Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obsessed Much?

Oh yes, I've been bitten again. This time with a pooling scarf.

Ok, that might need a little explanation. Here goes: When yarn is dyed, it's in a loop, and is usually laid out as a very flat oval. Then the dye is applied in stripes. You can see what I mean here:
This is some lovely (very lovely) baby kid mohair from Fleece Artist. You can see purple was applied to the one end (where the loop turns a corner), and green to the other end, and yellow and white in the middle.

Yarns dyed like this look very pretty in the skein (as above); and sometimes can even look pretty--albeit very mixed together--wound into a yarn cake (as below):Troy thinks this ball could hang on the wall as is and be counted as art,
but I'd rather knit with it.

But what often happens when you just knit with it is that it turns into something that is very technically termed, clown barf. I have no picture, but I'm sure you can imagine what I mean. A knitted item with colours just mixed indiscriminately everywhere looking a lot like barf in clown colours.

This doesn't always happen; sometimes you get a repeating pattern--most often a sort of argyle a little like:but it's very much out of your control.

Until now.

I have jumped onto the "pooling scarf" trend, I believe started by one or both of the Yarn Floozies, wenat and Dotty. There was a class [that I didn't take] at Red Purl that first brought it to my attention, but when I was ready to learn, I just read a few of their posts and went from there. (Try these posts, if you want to see for yourself--minus the first one.)

So in yarn pooling, you work with the yarn to determine where the colours are going to go, and then work to keep them there as you knit. You knit across a row with either half a loop or a full loop of the skein and then turn around and go back the other way repeating the same colour pattern.

I am using the full loop because that worked out closest to the width I needed for the pattern. And this gives me green-yellow/white-purple-white/yellow-green:*Isn't that freaking amazing! It's a wonder. And yes, I am obsessed. (For example, I only have to work in the ends on my Odds & Sods socks to cross it off my Spring to Finish list, and I haven't because I'm working on this scarf!)

*A half loop would have given green-yellow/white-purple.

The picture is actually showing a large swatch and practice piece. It could have been the beginning of my shawl, but I didn't get the tension even enough and if you look close enough you'll see the left side is bigger and longer than the right. That was me trying to keep the colours lined up. If the dying isn't perfectly uniform then you have to work some stitches a little looser or tighter to keep things lined up. But I think I took it a little too far. And now my shawl is a large swatch. I'll be starting over shortly.

Anyway, it's a really fun project. The stitch pattern itself is easy and repetitive, but I do have to think about the colours constantly. There's been a lot of tinking too so I can adjust the tension. It all just feeds the obsession... (Stripes are a good way to keep me interested, but this has really consumed my attention, making me have to knit just "one more row" to see how it's going to come out!)

And what's this going to turn into? I'm planning to make the Belinda shawl from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. (Top left pic here.) Another simply brilliant idea. Two layers of mohair lace in different colours that, when combined, give an illusion like plaid. It's great!

Time to go, I've got a pooling scarf to knit!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Purse: Finished!

Today it was raining, so I couldn't get siding checked off the "Spring to Finish" list. (Aw shucks!)

I did, however, get my sewing machine set up and supplies pulled out for the purse I wanted to make.

And what do you need to make a purse?

Well, I started with a square knit from some bulky&thin wool, two handles, fabric for lining, magnetic clasp, and trimmings. Project Stats
: 29 Jan '10
Finished: 25 Apr '10
Pattern: none, I made it all up
Materials: wool (gift), ribbon ($10), flowers ($6), handles ($6), clasp ($2.15), lining ($2.10)
And a plan! I wrote up some measurements and jotted notes on what should be done first to make sure I didn't get stuck somewhere.

Up first: sew the knit fabric up the sides to make the purse shape. The bulky&thin nature of the wool did not make it a good candidate to use for seaming. But I happened to have a thinner wool in a colour close enough to work wonderfully. (The wool from the J Crew sweater I used for the Bella Mittens.)This is what I measured to get the numbers for the rest of the pieces. You may recall I knit this up with a skein that my mom gave me this winter. I didn't follow a pattern, but just knit it as big as I could with what I had.

Then it was time for a lining.I bought the trim at Soutache last week and thought it would be a nice way to finish off the top of the lining and give it some structure. In the picture, I have the lining right side out so you can see the "nice" side but of course it will go into the purse the other way around. Notice there are a couple pleats to give the purse a little fullness.

