Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Felting 101

Up to now, I haven't had much experience with felting. To be honest, I'm not sure I really dig the way it looks. There is also the fact that I have to pay to use the washing machines in my building...and they are front loading machines- which is a whole other ball of yarn. In the past, I have attempted to felt things by hand using a lot of hot water and a rolling pin, but for some reason this technique has never worked out for me. All of this aside, I decided to take another stab at felting, and do a little experiment last week.

My plan was to knit up some 'fabric' on the knitting machine and then through the magic of hot water and agitation (or hot wa-gitation), create lovely felt with which to make appliques and such. I was also using this as a test to see which yarn in my stash will actually felt.

Step 1: Choose yarn. I used Galway (that's the blue one), Patons: Classic wool (oatmeal) and Sandnes Ulduarefabrik: Peer gynt. (red and white) I also did a swatch of Naturally Guernsey double knit because I have quite a lot of that one and it's too itchy for hats.

Step 2: Knit up some yardage on Big Bertha the Knitting machine. I recommend listening to some Johnny Cash while doing this.

Step 3: Throw knitting in washing machine with hot water and soap and an old pair of jeans. Throw some other miscellaneous knit things in just to see what happens.

Step 4: After 40 minutes, go downstairs to find that the stuff is only partially felted. Run to the corner store for more change.

Step 5: Realize that it would have been better to actually construct something and then felt it because the stockinette fabric has turned at the edges and has felted to itself.

The yardage did felt...somewhat. However, you can still see some stitch definition and it frays a little when cut. This is probably due to the fact that the stitches knit on the knitting machine are too tight to felt properly. Finally, I decided to cut the fabric up and attempt to make a little change purse, sewn together with bright red mohair. It does look a little 'rainbow bus', but that sometimes happens when we experiment.


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