Fridays with Franklin: Hotter, Wetter, Bigger

fwf-logo-columnsizeFor an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this series, click here.

Those two weird little scraps of artfelt were encouraging, if less than beautiful.


One of the two test scraps. It’s a start.

You ought never to allow wobbly first attempts at anything discourage you from doing more. The first question to ask is, “Did I enjoy myself? Or, at least, do I think with practice I might enjoy myself?”

If the answer is yes, the next question is, “What shall I do now?”

I already had a goal, of course, which was to felt some yardage to reupholster this little footstool.


Taking it apart wasn’t difficult. The outer fabric was tacked down, and not very elegantly.


Beneath that was what may have been the original fabric–a funereal floral brocade in ratty shape, smelling distinctly of nicotine. It’s probably haunted.


Beneath that, happily, was the padding–in fine condition, and not smelling of anything nasty. I let it air outdoors for a few hours, which my grandmother always recommended for any textile that had been covered or boxed up for a long time.


While that was going on, I considered the new fabric. What should it look like? This stool will be next to my knitting chair in the living room. Here are some vignettes of the décor as it is.

As you can see, my tastes run to the slick, the radical, the avant garde.

Ha ha ha. No. My house looks like it was decorated by someone’s prissy-yet-mildly-adventurous Great-Great-Great-Aunt Tillie, who had the largest collection of doilies in the tri-county area.

Why not try to felt a design reminiscent of those arabesques and curlicues and fantastic flowers in the carpet?

So I sketched (roughly) something of the sort on the artfelt paper. Nobody told me a I couldn’t, so I did. If you had a light box, or even just window, you could trace designs on the paper.

The dimensions of the artfelt paper, by the way, were based on the dimensions of the original upholstery fabric–about 17 inches by 14 inches.

Based on the shrinkage I’d measured in my test swatches,  I added an additional two inches either way so the finished fabric would be large enough for the stool.

I wasn’t sure exactly how to build the design, so I decided to start by outlining the motif with the background color. This is the way I was taught to hook rugs. Rug hooking and felting are not the same thing at all, but it seemed like a logical place to start.

I jabbed my fingertip once with that felting needle. I shall try very hard never to do it again.

That went fine, so I got down to filling in the flowers (?) and leaves (?) and buds (?). I used the sketch as a rough guide, while also allowing the wool to go where it wanted to.


Please don’t go nuts trying to figure out the botanical name of this plant, because it’s an utter fantasy.



In case you’re wondering, this didn’t take long at all. I allowed myself breaks, and left the house to do errands and walk Rosamund, and still it was finished in an easy afternoon.


At this point, I wobbled. I was pleased with bits of it. The curves came out better than I’d expected. I liked the colors. It even resembled, somewhat, a flower.

But it was so furry. Unpleasantly so. Like someone had done terrible things to a beloved pet with hair dye.

I soaked it, wrapped it, and popped it into the dryer for thirty minutes (see the previous installment for more detail on the artfelt process).

Then I forgot about it.

It would have been sensible to put it into one of the dryer’s timed settings, so that the dryer would buzz after, say, the first fifteen minutes. Then I could unroll it and check the progress.

No. No, I didn’t do that. For reasons I cannot begin to explain (that will be the title of both my autobiography and the miniseries based upon it) I put the dryer on a setting that just keeps on chugging until you tell it to stop.

That’s not a great idea when you have, as I do, the persistence of memory of a goldfish.

So, one hour and twenty minutes later…


I cannot say I was displeased. In fact, I was so pleased I did a dance. I am beginning to understand why so many people love felting.


I try like the dickens not to use the word “magic,” as we fibery types fling it around way too much. But this change in the material did feel–alchemical. The bizarre patch of wet fuzz had become rather a pretty piece of fabric, looking somewhat like watercolor. And all I had done was spin it in the tumble dryer.

It was also two inches two short in both directions to cover the frigging footstool.

On the one hand, this is immensely frustrating.

On the other hand, I get to do some more artfelt.  I’ll show it to you next time we meet. See you in two weeks!

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Makers’ Mercantile Felter’s Wool Roving (50g hanks)
Bryson Felting Needle #38 gauge, 3 1/2 inch
artfelt Paper
artfelt Tackboard

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site ( or his Facebook page.

Waffler Hat Pattern


First things first: Get the free pattern HERE!

Next: Gather your materials in the shop. (Use code: VICKIE10 at checkout for 10% off!)

One hank Super-Quick Alpaca in the color of your choice HERE

Size U.S. 36 (20mm) addi® needles HERE

Large eye tapestry needle

Happy Making!




Vickie Howell is the Host/Executive Producer of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell. Season one debuts on YouTube on October 5, 2017. For more information on Vickie and the rest of her projects follow @vickiehowell and @theknitshow on social media.

