Monday, July 31, 2006

Sockapaloooza Angels Away

The houseguests have come and gone. Here's some eye candy while I set the house to rights.

Last week, Pam's Sockapaloooza angel socks went on their last trek with me – to the post office to jump in the mail. I neglected to take a side-by-side photo of the finished anklets, but here's a photo showing the front of the leg and top of the foot on one sock and the back of the leg and sole of the foot on the other, which shows off the self-striping yarn in lace pattern and plain stockinette stitch.

Pam's Sockapaloooza angel socks

While some Trekking colorways are an endless surprise, this one (#129) had reasonably regular repeats, so the socks are close (but not exactly identical) twins. And like the Queen of the Jungle Stripe socks, this pair has mirror-image symmetry, because handknitters can.

Socks have mirror-image symmetry

As an additional refinement, they have star toes, a logical finish for the stitch pattern, #6 in Knitting Lace by Susanna E. Lewis. The toes are also mirror images, natch.

Star toes have mirror-image symmetry, too

It was great fun to knit up these anklets for Pam – plus they had a few excellent Trek-along adventures (see July 5, June 20, and June 14). I hope they prove a good fit and she gets lots of enjoyment wearing them!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Women Travelers Arriving

I have houseguests this weekend, so am postponing posting about my further Chicagoland adventures for the moment. But I do want to note that my KTC Women Travelers Swap package from Julie arrived today. Thank you, Julie!

KTC Swap goodies

Inside were Daisy Miller and Washington Square by Henry James, tropical hisbicus and citrus Ginger Twist tea, a cute notecard with watch cap pattern, a thoughtful gift card, and travel-sized ginger-scented body spray and lotion. It's eeriely perfect.

I promptly used some of the tea to make a pitcher of sun tea for my guests. It turned out a fragrant red-gold, very pretty – and welcome, as it's going to be hot this weekend. And wouldn't ya know it, my guests want a tour of TV and movie locations in NYC, including Washington Square.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chicagoland Ramble

Back from a trip to Chicagoland. As architecture fans know, Chicago and environs (= Chicagoland) is a gallery of masterworks, so in my free time I rambled around a bit. The sun was playing hide and seek, which made for some bright, some dark pix.

First, I rambled to Loopy Yarns, a friendly, fabulous LYS in the South Loop area. Owner Vicky recently took up spinning and plans to add roving to the inventory. After collecting some souvenirs of Chicago – the shop has an excellent selection of locally produced Lorna's Laces yarns, sock yarns, and many other variegated beauties – I rambled north past the Sears Tower, tallest building in the U.S., and the new Chicago Public Library. The fantastic ornaments on the glass pediment look like exuberant scored paper sculpture, a witty use of metal that hints at the building contents.

Sears Tower and Chicago Public Library

My goal was Millenium Park and the two most successful new civic sculptures in recent memory, Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate. Along the way, I saw a pink el train (!) and rambled past the Art Institute and its two friendly guardian lions. It's good luck to rub their tails. The park is across the street from the museum.

Art Institute lion

Crown Fountain, designed by Jaume Plensa, is a wonderfully accessible water sculpture. Interactivity (= frolicking in the fountain) is encouraged! Its two tall blocks rising from a flattish slate basin filled with an inch or so of water echo the city's skyscrapers on the lakefront. The blocks display video of an ever-changing array of human faces, all Chicago residents. The kids are waiting in a cluster because they know...

Crown Fountain in Millenium Park

... at odd intervals water spurts from the mouths, followed by a great deluge from the tops of the blocks (and delighted shrieking and squealing from the frolickers).

Crown Fountain in Millenium Park

Unable to resist, I took off my shoes and interacted walked across the basin. The footing is very secure, the water chlorinated and quite cold, even in July. Wise would-be frolickers (or their parents) come prepared with bathing suits, thick fluffy towels, and warm coverups.

Cloud Gate, designed by Anish Kapoor, is equally beguiling. Fondly known as "The Bean," it's a puffy silver arch that looks like a giant jellybean. It's particularly popular with wedding parties, who pose inside and outside the arch, smiling and waving. The curved mirror surfaces reflect clouds, buildings, people, the plaza, etc – but the reflections aren't always where one expects.

