Plain Jane Knits Up A Storm

A few musings about my needlecraft hobbies - knitting, crocheting, quilting, & cross-stitch along with my other love, genealogy. While growing up, I used to HATE the term "Plain Jane", but when it comes to knitting & crocheting, I've realized that I really *am* a Plain Jane in that I don't use fancy yarns.

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Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Felting Flop & Dropped Stitches

Remember the "seemingly cursed" Fuzzy Feet I was making for my DH? I'm here to advise all & sundry that they are truly cursed - no, make that CURSED, it's more emphatic. A couple days ago I read all about felting and decided that the hand felting in a bucket with a plunger sounded easy. So off I went to the local Dollar Store to pick up a brand new, squeaky clean plunger and this morning I decided to take the plunge and felt. Following the instructions I found on the web, I filled a bucket with hot water, set it in the kitchen sink, added a dash of shampoo, dropped in both pair of Fuzzy Feet (his & hers) and started imitate my grandmother churning butter. Up & down, slosh, slosh.. The water started to turn orange - wool loses dye??? Filled the other sink with cold water to "shock" the wool, squeezed out the orange water & dropped all four feet into the cold. They were bigger than when they went into the bucket. Ok, refill bucket with more hot water, another shot of shampoo, and back to churning. After about 15 minutes of this, muscles aching and a bit winded, the feet are looking a bit fuzzy but no smaller and after three changes of water in the bucket, it's still turning orange. It is at this point that I realize that the blue toes on DH's pair are not looking fuzzy at all.. Hmmm.. Go pick up the skein of blue yarn and re-read the label: 100% virgin wool, so far, so good; color: red.. Hmm.. This is garage sale yarn, the skein is definitely BLUE, I'm beginning to suspect that an odd label got put on an odd skein to make it look better for the sale. Back to sink and take a closer look at the blue toes - the yarn is squeaking when I rub it between my fingers. The variegated yarn in the top half of those feet and my pair does not squeak - I'm trying to felt acrylic! Something tells me that this is not going to work. Ok, but I have four very wet, stretched out pieces of knitting and I'm beginning to wonder about this whole felting idea. There's a load of towels ready to go into the washer and what the heck?? Toss in the fuzzy feet and stand there while the washer does it's business. It's a Maytag with one of the lid interlocks that stops all action when the lid is raised, so I can't just watch for the feet to come up to the top so I can grab, I have to go diving in among the towels. After about 8 minutes and three diving expeditions, my pair is looking pretty good so I fish them out and rinse them in the bathroom sink to get the soap out. There's still dye coming out in the rinse water and I'm thinking it was a good idea that all the towels were dark. Another three minutes and I fish out DH's pair. The wool section is felted, the acrylic isn't fazed. Both pair are now drying and I'll probably tear out those toes one more time and reknit them smaller so they won't look like clown shoes. Cursed indeed..

The dropped stitches on the other hand are not a tragedy - I'm past the increasing section of the Clapotis and far enough into the straight section that I've dropped two columns of stitches! I have three hours of tv tonight during which I'll keep working on it. The only problem I'm having is getting used to working with size 8 needles again after months of working on size 10½. My hands hurt a little and my fingertips are getting sore from pushing stitches around. If it gets too bad, I'll switch back to the crocheted baby blanket for a while, but I want to drop more stitches on purpose!


Blogger Pioggia said...

You cant tell it's 100% wool by trying to break the yarn with your fingers.

I recently tried to felt an 80% wool sweater, hoping that that much wool would be enough, but apparently not. It's got to be 100% wool, as you and I have already learned. Good luck with your next try.

6:07 PM  

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