Friday, June 25, 2010

Adventures in knitting and felting

I've been knitting little mitts for a while now and one day whenI was browsing the wool department of a chain store, I found some very prettily irresistable wool.
Unfortunately I didnt have my glasses on so it wasnt until I got home that I saw I had bought some unusual wool - lovely but not what I really wanted.

The label said "felt me"!


Not suitable for mitts then???

Not to be deterred I found a pattern for a beanie to felt.
But you had to knit it in the round on a set of needles - something I have been too intimidated to try!

Circular needle to the rescue!!!

The crown of the beanie where you have to decrease for the shaping I managed to complete with a set of four needles without poking myself in the eye once!

So far so good!

Now to the felting part.
I decided to do this by hand as the laundry was still out of bounds (due to broken ankle not being compatible with stairs navigation)

To felt you need to treat wool in the absolute opposite way to how you normally treat it!

You use HOT water and lots of rubbing!
I used a bar of Sunlight soap and an icecream container (empty), to dip and rub-a-dub-dub!
Then rinsed in cold water.
I did this several times until the stitches became indistinct and the knitting felt felty.

It made a wonderful warm sturdy beanie.

Observations about this process.

1. The wool I used was a non-plied (or single ply, I'm not sure what the technical term for this is, it isnt twisty) 70% wool / 30 % soybean fibre.
I am guessing that it would be harder to use the new super-wash yarns, because they are designed to be machine washed, and specifically to NOT felt.

2. Using a circular needle is fun because you get to knit every row, non of that pesky pearling.

3. Sets of needles are not scarey.

4. You can also felt in your washing machine (if you dont have a broken ankle and a downstairs laundry)

5. I made 5 beanies and they all turned out different sizes.

6. Knitting beanies take a lot more wool and time than mitts.

7. Maybe I'll stick to mitts.

If you are a knitting and/or felting expert please feel free to comment!

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my favorite fibre people, so come back then!


Pam de Groot said...

Looks great Tess. Soon we'll have you working with the fleece straight. Yes superwash won't felt so don't waste your time there. You could felt that one down even smaller if you wanted. 30% is a standard shrinkage for felt. Non plied wool is called a single!

planettreasures said...

thanks Pam! I knew you would have the answers.
I might try felting the bigger ones again, but I was amazed how much the plain green one shrunk : O

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