Wednesday, November 08, 2006

One Skein KAL FO

These are beautiful, if I must say so myself (I must!). I made fulled (or felted) bowls from the pattern in OneSkein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet, for the OneSkein KAL hosted by LuckyInKY (I did mention that I'd joined another KAL, didn't I?).

Super easy, super fast, that's all there is to say! (Oh, and I knit it on the suggested 15US needles, Addis of course). This is what they looked like when knit, pre-felting.

This was my virginal fulling/felting experience, and hooboy, was it good for me. I know, I know, you're asking yourself, "How could a knitting diva like Velma not have felted her share of projects by now?" Well, some of us are late bloomers. But it was so much fun. I felted by hand, as I have no washing machine and no access to a top-loader (shame on my energy-efficient friends for all buying those damn front-loaders, with their "lower energy costs" and their "lower water usage"). So I got out the 35 cent thrifted plastic basin I use to set the twist on my handspun, and I got myself an old-fashioned washboard at the local hardware store, and some gloves and the traditional Ivory dishsoap favored by felters everywhere, and I set to work (oh, the other de riguer equipment is a case of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale; it makes the process go by so fast. But I digress).

Felting isn't that difficult, it just takes some elbow grease. It worked out fine, especially for the smaller bowl, but I think the next ones (and you can bet there will be more) I'll scrounge around until I can find someone that will let me use their washer (I'm loathe to use the commercial ones at the laundromat; too many bad experiences with overzealous bleach fans to risk my precious knitting to them). Even though it was doable, I do not know how our fore-mothers managed; the hardest part was keeping the water hot enough, and I was standing next to a gas stove, boiling kettle- after kettle-ful of the stuff. They must have had to work over a cookfire or some damn thing. And I'm betting they didn't have lovely pink cancer-awareness Playtex gloves to keep their manicures safe either (then again, the aforementioned fore-babes wouldn't have had manicures; neither do I, come to think of it. Anyway.)

I learned a lot from this first-time felting experience. I discovered that if I rubbed too vigorously, I would slough off fiber (which of course as a pack-rat spinner, I duly rinsed, dried and saved). I found that working with a window in front of me in the kitchen allowed me to hold up the piece I was working on and see where light came through the knitting, indicating an under-felted area (an overhead light works as well - I used that method once it got dark; just be sure not to let all the yucky water run down your arm into your gloves. Bleh). I also realized after awhile that I didn't even need to hold my work up to the light; I could find the areas that needed more felting by feel, anywhere that I could still feel stitch definition.

n the larger bowl, I used a 4-quart vintage pyrex mixing bowl to shape the piece, and I used an enamaleware camping bowl on the smaller one. These proved to be the perfect size for the blocking process, and also yielded flat bottoms on the finished products. As you can see, I used empty bowls as weights to press the felted material into the flat shape of the bottom of the blocking bowls.

I tried something on the smaller, purple bowl: I wrapped rubber-bands around the felt to hold the shape of the bowl. With the green one, the weight of the felted fabric seemed to form itself nicely around the blocking bowl, but the purple one wanted to pull away from the sides. Although I was worried that the rubber-bands would leave indentations in the wool, I removed them before the bowl was completely dry and avoided this problem. This worked really well.

So here they are, finito. When I make more (they will make great gifts), I'll knit 'em smaller, and/or on smaller needles so the finished bowls would be smaller (I might even full these some more to shrink them a bit). These are larger than I anticipated (they appear larger than the ones in the book and others I have seen), and I'd just like some wee ones. These don't seem to hold their shape as well as I'd like, although they aren't completely dry yet, either. All in all, a huge success from my perspective. I can't wait to do more fulling/felting. (Thanks to fd's Flickr Toys for the mosaic maker).


  1. Nice bowls! I can't believe that is your first felting. I think a doubled yarn might yield a denser, sturdier bowl, if that is what you want. It's much easier to felt in a machine, and sometimes it takes several cycles to get there. For smaller purses and hats, it can be surprising how small things can get and requires careful attention. (Oops!)

  2. hi becky! yep, 1st time! i definitely want to try again w/ a washer for comparison. might try smaller needles, too. a little scientific experiment.

    time to go visit you again. ciao!

  3. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Very cool V! That's a lot of effort to felt but they turned out fantastic.

  4. hi, t! actually, not that much work (way more in getting the pics for this post together). about 30 mins ea. max. i'd estimate. but next time, the maytag fer sure. thanks for the compliment.

  5. They are very cute!

    Speaking from recent personal experience (and a too-small pair of Fuzzy Feet), one CAN felt in a front loader. Throw the item in a lingerie bag, and toss in a pair or two of (old) jeans with it. As long as you have hot wash/cold rinse, you should be good to go. Most of them can even be paused during the cycle and will unlock so you can check the progress.

    And I agree that the doubled yarn will probably give you a firmer fabric. I think looser gauge felts better, too - something about there being more friction that way, and therefore more opportunity for the fibers to hook up, so to speak.

    I'll stop spamming your comments now. :D

  6. Those are awesome! And felted by hand too - I think I'm too lazy to go there.

  7. nice V

    I have an ancient top loading washer

    you can use it

    lemme know

    we are neither energy nor h2o efficient here

    we're all about free...

  8. I keep wanting to make my mom a felted hat

    I get the urge every year about this time

    I feel really successful with that Noro hat pattern you gave me

    my knitting skills are virtually nil

    I haven't purled in so long

    I can't quite remember how...

    and, follow a

  9. I love your felted bowls! I am most impressed. I would love to try it but have to learn to knit in the round first. I havn't even learned how to knit a sock yet.

  10. hi trillian! thx for the washer tip; didn't know you could open 'em mid-cycle. but if yours came out too small, do you consider them a success?

    thx, b, it really wasn't too labor-intensive; doable for sure. i'll bring 'em to PnH tonight so you can see 'em.

    'becca, you are too hard on yourself; i've seen yer knittin' and it's fine! (fine as in "she has a fine ass"). we can figure out a pattern for you; i'll help (if that doesn't just make it harder). ;) i've got a couple more patterns up my sleeve...

  11. katrina, you can do it! you've knit hats, right? this is just a loosely-woven hat, seriously. waaaay easier than socks. give it a whirl. thx for the compliment, too!

  12. I blame the minor failure of my Fuzzy Feet on my neglecting to swatch. Once I figured it the fetling shrink ratio, I made a second pair that came out just fine. :)

  13. oh, very clever of you (belatedly), trill. what's your next felting project, or will there be another?


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