Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's the little things

You know your a fiber lover when you stop to take a picture of how your yarn ball is unraveling. So cute.

Dolly DK (knit bear in the making)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Simply Cute Pattern Series

My "Simply Cute" pattern series is growing and I'm having a great time creating these adorable pets. Simply Cute Lion and Pig are available for in my Etsy Shop (The Wool Purl) and on Ravelry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bears and Change

Hi bear lovers. I know your probably wondering where the heck are the bears. Well, there will always be a bear or two in the making here, but that little bear might have a different look or style these days. After sewing sewing bears almost every day for 13 years, it feels like it's time for a change. So for now my mohair and furs have been folded and put away. Of course, I'll be making bears every now and then, but it didn't seem fair to to keep the website up without any new cubs to meet, so has closed and the new blog is up and running.

Here you'll be able to keep in touch, see what's in the making and meet new bears and critters with sweet faces. Right now, I'm working on new crochet patterns (the series currently has four sweet faced animals from my "Simply Cute" Series. There is a bear, a lamb, a lion and a pig to meet). I'm getting a chance to make new things and have been enjoying some simple pleasure like retro granny squares (just like my mom and grandmother used to make). When I find a little more time in the day, or week, I'm spinning, knitting or sewing.

I hope you'll check back often, follow me on Facebook and check back often to see what's new and in the making.

Bear hugs

New Crochet Patterns

I've been wanting to get some crochet patterns down on paper (so to speak, how about typed and saved on my computer), but thinking about it and actually doing it have definitely been two different things. I'm thrilled to say it's happening. Two are finished and more are on in the making.

I've added both new patterns to the Etsy shop, "The Wool Purl" and my Ravelry Store is up and running.

Both patterns are quick and easy so you can have them finished in no time. You might even get them done in time to wrap and give as a gift.

Simply Cute Lamb is 12 inches tall and uses worsted weight and boucle yarn with a G hook. Simply Cute Bear is 11 inches tall and also uses worsted weight yarn and a G hook. Both patterns can be crocheted with smaller hooks and lighter weight yarn for a smaller tighter gauge toy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wheel Worries

As you can tell from all the fiber pictures, I'm addicted to spinning and was in love with my wheel in a matter of days. Soon I was spinning non-stop and reading about spinning when I wasn't spinning. Suddenly one night while trying to get beads into my yarn, I realized I needed a jumbo flyer (for you non-spinners, this holds the yarn bobbins. The opening if larger so you can use bulkier fibers and add more stuff to your yarn). I couldn't wait for Christmas (this was my original thought when I got my wheel). So, I logged into "The Woolery" and with credit card in hand was about to hit the purchase now button when I realized, there is no jumbo flyer for my wheel. What! This had to be a mistake. Nope, after more clicking and a quick email I was told they don't make a jumbo blyer for the Fantasia. Oh no, this wasn't going to work. There are just to many great beads and tiny treasures tempting me. I dream of the yarn these little things can be a part of. Nope, this isn't going to work.

I'm sure I had mentioned wanting a jumbo flyer when I was choosing wheels, I'm sure I was told there would be one when Christmas rolled around. So I called the shop where I'd purchased my wheel and lucky for me, the owners are wonderful. They agreed to let me exchange if the other wheel and pay the difference (of course, the other one is a little more money, aren't they always). Yep, no questions asked they said they would, but I'd have to wait a week until they got back from a trade show in Indiana. Now, for most people this probably wouldn't be a big deal, but I'm known for not being the most patient person in the world and the thought of not being able to spin for a week with my wheel in the corner of the dining room sort of looking at me was something I didn't know if I could do. I had to do it, I had to spin. So with extra care and a lot more gently then normal I spun through the week and kept trying to decide if trading in my wheel for the other one was the best choice. After all, Kromski said they were working on making a flyer for the Fantasia, but when would it be out and what if they didn't come out with one (remember the patient thing). My wheel treadles so nice, am I making the right decision, what if the other one is even more persnickety. I went on line to read which wheel was better, which one did Kromski wheel owners prefer. No help there, everyone seemed to love their wheel and pros and cons were pretty much equal for both wheels.