Once the lining is together, you need to add the magnetic clasp and handles:Isn't that some lovely basting?! ha ha. The lining fabric was so slippery and "shifty" that I had to baste--pins wouldn't hold it. The sleeves that hold the handles on were sewn so they would end up between the lining and the outside knit fabric. The magnetic clasps are not visible in the picture but were installed through the ribbon, just below the handles.

Then I pinned the lining into the bag and sewed it in by hand.My stitches are nothing to show off, but the red thread on red ribbon hides it pretty well.
I'm really happy with the look of the lining, and I even managed to get the lightest colour to land in the middle--centered and matched left to right sides. (A wonder!)

And unable to leave well enough alone, I added a little bling bling. (Do people still say bling bling? I suspect not. But, really, what else can you say about gold, silver and bronze sequined flowers?)I love it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring to Finish

spring to finish big
I have jumped onto a challenge going at Jacquie's blog Tallgrass Prairie Studio that she's calling, "Spring to Finish." Commit yourself to finishing specific projects by May 31. Give yourself rewards if you get them done. Report back and get a chance to win a prize. (You know how I love prizes!)

I'm thinking of it as spring cleaning for my WIPs and UFOs. Clear off the "things I've started" list to be able to do more off the "things I want to start" list!

Putting the list out there, publicly, can really help to focus your attention on what you want to accomplish. And ticking things off the list can be very motivating and affirming. So I'm joining in...but I have to say, assigning myself a reward is really hard. I don't work well with rewards. (Prizes, yes; rewards, no...hmmm that seems contradictory.) I usually find rewards a little too manipulative--I'll do something because I want to, or because I think I need to, or not at all. But trying to get into the spirit of the challenge, let's see what I can come up with...

The "spring to finish" list:

1. Knitting: I've got a record number of projects on the needles. But the time to finish them is ripe.

a. Odds and Sods socks
The socks I started for the class I taught on the Hat Heel sock. I've held the second class (it went very well, thank you) and now can whip through the second sock that I had been holding off.

Reward: warm feet, of course! (Ok, that wasn't so hard...)

b. Cabled fingerless mittens
for the Stop AIDS Walk prize. These will get done on or shortly after the Walk on May 2. (You still have time to sponsor me to get a chance to win them. Email me.)

Reward: I'm going to really enjoy pulling the winning name and seeing who is going to receive these mittens. (I like giving prizes almost as much as winning them!)

c. Whistler
This sweater has been very patient, but it's just time to get it done. I just need a rainy weekend or two...

Reward: tough one...I would say the final project is the reward, but I don't think that's what Jacquie had in mind. I know! An extra night at Red Purl. (Then I can show it off too! See how sneaky I am?)

d. Purple mohair T
This is buzzing right along. It's seems well suited to taking with me and working on it during lunch breaks. I originally hoped to wear it this spring, and it looks like I may be able to!

Reward: Finally getting to wear the skirt I bought last fall to wear with it.

2. Quilting
The county fair quilt block. Time to stop thinking about it and get it done. I hope May's quilt day will afford me the time to work on it.

Reward: This is a delayed reward, but I'm still hoping for a ribbon. (Will it be blue??)

3. Sewing
a. Purse
I need to line, attach handles, and install a clasp in a purse I knit. I hope to visit the person who spun/dyed the yarn in June, so I'd like to have the purse done to take with me. (Plus I'll be seeing the person who bought me the yarn--thanks, Mom!--so I'd like to show her too!)

Reward: I plan to buy lots of goodies when I visit this person's farm/shop.

b. Tablecloths I agreed to sew for my church for special events. Two of four are done--time to make that four of four.

Reward: a Snickers bar. Ok, so I'm running out of reward ideas, but I really love Snickers bars and don't eat them often. Maybe I'll really splurge and get myself an almond Snickers bar.

4. Other life
It would be really sweet to finish the siding on Troy's shop by May 31 too. Let's see...we can do up to five pieces in an afternoon...we have about 30 pieces to that's about 6 sessions. We have 7 possible workdays between now and May 31, so I guess we'll have to hope for a few sunny weekends...

Reward: I think burger and fries from the great place down the road will do.

It's becoming apparent that I could go on and on with things I'd like to have done, but I think keeping this focused is the key. And I do only have 38 more days in which to get this list done...gulp!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Field Trip: Chicago

I was invited along to Chicago today by a friend, and was happy to be off. It was a beautiful day for driving, and--lucky me--she was doing all the driving!