End of Summer Scarf

End of Summer Scarf1

Celebrate the end of summer with this sweet scarf! Once the crochet fun is done, there’s an added element of shibori-inspired circles made using our circular tape measure as a guide.

First things first: Get the free pattern HERE!

Next: Gather your materials in the shop. (Use code: VICKIE10 at checkout for 10% off!)

One ball Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Cotton (100% cotton; 162 yds/100 gr), in color: #2338

Size U.S. G/4.5 mm Addi Premium Olive Wood Hook

Tapestry needle

Round measuring tape (template for optional Shibori detailing)


Happy Making!



About Vickie Howell

Vickie Howell is the Host/Executive Producer of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell. Season one debuts on YouTube on October 5, 2017. For more information on Vickie and the rest of her projects follow @vickiehowell and @theknitshow on social media.

Cro-Cork Bag Pattern

Vickie Howell is back again with an gorgeous and fun to make bag using CoBaSi plus; a wool-free, durable yarn, and fabric made with cork! Not only is cork a renewable resource, it’s also water and stain-resistant, making it an ideal base for this carry-all-tote! Gather your materials by visiting our online shop and make one or two of your very own!

Cro-Cork Bag
by Vickie Howell for Makers’ Mercantile


FINISHED SIZE | 12”/33 cm Wide x 11 ½”/29 cm Tall — excluding handles


ch = chain
dc = double crochet
hdc = half-double crochet
rnd(s) = round(s)
RS = right side(s)
sl st = slip stitch
st = stitch
WS = wrong side(s)


Cork Bag Bottom:

  • Cut 13” x 14”/35.5 cm x 35.5 cm piece of cork fabric.
  • Fold piece in half with WS together with longer side of fabric at top, machine sew side seams using a 1/2”/1.25 cm seam allowance.
  • Create the “box” bottom, by centering side seams with the bottom center fold. Pinch it together and lay it on your work surface. Use a ruler and measure up 2”/5 cm from the point of the fabric and draw a line. Machine sew along line. Repeat for opposite side. Turn bag bottom RS out.

 Crochet Bag Top:

  • Using measuring tape and pen, mark dots every 1/4”/.5 cm down from top edge, and 1/4”/.5 cm around perimeter.
  • Using sharp tapestry needle, yarn, and using dots as a guide, create a Blanket Stitch (see video) border around top edge.
  • Crochet bag top as follows:

Join yarn at a loop at side edge created by Blanket stitch.

Rnd 1: Ch 2, hdc in next Blanket Stitch and every st around; join rnd with a sl st at the top of beginning ch. Turn.

Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in next st and every st around; join rnd with a sl st at the top of beginning ch. Turn.

Rnd 3: Ch 2, hdc in next st and every st around; join rnd with a sl st at the top of beginning ch. Turn.

Repeat Rnds 2-3 until piece measures 6”/15 cm from cork fabric edge.

Repeat Rnd 3, once more.

Fasten off.

Make Strap Tabs:

Measure 2 1/2”/6.5 cm in from side edge, join yarn.

Rnds 1-3: Ch 2, 4 hdc. Turn.
Fasten off, leaving long tail for seaming.
Repeat process on opposite end of same side, then twice on opposite side of bag. (Four total tabs.)

Straps (Make 2):

  • Cut 4, 1 1/4”/3 cm x 27”/68.5 cm pieces of cork fabric.
  • With WS together, top stitch two pieces of cork together. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces.


  • Using yarn tail and needle, fold Strap Tab over O-ring and seam down.
  • Fold one end of one strap around O-ring, machine sew in place.
  • Repeat last two steps for remaining 3 Strap Tabs.

 Weave in ends.


Happy Making!

Artfelt Masterpieces created by Artists at Wyoming Middle School!

Recently, an art teacher from Wyoming Middle School, Ms. Williamson, reached out to us to show what her creative and talented art students did this year, using Artfelt®! These beautiful masterpieces were hand made students in Grades 7 and 8!

In no particular order, look at what they’ve done!:

Wyoming Middle School Artfelt, Andreana, Grade 8

Andreana, Grade 8


Wyoming Middle School Artfelt, Margaret, Grade 7

Margaret, Grade 7


Wyoming Middle School Artfelt, Colin, Grade 8Colin, Grade 8


Wyoming Middle School Artfelt, Skya, Grade 8Skya, Grade 8


We are inspired, and we hope that you are, too! Thank you to Ms. Williamson and her students for sharing their work, we are truly amazed. Have a fabulous summer!


Supplies used in this post:

Want to try your hand at Artfelt? Browse and buy Artfelt supplies, here.

