Friday, 27 February 2009

February's nearly over! Felting, a cautionary tale.

Last week I embarked on a felting experiment which I had been planning for some time. Usually when making a felted jacket I knit a length of fabric, felt it in the washing machine, steam it well and then cut and sew using normal dressmaking methods. This time however I wanted to make up a waistcoat on the knitting machine and felt the whole garment.

I did all the necessary preliminaries swatching good large pieces with borders seams etc. Great!
The pieces were measured, recorded then felted. It took three washes to obtain the correct finish but I was pleased with the result! I knitted the strange oversize, loosely knitted garment and was eager to see the finished item. So eager that I decided not to wash and dry the garment three times as I had done with the trial but to wash it on a hotter, longer programme. Yes, you can imagine the result! It came out of the machine over-felted, too small and with wavy bands. I hoped I may be able to steam it into shape and give it to a smaller friend but that didn't work either. However I have learned a valuable lesson and the waistcoat is now destined to become a rather attractive bag!!!!!! (and a project for my newly acquired overlocker, by which I am still rather intimidated!!)

I have had more success with my other knitting projects this month, but despite my intention to photograph all efforts as a record of my achievements and failures I have not done so! Above are two which have made it so far.
A jacket in a cream fleck aran yarn from a pattern by Kathryn Doubrley which was published in Country Knitting of Maine News and Views and a shrug made in a self-patterning yarn, Bonus Galaxy. This yarn has a lovely sheen and drapes really well.

I have had several sleepless nights lately which have resulted in lots of ideas and designs for future this space!!!