The primary destination was Andersonville in Chicago, a neighbourhood which was historically populated by Swedish immigrants.

First stop was a stop in at Knitting Workshop. She hadn't been there since they moved and was curious. I had visited the shop on my last trip to Chicago (last May) and found it much the same this time as before. We did not stay long and didn't buy anything.

But, since Soutache (the embellishment store) was right down the street, I pulled her over there for a look-see. That store was also much the same as before--delightful. I don't know if it was the same woman waiting on us, but if possible she was even more cheerful than last time.

No more purse handles for me to look at, but so many lovely trims. Ribbons, buttons, feathers, satin, bows, lace, and so wonderfully laid out too. I found something I could pretend I "needed":
Some ribbon and puffed applique pieces for a purse that's knitted but still needs to be sewn together. I'm hoping to get to that in the next month or so...only thing left is to nail down the lining fabric and then put it all together.

And this time I was not able to resist some feathers:
I haven't worn them; I almost can't imagine wearing them, but they are so dang pretty! This is just a little feather medallion which needs a little pin on the back and a bead or two in the center. I like the thought of it on a lapel of a coat. I'll have to be careful, however, because the feathers really can't get much wear. (Watch out for seatbelts, for instance.)

From there we made it to the Swedish American Museum. (After one quick stop at Nuts on Clark for some very good caramel popcorn!) We saw an exhibit of paintings by Anders Hultman. This postcard shows the one anomalous painting...the rest were of his impressions of Sweden.
What this painting does have in common with the rest is a very bright and beautiful colour pallet and a primitive (and self taught) style of painting.

The exhibits in the upper floor of the museum told the story of Swedish immigration to the United States. I spotted only one or two hand knits:
Did the gloves survive because they were too well liked to use, or because they weren't liked at all??

For those of you with children to entertain, the third floor houses the Children's Museum. It looked like the kids were having a lot of fun dressing up in period costumes (to fit over their own clothing), working the paddles on the Viking ship, and working together in the garden gathering the produce. That was the best little activity area--they literally had a garden made of fabric set up. You could "pick" the cucumbers, corn, squash, etc, gather them in baskets, and bring them into the log cabin. A few kids were just having a ball together.

After the museum and some food at Taste of Lebenon (on Foster just off Clark--very good!) we wandered into Andersonville Galleria, a collection of vendors in art and indy products. One warning, you could spend a lot of time (and money) in this place! There was a lot of variety, but I found most of the products well-done, fairly priced and just plain nice to look at. I can't wait to have walls I can decorate with art.

One [little] thing I did let myself buy was this coaster set:
I spent a lot of time looking at all the elephant products (notebooks in many sizes, stationery) by Koru Street before I noticed all the paper is made from elephant poo! Well, how could I resist that?! Ha ha. But really I do have a thing for elephants (but not its poo, per se), so I treated myself. I will now look forward to when I have furniture that actually needs protecting...

We did try to make one more stop at Knit 1, but they are closed for renovations and restocking until May 1. Next time, I guess.

And did I do any knitting while not having to do any of the driving? Well, yes I did. I got some nice little swatches done up for a sale coming up at Red Purl (more info at a later date). You can see them to the left.

I finished the heel of my hat heel sock so that I was ready for the second class this Friday.

And I worked further on my purple mohair T. I finished the front and got the sleeves started yesterday. I'm doing them two-at-a-time on straight needles. On the way home today, I got the initial increases done and have only about half an inch to go until I start the cap decreases and shaping. (They're short sleeves--I'm not really that fast!)

All in all, a truly lovely day! Things done. Things seen. Things to inspire more things.

And all in good company.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Care to Lend a Hand?

Two weeks from today I will be walking in the Michiana area Stop AIDS Walk.

I've been walking since 1995 when my brother died from AIDS; I've not walked every year, but just about!

The first time was in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was a great Walk: lots of people, police escorts, and we walked down the middle of the streets in downtown Halifax. Music and free food afterwards! I didn't make much money that year, but it was great to participate in a group event for the cause.

Since then I've walked in Belleville, Ontario (smallest); Grand Rapids, Michigan (got on TV); Chicago, Illinois (largest); Toronto, Ontario (with the most family); and in South Bend since moving to the area in 2000. Over the years, I have raised over $5,500 to fight HIV/AIDS!

