This blog is a place to archive project processes and techniques from Painted Threads with descriptions of how work was produced. I am including comments that contain questions and answers pertaining to the work from many of the original blog posts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Felted Wool Eggs



Well over the weekend I took the plunge and created a Pinterest account since so many of my friends are on there and see what I've been missing.

While I was poking around I saw quite a few pretty dyed eggs and although this seems a little early, I thought it might be fun to make some felted eggs.


After all they aren't going to spoil between now and Easter :-)

It might be fun to also add some decorative stitching with embroidery floss and adding some cut out wool felt shapes.

If you'd like to make some too, you can follow this tutorial, just roll your yarn balls into oval egg shapes.


This is a great way to use up leftover wool yarn. Rolling golf ball size yarn balls as a base for the ball. Wind yarn into oblong shapes to get a berry shaped ball. I usually use wool yarn for the center because I know it will felt better, but in a pinch I have used other yarns too. My favorite place to order roving is from Outback Fibers, the colors are gorgeous and the prices are very reasonable.Unwind a length of roving, while holding it in one hand, grasp the end portion with the other hand and gently pull off "tufts" roughly 5-6 inches in length. Spread the fibers into a thin flat layer with all the strands going in one direction. Pull off another tuft of roving and layer it on top of the first at a 90 degree angle. Repeat this process several more times, criss-crossing 4-6 thin layers.
When lifting the blanket of roving there should not be thin spots or holes. Changing the colors of yarn in the layers will create a heathered multicolored wool ball.

Wrap the roving blanket you have created around a yarn ball, making sure there is full coverage of fluffy roving with no bare or thin spots.

Close the roving covered yarn ball in your hand and bring it to the foot of a knee hi panty hose. (buy cheap ones at the dollar store, or use those ancient ones in the back of your hosiery drawer that you never wear anymore) Gently remove your hand from around the ball pulling the hose tightly around the roving ball then tie a small piece of yarn to secure the ball in place.

When all the balls have been wrapped in the hose, place them in the washing machine, set the water to lowest level and hottest setting. Add a small amount of detergent, about a tablespoon, the exact measurement is not crucial but soap is important in the felting process. I usually run it on a long cycle, the more agitation the better the felting. Good old fashion top loading washers have the most success with felting.

When you take the chain of balls out of the machine, you will see little fibers have come though the mesh of the hose. Snip the tied yarn between the balls, gently peel away the hose removing the ball and roll the ball in your hands to smooth the fibers.

Click here to watch a video tutorial to make felted pumpkins which start with a basic felted ball.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Cream Heart Cakes




Zucchini Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda           
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate baking chips
1 cup salad oil
4 large eggs

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in zucchini, and chocolate chips. In a small bowl, beat oil to mix with eggs; add to dry mixture and stir to moisten well.
Line two large jelly roll pans with parchment paper, crease corners to fit and spread half the batter in each pan. Bake in a 325° oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.
While cake is cooling make peppermint cream filling.

Peppermint Cream
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1  1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
red food coloring

Cream the butter with a mixer on medium speed until soft about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk, the flour, and the vanilla extract, and whisk until there are no lumps. Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup milk, whisking constantly, and cook until the mixture comes to a low boil. Then reduce the heat to low and keep whisking for a few more minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat, but keep stirring and cool to room temperature. If necessary, place the pan over a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and allow the mixture to cool.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add peppermint to combine.


After cake has cooled use a heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out cake hearts and place on a clean piece of parchment. One pan had thicker hearts so I made those the bottoms and the thinner hearts the tops.

Place peppermint cream in a large ziplock bag, snip corner and squeeze out cream onto half the hearts and place a second heart on top.


Now you could stop here or you could keep going by cutting some heart stencils and and dusting the hearts with powdered sugar.

 What can I say, Indigo and I were doing this together, lol
Indigo perfected the dusting process by finding if you brush the remaining powder sugar off the stencil before lifting it you get a cleaner design.



Here's some of the stencils we made






 Enjoy!


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