Archives for posts with tag: crafts

Felted soaps make really cool presents, and are conversation-pieces.

Felted soap is a lovely and unique gift that just takes a bit of patience, but anyone can do it! You need some wool roving, a soap of any type, a bit of bubble wrap (or a bamboo mat, or a texured waterproof surface), a towel, an old pair of nylons, and then some hot water (even boiling!)

A soap, some roving... a bit of bubble-wrap, a towel.

For the roving, you can ask at your local wool-shop if they have roving, otherwise you might like to order some online.

Wrap the bar of soap in wool layers, placing the wool at right angles. It is good to wrap the soap fairly snugly. If it is too loose, it could cause weird bumps, but on the end it would still be ok. Work a few layers, until you cannot see the soap anymore. Keep in mind that the wool will shrink and shift somewhat as you do this, so what you lay out on the soap will probably not be exactly what you will end up with! The factor of surprise in this is actually part of the fun.

Beginning to wrap the soap in wool roving...

Place the felt-covered soap inside a pocket made from nylon pantyhose. I bought my first pair of nylons in possibly decades in order to make felted soaps. From those nylons I cut a few lengths and tied off the ends to make several pockets, so then I could teach soap-felting workshops. Don’t worry too much if the wool shifts a little while you put it in the pocket; it is possible to adjust the wool when you remove it from the pocket later on.

Pour hot water over the pocket. Rub the soapy mass inside the pocket for about eight to ten minutes. Roll it in a towel to remove some of the lather and excess moisture.

Wool-covered soap in the pocket!

Remove the soap/felt from the nylon pocket, then rub the felted soap on bubble-wrap until the felt is truly felted down and matted against the soap. During this process, you might need to rub a little more water on the soap, or roll it again in the towel if it’s a bit too lathery. Do this until you see that the wool is all stuck together, a few minutes. Try making a few of these felted soaps, and you’ll get the hang of it!

The felt will shrink as you use the soap over time, until there is no soap left and you have a cute little ball of wool that you could cut to turn into a little pouch, or a cat-toy… or even Christmas decorations.

In the process of felting the soap!

I have a business selling felted soaps (amongst other things) and my clients have told me that they love the gentle exfoliation of the wool, how fine and frothy the soap lather is, and that the soap lasts much longer than if it wasn’t wearing such a nicely felted wool sweater! Enjoy!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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I have just started knitting my own first-ever tube-shape. Last winter my forearms and wrists would get much too cold, so I’m making myself some wrist warmers. My gloves are warm and wonderful, my coat is a beaut… but the airflow up the arms of my coat lets in a chill. I find this to be an easy project, as well as practical.

Knitting with four needles. It just keeps going around... and around... and around...

I started with 26 cast on stitches, and am increasing every inch or so by two stitches, one on each side. For a default gift-size perhaps start with 28 to 32 stitches (I have surprisingly small wrists!) 

My Achilles Wrists

They look cute and more importantly, will be a welcome warmth between sleeve and gloves. I am simply knit/purling so that they are ribbed and stretchy. I am using some olive-green wool that was leftover from another project, but for a gift you could choose something a little more flashy. You could decorate them with some contrasting wool stitching, or other stitched on cuteness, too!

warming...

It is nice to give yourself a gift, sometimes. The gift of warm wrists is a pretty nice one in my opinion. Comes right after a few choco-almond balls. Think about your taller friends… do their coats fit well? Might they not like to have warm wrists? An alternative to knitting would be to crochet something similar; that is faster and you can get quite fancy with eyelets and lace. The great thing about real wool is that it is an insulating fibre, so that even lace wool wrist-warmers add a lot of warmth! Those who love to sew could use a stretchy knit or fleece fabric to achieve a similar result.

This knit-wit loves her knit-wrists.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Are you the crafty type? Do you knit, sew, make unique things, break out the glitter-glue, modelling clay or paintbrushes every time you think about presenting presents to your loved ones?

Maybe you would like to send something handmade to your friends and family who live afar. Perhaps this year you need or want to simplify gifts, but still want to make something beautiful, handmade, and very easy to mail. Well, you can take an afternoon, take some supplies, and take your sewing machine… and…

Sewing on Paper!

You can sew on paper! If you make or buy heavy weighted paper cards they will hold stitching. I used Strathmore cards for mine, they’re available throughout Canada in many craft-supply or stationery stores. There are lots of other fine-quality cards out there, or just cut your own cards out of heavy paper. You can make envelopes for them yourself out of “regular” paper, packaging, gift-wrap… or re-use old envelopes.

I painted with acrylic paints first, then added glitter-glue (hahaha), and did a touch or two more of the acrylic. I worked on several cards at once, so that if I had a colour on my palette, it could be used on all of the cards at one time. I finally ended with a line or two of stitching to tack down some sequins. Instead of sequins you could use fabrics, scraps of wool or other objects instead. Or… just use the stitching as a level of the decoration. You could really piece something fabulous together that would be more than just a card, it would be a keepsake work of art for the lucky person who receives it.

The finished card, a work of mailable art!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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