Oh, how I do love felt. It's so warm and beautiful and colorful and fun. I especially love it when I can make it out of sweaters that someone has already thrown into the washing machine, probably on accident, and donated to Goodwill. I just want to extend a big thank you to those unlucky peeps, and to my husband, Andy Paulson, who apparently invented going to Goodwill, as he informed me this weekend as we made our way around Puddletown to various locations. (In case you didn't know, as I really didn't, who invented the art of going to Goodwill, it was he, so don't go thinking you might have been the first, or even possibly that someone else was the first, because you weren't, nor were they, it was Andy.) Anyway, there are not many things better than pulling a big huge fluffy load of wool out of the dryer on purpose. Hence were born these stockings, which cheer me so.
Thank you (and here I utterly forgo all sarcasm) to everyone for your incredibly sweet comments on the posts below. I am moved and humbled to read them, and your further insights into the topics are fascinating, funny, encouraging, and so valuable to me -- thank you. As promised, I have some answers to some of the questions people asked in comments that I thought I'd post here, honestly not knowing what the proper etiquette would be, so I hope this is okay. . . .
About the turquoise felt bag: It's one of my first, actually. It's crocheted then felted from either Cascade 220 or NatureSpun -- I can't remember -- worsted weight, and I was inspired by a pattern in the Fall/Winter 2005 issue of Family Circle Easy Crochet. As with so much that I make, I didn't use the pattern exactly. And I used half-double crochet, which I think goes (grows) faster than single, and I like the more textured result. I actually prefer crocheted/felted items better than knitted/felted. I like seeing the original stitches a bit, and crocheting results in a thicker finished thing, which I like too. But anyway, I'm sure this issue is still out there and you'll probably have better results if you pick it up and use their pattern than if I try to remember mine, which pretty much results in the same shape. A sack is a sack, after all. I've done a few others that live in the shop only, made out of stripes generated by the Random Stripe Generator, at right. This web site is absolutely addictive if you like stripes. If you haven't tried this thing, I urge you to play around with it a bit, especially if you're trying to use up your stash.
About the sour cream apple pie recipe: It's the best, most beautiful, and yummiest pie ever, but that's just my opinion. A few months ago, in an effort to find a way of automating our shopping list and easing our problems actually making dinner instead of, say, popcorn, I found a recipe-management web site called BigOven.com. I can't say this is the best one by any means because I really have no idea, but I think it's quite cool. They have a library of 140,000 recipes or something that you can access and share, and you can store as many of your own personal recipes as you want -- providing you have the energy to retype them (which I am in the process of doing. Even though they have it set up so that you just type the first few letters of an ingredient and it fills the rest it for you, this still takes quite a while, and it has the maddening habit of capitalizing random words, which drives me crazy, but I let it go, sigh). The reason this is all worth it, though, is the shopping list function: You add recipes to your "calendar" and it automatically generates a shopping list that is cumulative and organized by grocery aisle. Nice. You have to buy the software -- I can't remember how much it was, maybe $30, but I think as a member I can send you some kind of coupon for friends, so let me know if you want to try it. I originally got the recipe for this pie from my chef-friend Kristin via a 1992 issue of Gourmet, but I just use packaged pie dough -- like the Pillsbury kind. Don't try to stuff it into a frozen pie shell because it will overflow and start a little fire in your oven, like it did in mine Thanksgiving of '96, and give your pie a barbecued taste, which is not what you're going for with this creamy delight. (If you're going for flashing lights, sirens, and four enormous firemen with axes and boots tromping through your studio apartment where you are cooking a surprise dinner for your boyfriend who had to work on Thanksgiving and was feeling a little homesick, this being Missoula and home being Chicago, then use the frozen shell. The performance will leave your nerves so jangled that you'll completely lose your appetite, and wind up getting up, starving, at 5 a.m. the next morning to enjoy a giant and private piece of pie while sitting on the sofa while said boyfriend sleeps [he having missed all the nerve-jangling action and proceeding blissfully to eat himself into a nice tryptophan-induced 10-hour slumber], thinking to yourself, "Hmmm . . . this tastes like . . . hamburgers.")
I digress. What I wanted to say today was really only this: I have a TON of wool felt, on the bolt, from National Nonwovens, in just about every color. I bought it several years ago and have since had to admit that I won't use it all in a thousand lifetimes, and I'd like to share it*. I have scraps and I have yardage, and if you need some (and, as above, who doesn't?) please let me know. I'll bung some in a box and ship it off to you and then you can figure out what to do with it. You'll actually be doing me a favor, I swear, since I just bought a few scrap bags from the Denyse Schmidt web site and I'm going to have my hands full with that, any minute now.
*Note added later: I'm not selling it -- I'm just going to give mixed pieces of it away (for a little while, at least) so we don't have to worry about colors, how much, etc. I'll just surprise you. It's an early Christmas present! Just leave a comment and I'll email you when I get a sec.