Finally, it was time to decide. I cleaned off my wheel loaded it the car (belting it in even) and headed to the "Wool, Warp and Wheel." They were great and let me treadle the other wheel while they listened to me go on and on about how I love my wheel, but I'm basically nuts and need a bigger flyer now instead of when and if it comes out. While sitting there, the decision seemed easier, I had liked the way this wheel looked more than mine when I'd first looked at them, I'd thought it treadled really nicely, but I remember thinking, it's more money, I'll be good and get the less expensive one. If I would have gotten the one I'd loved more that first day I could have saved myself this little bit of worry and you wouldn't be reading all this.

So in it's travel bag (an added bonus). I brought home my new wheel and planned on having to go through that "getting to know my wheel" stage all over again. Guess what...loved it right away, love that I switched and love that this decision making process is over and I can just spin.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hand Dyed Tequila Sunrise

I was thrilled when I got my hand dyed roving to match the fun novelty ribbon I wanted to use. I think it matches pretty well, what do you think?

Spin, Spun, Done

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tiny Beads Everywhere

I thought, ok I'm ready to tackle adding beads to my yarn. Love that...not so easy.

I strung the beads on yards and yards of beautiful silk thread. Carefully placed them in a bowl next to my wheel on the floor and began to treadle ever so slowly so that each bead would be exactly where I wanted it. Slowly, slowly I began to treadle and move the beads. About a yard done, looks great. Slowly, slowly I treadled. Snap, thread broke beads went flying, words loudly escaped, dogs went running.

Maybe I'll try beads another day.


What a fun word. Persnickety. When Toni from The Fold said, "Kromski's can be a little persnickety." I couldn't get that word out of my head. I have a Kromski wheel by the way. I don't think I ever heard that word used in a sentence until that day. So I looked it up and made sure I knew what she was saying. Definition= Requiring a particularly precise or careful approach. Fussy. Yep, I can be a little persnickety when it comes to creating and maybe my wheel is too. I'm not really sure if it is or not since its my first and only wheel, but either way, I love that word so it seems like the perfect name for my hand spun yarn. Persnickety it is.

Spin, Spinning, Spun

I've been spinning so much, I think I treadle in my sleep. Loving every minute, wishing there were more hours in the day (time definitely flies while the wheel spins).

Have quickly discovered that I barely have enough patience to let my yarn rest on the bobbin before I can move it to the niddy nobby.

Practiced my coils and bobbles this week. Thought these were boo boos before I knew what they were.

Discovered beautiful hand dyed Roving from Sheepish Creations. Have to get some more of this.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hand dying and painting yarn

Anyone who knows me, knows I have more than enough to keep me busy. Especially now with a new wheel, but I had to try something else. Hand dying yarn. So fun, so messy, so cool. A few steps and magic happens.

A few picture steps missing, but you get the idea.

I've got ants

I never thought I'd be saying that I need ants, but that's exactly what I said. Last year, I planted a peony bush by the back of my fence. It was full of buds, but never opened. My friend told me I needed ants to eat the wax off the buds so that they could open. Wow, learn something everyday. So I poured a little sugar water on it and waited. Nothing, not an ant in sight. I tried again, no ants. What the heck, there were ant hills all over the other side of the fence, ants are always there when you don't want them, but when you luck. So, my poor little peony bush never did open and by the end of Fall it was looking like it just wasn't going to make it. When Spring finally (and I mean finally) arrived, my poor peony bush looked like it had passed in the Winter, so I pulled it out, sighed and gave in to the fact that I was (and am) a pretty bad gardener.

About a month ago, I looked over and realized, it was back it had grown while I wasn't looking and it looked better than ever. This week it was filled with buds and I immediately remembered. Oh, no I need ants, so, I grabbed a bottle of left over (flat in fact) orange soda, added a little water and went to work, pouring it slowly over every bud.

