Thursday, January 15, 2009

Experiments for Knitters

I bring glad tidings of great joy - Hat Tomorrow has been judged to be a great success:
January 109

At least, a great success after I carefully unpicked the darned in ends, ripped out the decreases and added another cable repeat before decreasing and carefully darning in again!
January 108

H loves it with the extra length, and if I were ever to knit one for myself, I think I would add extra too. All I did was to work plain for 1 inch rather than half at the start, and add a fourth second stage cable repeat to give the hat a bit more length. It covers H's ears nicely and he's keen on hats that are long enough. Yipeee for a happily finished project.

My other bit of knitting today was experimental to say the least. It was also quick!

Our friend A likes to give me knitting presents for Christmas and birthdays and a little while ago he gave me a Twileys of Stamford kit for a knit 'n felt bag. The kit comes with written instructions, yarn, and a bag clasp and setting tape.
January 100

It's bizarre to knit a whole bag on massive broomstick sized needles with four strands of yarn all held together and it certainly knits up quickly; which given that my curiosity was with the felting process was no bad thing.
January 114
The fabric from two strands of Freedom, one of Paris and one of Mirage is (unfelted) soft and fluffy and has a wonderful halo.
January 118
Finished and unfelted, the bag looked like this:
January 121

It was a pretty robust fabric and although you could poke a finger through it if you tried, it would have made quite a decent bag by itself, which surprised me a little - I was expecting a really loose open fabric that needed the felting to toughen up.

The instructions suggested one cycle on a short 60 degree (Celsius) wash with some towels to help agitate and then further washes as needed.

After the one short wash I had this:
January 125
The stitch definition hasn't entirely gone, but as the Mirage and the Paris have acrylic in them that isn't entirely unexpected. It is however a seriously thick fabric, a good 1 cm thick all the way through, and, as you can see from the before and after pictures - it is tiny. Not really enough room for a ball of sock yarn and a pair of needles.

While I can't fault the instructions, this falls towards the ugh end of the spectrum for me for two reasons. The first is that this is just not my style, I can't see myself ever leaving the house and thinking "the very thing for my housekey and half my purse", it's too little, too girly, and ultimately too fluffy.

The second is something that I don't really understand but I'm hoping someone can explain. Have a look at these two photos of the two sides of the bag:
January 133
January 134

One side is distinctly pinker towards the top, and the handles are that same pinkier purple. At that point in the knitting I changed into the second balls of Freedom. They are both the same colour and the same dyelot but something about it has changed the colour perception that I get from them - any ideas?

I'm not entirely put off felting though - if nothing else the experiment has shown me the power of my washing machine, and that I could do with turning down the spin cycle next time I felt - and there will be a next time - I think that the felted bag in the Knitters Book of Yarn could be much more my cup of tea. And in the meantime I'm sure I can find something useful to keep in a small fluffy purple bag - probably the leftover yarn!


  1. You could leave it just where it is and keep your spinning oil, hook and other spinny bits in it.

  2. I like the variation in the bag colors. And Caroline M's idea for the bag is really good!

  3. Nice, colorful hat!

    Definitely don't be put off by the felting process with this bag! I think there are some great patterns out there for felting (I like the one you link to)...but I think key is that you watch it closely and remove it when it gets the size you want. I was surprised to read that the instructions told you to felt for a whole cycle...everything I've done says agitate for 10 minutes max before taking it out to check...and then check every 5 minutes until it's ready. That helps prevent getting something so small it would only hold some leftover yarn! :)

  4. That's a very nice hat, and i love your bag....jackie


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