Pattern: Clutch from One Skein by Leigh Radford
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, Adobe colorway
Yardage: slightly less than one skein – about 100 yards or so
Needles: size 13 circulars
Modifications: The Manos is thinner than the Lamb’s Pride Bulky called for in the original pattern, so I added 5 repeats to the body of the clutch and 5 rounds to the handle as well.

Pattern: My own – let’s just call this the Earl Grey scarf
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Night, color Oberon
Yardage: about 150 yards, less than one skein
Needles: size 6 straights

My mother received her birthday gifts, so now I can show them to you! It was a great deal of fun to use new yarns that I’ve never worked with before. The Manos is a real pleasure. It’s not the softest of yarns, but the merino content made it softer than I expected. The Kidsilk Night is glorious. I found that the shiny bits, though, are the teeniest bit scratchy. In the future, I’d probably use Kidsilk Haze instead. Still, what a yarn! Now I know why people rave over it.

You presumably noticed that the clutch is felted. I’ve never felted anything before, and I have to tell you about my adventure in doing so. I live in an apartment building that has a grand total of one washing machine and dryer for all the tenants. I read up on felting, and discovered that sometimes when one felts, one can mess up the washing machine. This didn’t seem very fair to the people I share a washing machine with, so I looked up hand felting and found this useful tutorial. It certainly works. However, I am apparently a moron at felting. I wore gloves, but in rubbing the wool against itself, apparently I caught my fingers in it. Both of my index fingers had enormous blisters on them at the end of it. I still have ugly little knobs on my fingers, actually. I also got VERY worn out. It was a very intense exercise, and I was sweaty and messy and exhausted when I finished. I asked the ladies at Pick Up Sticks about this while I was at Stitches West, and they said, first of all, that they’d never seen someone mess up their hands like I did while felting, and secondly, that I could avoid that by using a stick to hit and rub the wool next time. I think I shall. Also, I feel special for being unique. Because unique makes you special. So those knobs on my fingers? Badges of honor.

I’ll still use a stick next time.

The scarf was just a simple vine lace pattern, and since I was trying to do it as fast as was humanly possible, there are mistakes, even with a simple pattern like that. Ah, well. I’m not a total perfectionist, and I still liked how it looked. Since you can’t see it too well in the picture, here’s what the yarn looks like:

It’s really a gorgeous grey, with just a hint of blue. It’s one of those colors that I fall hard for but can’t wear myself, so it’s nice to have a mother with coloring that differs from my own. I love greys very much, but they do not look good on a person with reddish hair and hazel eyes. The finished scarf is intentionally very short. I wanted just a little wispy bit of lace that could be tied around the neck – sort of a scarflette, really. Mom looks good in such things, and I liked the idea that it would be appropriate either for work or a night out.

So once again, happy birthday, Mom!
Oh, and did you guys notice the spanking new url? I’m stupid excited about it still.


6 Responses to “Gifts”

  1. Sarah Says:

    A big w00t to the new URL, and also to your mom’s beauteous scarf! I like the sly shadowy reference to it in the final picture, too, clever girl. I have the same trouble with grey, and the same easy out in a blue-eyed, fair-skinned mother. Happy birthday to yours!

  2. Stephanie Says:

    coo…what a beautiful gift, and love the felting. I have been wanting to do some too, but also have washing machine limitations. Found some instructions on this site, which suggest using a – new – toilet plunger to re create the effect of the washing machine’s action. Might be easier on the hands?

  3. Kristen Says:

    Stephanie, thank you so much! That’s brilliant! It sounds as though it would work better than a stick OR felting my hands!

    Sarah, it is nice to have family who can wear a variety of colors, isn’t it?

  4. Fiona Says:

    Wow. Those are both lovely. Nice work! I bet your mother was thrilled with them.

    Also, congratulations on the new URL. Yay you!

  5. R. Says:

    Oh my goodness, those are both gorgeous! I’ve felted a small piece of wool by hand; I know it’s rough on the hands, so I admire your, uh, manual fortitude. It paid off.

    Not to state the obvious, but just in case you didn’t know: you can put a piece in a pillow case and tie it up, then throw it in the washer. It will still felt, but the little bits of wool will stay in the case and not clog things up.

  6. Sue Says:

    I know, first-hand, how beautiful these two pieces are, since I am the recipient–Kristen’s mom. They are wonderful indeed and I am extremely fortunate to have such a talented, lovely daughter!

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