Thursday, December 18, 2008

Two Sticks and a String Equals X-mas Gifts

When we first started The Compact almost a year ago, I thought I might go to thrift stores and find old sweaters to unravel and then I could harvest the yarn. There are people who do this and there are even youtube videos showing you how to unravel the yarn and how to take apart the seams. Fine. If they can do it, I can do it. I thought I would find all sorts of old fishermen sweaters in perfect shape that I could buy as my supply of yarn. That didn't happen. I never found anything suitable. I have tried to not buy new, and I have gotten all sorts of things used, but that hasn't taken away the fact that I am a fiber snob. I don't want an old acrylic sweater to take apart.

So, I haven't been knitting as much as I had done previously. I didn't feel right about getting new yarn, although my husband has gotten new bike parts, new lumber, a new vacuum and just as recently as 2 weeks ago a curtain rod and curtains--Compact cheat. We really haven't been as pure as I had wanted us to be.

Any way, I already had a bit of a supply of wool yarn and I started making felted coasters. They knit up quickly, they're mindless--no they're not mindless...well, they are, but that's hardly the point. I can be mindless as I knit them because it's not a difficult pattern to follow. I can talk with my friends while our kids take classes and lessons together and eventually knit up a pile of coasters.

Here is what they look like once they're knitted and before they're felted.









The edges curl up and you can see the individual strands of yarn. They will look completely different once I throw them into the washing machine with hot water and a little bit of mild detergent. You know how at some time in your life you or your mom or your husband threw a sweater into the wash that shouldn't have been thrown into the wash and it became doll clothing? Normally you don't want that to happen, but I'm going to do just that intentionally to make the coasters felt. I'll go do that now. Wait here.

I did it and they all turned out beautifully. Let's look at them together.

Here's a green set for my Mother-in-law.

Before:


After, now that they're felted:







How about a set for my husband's brother and his wife?

Before:




And now they are felted. Let's see:




Wow! These are turning out great!! I bet I could sell them on Etsy, except that this is a blog espousing not buying new things. There's some irony there. I could sell, but not buy? I could encourage others to buy? Except, as a friend clarified for me--they're art! Art doesn't count on The Compact, at least not for us. The world needs art--it explains, defines, elucidates, enraptures, provokes and who doesn't want a nice, interesting looking coaster?! Although, I don't think coasters are what struggling people need right now. Do they? I don't know, maybe some universal health care or something like that would be good. Let me know...

Let's see the final set for my sister-in-law and her husband.

Before:




Those sure are vivid oranges, rusts and golds; coincidentally just like their kitchen. All of these coasters (except the green set) were knit with Noro Kureyon yarn. It is a hand dyed wool yarn from Japan and it is beautiful.

Let's see after now:





We don't buy it (well, sometimes...confession coming soon) and if we can make it, we do.




Note: Reader Tamsen admired these coasters and wondered about the pattern. I got the pattern from Knitting Pattern Central, which has all sorts of free patterns. The pattern I used for the coasters is here. Wow, I just wrote the word "pattern" like 50 million times...

2 comments:

Tamsen said...

Okay, so how come I keep feeling a great need to comment? I think we're kindred spirits or something. Since I'm not dead you can't have come back as me. Maybe we were sisters or something in a prior life. NOW, I can figure it out but it surely would be nice to just have the pattern you use for the coasters. They are gorgeous and practical and just the thing for some odds and ends I have lying around. So would you share? I'd greatly appreciate it. I think my email address shows up, but if not, let me know and I'll send it. And thank you! Art they are, truly.(And, oh, I don't know about Francken. My husband moved to Nebraska in 1991 and since our wedding invitations said "Whither thou goest, I shall go" and I didn't think to put "except Nebraska" on it, I figured I should come along. I will say it was pretty nice to have a spot of blue in the state this past election. I felt pretty lonely for a number of years until I found an underground of wonderful women who are now my lifeline to sanity.)

Laura said...

Thanks Tamsen. I'm glad I have another kindred spirit in you.

I've updated the post, and you will find a link to the pattern there.

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