Project Preview: Felted tablet cozy


Recently I talked about color and design layout.  In the laptop cozy less is more.  In this cozy more is more, but you have to push it over the threshold from cluttered and busy into sublime. 

I love Starry Night, so this is my felted version of it, using yarn to make the stars look like they are twinkling.

stary night

starry night

Preview: Felting projects: Falling flowers laptop case

 I would like take a moment and talk about design.  What young people or inexperienced crafters think is that experts can just put it together, it looks awesome and isn’t everyone impressed.  This is encouraged by DIY shows and craft gurus.  What you don’t see is the 40 flowers that were cut out to get that perfect one.  The 4 or 5 mock ups before something is ready for TV.   Possibly even a crew of people all making piles and pile of the project in different stages of completion.  I don’t have that kind of time, and if you are a hobby crafter you probably don’t either. 

So here are some of my design points as illustrated by the laptop cozy from the felting project book that is in development.

Falling flowers laptop cozie

Falling flowers laptop cozy

First: Color scheme.  Be in a place with good, bright light.  Natural sunlight is best.  Make a pile of your felt that you want to use.  What does the pile look like when you add a bit of unexpected color, like yellow?  Remove it?  Does anything not look quite right?  Remove those colors.  This will help you decide based on what you have on hand what looks good together.  You will have much more than you need for the project.  That is ideal.

Lay the pile out so some pieces show a lot, then change it to only a little show.  What looks best to you?  This will help you choose which colors will be the most used and least used. 

Colors look good together when they are the same value, or tone, or have a common base color (sometimes called a mother color).  There is science behind this, but that become boring.  At some point you will just know that something looks good, like everything clicks in place. 

Not sure about the colors yet?  Don’t rush it and take your time.  Add or remove colors, for a small piece you want to only have 2 or 3 different fabrics unless you have 20 different fabrics.  This is my all or nothing principle.  Less is more unless you have a huge amount, then more is more.  Try adding in  just a little of an unexpected color that is not in your “theme” color, like a little purple to a pile of orange.  This can totally transform the look.

Embellishment color: The embellishment color is the perfect way to transform what you are looking at.  Trust me when I say that without the little yellow buttons the cozy looks incomplete.  I was thinking about pink buttons at first and laid that out, but it just wasn’t right.  Use beads or buttons of that color to bring the other colors to life. By using the embellishments to add in this color is highlights the color.

The other secrete to design: Lay everything out first.  Does it look complete?  Does it give you the feeling that everything is as it should be?  If the answer is no, then take a few design elements a way, add them back.  Which is better?  This is a lot like an eye exam where they ask which lens is better until the two lenses look the same and you can’t tell the difference between the two.  You might go through 5 or 10 or 15 layouts.  This is the part that they never show on TV.  The part where you spend 20 minutes laying something out that isn’t done yet, moving pieces around, adding them back, cutting out more pieces you just spent 20 minutes cutting out before.  Changing all the buttons from pink to yellow.  Changing them back.  You might end up with a pile of pieces that you cut out that you don’t need.  That is OK, save them for another project.  It is just part of the process.  Now pin everything into place, or if you can’t do that because of the steps needed to assemble, take a picture of it with your digital camera to help remind you.

Now, you have something perfect and unique to you.

Preview: Felted knitting project bag


I love knitting, and I always have one project going that I work on while waiting at the park or in front of the TV at night.  I have had a number of project bags.  I tried a thrift store purse, but it was too small and had too little storage.  So I designed and made my own, with tons and tons of custom pockets in the inside.  But I learned that if you lean over just the right way your double pointed needles fall off and go bouncing and rolling all over the floor.  Also, it is hard to dig through pockets on the inside, even when you KNOW, you put it away right last time.  I ended up making a knitting essentials case to go in my knitting bag.  I take this out while knitting setting it out like an old fashioned writing desk.

Then I thought- what if you could safely store the notions on the OUTSIDE of the bag with a flip out pocket.  On the inside have a pocket for your working ball of yarn so it doesn’t tangle, and the outside has your scissors, measureing tape and extra needles.  So here is the next generation of my knitting bags.


Preview: Felted Projects – headband

These headbands have a strip of elastic in the back to make them fit snugly but comfy. 

With the pink one I used a sweater that had a little bit of pearls on it.  I have retained these as an added design element.  I feel like these are the “semi-homemade” of crafts, why create from scratch when someone else put in the labor?  I love Sandara Lee by the way, that is my type of cooking.

Pink headband

Pink headband

Even though this is blue, I wanted to call it cherry blossoms because the shape of the flowers remind me of delicate cherry blossoms.  Having a grouping of smaller items together creates visual impact.

Cherry blossom headband

Cherry blossom headband

Preview: Felted Projects, fingerless gloves

 This is one of my favorite designs (OK, I am going to love them all, lets be honest).  I have designed this project to help newbies create their own pattern to fit their hands. Fancy fingerless gloves


These fingerless gloves don’t require a sewing machine.  The yarn stitches close the seams, and adds a little interest.  The felted layered flowers are easy, and cute.

Fingerless gloves with flowers

Fingerless gloves with flowers

Grant proposal for Laboratory garden beds

For my son’s school I have submitted a grant proposal from a big box store for $3,600 to build 8 raised laboratory garden beds.   Each grade level will get their own 4ft by 8ft raised garden bed to plant.  We live in Chicago, and most of the students live in apartment buildings so they have little to no access to out door space at home.  This gives them a chance to see where food comes from, something the rest of us have taken for granted.  When I was little we had a huge vegetable garden that provided most of our fresh food.  It was a lot of work, but a valuable learning experience.

Lets hope we get the grant!