Easy knitted, felted soap cozy/sweater/saver whatever you want to call this thing

For a few years now I have been making felted soap covers. Some people call them soap savers, soap sweaters or something like that. Normally when I make them I use wool roving and wet felt them but sometimes that can be a pain and take a long time to get them to the point where they felt down and stay on the soap.
I was in the mood to do some knitting, but not in the mood to do something ambitious. I wanted a quick project to do while watching some episodes of Once Upon a Time. My last felted soap cozy wore out a while ago so I thought I would make up some new ones.

I like that these work as a built in wash cloth. They can be a little awkward to hold until they get felted down nice and tight. You could fix this by doing the felting before they go in the shower, but since these are sewn shut I figured why bother when after a couple of showers they will be felted down anyways.

I made them even easier to make by doing them on straight needles and not using double pointed needles. I used some of the first handspun that I ever made. It’s spun and plied really badly.  See how over AND underspun it is in spots? Plus I dyed it using KoolAid so it’s not the prettiest yarn. This is a perfect use for it. I have no idea what the roving was I used to make this I just know it’s 100% wool.

I cast on 20 stitches and knit until it it was approx. 3″ wide. Cast off, put the soap in and sew up the seams. All Done! You can get as fancy or as simple as you want with these.

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This is some of the first handspun yarn I ever made. It is both over AND underspun. Luckily I have gotten much better at spinning.

 

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Finished soap cozy after I sewed up the seams.

 

Ikea Margareta Fabric Panel Christmas tree (with lights and ornaments)

When my husband and I go to Ikea I always stop and look through the fabrics. Every time I saw the Margareta fabric I coveted it. A big Christmas tree printed on fabric?! What’s not to love. I finally bought some last year.
I pulled it from my fabric stash this year and thought about what to do with it. It was going to replace a regular Christmas tree this year so I knew I wanted to try and get lights and ornaments on it if possible.
The first thing I did was iron it using a heavy starch to make it stiff and flat. Then I sewed the bottom rough edge to keep it from fraying. I thought about how I wanted to hang it and decided to use a curtain rod. I sewed a curtain rod pocket onto the top on the back.

Ikea Margareta Fabric panel Christmas Tree

Ironed with starch, and hung from a curtain rod after I sewed a curtain rod pocket onto the back at the top.

I decided to hang it right above my baseboard. I debated having it rest on the floor but decided that was too low and more likely to get dirty/get the cats interest.  I tried a few stores to see if I could find battery operated lights as I thought those might work better. I couldn’t find anything that appealed to me so I gave up on that idea for now. I also considered putting grommets in the fabric and pushing lights in through the grommets from the back. I thought that would hide the light wires and make for a neater looking tree. (I may try this idea some other time).

I ended up using what I had at home which was some LED lights that have plastic bulbs on them on the ends. I used safety pins and attached them to the fabric by going in from the back of the fabric to hide the bulk of the safety pin. I ended up having to tack the fabric to the walls on the sides as the weight of the lights caused folds. My husband and I put on some Christmas music and decorated the tree with the unbreakable ornaments I got at Target, using small ornament hooks that we bent over the light wires.  The finishing touch was a star tree topper that I cut from glittery paper. I chose a silvery white paper but I think I am going to make a new one later tonight as you can hardly see this one.

Ikea Margareta Fabric panel Christmas Tree with lights and ornaments

Up close it looks a little messy with the light wires, from a few feet away it looks adorable and from outside with the lights on it looks like a regular Christmas tree. I’m going to make a new tree topper and dig out my pompom string garland. It needs some brighter colors on it, otherwise I think it looks great. I love that it looks like a real tree (just squint your eyes), I got my Christmas lights that I love and it only takes up wall space. (and the clean up is easy!)

Valspar Fountain Mist paint – Ikea Billy Mod

I decided that I wanted to paint the back of my Ikea Billy bookcase. I looked at photos of this online and always thought it made an inexpensive bookcase really look snappy.
Normally I head right for the bright/bold colors. I wanted something different this time. I wanted the items I was going to put in the bookcase to not get lost to a loud paint color. I plan to use this bookcase as more of a display case. I wanted a paint color that would act as a pretty backdrop.
I am normally a big fan of semigloss paint but this time I didn’t want the shine of the paint to be distracting. I went to Lowe’s to look at paint and finally settled on Fountain Mist by Valspar in Eggshell.

Valspar Fountain Mist in Eggshell finish.

Valspar Fountain Mist in Eggshell finish.

This color and finish are a real departure from my normal choices but I have to say that I am loving it. It’s sort of a pale aqua, icy blue color. The color on the can lid looks gray here.

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Primed Billy Bookcase Back

I spray painted the back with white primer. The back was already white, but I was afraid that it might be too smooth for the paint to stick well to it.
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This is after the first coat of Fountain Mist. I know it looks like it is still white. Trust me it’s not. It’s hard to see unless it is against something that is white which my Billy bookcase is.

Dyeing wool with marigolds and turmeric

I needed some yellow wool for my mushroom project. I looked through my wool stash that I usually use for spinning and did not find any yellow. I did find some mystery white wool that I figured I could dye. There was no identification with this and I don’t remember what it is.

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White mystery wool roving I found in my stash.

I thought about using Kool-Aid to dye it yellow but then I thought about trying to use flowers to dye it. I’m making this for my cousin who is into foraging so it seemed fitting to use an edible plant to color wool that I was using to make another needle felted edible plant.

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Yellow marigolds that are still blooming in my garden.

I had yellow marigolds still blooming in my garden. Marigolds are edible and can also be used to color/ dye things. I seem to remember reading somewhere that marigolds are called the poor mans saffron.

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I only had a few yellow marigold plants so these are all the flowers I could get.

Unfortunately most of my marigold plants were orange, so I had to make do with only a handful of yellow flowers.

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I just winged it and simmered them in water and some vinegar.

Since this was for a craft project I wasn’t so worried about color-fastness. I filled a saucepan with a couple of inches of water, added some vinegar and put the marigolds in. I just guessed with proportion of everything.

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After the flowers simmered for about 1/2 an hour. They turned translucent and look so pretty.

I simmered the flowers for approx 1/2 an hour. They started to turn the water yellow and the flowers became translucent and looked really pretty floating in the water.

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The wool soaking after I strained the flowers out. I added a dash of turmeric to make the color a little stronger.

I strained the flowers out and put the dye back in the sauce pan. You can see a little bit of sand that did not get strained out. Using a finer filter would have prevented this, but it wasn’t too bad. I simmered the wool for a few minutes and then left it to steep for about 1/2 an hour. I didn’t have time yesterday to let it go longer. Even if I had let it go longer I’m not sure it would have gotten darker. The marigolds made it a nice yellow, but it was a little a paler than I wanted. I added a small pinch of turmeric to try and get the color bolder. It worked great and made the color a much stronger yellow.

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Before and after.

I set the wool out to dry and the color is perfect for what I need it for.  I’m really happy with the results.