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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

bhat5_3368.jpg  Last seen around these parts in November, my new grey felted bucket was waiting for a little Elf Love.

I put this hat through 2 rounds of felting; the first time I blocked it out over a form that was too square and too big. It went back into the hot sudz once more and when I was satisfied it fit me right (I tried it on over a plastic bag On My Head while it was wet), I then blocked it over a coffee can padded with a towel.

This week I gave it another shave because the fabric of the hat right out of the washer was a little nubby, hairy and pilly. But, did you know that was been part of the process in finishing some types of wool cloth for a very long time? They get *cropped* by a machine with high-speed rotating knives in a series not unlike a lawn mower.

bhat6_0676.jpg  I used a BIC.

Then the fun started! Here’s what some of you wrote on how to embellish the plain flannel hat.

Toby writes: “How to dress the hat?
Hmmm – well, how dressy do you want it? Conservative: I’d got to a fancy ribbon store and find some black and silver or perhaps some other color and silve/or grey ribbon and make a hatband – maybe even a small bow (if that is your bent). Not so conservative: Scarf in grey and other colors and tie it as a hatband. Really not conservative – cut down a small belt in any color – anything under an inch would probably do the trick here.”

KarenB writes: “Great ideas, Toby! I, too, was thinking hatband. But a textured one; either woven fabric, leather or braided ribbons.”

Deb in PA: “Another idea would be a shawl pin mounted on the side. There are some beautiful ones on the net. I love the idea of the scarf and belt. Very interchangable. People will think you have a new hat every time you change the accessory.”

Adrienne: “That had is a great background. I would not use a ‘permanent’ embellishment on the hat, becuase it is so very versatile. Red rose one day, pink chiffon scarf the next, black satin ribbon with white polka-dots, purple with green striped grosgrain. That hat is a background for anything.”

Jenifluer writes: “Feathers. Grey tweed and johdhpurs are meant to go together so I think a few nice irridescent black tail feathers on one side would finish it nicely.”

WOWOWOW! I love all these ideas. Here’s what I came up digging through the treasure chest that is my closet:

bhat4_3828.jpg

I have a *small* collection of scarves. Shown at top around the Bucket is one that is from India and is quite intriguing. It is made from black netting and is decorated with beads and sequins in spiral & floral motifs. At the ends, there is fringe made from the fabric…

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Next, one of my favorites from my stash of men’s pocket squares. I love men’s silk pocket-chiefs! I believe Ties & Silk Pockets are one of the only and most interesting ways men have to express themselves decoratively in their dress. When I spot a particularly well put together set (unmatching but co-ordinated) in the wild, I go crazy for the man… Ahem. Silk Pocket Squares can go a lot of places: around the neck, tied to a bag, and here as a Hat Band! This is my favorite one: dark turquoise with red paisleys…

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Into the ribbon basket and we come away with a heavy corded bi-color braid that looks quite saucy around the hat…

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Although I loved Toby’s suggestion for the belt, I just couldn’t bring myself to trim one to size. (I’m on the look-out for fashion shorties though and who knows what might pop-up?) In the meantime, I found another belt-like substitute. Here we have some black Snap Tape I had left over from a project. I like the look of the black against the grey with the studded sliver accents from the metal.

Today, it is my favorite!


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Monday, December 17, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

busshelter1_0089.jpg

Living in the City always means coming face-to-face with NEW!

Not too long ago, lovely bus shelters like this started popping up in select areas of Chicago (erm, NOT my neighborhood, where sometimes someone throws a bench with a real estate ad on the back…).

The lovely post-modern metal frame is surrounded by glass panels; there is a light at night in the inner ceiling and a small (really small) 3-person bench.

Some of the shelters have sprouted billboard-like advertising on the end panels and while we wait patiently for the ever-more late arrivals of our magic coaches, we can read about all sorts of products and entertainments; some of them scroll electronically. I’ve even seen some with small digital monitors inside but they gave that one up because they were too hard to read during the day and nobody wants to take public transportaton Downtown after dark…

I really love this new use, though:

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Within the end-confines of the shelter is a Garment!

Even though the ad is for Sweaters, I can clearly see this is a PONCHO! (Actually a rather delightful woven poncho, by DKNY, wow!)

But the best part is the ad exhorts us to finish that Holiday Knitting: “Another sweater and my plan is nearly complete.

But I’d just as soon look a this suspended in mid-air…

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Beryl_3814_3_web.jpg

One present done; a million to go…

Or maybe, one down, none to go ;)

(I could just get away with no more handmade Christmas presents for the rest of the year with this!)

This little Beryl is destined to the wrapping table asap. When I was almost at the finishing point, a friend saw it and said, “Oh, for me?”

What could I say? I made it a size larger than I normally do for myself and it fit her perfectly. It was meant to be! So off it goes to a new happy home and I will make another one for myself.

This one is made from Bartlett Fisherman Yarn in Oatmeal and it is a thick and yummy knit. The seed and texture stitch accents are subtle and organic; they don’t quite merge with the yarn surface but don’t pop out quite as dramatically as a merino like Aurora 8.

Happiest touch of all: I found some really beautiful antiqued brass buttons earlier this year at the late and lamented Tender Buttons on Rush St and they’ve been patiently waiting for a new home.

I love the marriage of buttons and yarns on cardigans and just for grins put an assortment of faux tortoise, white and pewter metallic on this big band.

But the music was made with the Brass…


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