The Bean in Millenium Park

The distinguished low rise building reflected on the left of The Bean is the old Chicago Public Library (notice the conversation between the old building and the new building). Your photographer's reflection is at the far right, with a red shopping bag bulging with souvenirs from Loopy.

The big exhibit in town is King Tut at the Field Museum. I opted for the more modest exhibit of King Tut photographs at the Oriental Institute, which was worthwhile, but not itself photogenic.

However, the institute has a prize Assyrian human-headed winged bull, 16 feet tall, from an ancient royal palace in what is now Iraq. It's said that James Henry Breasted, the archeologist who excavated it, was an inspiration for Indiana Jones.

Assyrian winged bull at the Oriental Institute

Curious visitors will notice there's a cuneiform inscription on the back of the slab. I always find examples of ancient writing moving, especially bits of papyrus or parchment.

An exhibit on the development of the alphabet included a surprise, a very old (10th century BCE) spindle whorl that bears the inscription: "This produces spun yarn."

10th century BCE spindle whorl

I took that as a sign. More on that in the next this post.

Monday, July 24, 2006

TdF Arrivée

The Maillot Jaune [Yellow Jersey] is mine!

Maillot Jaune button

My goal for Le Tour de Fleece was to spindle my first laceweight yarn. At the finish [arrivée] I have 150 m (164 yd) of finished 2-ply laceweight and about 350 m (382 yd) of singles in varying colors that await a suitable plying partner. I also have bike socks with yellow jerseys on them (cycling humor) and some bubbly.

Tour de Fleece success

During the TdF I discovered that spindling laceweight depends almost entirely on precision drafting and fast whorling. As I still have lots of roving to spin, I'm investing in a Bossie featherweight, said to spin like a little tornado. After last week, that's the only kind of tornado I want to see.

I also discovered that spinning laceweight is an interminable process, definitely not for jackrabbit types. The smallest bit of fluff can spin a long, long thread. Plying, which usually goes quickly, takes an age. The finished skeins seem puny. The roving looms large. And yet Bette Hochberg asserts in "Production" (Interweave, Winter 1978) that for truly fine spinning, a fast supported spindle beats a spinning wheel or any automated machine in fineness, quantity, and durability of product. Then again, she's thinking about Indian cotton or Peruvian alpaca spun at better than 200 miles to the pound (708 km per kg) and woven at upwards of 1400 threads per inch (551 threads per cm)! It's said the legendary Dhaka (or Dacca) spinners would take almost three years to spin a pound of cotton using supported spindles. Strangely, that makes me feel better about my rate of production.

A final learning is I'm not too good at conversation and spindling, but really enjoy spindling while watching TV. The two go together so well that now I spindle only while watching TV. Must watch more television!

Congratulations to all the other TdF participants and a big merci beaucoup to Tour Directrice Katherine for organizing this clever spin-along. (And happy birthday to the Assistant Tour Director!) The concept is simple perfection and the actual doing a valuable – and fun – discipline. I enjoyed viewing other participants' challenges – it's nice to have company, especially for a newbie spinner.

As for that other TdF, what an amazing three weeks! This year the outcome was in suspense right until the penultimate stage. Who woulda thunk that Floyd Landis could make that magnificent comeback performance to take the Yellow Jersey.

I'm already looking forward to next year.

[ETA 8/5/06: The test results have come back and it's looking highly likely that Steroid Floyd will have the dubious distinction of being the first Tour de France champion to be stripped of his maillot. His multiple stories – sometimes blustering, sometimes contradictory, sometimes plain whoppers – only increase the impression that the emperor has no clothes.]

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tornado Wannabes

Overnight, intense thundershowers roared through town. Yesterday's high temperature was 98° F (36° C); today's high temperature was 85° F (29° C). That's a powerful storm.

When I pedaled out to gawp at survey the storm damage, the first thing I noticed was the amount of debris on the ground. Torrential rain tends to deposit silt and gravel along the road – not in the gutter, but maybe a foot or two out, right where cyclists ride. While absorbed in negotiating the treacherous patches and avoiding the tree branches lying in the road, I suddenly realized the shade pattern was different (cyclists know shade patterns, also pothole patterns)... (!)... because quite a few trees were down. Then I saw a fleet of PSE&G trucks and lots of yellow and orange hazard tape, and could go no further.

