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Ironing wrinkles out of fleece fabric

Ironing wrinkles out of fleece fabric by Elizabeth RuffingI usually avoid buying any fleece that has creases or wrinkles, because those are difficult to remove, if they can be removed. Sometimes I mail order fleece, and, occasionally, it arrives creased, whether from being in storage, or being in box. I thought I would have to give these two yards of dark orange fleece to the cats, because it was so wrinkled.

I looked online for some help, but the suggestions I found didn’t work so well. Thinking I had nothing to lose by experimenting, I worked on the fleece with a higher temperature, and steam. Both can melt fleece, which is synthetic, and so, if anyone tries this, be sure to test first for the right temperature on a scrap you don’t need. This is pre-washed and air-dried, anti-pill fleece. I would suggest pre-washing the fleece to remove any sizing or chemicals. I wanted the fabric to be damp, not wet. I used an atomizer filled with water to dampen the surface. I let the water sink in. I rubbed the water with my hand into the surface, and smoothed the fabric as much as I could.

Ironing wrinkles out of fleece fabric by Elizabeth RuffingIt is necessary to use a press cloth to iron fleece. Direct contact from the iron will leave marks, or melt the fleece. I used a cotton washcloth, the one that came with my iron-cleaning kit. It is fairly thin. I put the nubbiest side facing the fleece and smoothed the washcloth over the fabric.

I set my iron on the cotton setting with heavy steam, and pressed on top of the washcloth, being careful to avoid directly touching the iron to the fleece. Be sure to test this out first, because too much heat can leave you with a melted area.

Ironing wrinkles out of fleece fabric by Elizabeth RuffingRemoving the wrinkles takes patience. I lifted the washcloth several times over each area, in between pressing, to rub the surface of the fleece in different directions, to coax the creases out. You can use the washcloth to rub the surface too. Whether you use your hand, or the washcloth to work on the surface, be careful. The steam combined with the damp fabric can make the area very hot.

Ironing wrinkles out of fleece fabric by Elizabeth RuffingThe whole process took a while, but with perseverance, almost all of the wrinkles disappeared. I was very glad this worked, because I have several fabrics I thought I would be unable to use. I haven’t yet tried this on the sharp creases that I find sometimes at the end of a bolt of fleece. I suspect those are permanent. And I have only tried this on the anti-pill fleece so far. The brushed fleece may flatten a little more, but I’ve had success pressing brushed fleece (the kind with the smoother surface) at lower temperatures before. I would be sure to test a piece first, if you plan to try it.

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Lots of knots, catnip knots for Alley Cats and Angels of NC

Catnip knots by Elizabeth RuffingThis morning, I bagged up the accumulation of catnip knots in my workroom for a local cat rescue, Alley Cats and Angels of NC. They’ll be heading to Peak Fest in Apex, NC tomorrow, and the knots will be going with them. They’ll have more catnip toys and purr pad cat mats available, if anyone is local to the Triangle area of NC and would like to go. All the proceeds go to their medical fund.

The catnip toys are also available online in Alley Cats and Angels’ Etsy Shop.

Catnip knots by Elizabeth RuffingI had no idea how many catnip knots I had. I rolled and cut some more yesterday, to use up the pile of fleece strips I had sitting next to me. The bag was looking rather large. I had some cello sleeves I had ordered in a size I wasn’t using, and the knots fit nicely inside. I put five in each pack, and ended up with sixty-five packs! I closed the top edges with some Scotch tape, to keep the catnip fresh and to keep the smell inside. They were getting pungent!

Catnip knots by Elizabeth RuffingI made a header to fit the bags, and printed pages of them on card stock. I cut them out, folded each in half, and taped them onto the cello sleeves with double-faced carpet tape. Luckily, I had picked up a small pair of nonstick Fiskars scissors at Michaels. Cutting carpet tape with regular scissors was very difficult. It is so sticky. Getting the paper backing off was a bit tricky too, but all in all, they turned out really well, I think.

Catnip knots by Elizabeth RuffingI still had a big recycled box of peanuts in the back seat of the car. My mom helped out and scooped the peanuts into a bag, while I finished packaging the knots. We filled the box with the knots, and off we went to drop them off at the rescue, on our way to run some errands. A pretty good day’s work.

Alley Cats and Angels at Peak Fest 2011Update: Here they are at Peak Fest.