It worked! I have ants and blooms. Who would have thought I'd be wanting ants.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Practice makes...perfect

That's how the saying goes doesn't it? "Practice makes perfect." So I practice and practice. Started thinking maybe...I'm trying to hard to make that perfect yarn. Shouldn't this be relaxing, enjoyable and just plan fun. So, I loosened the tension (on my wheel and my hands), started over and had some fun with a little test skein of two ply merino. Time will tell if perfect happens , but for now I think I'll try to enjoy my wheel more and make something different and fun.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


There's a new wheel at my house. What a great husband and a great birthday present.

Oh, just think some day I might make beautiful yarn. Please notice how I said someday. This fun new piece of equipment might look easy to use, but those twists are tricky business. I've been treadling for days only to discover I'll be doing a whole lot more treadling before I have what I'd call "real" yarn. Practice, practice, practice. I've been treadling so much, I'm treadling while I'm sitting here typing this.

So I did make a bobbin full of yarn. Be nice, it's my first and I'm hoping when it goes onto the niddy nobby it will still look like yarn.

With practice and something new comes patience. Although this is something I've had to work on my whole life I'll get some...patience that is and eventually hand spun yarn to share.

In between treadling, I think I'm going to try hand dying this week. Stay tuned for updates and pictures. Hope the dye stays on the table and doesn't turn the kitchen to many shades of red (or whatever colors I decide to work with).

What happened to Spring

It's been a little strange around here lately (well, more strange than usual). March and April flew buy with doctor visits, surgery and a visit with my mother in law. Now May is almost over and I'm thinking what the heck happened. Still seeing doctors, but really not much else seems to be happening here these days. I haven't been by my sewing machine much lately and can't really think of anything I've accomplished knitting. I'm still working on a great pair of color-work owl mittens and yes, there are always socks in my bag, but what else have I been doing? Well, I needle felted a couple of really cute little lambs or at least I think their cute. I organized my roving and ransacked through all my yarn looking for inspiration (so now I have that to re-organize). I took a spinning class with a friend (fell in love of course) then headed to the library to check out everything related to spinning and hand dying.

Well, I guess that is what's been happening, my passion (or obsession) for fiber is still growing (while my ability to get anything finished these days seems sort of far fetched).

What to make? A sweater, a vest, more scarves, hats, mittens. Who knows, I'm sure something will catch my eye soon. Right now though, it's all about yarn....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Knitting Passion

So I thought I had every knitting book (not really just all the ones with knitted toys), I was wrong. I saw a new one yesterday. I carried that book all around the store. Somewhere between the buttons and the register I talked myself out of it and sadly put it back on the shelf. I kept thinking, "you have enough books, " and "even if I live to be a hundred I won't have time to knit everything I'd like." Oh, so many cute things to make. This knitted toy thing has definitely become an addiction or a passion. No matter which it is, I always want to knit. Let's face it, you can't knit everywhere and other things need to get done...right.

Now that I've slept on it, I think I might have to go back and get that book after all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow, Snow, Snow

We definitely got it. They were predicting it, but since they tend to over exaggerate just a bit here in Chicago, so I wasn't to worried. Wrong, when I woke up their predictions were right on. It was beautiful and a little overwhelming. Snow blocked the patio doors and if my yorkie had been able to venture out on his own I may have never seen him again. Poor Stewart (my cock a poo) didn't know what to do. Schools and businesses closed and the week was pretty strange. I'm not used to having my husband home in the middle of the week.

After everyone finally shoveled out, the freeze began. It's been in the low teens all week and I can say without a doubt I have Spring fever.

Keep Warm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What did I get accomplished

Last week, I started out needle felting a miniature bunny who did not want to cooperate with me at all. His head didn't turn out like I planned (at all) and my fingers took a beating. After lots of pokes and loud compliments I set him off to side. Maybe he'll come alive another day.