Trees and telephone poles down

Thankfully, no one was hurt and property damage is limited. The area of damage is remarkably small, leading some meterologists to conclude that the culprit was a microburst. That hasn't been sitting well with some folk roundabout Exit 151. Westchester County had a small tornado last week and maybe another one last night. We're jealous  very competitive  insane. We want our own tornado! Bigger than Westchester's!

The many fallen trees meant traffic was often diverted from main thoroughfares onto quiet side streets. That didn't sit well either. Some folk put up signs indicating their street was impassable when actually they had no trees down at all. Conversely, I saw an SUV drive right through some hazard tape, only to be stopped by the great mass of a still-mighty oak lying across the street (plainly visible from where I was) – and several cops. An animated discussion ensued. [Eyeroll] We're selfish  stupid  insane. I can't imagine what would happen if we got our own tornado.

Some of the fallen trees had been uprooted and lay stretched out – leafy crown, branches, trunk, and roots. Some were snapped at about a third of their height. Some were snapped near their base. This one had a hidden treasure, now revealed – a beehive.

Beehive inside fallen tree trunk

I'd never seen wild honeycombs before. They're intricate and beautiful. The bees were surprisingly mellow about my presence – clearly sweet-tempered honeybees, the gardener's friend. Now that they're exposed and lying on the ground, I'm worried some small or large honey-loving predator (ants? a raccoon?) will make a snack of them. I hope they can find a good new home.

If all that weren't enough excitement for one day, a choice parcel from generous Lisa arrived in the mail. Thank you, Lisa!

Socks That Rock

Inside was a sweet note with the bluebird of fiber happiness, a Socks That Rock micro-skein keychain, and a big skein of STR in colorway Cobblestone. It's gorgeous! I love it!!

Did I mention that people roundabout Exit 151 sometimes can be a bit, um, insane? Well, I'm no exception. Generous Lisa was visiting the Modern Yarn SnB the evening I told my tale of jealousy and woe, otherwise known as being deprived of STR at MDS&W and being closed out of the STR club. I think almost anyone but a fiber person would call for the men in white coats. I think only a fiber person would respond as Lisa did. Fiber people rock!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

TdF Stage 31 (Béziers Méditerranée to Montélimar) Report

From reading the reports of other Le Tour de Fleece participants, I'm getting the sense that wheel spinning is 15-20 times faster than spindle spinning. Amazing. After all, cars aren't 15-20 times faster than bicycles. I have a whole new appreciation for the industrial revolution.

For me, spinning continues to go well, allowing for the effects of heat and humidity on fiber and spindler. However, plying is posing some puzzles. While I like marled yarn, in this case I don't want a pronounced barberpole effect. Happily, expert color commentary is as close as the local library, via the pages of Color in Spinning by Deb Menz, shown with the latest production.

Expert color commentary

This incredibly helpful book includes chapters on color principles; dyeing fiber and painting rovings; blending colors and fibers during carding or combing; spinning and plying multicolors; and a gallery of finished garments. Photography is excellent, particularly of mini skeins illustrating the text. Now I'm curious to look at the author's second book, Color Works.

Meanwhile, Floyd is second in the Tour de France, bum hip notwithstanding. And Alyssa noticed this encouraging website. Who knew I could eat so many carrots!

Incidentally, there is no Stage 31 in the TdF. I'm merely observing the longstanding TdF tradition of inverting, reversing, or omitting the unlucky number to confuse any malevolent spirits. Happily, it would seem they are rather easily confused.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Big Blue Wave (Bag)

First, I saw the Kanagawa wave. Then it was the Jersey Surf Drum and Bugle Corps and Blue Wave NJ in the Fourth of July parade. Plus Leah spent her vacation in Hawaii (and got engaged!). A theme was emerging.

Kanagawa WaveJersey Surf Marching BandBlue Wave NJ bannerHawaii Five-O wave

After a day at the Shore, I had a brain wave: the bike needs a new handlebar bag. Something like a cross between the Rivendell Bicycle Works classic Baggins Candy Bar Bag and the felted Noni Tube Baguette, except more Jersey Shore, less Northern California or South Beach. And wavy. Must be wavy!

Knit and felted swatches for Blue Wave Bag

So I've been swatching stripe patterns using Lily Chin's New Shale variation on Old Shale; the yarn is Cascade 220. Pictured is the purl side of the third attempt, which I think is a keeper. I also felted a swatch, to make certain the natural white would behave itself (it did). The stitch pattern is easily memorized (good for surfing the Internet), but all this swatching feels like making endless mini-afghans!