This year I'm shaking things up a little bit to keep things interesting. If you sponsor me for the walk, I will give you a chance to win a pair of Fingerless Gloves handknit in the very luxurious Alpaca & Silk from Blue Sky. I've got one done already so you can see exactly what you're getting, and the other one I'll knit on the Walk!

Here in in South Bend, the Walk is the main fund raiser for AIDS Ministry/AIDS Assist. The people there help educate on AIDS prevention, advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS, and help with housing, meds and emotional support.

They do good work.

If you would like to get involved and sponsor me in the Walk...and of course get a chance to win these fingerless mittens...please email me: christinacreating AT netnitco DOT net. Anyone who gives $10 or more will get their name in a [virtual] hat and have a chance of being a winner!

Details: Winner will be chosen at random. Winner must pay before the mittens will be sent. (If not paid within two weeks, another winner will be chosen.) Chances of winning will depend on how many sponsors there are!

Sponsored by Red Purl, a wee knit shop in Niles, Michigan.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Whistler: Preparations for a Finish

Getting back to my Whistler this morning, I finally got the gumption to work on all those ends! It was a job, but I got it done.

I read that some people cut their yarn every row instead of carrying the third colour along or using an intarsia-in-the-round technique. I can't imagine!

For those interested in the details, I generally ran the end through a couple strands of the "purl bumps" on the back for...oh...7 to 8 stitches. (Or whatever worked at that location.)

Once the ends were worked in, it was time for a little duplicate stitch on the front. There was a spot where the pattern told you to skip some white stitches and to just stitch them on afterwards. And since it was before I thought of doing intarsia in the round, I followed the pattern's directions.

Here you can see half of the stitches have been done:
(Compare the right side which is done, and the left where one and half "V"s are missing.)

After the duplicate stitch:
you can see the entire pattern. Duplicate stitches are necessarily a little bulkier since the yarn is doubled there, but done right, they blend right in.

And doing it right is very easy to do. It's done with a needle and length of cut yarn. After threading the needle push it up from the back at the bottom of the stitch you need to copy:
Think of each stitch as a "V." You need to just bring the needle up through the bottom point--marked with a little orange dot in this picture.

Pull the yarn through and then insert the needle in through one top point of the V and out through the other. (I went right to left, but you could go either way.) The points are marked with little red dots in this picture:

Finally, you push the needle back down through the bottom point (orange dot) again to finish the stitch, and then you can come up through the bottom point of the next stitch (green dot) at the same time to start the next duplicate stitch:
Things move along rather easily and smoothly, and pretty soon I was done the front:

Later this afternoon, I then found time and energy to block the pieces. They're drying now:
and then it will have to wait until I'm ready to reinforce the armhole steeks, cut the steeks, sew in the sleeves, reinforce the other steek, cut the other steek, pickup stitches for the collar, knit the collar and sew on the zipper or Norwegian style clasps (haven't decided yet). That's all!

I just read on the Knitting in Color blog that Dale of Norway has started making their pamphlets available for free as pdf files. This is being celebrated greatly as many of their patterns are out of print and very hard to find. (They get expensive quick once they're out of print--like up to $229 for some booklets! Lots of ebay sellers are not going to be happy about this!)

I'm all for free patterns, but I have to admit I still enjoy pattern books and written pamphlets. According to the announcement DON is only releasing patterns online now. But I'll adjust...

I am also feeling a bit ambivalent because the Whistler pattern is included. Now, I am happy for all those people who have not been able to get a much-sought-after Whistler pattern but part of me has to ask: why did I have to buy it? But I try not to be bitter. After all, I couldn't be almost done my sweater right now, if I hadn't gotten the pattern last year.

Now, let's hope I can soon transform "almost done" to done done!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hat Heel Sock

Last chance to join the Hat Heel sock class. We still have room for one or two more.

This Friday and next, 6 pm, at Red Purl.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Quilt "Day"

It was a close thing, but I did manage to fit in some quilting time on Sunday for my personal monthly quilt day. (Second Sunday of the month.) I had to help my honey put up some siding all afternoon--it was a lovely day so it's not like I really begrudged all the time outside. But it was about 7:00pm before I could get to some quilting!

I knew it would not be the month to do something big, new, or complicated. I didn't feel quite ready to make the final square for the country fair raffle quilt. So I thought I'd pull out this quilt:
I have had this quilt top since about 2004, I'd say. My sister got it from her mother-in-law as she was helping her clean out the farmhouse they had lived in all her married life. She had kept a lot of stuff, including three quilt tops she bought off some ladies at the side of the road in Kentucky during a road trip in the 60s. (This was apparently pretty common then.)

