Kit assembly line (and one more bookmark)

Yay! My bulk purchase of felt tags has arrived, and very colourful it looks too. I’ve checked them all and although there are a few thin bits here and there they’ll probably all be usable; two are a bit doubtful, but if I use them myself for producing bookmarks rather than making them part of a kit I think they’ll be all right.

My bulk purchase of felt tags

As you may have noticed from the picture above, there’s a new shade on the block. I included two Apple Green tags in my order, just to find out what colour it was in real life! It turns out to be a pleasantly bright shade, certainly not mossy like the photograph on Blooming Felt’s website but neither, fortunately, quite so lurid as the soft cotton picture that was said to match it. There is no suitable Anchor Multicolor shade for it though, so I won’t get any more but just stitch these two up for charity using Caron Wildflowers.

Apple Green felt tags with Caron thread

Putting kits together is a time-consuming activity, so the easier it can be made the better I like it. One effective time-saving strategy is to make lots rather than one at a time (“lots” in the context of Mabel’s Fancies meaning about two dozen). So I printed out 24 sets of instructions, attached 24 cover photographs, put 48 gold-plated needles into 24 pieces of felt, cut 24 squares of fabric and all the threads needed and here is my kit assembly line (well, assembly coffee table) before the felt tags had come in – doesn’t it look colourful? As you can see I had just started on cutting the threads for the bookmark tassels. Twelve of these kits are for next year’s Knitting & Stitching Show, the others will go on sale on the website after I’ve returned from this year’s show.

The bookmark kit assembly line

And finally one more felt tag bookmark – the first one with a cross instead of a square motif.

Felt tag bookmark with a cross motif

Hand-made felt and the right surroundings for a sunburst

Would you believe it, I found I had six more tags than I thought – so I can do 16 bookmarks before having to think of ordering more! Here are the six different colours all made into bookmarks, and the first three bookmarks to use sunburst stitch instead of dove’s eye.

All six colours made into bookmarks The first three bookmarks with sunbursts

More about the sunburst stitch later, but first the tags. It’s been really enjoyable making these bookmarks, and I’d love to make some more, but there are a few things to consider before I put my order in. First of all, much as I love these bookmarks, will other people love them enough to buy them? After all, they are meant to raise money for charity. Secondly, are all colours equal? Are the pink bookmarks going to appeal as widely as the dark blue or purple ones? And what about that unknown green? Thirdly, am I or am I not going to produce Felt Bookmark Kits? I’m tempted to put together at least one set of twelve, as my project for next year’s Knitting & Stitching Show – it would make a nice change from the needle books, which I will have used twice already by then. Fourthly, how many do I get? The difference between an order of 16 and an order of 60 is 8p per tag. And finally (and rather importantly), are the tags up to the task?

There is a reason for that last question. You may remember that one problem was that the little hole in the tag (or rather, the felt around the hole) wasn’t strong enough to hold the tassel; but that could be got round by trimming the tag and taking the tassel through with a large-eyed needle. A bigger worry is that, being hand-made, the felt isn’t equally thick throughout. In most of the sixteen tags that I have the irregularity isn’t big enough to matter, but in at least one it looks as though over time and with a fair bit of use it may start to come apart.

Thin areas in the hand-made felt

Now this was just one out of sixteen; and it will probably be all right. But if I were using these tags to make up kits, I’d probably choose to discard this one as not being up to scratch, which means the money spent on that tag has been wasted. So here’s what I’ll do: write to Blooming Felt (who have been very helpful in answering my previous questions) and ask whether there is a way of guaranteeing that I’ll get only usable tags, and then place an order for sixteen (the maximum number I can get at their lowest postage) including one Apple Green.

I promised you more about the sunburst stitch and here it is – my experiments with different bars. The easiest one to work is the sunburst in woven bars, and it looks great when the sunburst is worked in colour against white bars (1st picture). White on white it gets a bit cluttered, even though I pulled the woven bars quite tightly so they were thinner than usual (2nd picture). Working a sunburst in wrapped (3rd picture) and double wrapped bars (4th picture) is more fiddly, because the loops around the bars aren’t anchored (with woven bars the loops go through the bars rather than around them, so they stay put). This makes the double wrapped version more effort than it’s worth as it really isn’t any less cluttered than the woven bar version, which is much easier to work. That leaves the wrapped bar version, which is the one I will go for if these do make it into kits – a bit more work, but a nice open, airy look.

Coloured sunburst stitch in woven bars

Sunburst stitch in woven bars

Sunburst stitch in wrapped bars

Sunburst stitch in double wrapped bars

Felt for finishing and an unexpected use for metallic kid

I’m beginning to get quite a collection of finished Floral Laces – some with quite startling combinations of felt and stitching (wait till you see Fuchsia …) – here are two I finished while we were on holiday in the Outer Hebrides. One of the things I’m considering doing with them when I’ve got them all done is getting a square framed cork board, possibly paint it black, and then display them by rotation. Yes, felt is wonderful stuff, and not just for finishing Floral Lace – remember these hand-dyed felts I got at the Knitting & Stitching Show last year? I haven’t actually decided what to use them for yet, but they’re lovely even just to look at, and I think they’ll make a beautiful backing for something or other.

Floral Lace: Rose Floral Lace: Sunflower 21st Century Yarns felt

And backing is not the only thing you can do with felt, of course. Here is my recent purchase from Blooming Felt: gift tags and a purse. I’m not sure yet what designs to use them for; obviously they need to be quite small. Perhaps a shortened version of the smaller Window on the World for the purse? And I may have to design something new for the tags, although there are only so many things you can do in such a small space; or the little cross I’ve used for baptism bookmarks might make quite a pretty gift tag for a christening gift!

Gift tags and a purse from Blooming Felt

Remember the metallic kid I used for Treasure Trove? It came in very useful yesterday, though not for any needlework. One of my belts works really well with 2 or 3 of my dresses, but the snag is that the loose end won’t stay put. When I put the belt on first thing in the morning the end bit curls snugly enough around my waist, but as soon as I move, it does too. I tried sticking it to the belt with blutack, but that started affecting the surface of the belt. It obviously needed a loop of sorts to hold it in place, but what could I use that wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb? And then it struck me – the belt is made of metallic leather, in warm shades of copper and gold. So I dug out the left-over gold kid and it turned out to go with the belt perfectly. I was about to sew the leather together when my husband suggested contact adhesive; it proved to be a fortuitous suggestion, as I made the loop a little too wide the first time, and this way I could gently unpeel rather than laboriously unpick. So now I have a lovely fitting belt; I knew having lots of stash was practical!

Gold kid used as a belt loop