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a different kind of string theory

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I may have OD’d on knitting for a month or so. Right before Christmas, I did a Holiday Craft Fair at the school where my mother-in-law works. I cranked out a ton (read: A boatload, or more colloquially, a buttload) of neckers and scarflettes, or whatever the heck you want to call them. It was such a great experience, even though I ended knitting more in one month than I’d ever knit in my entire life!

It was a very low pressure craft fair. In fact, the only thing I bothered stressing out over was that I’d completely forgotten to bring change, or a cash box, or any kind of bag or box to put my products in. Oops. I did manage to make cute little tags. Right after the craft fair, though, I bought this book, which will prepare me for Etsy and any other craft fair situation. If you click on the link, you’ll see that it looks Very Cute and Not Very Useful, but that is where you would be wrong. It is both Very Cute and Very Useful.

The craft fair was also a good experience because I got to meet the crafty wife of a friend, and I don’t know either of them as well as I would like. We sat next to each other for a few hours (and I really wanted to just shove all of her cute tote bags and pouches into my own purse and call it a day), and what better way to see if someone is on the same wavelength or not? Well, long car trips are really the best way to see if you can get along with somebody, but that wouldn’t be very practical in a crafty situation. Anyway, we did get along, and her husband even showed up with Don Pepe tacos (key to my affections!) at lunchtime, and now I’m going to go to a crafting party with her in March. So, yay! This angle of the craft fair was full of win.

It was also interesting, too, to see what other people do. Some of it I really liked, and some of it was atrocious. And a lot of it was not exactly atrocious, but it just wasn’t anything I’d ever be remotely like;y to buy. It was useful to see what sold and what got passed over, and what I should do the same and what I should do differently.

Let’s not forget that I actually made money on this venture! I sold almost everything, and I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t sell my orange and white ruffled necker. It’s an odd duck, and I totally designed it myself, and I’m glad no one wanted to wear something that looks like a creamsicle. I was so excited about making money that I reinvested it all in more yarn– and that’s when Christmas hit and I didn’t knit for a few weeks. I’m back on the wagon now, though. With a vengeance. I’m taking up sewing and felting now, as well as knitting.

A few days ago, when I should have been grading papers I finally sewed up those curtains and relearned my way around the sewing machine. In middle school and high school I was a sewing maniac. I really liked the flapper era, the Roaring Twenties, and may have been delusionary at times, thinking I was Tuppence Beresford. That’s a different blogpost. But I sewed a lot sans patterns, and once my mom and I moved and she got divorced, I don’t know what happened to my sewing machine. It was a tumultuous time, and the sewing machine was the last thing on my mind. But a few years ago, during my I-go-to-Target-every-day phase, Singer sewing machines were on sale, and I snapped one up. That phase may have been a pesky and dangerous one, but the purchase was sound. This Sunday, I finally used it. Nearly twenty years is a long absence, so I’m definitely going to have to relearn a whole slew of techniques and skills, but I jumped into the water. I accidentally disassembled the whole bobbin apparatus trying to put a new bobbin in, and since I couldn’t find the instruction manual I had to figure it all out like a puzzle. I might have a bright career ahead of me in sewing machine repair. Also, I’m glad my daughter was taking a walk with my husband when this happened, because I cursed like a salty dog the whole entire time.

One last thing: Needle Felting. I had less than $50 in my bank account, but I did get this anyway, because I’ve been pining away for one and I wanted to be able to make my neckers stand out from the crowd.

Three very sharp needles with which to poke things.

They are very sharp, and I’m surprised I’ve only poked myself once with them. Maybe I should keep a tally. If you want to felt a larger area they make larger pokey things, and you can remove one or two from this particular model to fit the nature of your project.

You place your wooly project on something that looks like an old-fashioned lintbrush, and then keeping your fingers out of the way, poke-poke-poke-poke until the fibers are as stuck together as you want them to be. Poke more and it’s denser and very stuck together, poke less and it’s looser. You can get all kinds of creative with this. Poke color upon color, fiber upon fiber (as long as it’s wool, or a wool combo).


Of course, you would set the bristly mat on a table, and not actually hold it up in the air. Duh. Notice that this is an action shot.

The first thing I attempted to embellish was a little pouch I’d made and felted– but it didn’t really felt all the way. I think that’s called fulling, maybe? Anyway, it’s floppier than I would like, though kind of cute. I simply placed some of my favorite mustard colored yarn where I wanted to have a stripe, and poke-poke-poked.

All my yarn is mustard-colored.

It took a minute or two. I still don’t know what to do with this pouch, but now it has a stripe! I think, with some alterations, I could fashion a kindle cover.

Then this morning, on my home from class, I was bothered by the fact that the slit I tuck the end of my scarflette through gets stretched out and loose. Would it eventually unravel altogether? And then I remembered my handy felting needle. When I got home, I felted the slit so that it was sturdier (!). Problem solved!

Sturdy slit. Get your mind out of the gutter.

And then I used the felting needle on a little necker that I’d made with two strands of yarn, and one of the strands refused to weave in and be properly finished. Poke-poke-poke, and that sucker was finished for good. No more sticking out, stubborn yarn ends that refuse to give in to that good night.


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