Yes, she had these quilt tops for over 40 years and nothing had been done with them. (Does that make you feel better about your UFOs?) One was a very bright orange. To be honest, you'd have to call it hideous, but in that wow-that's-so-ugly-I-like-it way. My sister claimed that one for the cottage she hopes she might have some day.

I don't even remember the second quilt, but the other one was this hexagon flower quilt. My sister was scared of the uneven edges--it would be a hard one to bind!--so she gave it to me.

Well, what I first did with it was to make some blocks to edge the quilt. They were cut from some sheets I bought and cotton fabric I had lying around. I went with blue and white because of the blue and white polka dot fabric used for the flower centers and the triangles between the hexagons. (The only consistent parts of the whole quilt!)

I then layered it with batting and a white sheet and then used another sheet to make a "pocket" to use it as a duvet cover. What about quilting the layers together, you ask? Well, I opted for tacking it together with buttons.
I tried to use just flower buttons. I don't think I got a more perfect match than this faded pink button on this pink paisley flower. I was really happy with that combo.

But as time went on, I realized that the buttons weren't nearly enough to hold the batting in place. And this very many layered cover was way too warm with a duvet inside. So last year I took it all apart and decided I was going to attempt to quilt this and quilt it old school--by hand!

It's been slow going.

But I'm ok with that.

To give you the stats: it takes two hours to quilt a flower. There are 64 flowers in the quilt. I've currently finished three. Yup, things are looking pretty grim for this sweet little quilt. But I figure it waited 40 years to even see the light of day again, so it's probably learned to be a patient sweet little quilt.

My hand quilting skills are very beginner-ish and by that I mean pretty bad. This is my first flower:
Big uneven stitches and the lines wander from 1/8" to 3/8" from the seams. (I'm aiming for 1/4" in case that's not clear.)

This is my third flower:
Even with the very infrequent repetition, I think my stitches are improving. Not by leaps and bounds, but still...

There are many reasons why this quilt will never be a "show-quality" (or probably even county fair quality) quilt. Besides my amateur stitching, you'll notice in all the pictures that the points were just a very rough guideline of where the seams should be. Seams are uneven, yadda, yadda, yadda. But it's still so charming.

Other problems I will deal with when I get there. For instance, ripped fabrics:
It's just too thin to take the strain. (One of the reasons you shouldn't wait to quilt a top. The quilting really helps to stabilize and support the top fabric.) The really sad part is that this is a really charming fabric. I will repair where I can, but I suspect the fabric in this particular block will have to be replaced. (Right now I'm thinking I'll basically applique a new flower fabric over the damaged fabric.) Hopefully I'll find something I like just as much.

I presume the use of actual scraps determined the combination in this quilt:
From sweet pinks to bright bright yellows to, what's that? yes, camo! And you can never have enough kerchief fabric in a quilt, right? You see why this quilt is so beguiling?

I can't promise it'll be done soon, but when I work on it, I enjoy it. What more can you ask, really?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

WhIP it into Shape

It is snowing here. April 8 and snow is falling. You would think that would inspire me to get back to my Whistler. I mean, should I get it done, it would do me a lot of good right now. But instead, I've been working on my spring project. (Partly because it still travels well. The Whistler at this point, not so much.)

I could have sworn I blogged it already, but I see no mention of it since last summer when I found the mohair for the pattern. My deadline to get it done has always been this spring, and I was happy to get it cast on a few weeks ago.

I couldn't get gauge and my 4" swatch ran 5 inches instead--that's a big difference! I went down a size, in pattern and needle size, but after a few inches realized that it was still going to be way too wide.

So I did some figuring and calculating (taking into account the fact that it's horrible to frog mohair) and decided to add waist shaping instead of starting over.
It worked out nicely to take out one repeat of the pattern on each side over 24 rows. I have been taking meticulous notes (for once) and should be able to easily reproduce this on the front.

Then I got far enough to do the armhole shaping. Since my stitch count no longer matched the pattern I had to refigure all the numbers slightly. Although I thought I had done a mathematically correct job of it, after getting about 7 inches done, I realized that the shirt was way too narrow. (This would be the measurement between the shoulders.)

So I was finally forced to frog my mohair. It wasn't exactly fun, but I got it done without any major crises or Prozac.
But I was smart about it: instead of undoing all the shaping and redoing it with new figures, I just picked a point that was wide enough and frogged to that point only. The new width seems good.

