Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Felted Bag - Contest

What makes Autumn feel like Autumn to you, and why?
I'd like to say the crisp, cool weather but we're having hot, sweltering days right now.

But--- the moon is one of my favorite things in the Autumn. Last night the Harvest Moon was spectacular, almost a full moon (which occurred on Wednesday night), bright, almost red, and through the sheers on my bedroom window it appeared to have a plus sign, as large as the moon itself through it, and a circle around the plus sign. Oh my, it was beautiful. Harvest Moon is the full Moon occurring nearest to the Equinox in the Autumn and is said to be the time for gathering corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice, all staples of the Indians. The next full moon should be just as showy, October 26th and is the Hunters Moon indicating time for the Fall Hunting Season to begin and gathering of food for Thanksgiving. How simple that makes life sound, if only it was true today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ravelry Was Waiting For Me When I Came Home

While I was away I got my invitation to join Ravelry. Wouldn't you know it'd come at such a time when I didn't have computer access. I want to begin moving some of my knitting inventory over just as soon as I can. The thought of having everything in one spot at the press of a mouse-click is exciting.

I got home from my visits late yesterday, exhausted and cranky - poor hubby, but this morning I'm feeling better. I have so many things to do and things I need to check on today but my plans are to mostly rest.

I have gotten a package off to my secret pal and one to my sister and her husband so for the rest of this week I need to concentrate on the fall felted bag exchange, that is lagging a bit. Actually I thought I was going to knit the biggest part of last week and that the bag would be in the mail by now. Instead of knitting as I'd expected to do, I helped my sister throw away a lifetime of 'pack ratting' trying to leave only enough 'things' that could be packed easily for her move north, close to her daughter. I'm so glad I was there and could help her but now I have to catch up on things that got put off.

The only yarn shop I managed to get to while I was away was Yarns To Dye For located in Flat Rock near Hendersonville, and for some reason (perhaps exhaustion) there really wasn't anything in stock that really caught my eye. I did buy a couple of balls of Filatura Di Crosa's Giardino in black and white that I thought would make a pretty scarf, and so did my sister. It was a bit expensive, $11.25 for 71 yards but it is 100% cotton and should be something that can be enjoyed year around. The shop's owner suggested it be knitted on size 13 needles, we'll see how that works out. While we were in the mountains we bought fresh apples at Sky Top and stopped at the farmers market and bought fresh green, purple, red, orange and yellow peppers, fresh SC grown peaches and a jug of peach cider, some okra, fresh cream peas and fresh crowder peas, SC Plantation wild rice, hot fried pork rinds, and toasted cracked corn, and two fried peach pies. YUM - it's all Southern!

DH seems to have neglected some of the potted plants that I wasn't able to get into the ground before I left. These were plants I bought during the plant sale a couple of weeks ago at the botanical gardens. I watered them deeply when I got home yesterday, but one in particular may be beyond saving at this point. DH watered but the draught we're in drinks the water before it can hit the plant's roots and a deeper watering is needed this late in the season. DH attended the local iris society meeting on Sat. and reported that the iris sale from two weeks ago netted the club about $2,200; enough to run a non-profit club on for the next year. All our hard work of digging, dividing, washing, labeling, trimming, and hauling has paid off again this year.

I hear those SC peaches calling me. Lunch can be peaches, apples, and a pork rind.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Going South Once Again

I've decided to take a few days and go visit my sister in Greenville, SC. I will leave after seeing the oncologist tomorrow and drive down to Apex, NC to my niece's home. On Wednesday she and I will drive to Greenville and visit for several days, then I'll repeat the trip back home.

I've spent some time thinking today about which knitting projects I want to take along. The sister I'm going to visit has a much harder time ignoring fibers and colors than I do. She is a certified seamstress with McCall's and she dabbles in all kinds of needlework, just as I do. We can, and do, talk on the subject for hours.

The niece that I'm picking up to go with me is 9 months older than I. We went to school together, double dated together, and had lots of wonderful overnights when we were teens. She loves to shop so I should be able to fit a few yarn shops in on the way down and back up; I-85 has a world of shopping opportunities on it.