The biggest technical challenge looming is the straps that attach the bag to the bicycle handlebars. I'd like to use two grosgrain watchbands (maybe in Stripe 18?), but Velcro webbing is probably more practical. *Le sigh*.

For notions and lining, I was thinking of these über-cute goldfish bowl buttons from Modern Yarn and these Heather Ross fabrics from Purl Patchwork. I love how all the goldfish have names.

Goldfish buttons and fabrics

But I'm beginning to think they're too wistful and something a little more gutsy is needed, something with a mid-century vibe as strong as a ripple afghan. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 10, 2006


LMN, or proof positive that the Laws of Thermodynamics can be mocked for a time, but never actually broken. While all manner of spinning and felting and parading around has been going on, my entries for the ABC-along (also laundry, dishes, mowing, weeding, etc.) have been neglected. Oops. Catching up now.

L is for lemonade.L is for lemonade It's the summer elixir of life – there's nothing like a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day. Not to mention it's a mighty engine of commerce. Every summer there are dozens of little lemonade stands run by tiny entrepreneurs roundabout Exit 151. These wannabee tycoons do a brisk business parting homebound bus and train commuters from their pocket change. I like mine very lemony, not too sweet, with lots of ice.

L is for little pink socks. I do love a sock that is little and pink (including the Little Pink Sock of Mutts fame) and it would seem that I am not alone.

L is for lavender, one of my favorite fragrances and colors. I'd like to grow some, although from what I've seen of Provence and its pale chalky soil, I suspect the plants won't like the red clay roundabout Exit 151.

And L is for linen and lambswool and llama and Lyocell.

M is for maps.M is for maps Maps merge form and function, practicality and frivolity, accuracy and imperfection, mathematics and politics, utility and beauty, mystery and mastery, representation and abstraction. It's no wonder that mapping models are called projections. I heart maps. Among my many favorites are these new NJ bike tour maps, spread on an ancient Rand-McNally Road Atlas.

M is for modular knitting. I'm blithely indifferent to the various methodsmodular, cellular, multidirectional, or domino – each has merits and drawbacks. Of more interest, I'm currently swatching for a doozie of a project, one of those things that looks like a shapeless mass for the longest time. It's delightful to me, although at the moment incomprehensible to anyone else. More on this in a bit.

M is for a-mazing. While I was slowly pondering making my first yarn into a mosaic cap, someone at Knitty went ahead and put together a pattern! It's fibery synchronicity!

And M is for mohair and merino and microfiber.

N is for New Jersey.N is for New Jersey (I've borrowed Cara's Knitting Olympics button because it's just so wonderful.) Well, the state is open again, after a six-day budget impasse between the legislature and the governor that furloughed almost 100,000 employees (more than half in the private sector) and shut down state offices, state parks, state beaches, the DMV, the state casino regulators and, therefore, the casinos (gasp!) and after flooding along the Delaware River that, among other things, inundated the state capital and merited federal disaster area status (and federal bucks) for New York and Pennsylvania. What? Whadduya mean no one noticed??

N is for nostepinne (or, if you please, nøstepinde) and niddy-noddy. Their virtues are many, but I prefer a ball winder and a skein winder.

And N is for nettle, said to be similar to linen, and nylon.

See the rest of my ABCs.


Thursday, July 6, 2006

TdF Stage 5 (Beauvais to Caen) Report

At one-quarter of the way into Le Tour de Fleece, I'm happy-happy-happy! Big George is fourth in the Tour de France General Classification and I have 60 m (65 yd) of 2-ply yarn and two rolls of singles ready to be plied.

First TdF yarn

(If you're curious about the state-of-the-art equipment roundabout Exit 151, yes, those are T-P rolls.)

I love the ever-changing hues of this jewel-tone roving. It may not be apparent in the photo, but the skein is predominantly true blue, while one roll of singles is mostly peacock and the other is periwinkle. I'm going to spindle on rather than ply them together. There are more colors to come, including more blues and purples and some bits that vary from dark sea green to pale seafoam, like a Jersey Shore wave.