Makers’ with Vickie – How to Back Knit & Crochet Button Bands with Ribbon!

Below is the pattern that she is going over, and links to all supplies are included below! Happy Making!

Corner to Corner Cushion

by Vickie Howell


HiKoo Zumie (30% wool/50% acrylic/20% nylon; 110 yds), in colors: (A) 2 Hanks Aqua Dolce, and (B) 1 Hank Laurel

Size 10mm Addi Plastic Crochet Hook —or size needed to obtain gauge

Approx. 1/2 yd. of Wide Ribbon. Shown in: Tula Pink Chipmunk on Turquoise.

4, 28mm Buttons

Tapestry Needle

Sewing Needle and Coordinating Thread

14”/35.5 cm Pillow Form

Optional: Craft Knife, Fabric Glue


14”/35.5 xm square


14” x  34”/35cm x 86 cm


8 dcs x 3 rows = 4”/10 cm


For this project you’ll be using the Corner to Corner (c2c) method as follows: begin with a block of dcs (double crochet stitches), adding a block every row to increase, work as rectangle by increasing on one side/decreasing on the next, then reversing the process to decrease. To learn how to c2c crochet, go here: (

With A, ch 6.

Increase section:

Row 1: Dc in 4th (counts as dc) ch from hook, and in next two chs. Turn. –1 block (4 dcs)

Row 2: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook (counts as dc), and in next two chs, sk 3 dcs, sl st in space between 3rd and 4th dc, ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same space as ch 3. Turn. — 2 blocks

Row 3: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook (counts as dc), and in next two chs, *sk 3 dcs, sl st in space between 3rd and 4th dc, ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same space as ch 3; rep from * to end. Turn. — 3 blocks

Repeat Row 3 until what will be your bottom/shorter edge measures 14”/35.5 cm (or desired cushion width.)

Cut A; Join B.


From here, you need to create length without width. To do so, you’ll continue as established ONLY increasing on one side, while at the same time decreasing on the OPPOSITE side of the increase edge.

With B,

Row 1: Ch 6, dc in 4th ch from hook (counts as dc), and in next two chs, *sk 3 dcs, sl st in space between 3rd and 4th dc, ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same space as ch 3; rep from * to last block, sl st in space between 3rd and 4th dc. Turn.

Row 2: Sl st in first 3 dcs, sl st in space between 3rd and 4th dc (first block decreased), ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same space as ch 3; rep from * to end. Turn.

Join A, cut B.

Work 5 more rectangle rows, or until piece measures 34”/86 cm on longest side and from bottom edge.

Decrease section:

Row 1: Sl st in first 3 dcs, sl st in space between 3rd and 4th dc (first block decreased), ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same space as ch 3; rep from * to end. Turn.

Repeat Row 1 until 1 block remains. Fasten off.



This piece is assembled, envelope style. Fold piece about 2/3 of the way up, and seam sides using tapestry needle and yarn.

Fold remaining top flap down and seam shut, leaving about 3”/7.5 cm of flap unsewn.


Using needle and thread, sew on buttons to correspond with space between dc post on four, of the horizontal dc blocks.

Ribbon Button Band:

  • Cut ribbon to width of flap with extra for side hems.
  • Using a pen, mark back of ribbon for size and spacing of buttons.
  • With a craft knife or scissors, cut button slits.
  • Whip stitch around OR use fabric glue to prevent slits from unraveling.
  • Hand-sew ribbon to underside of flap, taking care to line up slits to correspond with buttons.

Insert pillow, button up, and love your new cushion!


HiKoo Zumie:

Size 10mm Addi Plastic Crochet Hook


Our Full Ribbon Selection

Screenshot 2017-06-09 10.16.44.png

View this Ribbon from Tula Pink!

Our Buttons

Screenshot 2017-06-09 10.21.32.png

Vickie Howell is a knitting & crochet ambassador, author, and the Host/Executive Producer of the upcoming, The Knit Show with Vickie Howell (October ’17). Stay in touch by following @vickiehowell

Makers’ with Vickie – Holey Scarves!

Vickie promo pic.png

For Our Needle Artists

This month on Makers’ with Vickie our friend, Vickie Howell gives an “Artfelt®” tutorial on how to make a wearable art piece using our hugely popular, Holey Scarf kit.

Using simple, easy-to-follow steps you’re just a draft, tack, and dryer cycle away from creating a head-turning accessory — and in just a few hours! You’ll be giddy over how how the saturated colors of the gorgeous roving mix and meld as you lay out pieces and then begin the felting process — it’s like painting with fiber, but without the requirement of being artistically inclined. Here’s the scoop!