Anyway, I will be away for several days but then I'll be back and I'll have lots to talk about. I still haven't talked about our busy week and preparation of the bearded iris rhizomes we donated for the plant sale at the botanical gardens last weekend. I always say that spring is our most busy season but I sometimes wonder if it really is; fall is running me ragged this year.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fall Felted Bag Contest 1-2-3

Here's my entry for the Fall Felted Bags 1-2-3 Contest.
1. Post on your blog, and give us SOME kind of secret "Bag in Progress" photo. You could share your yarn before you started, or a close up of your knitting, or the patterns you pondered when you began, or what you're still pondering.
Actually, I'm still pondering although I've started on the bag. I have to knit a few rows on the body to see if it what I have in my head, if not I'll have to revert to someone else's pattern.
2. Post a link to the blog of one other swapper that you 'met' and have continued to read through the 3-2-1 contact post.
I'm posting two addresses I've been reading frequently. Capesoxknitter was my pal in the Spring swap and is using the same pattern for her pal this time around. How neat. Knitmetotheendoftime or some reason interests me.
3. Post a link here telling me you entered. I'm posting an update today on the FFB Blog that I've answered the questions .
4. Do this no later than September 23rd. Today is September 16th, I'm making progress on meeting deadlines.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Time Runs Out

Christmas Around The World Questions:
1. Are you religious? I don't go to church or participate in an organized religion any longer. I feel each person has to find their own peace (which I have) and live life according to their personal beliefs, not those of someone else. I also believe the 10 Commands are a good source to frame one's life around (my personal beliefe).
2. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced? I've been knitting forever it seems but not on a non-stop basis until about the last four or five years. I consider myself to be an intermediate knitter, maybe a bit better.
3. Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting? Lots, I love to bake and cook, love to garden, and I do a bit of all kinds of needlework except for tatting. I have a collection of Waterford Crystal and I love good cookbooks and knitting books and, I do a lot of reading. I love all of Pearl Bucks works and Daphne Du Maurier's, too. More modern authors that I enjoy are Anne Rivers Siddons (I'm a sourhern girl), Amy Tan, Lisa See, and Rosamunde Pilcher.
4. Favorite color(s)? I truly don't know, I just love color. The jewel tones are wonderful, reds, purples, greens, blues, but I also love browns, grays, navy, and black.
5. Do you collect anything? I collect Waterford crystal, my pattern is Curraghmore.
6. Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? No, not allergic but don't enjoy receiving items covered in dog or cat hair (which has happened a few times).
7. Do you have any pets? Yes, an eleven year old Lhasa Apso named Maestro; one of the loves of my life. Lhasa's do not shed hair.
8. Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate? Coffee, but not flavors - just good coffee like Blue Mountain from Jamaica or Duncan Donuts, I don't like Starbucks.
9. Cookies or Sweets? I love good homemade cookies while they are still warm or candy full of nuts. I don't buy many American brand name cookies anymore; they've had all the 'good stuff' taken out of them.
10. Do you knit socks? No but I will get around to it someday just to be able to say I have knit them.
11. If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits) I love felting and knit both hats and bags. I also love shawls which I wear and I like knitting sweaters but not necessarily the finishing process.
12. Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do? I've always had some type of tree and often times several. One year when I was having lots of houseguest for Christmas, I even put them in the bathrooms. Generally though, I only have one and they have gotten smaller as I've gotten older. Now with a granddaughter I expect that is going to change.
13. Favorite holiday treats? Toasted nuts, fresh coconut cake, white chocolate, nut, and cranberry shortcake cookies, peanut brittle, Carmel corn; all homemade and fresh.
14. Favorite holiday smells? Evergreens and cinnamon.
15. Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate. For our family we have 'our' tradition which starts shortly after Thanksgiving with baking cookies and making candy. I try to always arrange a time when my son is home for the weekend and he, my daughter, and me all bake together; what fun we have and we get most of our baking done in a day. On Christmas Eve we have our traditional dinner, fondue. We make big pots of cheese with imported cheeses and have pots of hot oil for cooking shrimp, chicken, and steak. We make several sauces for dipping and add a good French bread for dipping in the cheese. We have a special white wine that we use in the cheese fondue and buy plenty to go with our meal. This is one meal where we sit around the table for a couple of hours enjoying the family on a special night. Once everyone has eaten the last bite they can possibly put in their stomachs, we go to the living room and share our gifts. Santa doesn't come until Christmas morning and he fills everyone's stocking, child, doggies, adult, and guest and he leaves the children toys and the adults presents under the tree. We get up early to see what Santa has brought then later have a huge breakfast of country fried ham, red-eyed gravy, and biscuits along with grits or hash browned potatoes, eggs, extra sharp Vermont cheese, and homemade jams. Normally that is about the end of Christmas at our house but last year it changed a bit. I wanted something special because I was in the middle of my chemo treatments, really sick and wanted something special for the family. My son took over my kitchen and cooked a special Christmas dinner for us. We had a standing rib roast (he cooked it perfectly) with butter roasted new potatoes, bundled green beans, and a fresh wild green salad. Yum… This was so enjoyable that we plan to do it again this year. Whereas all this use to take place at 'home' we now go to my daughters for Christmas Eve dinner and opening gifts. We all spend the night so that we can see our granddaughter when she wakes on Christmas morning and we have breakfast before we leave. It's wonderful, all of it.
16. What are your favorite holiday traditions? The most important is having our family together. Then giving each child an ornament on Thanksgiving night, our baking together, and the Christmas Eve Fondue party. There is also the special night when my husband and I gather all the gifts we have and wrap them. We have a fire and open a bottle of wine and wrap until we are exhausted.
17. Finish the sentence: “For me Christmas is all about loving one another”
18. If you were a Christmas ornament you would be? A Santa because that's what catches the children's eye?
19. What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given? Gosh, I really don't know if you mean material things. I always say to my children that I don't want anything (and actually mean it) except for us all to be together and love one another. Of course they never listen to me and I don't practice what I preach when it comes to giving to them.
20. When do you start your Christmas? We bake early, usually the first or second weekend in December depending on how the weeks fall in a particular year. Our tree usually goes up two weekends before Christmas. Gift buying starts earlier each year because as we get older it takes us longer to do those things and we can't enjoy the crowds like we did when we were younger.
21. Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them? We send lots of Christmas cards because we have a large family and lots of friends that we want to share greetings with. I always buy the cards; I'd never get them made if I had to make that many.
22. What is your favorite Christmas dish? Oh, there are too many to name but some foods that always come to mind when I think of Christmas are my mother's fresh ambrosia with fresh coconut in it and her fresh coconut cake. My dad always cracked the coconuts after removing the juice through the coconut's eyes, then peeled and grated it. He also cracked all the pecans we used at our house during the holiday season and we used lots.
23. Carolers are at your door. What do you do? Smile with joy, listen to them sing then offer them whatever Christmas goodies we have in the house.
24. When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning? The actual gift opening is on Christmas eve but Santa always leaves a couple of gifts to be opened on Christmas morning.
25. Do you celebrate with family or friends or both? Always family and usually friends too.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Haven't Knitted For A Week!

I'm not lost, just busy. Spring and fall are such busy times for gardeners and it has certainly hit me hard this year. I love it so, but a day of digging or manning a plant sale is really taking it's toll me this year. I'll tell you all about my exhausting, fun filled, working days next time I post.

NO KNITTING has taken place in the last week and am I ever behind. I'm hoping I'll be able to knit the weekend away while I am resting up then, I'm off on another round of my life. Tell you about that next time.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Eating On The Stree, Knitting Machines,and Digging Iris

Busy, always busy. Yesterday DH and I drove into the city take my prescription for new lens to be put into my current frames, they should be ready the first of next week then we'll go in again to pick them up. I'm not minding the two trips because it means we get to 'eat on the street'. When we worked downtown we would join hundreds of other people during the lunch hours to buy lunch from the street carts then find an empty bench in one of the parks or someplace on the street to eat. The cart we frequented the most was 'Christopher's Run-away Gourmet' a salad cart serving wonderful pasta salads, tuna and tarragon chicken salads, and a few others along with fruit, cheese and french bread; all deliciously fresh and flavorful. Hubby's suggestion of lunch on the street was well received by DW.