My TdF goal is to spin laceweight. It would seem all the training paid off, as it usually does. I was spinning sportweight in June, but here's three strands of my TdF 2-ply next to one strand each of green JaggerSpun Zephyr, gray Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace, and black Rowan Kidsilk Haze. The blue, peacock, and periwinkle is more noticeable here.

Laceweight yarns

Looks like laceweight to me (teehee). At this rate, I estimate my 4 oz (113 g) braid of roving will yield about 500 m (546 yd) of yarn. Woo-hoo! Just call me La Patronne – and bring on the Pyrenees!

KTC Summer Swap Questionnaire and Responses

Greetings, KTC Summer Swap Pal! I'm so happy that Melanie of Tea Leaves is organizing this swap. As there's not a whole lot of time between match up and mail date, let me stick to the women travelers theme and get a move on. Here's my questionnaire and responses.

Yarn, knitting, crocheting, and spinning:

1. What is your favorite type of yarn or fiber?
I love wool yarn. I'm too new at spinning to have a favorite fiber.

2. Any yarns or fibers you absolutely hate?
Hate is too strong a word. I dislike most synthetic yarns, although they can be useful, particularly when traveling.

3. Any type that you would love to try but haven't yet?
Any fiber suitable for a newbie spinner or just about any yarn from Habu is an adventure!

4. Any yarn allergies or sensitivities?
Rabbit angora.

5. Favorite colors?
Pretty much anything except brown or neon brights.

6. What is your favorite type of thing to knit or crochet? (i.e., socks, lace, fair isle, shawls)
My favorite project is always my next one.

7. Any knitting tools you would love to have?
For traveling, small project bags and yarn bras.

8. Favorite tools you already have?
The Hoffritz stork scissors with wicked sharp points that DH gave me. I love how their form and function complement each other, including the pointed beak and the eye.

9. Favorite knitting designer?
It's hard to pick just one. Most consistently, Norah Gaughan.

10. Favorite knitting book?
Barbara G. Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns 1 & 2.

11. Any knitting books or patterns you would like?
I'm a newbie spinner with no library, so anything about spinning. I'm saving my pennies for Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan.


1. Favorite foods/flavors?
Seasonal fruits and vegetables from my garden or the greenmarket. Chocolate. Ginger chews as a specific against traveler's tummy.

2. Foods/flavors you dislike?

3. Any food allergies?

4. Do you like tea or coffee?


1. Favorite genre?
Besides knitting, I dunno, maybe natural history. SF is a guilty pleasure.

2. Favorite authors?
Mary Gordon, Marilynne Robinson, Edith Wharton.

3. Top three favorite books?
The list is constantly changing. Right now: Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag, Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, and Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm.

4. Anything you dislike to read?
I'm generally not fond of mysteries or romances.

5. Do you like to listen to audiobooks? Cassette, cd or mp3 format?
Listening to audiobooks makes me sleepy, which can be good when traveling, as long as I'm not driving! All formats OK.

6. Do you enjoy nonfiction as well as fiction?
I tend to read more nonfiction than fiction, but it's the great fiction that stays with me.


1. Other hobbies besides knitting or crocheting?
Bicycling and spinning.

2. Do you collect anything?
Bicycle maps and 50 State Quarters. I'm currently looking for the Nebraska quarter.

3. Favorite scent?
Lavender, ginger, pine.

4. Any scent you dislike or are allergic to?

5. Music that you like?
For traveling, Motown!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Glorious 4th Trek

Yesterday I decorated the bikes...

... and peddled off to ride with BikeMontclair in the Montclair Fourth of July parade. Kindly notice we support Keep Kids Alive Drive 25.

Pam's and Katherine's Trekking socks came along for the ride (see them perched on my saddle), but I didn't attempt any extreme knitting or spindling, as taking pix while riding one-handed was quite enough of a challenge. I was by no means the only one-handed rider in the group: some came prepared for any weather and others were forever blowing bubbles.


Nor was BikeMontclair the only human-powered vehicle unit. The Wheelmen (and women) did graceful trick riding on their antique-style bicycles. The two guys on the left were visiting from Germany (notice the flag on the handlebars). Michael is wearing a modern version what was probably the first bicycle helmet; similarly, his bike is antique in style, but made of modern high tech materials.

There also was a unit of Trikke cambering scooters. One makes them go by swiveling the handlebars. It's a terrific upper body workout and yet some people with bad backs find they can tolerate a Trikke better than a bicycle.

