Monday, January 12, 2009

Do the Funky Chicken

It’s cold and snowy and about to get much, much colder and much, much snowier. So, like all chronic knitters, my fancy has turned to felting. I have two hats and one Secret Project in the laundry room awaiting felting. I couldn’t wait for messing with a felted something, though, because, for a person who makes things stitch by stitch, I have surprisingly little patience, so I found an old felting project from a previous arctic cold spell and decided to make use of it immediately.

It was a misbegotten attempt at a project bag, and I know exactly why it was so ugly and awful. I was trying to use up two ugly, awful yarns that I had acquired somehow, and I couldn’t think of what to do with them. One was a speckledy purple with some twiggy bits still in it, and the other was someone else’s first attempt at dying yarn – purple and green and splotches of white. I kept shoving them to the bottom of the theoretical project basket until finally I thought “striped felted bag” and cast on, knit like crazy until I was nearly out of each yarn, then I flung it in the washer over and over until I hated it enough to lose it in a laundry basket. I then brought it upstairs and lost it in my husband’s clutter for a year or so. It got moved around for another year, always at the bottom of some pile we didn’t want to deal with, but it escaped a week or two ago, and whispered, in its croaky, hoarse little green and purple voice, “do something with me”.

So, I decided to make a felted tea cozy out of the top half, and maybe use the bottom half for a smaller project bag. I cut 10 inches off the top of the bag, so that I wouldn’t back down and hide it again, and then browsed around on the net for ideas. I kind of figured I wanted a chicken cozy of some sort, but I was looking for a simple enough idea so that I could cut it out, sew it (I am sewing impaired), and make it look reasonably chickeny. I had some success, cut out a rough chicken shape, then realized it was going to need eyes, a beak, a comb, and probably a hanging loop. I crocheted everything but the eyes, and then I found two slightly stoned looking two-tone buttons in my sad little sewing basket, which would do for crazed chicken cozy eyes. Below is the result, which I am pleased to say, everyone one in the house immediately recognized as a chicken, however the follow-up question was, repeatedly, “Why is it purple and green?”

Should you become possessed by the need for a felted chicken cozy and have some unloved felted material around, my rough working outline was as follows:

1. Piece of felted knitting, 20 inches long by 10 inches high; fold in half for a 10 inch square; cut out general chicken shape

2. With about 6 yards of crochet kitchen cotton crochet a beak (ch8, sl 1, sc to end, cut and draw yarn though), a comb (c8, turn sl 1 in first st, in next st * 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1dc, 1hdc, in next stitch 1 sc *, repeat twice, end with sl st in last chain, bo) and a loop (ch 15)

3. Turn chicken inside out, sew from tail across back, inserting and sewing loop at midback (make sure it will hang out on the right side), sew to beginning of top of head, insert comb and do similarly, then about halfway down the chicken face, insert the stub of the beak and sew it in, then sew the chicken breast.

4. Turn right side out and display proudly to family. Fits fairly snugly over a 3-4 cup (or smaller) teapot.

And, it really, really keeps the tea warm. My first test drive included going off to do something else for 2 hours and coming back to tea still warm enough to be soothing and fragrant. If I were given a do-over, I’d make it a couple of inches wider, but it is just the right height.

Which leads me to my Secret Project – a Little Red Hen Cozy. Again, I have some unloved red yarn, and lots of it, in my stash. I’d already made a dog sweater for Gracie from it, as well as a hat awaiting felting for me, and there was still a bodacious amount of yarn left. I have done all the knitting on the LRHC, but I’m going to wait until it’s been felted before publishing. I should probably ‘fess up here and admit that I have a general chicken theme to my kitchen, which so far includes some pictures of cheeky roosters, a ceramic rooster, a wooden speckled hen, and some chicken dishtowels. And a chicken tea cozy now, too.

More Knits

I was sick with bronchitis for most of the holidays, but I can’t stand to have idle hands, so I made, as I mentioned in a previous post, another Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl.

It came out pretty nicely, too. The blues look much more differentiated in tone in person. The sequence is medium blue, marled blue (one strand each of dark, light and medium blue), and light blue, with dark blue in between each section and all around the border.

1 comment:

Amber in Albuquerque said...

The shawl is lovely, but I really like the chicken! Funny thing about color...if I remember right, you liked either the 'electric sherbet' socks or the 'bluegrass' socks that I thought were hideous. I don't think the colors in that chicken are nearly as ugly as you do...I rather like them in fact. Although I will agree they aren't particularly chicken like.