Friday, April 27, 2007

Experiments

The observant among you may have noticed the absence of progress on any of the items in the sidebar, except the Trekking socks, which is my bus knitting. But I have been knitting, oh yes, knitting is occuring.
This is some of the yarn I recently found hidden away - it's not a colour I would wear, or would expect anyone else to wear (unless they really loved it) so I thought I'd try something new, something I'd never done before (no, not knitting with bright yellow yarn!). Felting! How neat is felting!
See the cool fold lines in the box construction - how simple but effective - knitting is so clever!
I used the felted box pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting. This is 8ply/DK weight yarn, not the bulky yarn used in the pattern, so I wasn't sure how it would hold up under the felting process. I guesstimated number of stitches to cast on and rows to knit (to make up for lighter weight yarn).
I have a front-loading washing machine, which, as I gather, is not the best for felting, so I wasn't sure how it would go, and apart from some uneven bits (I think it was folded in the machine), it worked pretty well.

Perhaps I made it too big - the sides do bulge out just a bit, it's not as stiff as I had hoped. I think I'll give it another bash in the machine this weekend to try and even out the bits which didn't felt so well first time around. I figure that if it doesn't work, I wouldn't really mind throwing it in the bin, or maybe using it for a pet bed (a fairly small pet, mind you!). Any felting advice gratefully received!

12 comments:

Shazmina Bendi said...

Good job with the felting! The colour looks great felted.I cant bring myself to try it, I am still at the "that is just destroying the pretty yarn" stage. I figure it is like socks, eventually I will get to the "Must.Felt.Now.Or. I.Will.Explode." stage :)

Bells said...

Oh fun felting. Good use for that odd colour. I have a front loader too and in the few felting adventures I've had, I've always done it on the longest, hottest cycle for maximum effect.

That's been a pretty random sort of approach though on things I wasn't too attached too. If I'm going to do it again, I'm going to either do it by hand or use a friend's top loader.

Lynne said...

The yellow yarn was a good colour for your felted box - in the photo it looks almost like a cane basket. :-)

The article in the current Yarn magazine recommends using a top loader, so perhaps Bell's suggestion about using a friend's...

kgirl said...

from what I can gather, top loaders aren't the most efficient felters - maybe beg/borrow the use of a friends? Maybe in return for a few felted boxes, hmm?!

I found I erred on the side of too-cautious, and stopped before the piece was felted fully. Others I have spoken to have said to keep putting it through cycle after cycle until the knitting is 100% no longer visible. That may help with the floppy sides?

Apparently lighter colours are no as easily felted, either. Don't know if this means pastels or lighter hues??

good luck!

Nora said...

I have a front loader but managed to felt a piece of Shibori by placing it in a pillow case and adding an old towel for agitation. It took about 20 mins.

Rachael said...

Hi - I've got a front loader and have had great felting success! Firstly, I handfelt using a bucket of hot soapy suds (don those rubber gloves) just rub the item together as well as using the glove to rub it all over (am I making sense..? an exfolliating action) you should see the fibres JUST starting to blend - about 5-10 mins should do it - then put into the machine with the tennis balls or jeans whatever you prefer. I found if I don't do this first the result is similar to what you photographed - not quite felted.

Kristy said...

The good thing about making a felted box is that it doesn't have to fit anyone so I agree with the others - send it through again and just keep felting. I do have a top load machine but sometimes even with that, I have to send it through multiple cycles.

Also, don't fret over the creases when it comes out of the wash. Just block it (sort of) with the steamest setting on your iron and then pull and press out the creases.

I think the box is great (how can you go wrong with MDK? - you can't!) and I am certain it will stiffen up with another wash or two. I can't wait to see it all finished and holding beautiful things.

Queen Frogger said...

I put 2 pairs of denim jeans in with my stuff to felt in the front loader.They don't shed but give it lots of aggitation. I like those boxes in that book!

Diana said...

Looks like you've gotten lots of good advice already. Some yarns felt so differently too. I even put my first felted bag in the dryer...not knowing that I shouldn't have but still it's great. Throwing it in again won't hurt and maybe you need more friction in there, jeans etc. I put mine in a pillow case too. Saves your washer in the long run from clogging with woolies.
I've just mailed you a letter a few days ago. I don't know your email!

catsmum said...

I felt with a front loader quite successfully by
including a pair of jeans or threadbare towel for agitation
start it off on the hottest cycle for 10 minutes or so.
Turn the machine off, set to rinse/ empty. Turn off and resetting for cold and the short cycle. Repeat.
and of course as everyone else pointed out, use a pillowcase or be prepared for the serviceman to call :]
btw the box looks wonderful.

Di said...

The felting looks great and the colour is fantastic. I love knitting things and throwing them in the machine to see how they turn out. I like it bulges and all!

Olivia said...

I always hand-felt cause I like to see what's going on. If you have a few areas on the box you want to concentrate on that might be the way to do. It doesn't take long if you have really hot sudsy water and really cold water to switch between. Just rub at the spots that you want to felt further.

Anyway it's looking good. I'm a big fan of felting... it's so satisfying and felty afterwards! Good luck