Now, I'm wondering what I accomplished last week after.
I went through and organized a few totes, cleaned the house (not much fun), finished a plush ted named Theodore, did some grocery shopping, visited with friends and danced with a bowling pin (yep, Saturday night with friends) but what else did I accomplish? I'm thinking...yes, small, but accomplished. Two baby hats, and the beginning (not finished yet, so I'm sure she doesn't really count as accomplished) a knit kitten.

Getting Organized

Every once in a while, I get that urge. The time to get organized urge. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. You start out, full of positive energy, you pull out bins, go through boxes, grab the label maker and dig in. You find things you forgot you had, things you didn't know you had. You decide, "that's it" I'm going to be able to find everything whenever I need it. Your intentions are good and you might get it all done and have one of those studios or work spaces you see in a magazine. Or, you get most of it done, get rid of some things and then poop out, give up or feel sort of satisfied with a little bit done is better than none, I'll finish this later. My organizing day ended this week when I came across some plush fur that I'd forgotten I had. When I saw it, I thought hey, that's a bear I need to make, so everything went back where it was and I headed to the sewing machine (after putting the label maker away and thinking I'll finish this another day).

Theodore is one of my, get organized bears.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Needle Felted Bear Named Beuford

One of my resolutions is to needle felt more in 2011. Well, it's January 12th and I've already done that. Hooray, a resolution accomplished. I just finished up a 8" cub named Beuford. It's been a long time since I needle felted a larger cub or any little critter for that matter. So, it took me a little while to get back into the swing of things. Several faces got started and discarded and after lots of finger pokes (if you've ever needle felted you know these can be pretty darn nasty. Sorry to whine a little, but wow I got a good poke in my index finger that almost ended my needle felting resolution), I started to get a little discouraged. I put my so called bear off to the side and decided to try again another day. This morning I was determined to try again. Lots more shaping, lots more poking and finally a little bear started to come to life. Once Beuford was looking back at me with those big glass eyes, I knew I'd get him finished. I just added Beuford to the website and love his sweet face. Now that he's finished, and my fingers feel a little better, maybe I'll needle felt again tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Knit Toys

Bears, knitting and cute faces. A perfect combination for me.

My first knit teddy bear was added to the website today.

Thank you Twins Knit for an adorable pattern.

Sweet faces

I love those sweet teddy bear faces. Actually it's not just teddy bears, it can be bunnies, sheep, elephants, lambs, dolls, etc. Probably why I'm a collector of bears, and dolls. Even after making bears for over eleven years, I still smile when a cub looks back at me with shiny glass eyes and a cute, "pick me up" face. Bears and dolls sit on shelves, perch on tiny chairs, poke out of baskets and peek out of corners in almost every room of my house. Sometimes, just looking at them makes me smile, brings back a memory or just makes me feel at home. Some people (you know who you are) think I have more than enough bears, maybe so, but since the rules for collectors are not really clear on the matter, I think I'll keep them. Sometimes while I'm walking through a shop, browsing a blog or checking out an antique store, a bear will catch my eye. Almost making me feel like he "called out to me." It never fails, I have to zoom in on his picture or pick him up and take a closer look. Sometimes I just steal a little hug and carefully put him back where he was so that someone else can enjoy that cute face. Sometimes...I have to bring him home with me, what can I say, I'm a bear collector. I can't speak for all of us, but I'm pretty sure bear collectors know this feeling. I hope some of my bears have that "pick me up" face.

Knit Faster

There is a little button pin on the side of my knitting bag. I got it last year while my husband and I were in Door County. It's a simple white button with three little words, "must knit faster." When I bought it, I thought, this pin is perfect. At that time, I felt like I needed to knit faster so that I could finish projects and gifts in time for holidays and special occasions. My projects seemed to hang on my needles a lot longer than other people's. My rows seemed to take longer to get across then everyone else.

