thrifting friday

I always look at the crocheted afghans, but this is the first one I’ve bought. The colors are nice and will fit well in Elle’s room. It’s just the right size to fit on a single size bed. Usually the colors on these things are awful, maybe people usually use their spare yarns? But this one is thought out, and I like that it’s a modification of the granny square. If I’d learn to crochet I’d make one myself, but in the meantime who could pass this up for $2?
afghan

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needlefelting

I’ve picked up a new hobby, which should be no surprise. I seem to dabble a little in all the needle crafts. I’ve been trying to find something to do that can be constantly interrupted, while not being yanked out of my hands, bumped, unravelled, and so on. I received my pack of wool roving and needle yesterday, and have made my first creation.
frontside

Needlefelting is the new craft sweeping the nation, ahem, and is simply wool poked a whole lot of times with a needle until it becomes felted. It’s a special needle, with little barbs on it. You still end up poking your fingers, of course, so I had to re-learn the trick of putting on the band-aids before I poked myself, instead of after.

You’ll notice he’s a little fuzzy, and that’s because I have only the coarse needle, I need to buy a fine one (and you can’t buy just one of course, you need to buy a packet, and by then you might as well order more wool colors!). The fine needle is for finishing, and will smooth him out.

At first I was getting caught up in the excitement of it–why spend $3 or $4 per ounce of wool? Why, I can buy a whole shorn sheep wool at the fair, wash and card it myself, and then dye it whatever I want! But then I was thinking about the work involved in all of that, spending the money on the carders, buying the dyes, and it all still adds up. So I’ll just buy a little bit of wool here and there until it looks like this won’t be another throw away hobby.

Speaking of carding, I’ve been meaning to explain something about fibers. I think about this every time I put on one of my high-quality tee shirts, and also every time I put on one of my very cheap tee shirts. The high quality one gets softer and softer with time. The cheap one gets scratchy and stiff. I read this a long time ago, let’s see if I can explain it to you. When the tag reads “combed cotton” it means that the fibers have been aligned all in the same direction. Picture a box of matches with all the matches lying aligned. And then picture a box of matches with the matches all laying higgeldy piggeldy. When the fibers are all combed and lying in the same direction, they mat down with each washing and become sort of felted. When the fibers start out all higgeldy piggeldy, they get even more messed up with time in the washer and drier.

This is noticeable in poor quality bath towels. The expensive towels absorb water off your body, the scratchy cheap towels mostly move the water around and thins it out a bit so it evaporates quicker. Cotton loses its absorbency after time, so the scratchy towel really is almost useless even though technically it is still a towel. You probably notice this if you stay at a cheap motel–the towels are next to useless.

new flowers

The winter has been lingering here, and affecting the flowers. My Japanese Iris are really late to bloom, I thought maybe they were going to skip this year. They are sturdy and elegant, a little more so than the softer and fleshier regular iris.
flower

The strawberries are coming on, though, which makes Elle do a little dance and wonder where the actual berries are. She gets excited thinking there will be real berries there.
strawberry

Lilacs and who knows?

My lilac shrub is blooming, and I’d like to bring some of the blooms inside. But since the tree is only about 3 feet tall at this point, and I see that snipping blooms means actually snipping off the branch tip, can someone tell me if this will help or hinder future growth? Does the tree see losing its branch tips as encouraging growth, or the opposite?
flower

And this lacy little blue thing was part of a wildflower seed packet assortment. That packet did unusually well for seeds (for me). Does anyone know what this flower is?
blue

Is there anything better than fresh flowers?

Pretty things

The latest issue of Victoria magazine is out, yay! It’s dedicated to the blue and white color scheme. Don’t you just love blue and white? Of course I love pink and yellow, too, and red and white…I love so many colors, who can pick one theme? Anyway, from the latest issue I draw your attention to this hanger. Look at it closely. It has clippy clothes pins hanging from it. What a neat idea! Tea towels, as shown, or maybe your kid’s hats, or dolly clothes–boy, you could use this to keep so many things organized! Paint a wood hanger (after drilling those holes) and paint some clippy pins bright colors….I’m going to have to get on this!
hanger