There was a skateboard unit, too, but they went by 'way too fast for a photo.

The parade included the usual assortment of national and local pols, both reds and blues. Here's Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell (face obscured by waving hand), both up for re-election. (Also, in the background, a LYS!)

Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell

The socks wanted to pose with them, but they were marching rather than pressing the flesh, so there was no opportunity. Besides, Officer John was watching. Guess why he's smiling like that.

There were peace marchers and military units, bands and floats, beauty queens and activists. Among my faves were the Toni's Kitchen food pantry unit, whose human-powered vehicles were shopping carts...

Toni's Kitchen food pantry marching unit

... the Terry's Serendipity Café spoken word unit (how can one not like a poetry marching unit?)...

Terry's Serendipity Cafe spoken word marching unit

... the Mexican dance unit, which kept shouting, "¡BRIO!" (yes, it was hot and they were hot, too)...

St. Peter Claver Church Mexican dance unit

... and the Montclair Art Museum unit.

Montclair Art Museum marching unit

There were a bunch of commercial floats, too, including the Applegate Farm ice cream float (teehee), beloved of all cyclists. Oral history claims the old farmhouse (Exit 151) was a station on the Underground Railroad.

Applegate Farm ice cream float

The predicted heavy thundershowers didn't rain on the parade, they held off until the afternoon barbecues, then cleared up in time for fireworks. Roundabout Exit 151 it was a glorious 4th.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Fear of Felting

Hi, I'm Ina and I have an unreasoning aversion to subjecting handknits to hot water and agitation, a fear of f-f-f-felting.

There's a name for my affliction: pilopoiiaphobia – from the Greek, pilos, felt + poieo, to make + phobos, fear, pronounced pill-oh-poi-ee-ah-phobia. With thanks to Fyberduck for the crafty etymology and pronunciation guide.

It's a condition, not a problem. Here's my first project, Jersey Fresh felted tomatoes. No comparison to the real thing, but still fun.

These were inspired by all the pincushions I've been seeing in blogland, Nicky Epstein's Felted Apples in Fall 2000 Cast On (also in Knitting for Your Home), and Martha Stewart Living "Homegrown" Tomato Pincushions. The three Christmas red are Paton's Classic Wool, the one orange-red tipped on its side is Cascade 220, and the two green are Plymouth Galway. One 100 g skein makes three beefsteak tomatoes.

As I've never intentionally felted anything before, I tried to be scientific, with before and after swatches and measurable results. Alas, the first swatch was some mystery yarn lurking in stash that proved not to be feltable wool. It actually got larger and thinner after its turn in the washing machine. Yikes. It did not, however, change color – that's just my digicam being weird, as usual.

Mystery yarn swatch before felting   Mystery yarn swatch didn't felt!

So I tried again with a swatch of one of the touchstones of yarny goodness, Jamieson & Smith Shetland 2-Ply. The swatch before felting was all a Shetland swatch should be. After felting, it shrank, stopped curling, bloomed beautifully, yet never quite lost its stitch definition.

Since that seemed to work, it was on to an ur-tomato. An ur-tomato is simply a cylinder knit in the round (I also have an aversion to seaming), with increases at bottom and decreases at top and long yarn tails for finishing.


I placed the ur-tomato in a lingerie bag, added it and some towels to the washing machine, and set for stun hot wash, cold rinse. I stuffed the result with polyester fiberfill, sewed the openings shut with the yarn tails (which felted in intriguing ways), and drew the tails through the tomato from pole to pole to shape the tomato and give it blossom-end and stem-end dimples. Then it was back into the machine for another hot wash, cold rinse. The leaves were sewn on separately.

The different yarns felted somewhat differently. Classic Wool felted irregularly into an appealing boucle fabric, remaining thin; there were some patches where the knit stitches disappeared, others where they were still distinct. Cascade 220 also felted somewhat unevenly; the resulting fabric was coarser but about the same thickness. Galway felted the most evenly, becoming dense and thick.

I'm still tweaking the design. My felting guru, clever Anne, suggested using commercial felt rather than homemade for the leaves. Katie suggested using boiling water on the tomatoes to make them felt more uniformly. I suppose with a change of leaf and some additional shaping, the tomatoes could be pumpkins, too. Other suggestions and comments [hi, Meredith!] are welcome.