Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Let's talk felting. Taking a knit item and throwing it in the wash so that it shrinks and tightens. I'm not talking about when you have that really nice sweater that your mother-in-law bought you for Christmas the year before you became in-laws, and after the third wearing, you accidentally stick it in the washer and dryer in your college dorm laundry facilities and it comes back squat and too small. No, I mean the trendy thing to do when you knit something loose and HUGE with the intent of throwing it in the washer, beating it beyond belief, and ending up with this cute little... whatever it is.

I don't claim to be an expert on felting, by any means. I know the simple rules: temperature, agitation, wool. One can get more detailed in these rules, such as alternating very hot and very cold water, what is the best way to agitate the fabric (tennis balls, jeans, etc), and what percentage of wool in the yarn composition. Oh yeah, another basic would be no super-wash. That defeats the purpose.

The one thing about felting that I just don't get however, is that people are constantly claiming that you "can't felt in a front loader/HE machine". Who in the world started this rumor? I mean really. I had never heard of this rumor until after I had successfully felted 3 projects. ..in my front loading HE machine. The first project I felted I knew very little about felting. All I knew was that I needed heat (hello, whitest whites setting!) stuff it in a pillow case so that felty bits didn't get caught in my washer, add some detergent, a pair of jeans, and go! I let it go for one single run. When I pulled it out, I was expecting that it was going to be saggy and not the nice little crisp bag I was intending. I was actually prepared for having to run it multiple times before getting the size and thickness I wanted. Woah, was I wrong! It came out perfect that first time.

So why is it that I am still hearing all the time that you can't use these washers for felting? Why do people still question it? Why don't people trust that it will work? No, really?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Knitting and heat

The past few days as it gets hotter and hotter, knitting becomes harder and harder. It's not that I am working with wool at the moment, or working with anything huge or thick. However as it reached 100°F today, as I try to knit the yarn gets stuck on my fingers. It doesn't move and it is hard to keep proper tension. Eesh!

All I want to do is relax and knit, but what can you do when you can't even knit due to the heat?

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Knitting

Once again it seems I have fallen victim to the empty blog. I need to stop starting posts out with some such variation of a guilty admittance of not having written often enough.
Well! The Icarus ended up being very nice, and was fun to wear at the wedding. Unfortunately, only moments before I left the house one of the peaks snagged on a door and pulled about 3 inches of yarn, creating this nice floppy loop. I can't figure out in what direction to pull or where it came from in order to get it back into place. It may take some really good looking into, or maybe something as simple as a reblocking (which it needs anyway since it spent about weeks crumpled up after the wedding). It's not too big of a deal though; someone would only notice if 1. They were a knitter, and 2. They were specifically looking for it because I mentioned it. Which means I have to be careful around all of you ;o)
Since finishing the Icarus, I decided I needed some quick projects. I needed to work on baby things. Soakers!! One can never have too many of those, and they burn up stash wool, like all of the Cascade220 I have managed through felted bags. I made 3 soakers, 2 being the same pattern, and one being a different one. They all ended up being slightly different sizes since I still don't know how big babies are when they're born adn how long they stay at certain sizes. Of course I don't have pictures, but I'll try to remedy that quickly.
Fearing I'd get burnt out on soakers, I decided to start a baby sweater with more stash yarn (are we sensing a theme here?). I misunderstood one of the directions in the pattern, and although I thought it looked strane and that things were just not right, I kept going anyway. It wasn't until I was 3/4 finished with the back of the sweater (and at KIP Day!!) that I looked at it and said "something really is just not right". I had to rip back to the first inch of 1x1 ribbing border, but no big deal! It's a mini-sweater, so frogging went quickly, and now I am already back to the point of where I had ripped. Much less painful than frogging a full sized swweater, and much easier to recover from.
As I slipped in above, I did get a chance to go back to MFA and hang out with some of the regulars for Knit in Public Day. It was very fun and good to see people again. My only complaint was that my sciatica was acting up so bad that it was very painful to walk even though I was only walking about 2 blocks at a time. And even then, it was very infrequent. I'm not used to walking so slow, but I sure was being forced to or I'd probably fall over. The weather was excellent and very cooperative. No more 90° heat, just some nice sun, cool breeze, and thanks to the scaffolding we had some shade too! A nice start to a very relaxing weekend.