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Hearts and Gates

Dear Ann,
As you can see from how I’ve redecorated the Found Objects, I’m quite taken with The Gates. I know you get the New York Times, but be sure to check out the video and the even more wonderful slide show here. I went Gates-walking on Saturday and Sunday, but today I looked into the Park and saw the orange cloth flopping dismally in the rain and wind. Even 23 miles of orange curtains look dreary in the rain.
I wonder if I’m just being carried away by the hype, but I don’t much care. The atmosphere in and around the Park is like a World’s Fair, people strolling, excited and curious to see what the fuss is all about. We don’t get nearly enough of that. Lookie here: on Saturday I got one of the samples of fabric the volunteers were handing out:
A swatch!
I keep reminding people (as their eyes glaze over) that in addition to everything else, the Gates are fiber art. (They are pleated. They are hemmed. They are cloth. I rest my case.) As I walked under them in the sunshine on Saturday, I kept thinking of Debbie New’s sheer, knitted labyrinth depicting the passage of conception and birth. Imagine: if the Gates were knitted! Send a letter to Christo; if he and Jeanne-Claude asked knitters to knit, we’d knit!
Felting: Adventures and Mis-
I’m still on my felting frenzy. It’s lasting longer this year. Under the influence of The Other Ann (our reader from Berkeley who is tragically blogless), the urge to felt has merged with a revival of passion for Kaffe Fassett’s Persian Poppies. The Persian Poppies, wow, they are amazing. And, as intarsia goes, easy as pie. You can memorize them. You can stripe ’em or not, stripe the background or not, change the color for the center or not, and they always look good. I’m thinking 2005 may be my Year of the Persian Poppy. There are so many ways you could do them, in so many yarns. Right now The Other Ann is doing them in Blue Heron chenille on a purple Magpie background. Gobsmacking. I wanted to see if the poppies would felt (more specifically, how they would look after felting), so I worked up a swatch the size of a placemat. I used scraps of Lamb’s Pride Bulky that were drifting around the living room (eco-homekeeping tip: don’t vacuum, just knit the fluff you find on the floor) , and felted it. The new KayCam doesn’t quite capture it, but I like it:
All this felting has meant the odd Felting Failure (and I do mean odd) here and there. Mis-felts. Irregulars. Seconds. I can’t bear to toss out something I spent a few hours knitting. So I cut it up into coasters and, in honor of the day, hearts.
People, you can cut felt, no problem. See how the cut edge looks?
To keep the edge intact forever, you could run a whipstitch or blanket stitch around the edge, but hey, they’re coasters. When they start to fray, someday, I’ll let them go back to the Earth. Surely by then I’ll have more Felting Freaks to cut up.
In other playful meanderings, I finally gave in to my craving for something made by Heidi Kenney at My Paper Crane:
This little painting, ‘Heart Hugs’, is shown actual size. Heidi made it on February 2. The heavy-lidded eyes of her subjects remind me of my Carrie, who probably was a silent movie actress in a prior life.
Bet you never figured me as a ‘Heart Hugs’ kinda gal.
Happy Valentine’s Day,



  1. I’m predicting that with that photo you have just started a (huge) new wave of felted Kaffe-design fill-in-the-blank(s). Very nice!
    (And I’m still hunting for ‘good colors’ to make up a buttonhole bag!)

  2. OK, the more you talk about The Gates, the more I want to hop on a plane, land on your doorstep and then I can stroll through Central Park looking at the genius that is Christo! I studied him in a design class last year and I’m so fascinated by his art. Dang! I’m so tempted! Hmmm…maybe I should look at tickets?!

  3. I saw this
    yesterday, and I read about your poppies today, am I crazy or is this kismet?

  4. love, love, love the heart coasters. Cutting felted knitting is so satisfying, I like to think of it as steeking for the scardy cats amongst us.. um, well, me anyway!

  5. Aha, now I know what to do when my beautiful sweaters come out the washing machine fitting only someone of pixie proportions.

