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Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Making Prefelts

By Fiona Duthie

How to Work With Prefelt

This article is a part of Fiona Duthie’s How To Work With Prefelt in the Fall 2010 issue of Living Crafts. The article, rich with information on What is Prefelt, how to make scarves and hats with prefelt, as well as a section on How to Work with Children and Prefelt, did not allow room for this important part, which is How to Make Your Own Prefelt. As one of our subscribers said on our facebook page: “Making prefelt is easy. It is like bad felting!” Well, it is easy, with Fiona’s instructions. At the end please be sure to leave a comment so you can win two pounds of wool from Decadent Fibers to make it in any color of prefelt your heart desires. Enjoy!

Here’s how to make your own prefelt, in Fiona’s words:

Making your own prefelts is so easy- and opens up so many opportunities for playing with colors, fibers and textures. Try using two or three different colors in layers; using wool for one layer and then another fiber like alpaca or angora for the next; or making nuno prefelt with a layer of wool and a layer of silk fabric. Handpainted rovings make beautiful prefelts, and make efficient use of the roving when layered onto solid wools. Two layers of wool will be fine for prefelts used for surface designs. For more substantial prefelt, use 3-4 layers. It is wonderful to have a collection of these made and ready to chose from, when the urge to felt arises!

Work on a sheet of bubble wrap.

Lay out a thin layer of wool roving. Use your thumbs to pull open the wool shingles. Overlap each row a little to ensure an even layer.

wool roving

Lay out a second layer of wool roving, with the fibers perpendicular to the last layer. Here you can use a different color or fiber.

second layer of wool roving

You can make several at a time, by laying out more of these squares on your felting surface.

you can make several at a time

Cover with a polyester sheer, and sponge on the felting solution (1 tablespoon dish soap + 1 quart water). This gives even coverage of soap and water, without adding too much! You can also follow the wetting instructions described in the Red Rock Prefelt Scarf.

sponge with felting solution

Press down with your sponge, and with your hands; at first pushing down and then using a gentle rubbing motion. Do this over the entire surface.

Remove the sheer. It will lift easily if the wool is wet enough.

Make sure it is good and wet

removing the sheer

Tightly roll up in the bubblewrap. Roll for five minutes, gently at first and gradually applying more pressure. You want the fibers to have entangled, creating a thin, coherent textile. It will still be a bit fragile. It is important not to overfelt, since you need those fibers to mingle with your base fibers or fabrics when using in your finished piece.

Tightly roll in bubblewrap

Rinse carefully under warm running water and lay flat to dry. Keep as a whole prefelt length or cut into desired sizes.

Finished prefelt pictures:
finished prefelt

finished prefelt

Wool Giveaway

Our sponsor for today’s project is Decadant Fibers offering two of their Gourmet Jelly Rolls, made and dyed in the U.S.A. in any color of your choice, enough to make yards of prefelt and other felting projects of your dreams! We’ve used this quality fiber for some of the projects in Living Crafts, including the Felted Farm Co-op in the Spring 2010 issue, as well as Fiona’s famous [by now] wool roving rugs in the Winter 2011 issue. Each roll is valued at $40 and is one pound in all colors of the rainbow. You choose which two color combinations! Enter a comment on this post by 8 p.m. EST, Tuesday, March 1, 2011 for a chance to win two Gourmet Jelly Rolls valued at $80.

And the winner is…

Joanne Libby 2011/03/01 at 10:40 am 

  I really like these contest you have. The wool looks beautiful and i would love to play with it !

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 27, 2011 12:10 PM | 616 Comments

Crochet Doll

crochet doll

I saw similar crochet dolls in Bernat’s booth at CHA, which was featured in our CHA Tour Part I post and now they have a free pattern at FavCrafts. Enjoy!

