use.

I do have a dream of making some really cushy house slippers crocheted from pencil roving. Just need to acquire enough yardage of roving to experiment with. I think with wearing, the roving would felt a bit, so I might need to make the soles double or even triple thickness. I may need to make the first pair of slippers for one of my great nieces or nephews, they have much smaller feet than anyone else in my life currently.

I’ll share a bit later with you about my experiments with felting my crocheted pencil roving circle. Things got a little bit messy and a whole lot of crazy.