Monday, March 17

first felting

As you might imagine, I immediately cast on a project with my new Danish wool. Two of my purchases were skeins of something called Preyarn, or Unspun. I have been wanting a pair of felted slippers, and this stuff is made just for felting. It's not twisted at all, and it's pretty much a worsted or sport weight, which means that it breaks like crazy. The woman who sold it to me said that she'd used about 200 grams for a pair of slippers she had made, so I bought two skeins of it. The pattern I chose calls for a Turkish cast on and knitting the slipper up from the toe using Magic Loop. I don't think the pattern considered that I would be using very weak yarn, and there was a lot of strain on the toe, which caused breakage and general holes in the knitting.

I finished the first slipper that night, and decided to felt it before I knit another, since I'd never felted before and had no idea how it would work. The pattern gauge is 4 sts to 1" pre-felting, and I was getting something closer to 3 stitches to an inch. It was huge, and I thought it might be bigger than it was supposed to be. When we got back to Hamburg (and my friend's apartment) we made a night of felting my single slipper. I looked for how-to online and found a mixture of advice, mostly involving violent agitation, soap and hot water. I settled on a spaghetti pot and ladle as felting tools, and changed the water a few times to make sure it was hot. (It also smelled very sheepy.)A very helpful article on Knitty told me what to expect: my knitted object would actually seem to expand and stretch before suddenly felting. I'm glad I knew to expect this, as this is precisely what happened. After about 30 minutes of stirring my slipper, I pulled it out and it had started to shrink. I could see the fibers beginning to felt, to such an extent actually that it was felting to itself inside the slipper. I got some scissors and used the blade to cut the it apart.

And voila! Suddenly my slipper was about the right size. The last thing I did (before setting it out to dry) was soap it up and more or less massage it onto my foot, so it shrunk to my foot's shape and size. I then rinsed it in cold water and set it on a windowsill to dry. Perfect!Of course, I used just a smidgen of a skein for my one slipper, so I will be left with a ton of purple felting yarn. I am interested in using it, but I can only imagine so many purple felted things in my life... maybe I should make myself a bag.

Pattern: Keep Away Felted Slippers, from Knit Front and Back
Yarn: Preyarn from OldMill


Hilary said...

That slipper is awesome! Congratulations on your first felting...I myself have not yet taken the plunge. What pattern did you use for your slipper?

Anonymous said...

That's really neat!

There could be many in your life who would like some felted garment as a gift. Not to worry that you'll be stuck with too much of that wonderful purple felting yarn.