Yesterday I got back to the point where the back splits in the middle to form the back slit. (Yes, I had gotten that far before deciding I had to frog it.) And then tonight--even sooner than I expected--I got to the shoulder shaping.
And that is all the shaping for this work in progress (WIP--now you get the title in case you hadn't yet).
Now on to the front. It's the perfect project for this weather and season actually. The colour does me a world of good at the end of winter, and yet it's still cool enough to work with the mohair. My hands literally get hot from holding the knitting on the needles! It's a wonder how thin it is, and yet how much substance it seems to have at the same time.

I can't wait to wear it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I've been having some fun preparing for Easter. Another little break when I couldn't concentrate on the Whistler sweater.

I also had some fun with the photo shoot. Troy had conveniently just brought me a bouquet of pink tulips when I was ready to take the pictures.

I bought the pattern for these eggs last year already knowing I would have leftovers from my 2009 afghan to use. Yes, I probably could have figured out my own pattern for the egg shape, but the pattern was right there and it's so easy to just follow directions! Plus it was nice to have something to look at to stimulate some embellishment ideas.

Although the project was pretty quick, it did not happen all at once. It was a few weeks ago that I knit them up over a couple days, in minutes stolen here or there, and at the end of the day when I couldn't concentrate on anything more complicated.Project Stats
Started: 22 Mar 10
Finished: 27 Mar 10
Pattern: Woolly Eggs by Marie Mayhew ($6)
Materials: Malabrigo leftovers from my 2009 RP afghan; buttons on hand

Then came the felting. While I was at it, I threw in a few sweaters I have sitting around waiting for the right time. I probably could have felted the eggs a little more but they're ok. (It's hard to tell how felted it is when it's sopping wet.)

A few days later, I finally got to the stuffing and embellishing. The most fun, I have to say, but also the most fiddly.
From top left, we have a striped egg--but they're not just any stripes. I used a helix striping technique I'd recently read about. You can see in the detail pic to the right that the colours literally spiral. There's no jog from doing one colour followed by another. The colours are all worked at the same time, stacked on top of each other like interlocked spirals. This egg was fun little project to practice the technique.

In the middle top, I knit stripes and then used buttons for flower blossoms. The stems and leaves are needle felted. (More on that in a minute.)

Top right is a small plain robin blue egg. So simple, and yet it might be my favourite!

Bottom left has a knit stripe and borders done with needle felting.

Bottom middle is a plain egg in hollyhock dressed up with swirls and dots of needle felting. (Also in the running for my favourite!)

And bottom right is a speckled egg, done by knitting with two colours held together--the taupe Malabrigo and a bit of the thin green wool rescued from this vest. Again, very simple, but a great effect nonetheless.

And then there is this egg:
I abandoned the pattern and tried knitting an egg in the other direction to make vertical stripes easier. I used short rows for the shaping, and it worked pretty well...except I cast on too many to start. So it's more like a torpedo egg. And then I embroidered it with the feather stitch, carefully placing each colour opposite its knitted section.

Oh yeah...I did one more too. I could call it my measles egg. I knit it in orange and then duplicate stitched some red dots on it.
They didn't stand out very well after felting, so I thought I'd outline them. I pulled out my new toy, a pen style needle felter. This model has three needles for fine work. Each needle is barbed so that it grabs material on the way down and pushes it through lower layers. You set the wool where you want it and just start punching through it. (Keep fingers at a safe distance!)
In the above pic, you can see one dot done on the left, and I'm working on another. The outline didn't end up helping a lot with defining the polka dots, but it was worth a try. It did, at least, add a little texture to the egg.
I had been curious about needle felting for a while now. I wasn't sure if it would be like other embroidery and embellishments for me: ok, but not especially enjoyable. But I have to say that I really liked it. It certainly is easy and fast, and you have a good amount of control. I'll be pulling that needle felting pen out more often when I want to dress something up!

And now I'll leave you with a picture containing just about every Easter cliche I could think of!
As a side note, I'm not normally a stuffed toy person, but I am oddly attached to these two bunnies. They were gifts from two different people the same year and are good representations of our bunnies, (the late) Chocolate and (the still going) Red. (And when you squeeze their front paws, they cluck like chickens!)

Hope you all have a happy Easter!

PS: Last night I finished the second sleeve on my Whistler! Woo hoo!

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...