Get the Supplies

holeyscarf-group reduced white space

Artfelt Holey Scarf Kit, which includes everything you need to make this project:

  • Artfelt Needles
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Artfelt Roving
  • Instructions.

For Our Knitters

edition 3 holey scarf 02

(Shown: Edition 3 #2296)

Does the thought of setting down your knitting needles to create a felted art piece make you feel like something’s missing — like perhaps, there’s a crafty hole that needs to be filled? No worries, we’ve got you. You can still join in on the negative space fun with our knitted Holey Scarves Pattern (link below)!


Get the Supplies


Lace-weight Version:

Holey Scarf Pattern (In Skacel Magazine Vol 10 2017) Free here.

1 Ball of Schoppel-Wolle Laceball 100 or Lace Ball

Size US 2 Addi Rockets, circular needle (any length)

Note: Straight needles will also work for this project.


Sport-weight Version:


Holey Scarf Pattern (In Skacel Magazine Vol 10 2017) Free here.

3 Balls Schoppel-Wolle Edition 3

Size US 6 (4.5mm) Addi Turbo circular needle (any length)

Note: Straight needles or other types will also work for this project.

We hope to see you back for more Makers’ with Vickie on the first Friday of every month. Next up: How to back knit or crochet button bands with ribbon, using hand-sewn, machine-sewn, and fabric glue methods! Tune in June 2nd at 10:30amPT to !

Vickie Howell is a knitting & crochet ambassador, author, and the Host/Executive Producer of the upcoming, The Knit Show with Vickie Howell (October ’17). Stay in touch by following @vickiehowell

Vickie Howell Demystifies the Herringbone Stitch!

Vickie Howell Demystifies the Herringbone Stitch!

Intricate to the eye, but easy to master after watching Vickie’s LIVE Facebook Feed Show.

Knitters love the look of this textured stitch! It has the complexity of a woven fabric and is perfect for accessories or home furnishings, such as pillows and throws.

Vickie walks you through the steps of to make this lovely stitch in the round – and we promise, there is nothing crazy. All you’ll need to know is how to knit, purl and slip stitches; but after watching the video, you will be on your way to knitting herringbone cowls and hats!

In this video, Vickie uses two of our Makers’ Mercantile® Exclusive Yarns Cashmere Dream, and Luv & Lee!

Cashmere Dream is a customer favorite for both its lightweight luxuriousness and its incredible softness. Available in a single, versatile cream color, this limited edition yarn is nearly sold out, so this may be its last sighting! Order before its gone! *If you love the blue Cashmere Dream Cowl in the video, it was dyed with the Botanical Colors Indigo Dye kit.

300px Cashmere Dream set


The other featured yarn, Luv & Lee, is a 100% extra fine Merino Wool, single ply. This yarn comes in 26 solid and variegated colors! Something for everyone!

Luv & Lee Collage

If you are looking for the perfect one-ball project to try the Herringbone stitch, the Kenzing-Tam(shown in the video in navy blue) is perfect! This pattern uses HiKoo Kenzington, which is incredibly warm, and is the perfect aran weight for knitting quick hats and mittens. This hat pattern (among many others), is in the Skacel Minilog by Skacel which is FREE with your purchase of Kenzington!


Add the perfect pom to complete your look – made by LOVaFUR a mother and daughter owned company that hand makes each vegan pom at their factory in Austria.

We also have the perfect circular addi® needles, in stock in every size and length for all your knitting needs!

Our recommendations for the above projects:

Cashmere Dream addi® Turbo Circular Needles 24″ US 17

Luv & Lee addi® Rocket Circular Needles 16″ size US 11

Kenzington addi® Rocket Circular Needles 16″ size US 11


We hope to see you back for another Makers’ with Vickie on April 28th at 10:30 PT. Vickie will be sharing how to do Intarsia in Garter Stitch and create an adorable tooth fairy pillow.

Ask Me Monday Tutorial by Vickie Howell – addi Express Kingsize with Free Yarn!

We love blazing through quick gifts and charity projects using the addi Express King Size Knitting Machine, and here Vickie Howell gives a quick demo on the machines! Buy from Makers’ Mercantile and get $80 worth of amazingly plush Merino Yarn that we have selected as the perfect yarn for the machine!

Ask Me Monday Tutorial by Vickie Howell – addiQuick Felting Tool and Free Roving!

I just LOVE what she did with the cookie cutters, and I want to go home and try to make some gingerbread men for Christmas! A garland of gingerbread men, christmas trees, and candy-canes! Oooh, maybe I will felt a flower onto the Zumie Gloves from the skacel Minilog! So much potential, and just enough time 🙂

Thank you for the awesome demo, Vickie! We’re excited to be sending out these addiQuicks and seeing what you all come up with with your big bag of free wool!