Tonight we are attending a wedding reception for our longtime friend's daughter. The family is originally from Pakistan and we've been friends since shortly after their arrival in the US back in the 80's. The wedding was held week before last in Jamaica, then the honeymoon, and now we friends are joining them and their families for a Pakistani reception. I know from past experiences of attending Pakistani functions with our friends, this will be a treat to attend. We've joined one another for celebrating holidays both American and Pakistani over the years and its always been enjoyable for our family as well as theirs. How wonderful it is to be friends with this family.

DH and I are about to start our fall digging for the bearded iris rhizome sale to be held at the Botanical Gardens next weekend. It's lots of work but we enjoy it and we'll enjoy being at the Botanical Gardens for the sale along with a few hundred other plant vendors and a zillion people coming to buy. The sale starts on Thursday afternoon for members of the Botanical Gardens and is then open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have to leave my $$ at home, there will be too much to tempt me otherwise.

We are almost through the first week of September so I've begin thinking about a gift to send my pal in SP-11. Today I will put it together and have it ready to mail when I decide on a day. I don't like to wait until the last minute to do my exchange s. I don't want my partners to feel they have been forgotten by waiting until the last minute to think about what I plan to do and then being late to follow through. If I sign up for an exchanges the least I can do is, 'do it right'. I've never send things that are laying around, or things that have already been used and shows it, or bags that have been knit so long and left in a shop window that the outside has faded a half-dozen shades lighter than the inside of the bag and is splotchy on the outsides. I recently received such a package and I'm still so hurt that this could happen to anyone, not just me. And, it wasn't as if this person couldn't have done better, she certainly knows how to knit well (she has patterns published), certainly had access to yarn and other knitting products (she owns a knitting shop), and certainly had the time, (at least the same amount that everyone else participating had). My point is I want to be kind to the person I am treating and send them the kinds of things that I would be happy to receive, not just something to put in a box. Generally I have been well treated and my partners are a treasure to me, especially those who still keep in touch. The purpose of these exchanges is to make new friends who have an interest in knitting and/or crochet. The gift part is to 'make your new friend feel special'.

I've been in the yarn stash again looking and changing my mind over the colors, or the yarn, I want to use for the Fall Felted Bag I should get started on. I'm spending too much time doing this when there are so many other projects on the needles or waiting to go on the needles. This week I've even though it might be nice to have a knitting machine to help out. I've never used one and don't know enough about them to know if I would want to use one. Is there anyone out there that can share your experience with me about "yes I love my knitting machine" and what kind it is, or "no, I hated my knitting machine" and why? I can share an e-mail address with you if you'd like me to.

Time for me to get busy with thoughts of what to wear tonight. I've not worn any of dressy clothing since before my chemo-treatments and most no longer fit. I've lived in pants, jeans, and shorts for over a year now, waiting, waiting, waiting to see whats around the corner. I don't want to buy new clothes yet and since I no longer work I'll continue wearing pants, jeans, and shorts most of the time. Still, one can't go to a party dressed this way so I must get up and pull something out of the closet that can be put with something else and come up with a suitable wardrobe for the evening. I bet I can.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Local Knitting Now That Labor Day Has Come and Gone

On Sunday DH, Maestro, and I packed our bags and went to a nearby park with lots of walking trails for a out-of-the-bag lunch and a nice little hike; my first hike since the chemo. I used the bag that Jennifer made for me during the Spring Felted Bag Swap to carry our lunch and my knitting, just in case. Surprisingly the park was empty when we arrived, a surprise but a very nice one. The trail we took carried us down a steep bank to the river and along the river, then back up. By the time we got back to the top, there were several baseball and softball games in progress, I'm glad we went early. I was afraid I'd have trouble climbing and I would have to sit it out but since most of the climbing was at the end, I made it back and almost to the car before I HAD TO sit down. Maestro and me sat flat on the grass and waited for DH to fetch the car for us. Maestro is eleven years old and the hike took its toll on him too. We had a thermos of cold water (he likes ice in his drinking water) with us all the way and we we would stop and let him drink and rest and we took his collar and leash off and let him walk with us at his desired pace. He loved it, the freedom and all the smells in the woods. When we got home he zonked out for the rest of the day until late evening when he heard those last scrabble tiles come out of the bag. Then he was up for his routine walk after a scrabble game. We haven't been able to tell how he knows when those last two or three tiles are about to be played, but he does, he never misses.