  6. Elspeth: Well, I’m kind of disappointed to think that Kaffe got the Persian Poppy design from “Quantum dot nanocrystals deposited on a silicon substrate (200x)”. Your link (click on ‘small world contest’ in the left sidebar of Elspeth’s link)reminds me of those needlepoints of the galaxy.
    Sarah W: ‘Steeking for scaredy cats’—LOL—that’s it, exactly!
    xoxo Kay

  7. Eyes not in any way glazing over. The Gates project is exhilaratingly beautiful.
    Is there really such an animal as easy intarsia?
    And that tiny painting does have some of the beauty of your lovely Carrie, from the photos I have seen of her.
    Aara, with Finnish blood in her veins, but no buttonhole bag as yet.

  8. I have wanted to do something with Persian Poppies for effing ever. This is one knitting bandwagon I may actually hop on. But not felting.

  9. Now, I know that you “can” cut felted yarn, but for some reason, seeing your cut edges makes me feel more comfortable with it… so thanks!
    P.S. I also lurve Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work

  10. …..felted persian poppies = monet’s waterlilies…almost….puts me in a dreamy state….

  11. Heart hugs? Holy camoley, Kay, we’re going to see My Little Pony in here if we’re not careful. What has gotten into you?
    (You’re right about Carrie, though I see some Theda Bara in there, too.)
    Now. The poppies. I love ’em, I think they’re cool, and I have a question. Does felting them change the proportion of the shape of the poppies? Do they get less round, because of the felting? Just curious in the event I try to felt something representative, say, a Heart Hugs creature.
    Still sick not to be in New York for The Gates. Keep the pix coming, please.

  12. Hi Kay, Love the poppies, the dark outline and bright center is so nice. Love the gates photos, wish I could walk around and see them! What about some gates-orange poppies on a blue/grey background? Ann

  13. Ann (MD Ann): I cropped out of that picture some Experimental Poppies I made. I was afeerd the poppies would get too ‘flat’ after felting, so I fattened them up. But the Kaffe’s Original Poppies did not flatten out enough to do them any harm, and the Experimental Poppies came out looking like doughnuts. Another reason why the Manolo says: “The Kaffe, he is our Muse!”
    Ann (Tragically Blogless) HB: I like orange against slate blue. I’ve got plenty of orange around here, but it’s all cotton. And with the cotton, you get the Ends Issues that are not such a problem with the wool (go ahead and translate that out of Manolo and back into regular English). Must stock up on the wool. xoxo The Kay

  14. Ohhhhhh. The felted poppies
    Must Do A Bag with that…

  15. I’m with Angela …. felted poppies bag – yum!!!!
    BTW I’ve finally finished Shaded Diamonds – it’s lush too ! (will send piccies when DH rises from sick bed long enough to point a camera at me wearing it) DS was a bump when I started & he’s nearly 9 months old now.
    Also, Rowan 37 has hit my doormat! Yeay!! Some slightly dubious designs, some rather luverly – I’m concerned that I might be going slightly deranged as I actually want to knit the vest version of the cover item – Butterfly – a thing of cat-hair fluff-ness in Kidsilk Haze (remember Birch?) – the vest only takes 3 balls – it does, however have a 3 skein difficulty rating. Will the cathair survive a nearly-9month old trying to pull it? Also what shade? It’s shown in fairly beige-neutrals of KSH – I think I’m more inclined for the dramatic in-your-face-fluff if I do it.
    Your suggestions would be welcome

  16. My hearth skipped a beat at the felted Persian Poppies. They are fantastic, but I just can’t reconcile the work of intarsia (and the poppies are intarsia and there is not such thing as easy intarsia, just possibly less laborious than others)with deliberate felting. I clearly need some help with the felting issues.
    two questions:
    1) does felting eliminate the need of sewing in the ends?
    2) will the gates still be there in april?

  17. Hi. I love the buttonhole bags I am addicted I am refelting my 3rd one. I did one with 2 strands of cascade 220 worsted and size 13 needles it is too cute for words. I did the other one with one bulky and one worsted worked great as well. As far as cutting the felted works you could use Fray check on the edges to prevent any further fraying, just a thought. I love the dip idea, going to get some!
    Thanks for the great blog!


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