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 14, 2011 12:44 PM | 3 Comments

Stained Glass Cookies

Coco after giving up trying to reach the cookies - i wish i photographed her while standing on her hind legs ready to steal

My friend Cindy Johnson used to be a kindergarten teacher. Every year on Valentine’s Day, she made an eatable stained glass Valentine’s card for all the children in her class! For each child she made two 5”x7” decorated cookies and tied them together with ribbons. The children loved this special treat.

it is a lot of fun to design

I asked Cindy to give me the recipe, which was printed in an old publication from the forties or fifties. The following recipe, inspired by the original from Miss Cindy, is a variation altered for Living Crafts, as I always like the flour to be measured by weight for consistency. This recipe has less sugar than most butter cookies, but more butter, and the cookies are actually not just pretty, but very tasty and eatable. I will have to also provide you all with a Royal Icing recipe, next time we have these cookies on our blog.

this is for those who miss their sweethearts

If you are going to let your child eat hard candy with food coloring in it, well, this is the one time in the year to do so. If not, you can test different brands of organic hard candy [that’s what I was going to do but with a staff of one some things are just not possible] and see how they melt in the oven. If you have success with any of them please let me know so I can post here!

I am holding on to this recipe for Christmas and plan to make a whole village of houses with stained glass windows – and even a church.

Here we go, thanks to Miss Cindy Johnson:

Valentine Cookies

Makes about 12 cookies in various sizes shown here:

various sizes


  • 8 oz. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick butter [1/3 cup]
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Jolly Rancher brand hard candy in assorted colors
  • Royal Frosting [or ready-made frosting tubes for writing!]



1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl
2. Beat butter and sugar in bowl until light and fluffy, then add egg and vanilla
3. Gradually stir in flour mixture until dough is firm
4. Keep dough in closed container overnight or at least 10 hours
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on a floured surface to ¼ thick.
6. Place foil on a cookie sheet.
7. Cut out shapes with cutters in various sizes and place on the foil covered cookie sheet.
8. Crush candy in colors of your choice, so they are in crystals [not powdered]
9. Place as much candy as possible in the cut-out parts

house cookie

10. Bake about 8 minutes, or a bit more for larger pieces. Children love watching the candy bubble through the oven window. The ones that are heart shaped look like pumping hearts!
11. Once the cookies are cooled off, you can start decorating with Royal Icing of your choice, or just buy ready-made in a tube if you are in a hurry, although those have way too much bad stuff in them [sorry Betty I like Martha best].

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 13, 2011 03:57 PM | 16 Comments

Book Review: A Knitter’s Home Companion

A Knitter’s Home Companion
A Heartwarming Collection of Stories, Patterns, and Recipes
by Michelle Edwards
photographs by Jen Gotch
(STC Craft Melanie Falick Books)
Available March 2011

A Knitter’s Home Companion offers cheerful and inspiring stories on knitting and knitters, and leads you through a path to help you discover your own. The journey includes many scenic routes: Michelle’s sincere style of storytelling, her pretty color illustrations, as well as simple and beautiful patterns and even recipes like Mitten Ladies Slow Cookers Soup.

Evolving through handwork, and specifically knitting, is what this book about. It goes beyond pearls of wisdom and delights and surprises with many extra treasures. Michelle Edwards, the voice of Lion Brand Yarn’s monthly e-newsletter, knows knitting, but more importantly, she knows knitters. The inspiring stories in this book will appeal to readers interested in not only stitches, yarn, and patterns, but also in the lessons that can be learned from their craft. “Let this book keep you company when you need another knitter’s voice beside you,” Edwards writes in her introduction.

Following are some of the pretty visuals and knitting projects in the book:

Book and Knitting Kit Giveaway

Today’s giveaway is sponsored by STC Craft and Lion Brand Yarn. It includes a copy of A Knitter’s Home Companion, as well as 3 knitting kits (all with organic wool yarn) as follows:

Babette Baby Coat Knit Kit


Portland Cardigan Knit Kit


Classic Cables Scarf Knit Kit

To enter drawing for above giveaways, valued at $150, please leave a comment here by Sunday, February 13, 2011, 8 p.m. EST. Winner will be announced on Monday.

And the winner is…

Anne Caughlan  2011/02/13 at 4:10 pm 

  How Lovely!

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 12, 2011 07:38 AM | 613 Comments

Heart Tea Bags

This unique project by Design*Sponge blog has an easy tutorial and is a beautiful project I am making this year. Enjoy!

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 10, 2011 02:54 AM | No Comments

Yarn Showcase: Linsey by Berroco

Bayarri pattern by Berroco knitted with Linsey yarn

This casual cardigan from Berroco uses two different shades of a beautiful, self-striping yarn (Linsey) made of cotton and linen. Linsey is offered both in solid colors as well as variegated. The yarn is soft and drapes well and the color palette has a natural look. The body is knit sideways in one piece from right front edge to left front edge.