The words on my little pin haven't changed, and I still feel like I need to knit faster, but not because I want to get sometime done in time for a holiday or birthday. Now I need to get done so that I can knit something else. There are so many things I want to knit and oh so little time to knit. Every month there's a new magazine filled with beautiful knit gifts, toys, cowls, scarves, mittens and hats. New patterns appear on Ravelry everyday, ideas pop into my head, my favorite designers have something new, friends show me what their working on or what they just finished. Oh, so much to knit. I don't have grandchildren yet (knock on wood), but what will I do when I'm told I will. There are hundreds (yes, hundreds) of baby things I want to make. Oh, so many patterns, so little time.

My pin says it all.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Crochet Patterns

This year, one of my goals is to get some of my crochet ideas down on paper and on my computer. I always start crocheting with good intentions of writing as I go, but usually before I know it, I've crocheted several rows and forgot to write down what I did. This means starting over and usually it goes on this way several times before I just finish my project and plan to write another day. I hope this year is filled with those writing days and some patterns get done.

I did manage to get one finished and since it's my first I want to share it with you. "Sweet Pup" is available on my freebie page. If you make him, I'd love to see some pictures and would really appreciate feedback and comments since he's my first.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First bear in 2011

Just finished adding Linus to the website. My first ted of the New Year. I love his multi colored plush fur and sweet face. I gave him a soft, oatmeal colored scarf with stitched, felt hearts and vintage buttons. Valentine's Day will be here before we know it (and I don't even have my tree down yet).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Knitting Needles

The basement of my house on Ashford Lane is filled with art and craft supplies. I think I might have more ribbon then JoAnn Fabrics. Mohair and plush fur fills a cabinet, scrap booking and paper take up a room size corner. Buttons fill jars and old tins. Now yarn balls, hanks and skeins have taken over any available space there once was. I love it.

As if I didn't have enough hobbies and interests, I decided one day about two years ago that I wanted to learn to knit. My grandmother and mom had both crocheted and had taught me when I was small enough to still play with Barbies. I remember making granny squares, tiny bathing suits and blankets. I crocheted every now and than through the years, but never enough to really call myself a crocheter.

One day, I spotted some old knitting needles in my favorite little thrift shop. I remembered a lady (wish I could remember her name) trying to teach me to knit when I was little. I remembered her saying, "knitting is just two basic stitches, knit and purl. If you can do these, you can knit." I thought okay then, I'm going to learn to knit. I had always loved the way knitted things looked and remember asking my mom to crochet me something without holes in it. She would say, that's knit.

With a how to book in front of me, I took the plunge and started to "cast on". I studied the pictures as I struggled to hold both needles and the yarn at the same time. After lots of tangled yarn and dropped needles I did it. I was ready to knit. Again, I dropped my needles, fumbled to hold on to the yarn and get it to cooperate with me. Why didn't it want to come back through that space without falling off, oops there it went, dropped again, start over and so it went for several hours until finally it looked like the picture, it looked like I had knit a row. The lady's words, sounded in my head again, 'if you can knit and purl you can knit." Well, then, I thought I can do this knit stitch, lets try the purl one, I started again, now I had to change the way I held the needle, not fair, just got it to work the other way, wrap the yarn this way now, oops dropped the needle again, hey, my stitch fell off, and so it went for a few more hours until it finally resembled the stitches in the book again. With two rows done, I remember thinking to myself, I can do this, I can knit. I sure had a lot to learn.

Like most people, my first project was a scarf. After a few rows I'd look at the stitches, run my hand over the soft knitted garment and remember feeling a little sense of accomplishment. Two years later, I still do this. Lots of scarves, hats, slippers, socks and baby booties have been knit here with my old needles (and new, of course, my collection quickly grew).

My favorite chair is now surrounded by patterns, knitting needles, counters and yarn. For some reason, when I sit down and pull out those knitting needles I know I'll be relaxed in a couple minutes. Is it the sound of the clicking needles, the soft yarn or the continuous movement that puts me at ease? I'm not quite sure, but whatever it is, I can't imagine life without my knitting needles.