Have you ever been drinking a lovely bottle of red wine and even though it is so wonderful and the cheese and crackers are the perfect pairing for that particular wine, you get slightly annoyed by the drips making their way down the bottle to your wood table, causing just a slight ripple in your otherwise perfect evening? So maybe this happens to me more than it should. I have used various techniques to prevent the drip, but nothing particularly wonderful.
Bear with me here, things are about to go off on a tangent, but I will eventually get back to the point….I don’t think I’ve mentioned here before that my son started at Newcastle University, England back in September. I accompanied him to school to make sure we got all his documents in order, registered appropriately, and got him settled into his dorm. And because I was in England unsupervised, I booked a flight down to the opposite end of the country to visit Lesley for a few days. Caroline took a train in from her part of the country and we had a really fun girls’ weekend in a gorgeous part of the country. We walked the beach at Bournemouth and dreamt of using one of the beach huts for a studio space, picked up rocks on another part of the beach that was rocky, and stopped to have tea and cakes at a restaurant located on the beach.
We spent the next day at Corfe Castle and its village, walked along another beach and had more treats at a beachside restaurant. In the evenings, after we had eaten a full English dinner at an amazing restaurant, we’d head back to Lesley’s place and drink a bottle or two of wine. At one point Lesley had created a wine drip collar out of a paper towel (I believe) and I thought it was brilliant. She told me how someone…I think her dad(?) would do that. I was amazed.
Of course we also “talked shop” about Art Elements and politics-both British and American. It was a wonderful few days and I can hardly wait to go back. I’m pretty sure my son will need an escort every year he returns in the fall….right?
Anyway, fast forward a month or so. Every year for the last three or four years, the team has had a Secret Santa exchange. The most important and exciting component of the SS exchange is the handmade portion. The talents of our team just in creating gifts for each other would be enough eye candy to last a while. This year I got to be Santa to Caroline. I did a LOT of brainstorming before actually making a plan. I wanted to do a wine theme and I remembered the wine bottle drip paper towel. Surely someone makes something like that, right? So I googled and googled. And went to etsy and pinterest. When I realized all available options to purchase were kind of lame, I remembered I can knit (hello!) so I went to Ravelry to look for a pattern. Nothing. Then I thought to myself…”how hard can it be???”
And that’s when I came up with the plan to knit, then felt (fulling is actually the correct term, but I don’t like that word because it sounds gross.) something to fit around the neck of a wine bottle a similar color to red wine. But why stop there? I also added needle felting (which I had never done before) representative of the ocean, a rock I picked up from our beach walk to do a peyote bezel, plus extra beads for sparkly interest.
When I finished it, I thought this would make a great tutorial for the blog! Of course I didn’t take a single photo of the process. So I created another one, which will be gifted to my mom when it’s finished.
Row 1: co 1 stitch
Row 2: k 1
RS-Row 3: kfb
WS-Row 4: k
Row 5: kfb, k remaining stitches in row
**attach a removable stitch marker on this side to cue when to do an increase**
Row 6: k
Repeat rows 5 and 6 until you have 8 or 9 stitches on your needle
Knit next 10 rows in plain garter stitch, last row knitted should be a WS row.
Begin decreases on RS row.
Repeat the last two rows until there is 1 stitch left. Break yarn, pull end through the loop. Weave ends in one or two stitches and leave long. We will trim them after the fabric is felted. Don’t forget to remove the stitch marker.
Felting the wine bottle collar
Instructions for felting (fulling) knitted fabrics:
At first the fabric weave will seem to loosen up and grow. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED! Continue the manual agitation and hot water. Pretty soon it should start to tighten up and shrink down. This is what it looked like when I decided it was felted enough. It took about 15 minutes to get to this stage.
*Quick note-it is possible to do this in the washing machine. However, for a piece this small it seems like overkill to me. However, if you prefer to do it that way, here are some good instructions.)
I have to hang mine from a magnet clip on the fridge where the cat can’t reach it because I know from previous experience that she would steal it. I thought I was going to have to make a second one for Caroline when I couldn’t find it after laying it out to dry.
As you can see in the photo below, compared to the knitted and unfelted piece sitting on the same book earlier in the tutorial, it has shrunk significantly.
So now comes the fun part…embellishing. You can do anything you want. If you want to leave it plain, by all means, leave it plain. However, I decided to needle felt on mine because I’ve never done it before, so why not?
So in the example I made for this tutorial, I plan to add this stone cabochon (no idea what kind of stone that is). My maternal grandfather did lapidary for a hobby, and this is one of the cabs he cut and polished. My mom only kept a small selection of his work after he died, and she gave me several of them. So I’m going to give this back to her.
Keeping the color of the stone in mind, I selected wool roving I purchased at Michael’s craft store in 3 browns ranging from light tan to dark brown.
*This is literally my second needle felting project EVER. I bought all my supplies at local craft shops and cannot recommend specific tools with any knowledge or authority.
Instructions for needle felting onto wine bottle drip collar:
Below is my final composition. Remember, you can needle felt any kind of design you want onto it. Want to do dots or some other graphic? A ladybug? Go for it!
Once you’ve finished needle felting, you have to make the collar fit to a wine bottle. How you attach the flaps is going to depend on what type of embellishments you’re going to use. There are no limits! You can use an art button, beads, charms, sequins, seed beads, ribbons, etc. Or nothing. It’s up to you!
Because I am going to glue the cabochon onto the collar then bead a bezel around it, I just used fireline to tack the flaps closed in the manner I wanted them because the cab will cover it anyway. Then when I bezel, I will go through both layers to make sure it’s extra sturdy.
Hopefully this tutorial made sense and you give it a try. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask! And if you try this, PLEASE show us how it came out.