Design: Bayarri

Skill Level: Intermediate

FIBER: 64% Cotton, 36% Linen

HANK WEIGHT: 1.75 oz / 50 g

HANK LENGTH: 114 yds / 104 m

KNITTING GAUGE: 5 sts = 1″ 20 sts & 26 rows = 4″ (10cm)

NEEDLE SIZE: 7 (US) / 4.5 mm

CROCHET GAUGE: 4 sc = 1″ 16 sc & 20 rows = 4″ (10cm)

HOOK SIZE: 8(H) (US) / 5 mm

CARE: Hand wash. Lay flat to dry.

Cardigan Kit Giveaway

To win a kit (includes Bayarri pattern and Linsey yarn (16 skeins in 2 gorgeous colors) to make this beautiful cardigan, please leave a comment here until 8 p.m. EST Thursday, February 10, 2011. Winner will be announced on Friday.  The kit is valued at over $150.

And the winner is…

  Monika     2011/02/10 at 8:13 am
  Beautiful Spring sweater, just in time for early Spring weather
  according to groundhog, Phil.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 9, 2011 10:04 AM | 641 Comments

Repurposing Old Luggage

Such a great idea to add legs to an old suitcase and make a storage space/table out of it. Here’s the article from eHow.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 7, 2011 04:57 PM | 1 Comment

Good Finds – CHA Tour Part II

And now I visit Potter Craft, and see Log Cabin Quilting book, which is very interesting. There are some nice “modern quilting” books out there and still coming from different publishing houses, that cater to a free spirit style of quilters using non-traditional methods and fabrics. I love this genre of books and Log Cabin is one of them. I can’t wait to sit down with the book one day and go through it thoroughly.

Now I see Print Workshop, a book I’ve been considering for review for awhile now. They had stamps and pads and cards at the booth so visitors could make their own designs, trying the ideas in the book. This book is going to have its own review in a Book Review post with two other books that showcase hand-printing for y’all hand printing enthusiasts.

Although I did not visit many paper product booths, these two lanterns caught my eyes, so I ran to their booth and asked permission to photograph. The idea of using textured paper to make my own lantern sounds so appealing, and I thought you may enjoy these options from Black Ink.

I took photos of all the ones I liked for using as lantern paper, mostly white and neutral options.

These tree cuttings are actually packaged and sold, but I prefer to make my own.

A tree cutting is one of the most beautiful surfaces you can give your child for their art. My daughter likes to do portraits on hers. Here’s a a self-portrait she did with pencils last year.

I took photos of samples at their booth, but have to admit, I love the portrait idea the best!

I really like these doily and paper banners. The photos don’t do justice, but the doily especially looks very pretty.

Fresh flowers are such a great relief at a trade show. I actually had to go near to make sure they were indeed fresh.

That’s all for the 2011 tour. If you want to read up on Part I of this tour click here. Next year I may even have videos for you!


Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 7, 2011 03:26 PM | 4 Comments

Crocheted Heart Dolls

These crocheted heart shaped dolls from Crafty Anna blog are so adorable and easy to make.  Your child will enjoy finding one under their pillow, in their lunch box, and putting it in their pocket!
If you prefer sewing a doll similar to this, instead of crochet, you can find the pattern in the Winter 2008 issue of Living Crafts.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 7, 2011 10:19 AM | 2 Comments

Book Review – Little Crochet

Dear Linda,

Why must you make such beautiful projects to make us want to cut corners from our vacation or lunch money so we could buy your book? It’s not fair!

That’s how I would start my letter to Linda, who has come up with the most unique crochet desgins for babies and children. If you have already overspent your book budget for this year, you must run to the library and request that they purchase this book for you and your community [along with a subscription to Living Crafts magazine of course]:

Little Crochet
Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers – Available April 5, 2011
by Linda Permann (Potter Craft)

If you love crochet, but are always thirsty for more happy, stylish designs that are fun, but still practical and useful, Linda Permann as all the patterns you want for babies and toddlers, all in this one book!

Linda, author of Crochet Adorned has a proven track record crochet is not just for great grannies, but for modern moms and grannies. This book, along with Crochet Adorned are two of my top favorite crochet books.

Full review in the upcoming Spring 2011 issue of Living Crafts.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 7, 2011 08:21 AM | 1 Comment


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