Archives for posts with tag: silent auction

Sunlit Grotto is the name of the color of a beautiful skein of Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca Lace that happened to “fall” into my stash. Yarn has a way of doing that sometimes.

I turned it into a shawlette, using the popular Citron pattern.

Picture of the Citron Shawlette

The Sunlit Grotto Citron Shawlette

Having already made two Citron shawlettes for myself, I decided to donate this one to the silent auction at the school where my kids went from preschool through 8th grade. The auction was in March, and the colors of this shawlette would be perfect for someone to wear on an upcoming chilly Spring evening or on Easter.

I was thrilled to hear that my shawlette went for $80 at the silent auction. A nice contribution to the cause!



Clapotis ScarfFor my entire life, I’ve enjoyed making things: crafted gifts, hand-knit sweaters, homemade clothes, and even computer software. In fact, I studied computer science in college, and was a software engineer during the early part of my career.

The process of writing code sometimes yields unexpected results. If you don’t like the results, you can go back and edit your code until you get it perfect. But, sometimes you like the results better than what you planned. Or, you decide the code gets the job done, even if it isn’t doing exactly what you set out to do. Computer scientists have a phrase for this: “It’s a feature, not a bug.”  It’s a nice way of celebrating the finished code, even though you didn’t set out to build it exactly the way it turned out.

“It’s a feature, not a bug.”

I was thinking of this phrase as I finished knitting a Clapotis scarf. This free pattern is one of the most popular on Ravelry, with over 20,000 projects. It’s knit on the bias, with bands of dropped stitches that make the scarf lacy and downright beautiful. I had been thinking of making a Clapotis for years, and I finally cast it on as part of a challenge to use up stash yarn. In my collection of yarn leftover from previous projects, I had 2.5 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. After doing some research on Ravelry, I decided I had enough yardage to make a Clapotis.

However, as I approached the final section of the Clapotis pattern, I realized I was going to run out of wool. Because it’s knit on the bias, I couldn’t just make it shorter like I would with a normal rectangular scarf. Instead, I decided to knit to the end of my yarn and cast off, creating a blunt edge where the scarf should have continued into a nice point. (Look at the top right corner of the photo below.) This doesn’t sound too bad, but by not finishing the point, I also wasn’t able to drop some of the columns of stitches. I had a blunt edge AND a wide band of solid knitting that should have been filled with bands of open, dropped stitches.

Clapotis stretched out

At this point, I declared the wide band a feature, not a bug. I’m happy with this unexpected result. It makes for an interesting asymmetrical design, which in turn makes my Clapotis unique from the 20,000+ others that have been made.

I may make another Clapotis to donate to a charity auction.  If I do, I’ll have to decide if I want to incorporate my “feature” again. We’ll see!


Nuno felting is a technique of binding unspun wool fibers to cloth to create felt. I first heard about it a few years ago when a friend gave me a nuno felted scarf that she had made. It was absolutely stunning!

This weekend, I finally learned this technique at Stitches West 2013. My good friend Mary Ann and I took a class from Judy Pascale, who walked us through the steps to create a felted scarf. She provided us with beautiful hand-dyed pieces of silk for our base and a table loaded with roving (wool fiber) in every color imaginable. It was a fiber candy store!

Judy is a fantastic teacher, and we enjoyed every minute of the day-long class.

The basic process is to lay fibers on top of a piece of silk, wet it, press the fibers in place, cover it with plastic, wrap it around a pool noodle and bubble wrap, and roll the heck out of it. Every so often, you unroll it to check on the progress, adjust the fibers as needed, add more water, and roll it again. The final steps are to crinkle the silk backing by rubbing it and then ironing it. The transformation from raw materials to the finished scarf is impressive! Here are some photos from the class:

Raw fibers on silk scarf

I started my scarf with a background of blue and purple fibers.

Mary Ann laying fibers

Here’s Mary Ann laying the fibers on her scarf

Partially felted scarf

I added a fringe of blue leaves at the end and gold leaves on the body of the scarf. This shows the partially felted scarf, after it had been rolled a few times.

Rubbing scarf to crinkle the silk backing

Mary Ann is rubbing the almost finished scarf to crinkle the silk backing.

After the class, Mary Ann asked if I would be making felted scarves for my fundraising. Perhaps they would make a great item for a silent auction. What do you think?

My finished scarf

My finished scarf

Twists of Ribbon NecklaceAfter seeing some beautiful knitted cord necklaces on Pinterest, I decided to try my hand at designing one. Just such a necklace would be perfect for a silent auction.

Instead of a traditional wool yarn, I chose a ribbon yarn. I felt the ribbon would create a more elegant finished product than wool, plus it would feel silkier on the neck. I also purchased some large charms that I could slip onto the cords to dress up the necklace.

Next, I dove in and started making cords, which are super easy to knit. I made some thin cords and some wider ones, and I played around with braiding and twisting them. After some experimentation, I felt I had a great necklace. Well, almost. There was still work to be done on the closure, which I wanted to look professional. I visited a few bead shops and craft stores before finding the perfect findings: metallic cones to hide the knots that held the cords together, fold-over cord ends to crimp the ribbon ends and keep them from fraying, and a magnetic clasp.

Findings used for the necklace closure

Once I was satisfied with the finishing of the necklace, I wrote the instructions into a pattern.

I also made this second necklace to test the pattern:

A second necklace, made from gold ribbon

Now I have two to donate to an upcoming silent auction. I wonder how much they will raise?

If you make one of these necklaces, please let me know. I’d love to see photos!


Necklace with Pink Felted BeadsMy friend Liz recently gave me a gorgeous necklace, handmade in Italy from felted wool balls and metallic beads and links. I was thrilled to have a new necklace, but I have to admit that I was equally thrilled to figure out how to make my own version of it!

After just a few minutes of searching on the web, I found two basic approaches to making felted beads. One way is “needle felting” where you take a sharp barb, or needle, and peck at your roving as you form a ball. The other is “wet felting” where you vigorously roll the roving into a ball under hot water. I decided to try a combination approach, where you needle felt it first and then finish it by wet felting. (Many thanks to Craftevolution for posting instructions for making needle felted beads on her blog.)

In total, I made five felted beads and attached them to some sculpted wire beads that I purchased at a craft store.

My felted beads

To attach the felted beads, I strung a short length of 26 gauge wire through the middle of each one and then used a crimping bead to close the ends into a loops. I then used a jump ring to connect the loop of one felted bead to the purchased wire bead.

Close up of a felted bead

While I will most likely give this necklace to someone special, I think it could be a fantastic silent auction item. Perhaps I will need to make another one!