Yesterday, DD called and asked me to meet her and Dariana at Crate and Barrel to shop for some household items and then for lunch. Since I needed a wedding gift for a wonderful friend's daughter, I had already planned to go shopping on Monday anyway. This meant I could buy a wedding gift and see my tow favorite girls at the same time. Dariana said "We are having an all girls day grandmama." She is such a precocious two year old and has such a vivid imagination. She is already telling 'pretend stories', yesterday it was about her daddy falling down the stairs and her helping him up by lifting him from under his arms. This was all pretend, daddy has not fallen down the stairs.

I'm expecting my package from LittleKnits today. I can't wait to see some of the yarns I ordered with labels I haven't bought before and then there is the Nora I bought to make a bag with.

We didn't have our knit group last night since it was Labor Day and several of us had things planned with our families. Tonight will be Knit Night at Holly Springs and it will be the first time in the new shop. I do want to try and go; I know most of the regular group of ladies will try to be there and it'll be fun to be with everyone. Kathy is making a lot of changes with her shop besides the physical move and I know its all going to be a big success. Why don't you go over and visit her blog and web-site and perhaps order some of her Scarlet Fleece . She is also making a big effort to promote VA grown wools which I complement her on. We have a several local alpacas farms in our county, one farm being about a mile from my home, and Kathy is giving space in her shop to introduce some of these alpaca products. It's amazing what you can find in some small villages. While many yarns shops can't make a go in a large city, Holly Springs seems to be going strong and we have some wonderful little restaurants and a nice Bed and Breakfast in our village.

It's almost noon, time to eat!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

SP-11 - Contest #2

# 2 Contest – SP-11

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
It would have to be needles and yarn since they are the necessary components for knitting – besides, I do love a pair of good needles and I'm always looking for a brand or material different that those I already have. I love my ball winder and swift and would hate to be without either of those but I'd have to say 'the one thing' would be the good needles.

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?
Yes, I always take my knitting and the project depends on what I'm working on at the time. Generally I take more than one project as well as materials for something new just in case I get bored. I usually slip in a few knitting books and magazines and a catalog or two also (be prepared).

3. Where have you traveled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?
Probably some of the smaller countryside villages in Great Britain, but then I love theater so I can't leave out Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada or Stratford, Canada for Shakespeare's theater productions. For nature and the outdoors I would have to say Costa Rica. Gosh I can't pick just one.

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
Probably the one I go to most often when I'm looking for a 'how-to' is The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe and I do own it.

5. Do you listen to pod casts? Which is your favorite(s)?
I've listened to a few but I find they move to slowly and take too much of my time, I don't really enjoy listening.

6. If you could only knit with 1 color for the rest of your life, what color would that be?
What an awful thought, one color. I'd probably choose ecru being of the conservative nature. I'd want something that I could use with other colors but would still stand on it's own if used alone. Heaven's that would be so boring, lets add greens, purples, reds, and blues for variety.

7. If you were far into a project and then noticed a mistake near the beginning what would you do?
Cry! Then run to my FYS and beg for help.

8. Where is the most unusual spot you've ever knit?
I'll have to think on this one I've knit in so many different places. I've knitted on airplanes, trains, buses cars, and on a water ferry and a cruise ship. I've knitted in doctor and dentist offices, in the hospital waiting rooms and while in a hospital bed, at the cancer center and in a chemo-chair while taking treatments. I've knitted in vacations cottages, condos, and hotel rooms and the lobby. I've knitted at work, while visiting family and friends (no it wasn't rude and never looked rude; I am very conscious about those kinds of things) in a public garden and beside the pool. To me, none of these are unusual. My favorite spot to knit is beside the hearth in my recliner.

