Tuesday, January 22, 2008

myriads of mushrooms

This weekend I knit and felted some mushrooms based on the free patterns designed by Kathryn Ivy. I used Patons Classic Wool, the yarn that the patterns were written for, because it was on sale at JoAnn fabrics! For the mushrooms on the right, I knit the large and small rounded caps with the tall and medium stems. After felting, I cut a notch in the cap of the large mushroom. For all the mushrooms, I affixed the cap to the stem using glue.

The red & white mushroom was also knitted as written in the pattern. I made the large flat cap and the medium stem. I needle-felted the white spots on the caps after felting using my scrap pieces of the white wool yarn. It took a while to figure out how to needle-felt a nice crisp dot (check out the spots on the red & white mushroom on the Kathryn Ivy website...they're amazing!), but eventually I came up with a method that worked for me. I just used a length of yarn, felted the end to the cap, then folded the yarn and felted again in the same spot. I repeated this folding once or twice more to create a more three-dimensional and saturated spot of white.

I really wanted to make morel mushrooms, because they are my favorite mushrooms to eat! I used the large and small bell-shaped cap patterns, and for the larger of the morels I made a stem that was the width of the medium stem, but the height of the tall stem. For the small mushroom, I made a stem that was the height of the medium stem, but I decreased the width by 3 stitches. Then I needle-felted patterns on the caps to mimic the folds and crevices on a real morel cap. I'm not sure I got the colors right, maybe the contrast between the caps and the needle-felted folds should have been less extreme, but I guess if you use your imagination they kind of look like morels!

These last mushrooms are my favorites. I decreased the diameter of the large flat cap to make smaller flat caps. I think the mushroom on the left has a diameter of 48 stitches, and the one on the right is 36 stitches. I also made the stems much narrower (9 and 6 stitches around) but about as tall as the tall stem. Obviously stems this narrow (even felted ones) do not provide much support, so I knew the mushrooms would not stand up on their own. Adam made me this cool base for these mushrooms. He got a piece of wood...this piece happens to have the bark attached, and drilled two small holes in the wood block. Then he put lengths of wire (from a clothes hanger) into the holes and trimmed them to the correct height. We slipped the mushrooms onto the wires, and bent the wires into a pleasing mushroom configuration. I glued a piece of felt to the bottom of the wood to protect the surface where we placed these mushrooms.

These patterns are really great, and there are lots of great ways to subtly change the patterns to make nearly any kind of mushroom imaginable! I spent a lot of time looking through my mushroom field guide, trying to find ideas for different mushrooms to make. This was a really fun project!


Grace said...

Your mushrooms are awesome! I am so glad that you liked the patterns. I think that the last mushrooms you made are my favorite too. They look really realistic, plus that base is just too sweet!

emily said...

I love your blog! Your photography is beautiful, and I LOVE those mushrooms!

Kim U said...

Those are too cute!

Madge said...

Your mushrooms are magical! hehe

ducky said...

Oh so cute! I love your modifications too --very inspiring!

Kristin L said...

I love your mushrooms!