Feral Cheryl, sock cat by Elizabeth Ruffing at Peak Fest 2011Feral Cheryl the sock kitten was on hand too, to demonstrate how to safely trap a feral cat. She’s been working hard at rescue workshops in our area.

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Catnip toys, catnip aliens?

Fleece catnip toys by Elizabeth RuffingI’m not sure exactly what they are or what they should be named, but they were pretty popular here today.

My cat playing with fleece catnip toys by Elizabeth RuffingSomeone was nuzzling them while I was tying to sew them closed, and tried to be good and wait, while I photographed them. When I said it was okay, he dove in.

My cat yawns as he is playing with fleece catnip toys by Elizabeth RuffingNot that playing doesn’t make him sleepy. It was a nice sunny day after all, perfect for napping.

Santana the Peeping Tom Cat shows up at my window to see what I am sewingI’ve been sewing more slugs and bunnies over the past couple of days too. Santana the Peeping Tom Cat surprised me, when I looked up from my machine. He must have wanted to know what I was making. I think he’s taking notes. He may even have a sewing machine at his house, where he is sewing up his own toys. I wonder what his would look like.

Santana the Peeping Tom Cat shows up at my window to see what I am sewing and looks around

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Toy riot

Fleece Hug Me! Slugs in progress and Hug Me Sock Kittens by Elizabeth RuffingThis is a glimpse into my workroom, showing how it has looked over the past few days. I’ve been in a whirl of fabric and thread and stuffing, surrounded by toys in all stages of completeness.

Fleece Hug Me! Slugs in progress and Hug Me Sock Kittens by Elizabeth RuffingAll my little sock kittens went off to new homes, all but one kitty angel that I will show you later.

Orange and Red Striped Hug Me Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI miss them and need to make some more. My Hug Me Toads are hopping off too. And, there has been an onslaught of slugs.

14 inch Fleece Hug Me! Slug by Elizabeth RuffingThis fourteen-inch slug is on his way to Australia. I have a big bunch more, in all shapes and sizes, that I’ll be working on this week, so they can be off before for Christmas.

Fleece Hug Me! Slug and hang tags in progress by Elizabeth RuffingPiles of personalized hang tags are accumulating, and more toys keep joining the ranks. I am sewing all day, each day, for the most part. I’m still on schedule, and every toy that has been ordered as of this morning, is either all done, or in progress. I’m currently on about a two-week turnaround time for making the custom toys. Almost all of my ready-made toy animals have been adopted, but I will try to add a couple more to my Etsy shop, if I can, before Christmas. I have some things I have to do this weekend, along with celebrating my birthday, and so I may run out of time.

Fleece Hug Me! Slug and hang tags in progress by Elizabeth Ruffing

My toys and prints have made it into quite a few Etsy treasuries over the past couple of weeks, and this one below made it to the Etsy front page. I saw the number of views rushing up on that listing, along with the number of hearts on it, and thought something must be up. I missed seeing it on the front page, but the curator told me about it later. I appreciate everyone who features my work. It’s a very nice compliment. I put the recent treasuries in a set on my Flickr page.

Etsy treasury featuring Fleece Hug Me! Slugs by Elizabeth Ruffing, made it to the Etsy front pageIt seems like weeks now that I, at long last, got myself a Wacom tablet. I haven’t yet had the time to plug it in. I picked up a bundle with Corel Painter, which I have hardly tested out yet either. I tried the tablet during Apple class, but I haven’t had time to get to one of those lately either! I was thoroughly uncoordinated with the pen and tablet. I am going to need a lot of practice, once the holidays have passed.

My new Wacom Intuos 4 tabletI think one of my first projects will be to play with my hang tags for my toys. I am wishing I’d made up some kind of gift certificates or e-gift cards to send out for people who are shopping late for the holidays too, so they could pre-order slugs for gift recipients. Those are small projects, but I’m not stepping away from the sewing long enough to do them at the moment. I wish I’d been a little more on top of things this season, but I am more prepared than I was last year. The holiday panic is subsiding, and being replaced by fatigue. My mom is giving me a hand, cutting out eyeballs, and doing this and that. I’d be panicked and fatigued at the same time, without her help. Thanks, Mom!

My kitty helper with two sock kittensAs always, I have my kitty helper too. He is also invaluable.