December 04, 2005


Just as I was about to regale you with the next installment of the Making of the Felted Christmas Stocking, I got inundated with work for the Two Swans site. I never dreamed that a whole week would go by without my getting back to this blog to finish the story. (Gosh, does it feel like a month?) Amazingly, shipments of yarns and books started arriving at the end of November, just about as fast as I could handle them.

First, there was the box of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, which brought with it the new-to-Two Swans colors Blackberry, Pine, and Pale Pink, all to be scanned and added to the site. And the next day came the new Interweave Knits magazine. And the day after that, the newly-published book from Rowan, Scottish Island Knits. And then some Jaeger yarn arrived. And then the new book Classic Knits for Real Women . . . . It almost sounds like the 12 Days of Christmas around here, doesn't it?

Daphne.jpgI know I've mentioned before how crazy the yarn business is, and Scottish Island Knits is a case in point. It is a book to provide pattern support for the Harris line of yarns, and it is a book that I ordered back in July. But then the name of the yarns got changed to Scottish Tweed. And when I ordered the book, it didn't even have a title, but it was scheduled for a "fall" release. Lo these many months later, just when I was about thinking that the book was something that existed only in some weird corner of my imagination, up shows the box of them that I'd ordered. The sweaters and other projects are pretty, and do show off the yarns. You know that I'm a huuuge fan of purple and green, and (as a Campbell by marriage) fond of thistles, so this Kaffe Fassett sweater at right is, in my opinion, stunning.

This one, "Ripple" by Brandon Mably, is my favorite in the whole book.

Many other great designs, by Sasha Kagan, Jean Moss, and others, in this book, too. (Click on the title, above, to see more.)

And in the midst of adding all of these new products to the site, December 1st rolled around, so it was time to update my Specials page. (I'm trying to be very good about changing the special every month on the first of the month . . . and this time, I met my self-imposed deadline -- yay!) Call me crazy for putting so many different yarns on sale . . . I sure called myself that, that day.

Now, to return to the story of the felted Christmas stocking: Where last I left off, the stocking looked like this. It was 20" long, cuff to tip-toe; 8" wide at the leg.

I wanted to embellish it with a poinsettia. Who knows more about embellishments than Nicky Epstein? So I perused through Knitting Over the Edge, in which she's got a chapter for appliques that includes designs for cabbage roses and other flora. But -- no poinsettias.

So I approached my design problem this way -- If I were Nicky Epstein, what would I do? (I also googled on poinsettias and studied up on what they really look like, although in a felted Christmas stocking I'm not striving for realism. The red at the top that we think of as petals are actually leaves, and, in the center, the round chartreuse or yellow parts are the actual flower. But you knew that.)

Again just designing on the needles, I ended up creating some elongated teardrop shapes. I made 5 large and 2 small ones, thinking to layer them on the stocking.

Friday, I had time to run all the pieces through the washing machine. (I enclosed the stocking in one zippered pillow case, and the red leaves in another zippered case, thinking that the red might not be dyefast. It was.) After the first wash, the sock had shrunk from 20" to 17." Seventeen inches is still a lot of sock for Santa to fill, so I threw it back into the machine for a second wash, and afterward, it measured 15" long and 7" wide, which I thought was just perfect. The felted leaves shrank from 4.25" to 3.5".

When I went to sew on the poinsettia leaves, I struggled with arranging 5 leaves in a way that wouldn't look humanoid (head, arms, legs). So I ended up using 4 large leaves and 2 smaller ones. And now I get to use one of my favorite words: I used an oddment of golden-yellow Jamieson's DK to sew the French knot flowers in the center.

I still intend to write up this pattern and make it available for free download on the Two Swans site. I would've done so already, had there not been this sudden influx of new items. Best laid plans, and all that.

In other news, a Dear Friend sent me this link regarding the dangers of knitting, as portrayed sumbliminally in the children's book Goodnight Moon.

Posted by Karen at December 4, 2005 08:45 PM

You have certainly been busy. I have to get over the the Two Swans special page RIGHT NOW. The poinsettia looks fantastic. Great work!

Posted by: Anne at December 5, 2005 07:34 AM

Love the stocking! And I think it passes most of the Goodnight Moon safety tests--perhaps move it to the bathroom, though, to keep flammables away from a heat source. I know that wool does not burst into flame easily, but the "oddments" are suspect....

Posted by: Janine at December 5, 2005 08:01 AM

Fabulous! I love the stocking. :)

Posted by: Rosemary at December 9, 2005 08:34 PM

You're going to start a WWNED? movement. :)

Posted by: Patti at December 12, 2005 11:18 AM