I'm ashamed!

I'm ashamed. I bought yarn again, a lot; it was on sale. I could envision what I would use it for and it was the best price I've ever seen on Paton's Merino or Cascade 220. Both were on sale for $3.99 and for once there was lots of colors in stock. I went to buy a mere two skeins of Paton's Really Red and was about to walk out of the store when I noticed a sticker on a skein of Cascade 220 for $3.99. You know that caught my attention since it usually runs $6.99. I decided I could use their red instead and would be saving almost the price of of the second skein. Then I decided that it would be a good time to buy the Cascade 220 that is used in the entrelac purse on my to-do list. For once they had the lime green and bright yellow that I want to use in stock so I put those in the basket along with the hot pink and bright aqua. About that time I noticed $3.99 on some skeins of Paton's while others had $5.99 on them. I ask the clerk and she said they hadn't gotten around to marking it all down but it was all the same price, including the new stripes. So…. I wanted to pick up something brown for one of my sisters a bag; but I've already knitted something for her, And if I knit her a bag I should probably knit the other five a bag also, or a hat, or something And then DD has ask for a new bag And I'd like to make one for myself…And, I probably won't ever find this on sale this 'cheap' again so I really should go ahead and stock-up…..And I did. I am determined I want go into a yarn shop or store and look at yarn again until I have knitted at least back to where I was on Thursday morning. To top this, I had just placed an order on-line with Little Knits on Wednesday night; Nora yarn is on sale.

I have been knitting off and on every day and night trying to catch-up and finish-up the projects I have on the needles and I cast on for the Red Hat. That will be a quick project so I will probably go ahead and get it out of the way then I can mark it off the to-do list.

This is the most beautiful day we've had in ages. It looks like fall with the sun casting longer shadows and a nice little breeze blowing. I drove into Richmond this morning so I could shop at Kroger and it was such a perfect ride in and back home. I stopped at Courtier Café on the way in to have a cup of coffee, having a second cup just so I could sit and look out the window. Courtier Café is really a coffeehouse and this one just opened this morning. I was on my way to the one a couple of miles on in when I noticed tables outside and looked to see they were now open. Generally it won't make a lot of difference which one I stop at except for mornings like today when I didn't have my coffee at home. The reason why is, someone had opened the can of coffee before I bought it and I didn't know it until I took the lid off to make coffee. I was ticked! Why would someone be so mean and inconsiderate? DH used what was left in the can we had (about ¼ cup in place of ½ that I normally use) and made what we call Georgia coffee which I couldn't drink. We call it Georgia coffee because it is so weak it has no flavor. I know this isn't a true picture of my home state's coffee making, but that's how my older sisters make coffee now that they are older. When we visit some of my sisters, it's not uncommon for us to make two pots of coffee, one for them and one for us.

Tomorrow is going to also be a beautiful day and although I don't especially like traveling on holidays, I would like for us to take advantage of the weather and go on a short hike and take a picnic along. I haven't mentioned it to DH yet but I know he'll be all for it, especially with the word 'hike' connected to it. We'll take Maestro along and he'll love running along a wooded path stopping to smell all the earthy things around. He will be in control, we'll walk when he does and stop when he does. I love grilled hotdogs in the fall so maybe I'll pick up some up and we can throw a small grill in the car and grill them late in the afternoon just before dusk. Sounds like fun doesn't it?

I posted the questions for SP-10's second contest earlier today. Hope I win.


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DH'S Cardigan

Ruffled Shawl

Ruffled Shawl
Knitted Prayer Shawl with Crochet Ruffle

Knitting Class

Knitting Class
Teaching Co-workers to Knit

Wave & Shell Shawl

Wave & Shell Shawl

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Plum WIne (SDB-Iris) 04/01/07

Chemo Hat

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Peaches & Cream Yarn

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Felted Hat

Felted Hat
Gray Hat After Felting

Baby's Hat

Baby's Hat
Dariana's Hat