Archive for Felting

Caught by the Fuzz

I was working on this theory that if I could knit one project to felt every two weeks, it would motivate me to get to the laundromat every two weeks. Because y’all, I hate hate HATE going to the laundromat. I swear, every two weeks I have to go through all five stages before I can finally haul my ass down to the mat (because, you know, "the mat" is what all the cool kids are calling it these days).

Stage One: Denial ("Laundry? What Laundry?")

Stage Two: Anger ("Life is so unfair! Why can’t I be rich enough to just throw my clothes away after I wear them and buy new ones! The Universe hates me!")

Stage Three: Bargaining ("If I [do the dishes, sweep, vacuum, clean out the catbox really good, scrub the toilet, bleach the bathtub] then I won’t have to go do laundry tonight.")

Stage Four: Depression ("Doom! Despair! Agony! Three flights of stairs… heavy hampers… If I wasn’t so fat, my clothes wouldn’t be so HEAVY!")

Stage Five: Acceptance ("Damn, I’ve worn every piece of clothing I’ve owned since high school twice. Including the dry clean only stuff. Bob? Have you seen my keys?")

Really, having something to felt does make the whole thing more exciting. Instead of just getting clean clothes (which are better than dirty clothes, but still not very fun), I get a brand new usable object. That’s about as exciting as laundromats will ever be, unless someone decides to open up a yarn store/laundromat. (Actually, that’s a great idea! Somebody work on that!)

The problem with my plan turned out to be that if you don’t finish knitting on the item you’re wanting to felt, it gives you one more excuse to avoid the whole ordeal. Which means that I’ve been putting off finishing the second Fuzzyfoot so that I wouldn’t have to go to the laundromat, even though I knew that I was getting seriously low on clothes. Second Sock Syndrome + Avoid the Laundryitis = No Clean Clothes, No Fuzzyfeet, and No Friends (because no one will keep hanging out with you once you start to stink.)

Somehow, I overcame all that adversity, and now I have clean clothes AND fuzzy feet AND friends! It’s amazing what soap and water can accomplish for you, if you’ll only let it!

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The vitals:

Pattern: Fuzzyfeet from Knitty

Yarn
: Leftover Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Limeade and Lemon Drop (I think.)

Needles: Brittany wooden DPN’s, size 10 1/2. I always feel safe from vampire attacks when I use these. And I’ve always harbored a secret desire to plunge a stake into something/someone.

Watched While Knitting: If you’re really interested you should be listening to my podcast, but just in case, I watched Robin Hood: Men in Tights for the first time for the first sock, and finished the second one during Jacob’s Ladder.

Final Thoughts: I like them. They’re soft and warm and not itchy for me, despite the mohair content. I probably won’t be making another pair anytime soon, because to make sure they didn’t shrink too much I only ran them through one cycle at the Mat, and finished the job in my kitchen sink. I really hate felting by hand. If you’ve never done it before (lucky!), let me sum up the experience for you: rubber gloves, hot water, cold water, and somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour of rubbing. Ugh. Not my definition of fun.

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Strawberry Fields Forever

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Just what everyone needs… a tiny purse that looks like a strawberry!

Pattern: Strawberry Clutch from the Spring 2007 issue of Knitscene

Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Bulky (and some double stranded Worsted) in Red Baron, Christmas Green, and Lemon Drop. The main part of purse took less than a skein of Bulky, and I would imagine that the green at the top could be done with less than half.

Needles: Trusty old Denise Circular Needles, US 13. Handy because after you knit the top of the strawberry, you leave the "stem" stitches live so you can graft them with the other half at the end. Using the Denise needles meant I didn’t have to rummage around for a stitch holder.

Watched While Knitting: The Sopranos, end of Season 1 and beginning of Season 2. Also the first couple episodes of Wonderfalls, which is a very cute show that the Destroyer of All Good TV Fox cancelled after just a few ‘sodes.

Final Thoughts: If you enjoy doing lots of intarsia and duplicate stitch, this may be the perfect project for you. Since I don’t find either of those too activities incredibly appealing, it was definitely not the perfect project for me. Theoretically, I could have knit the little yellow seeds on while I was knitting the bag instead of duplicate stitching them on afterwards, but the spacing of the seeds rendered them too far apart from one another to happily carry the yarn. It would have been intarsia for every stitch, meaning I would essentially have been using a new lenght of yarn for every little one stitch seed. Not thanks!

Elizabeth Zimmerman, in all her wisdom, recommends choosing Fair Isle patterns with no more than five stitches in between color changes, and there are good reasons for this. If you haven’t read Knitting Without Tears, I would suggest checking into it.

In the end, I’ve managed to create a teeny-tiny strawberry shaped bag that I will probably barely use. If you want it, let me know. I’d be happy to sell it, or hell, I’d probably be willing to give it away if it’s for a good cause.

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Orange: The Color of Failure

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I haven’t blogged for almost two weeks now. For once, it’s not because I don’t have time (overtime is off, at least for awhile), or because I don’t have anything interesting to say. It’s because every time I sat down to blog last week, I got annoyed, then angry, and then a little depressed. My posts would start out with a few mild complaints, and by the end they were usually peppered with incoherent ranting in ALL CAPS, with lots of exclamation points and expletives. If you’re around me for any length of time, you know that my mouth could make the surliest sailor weak with shame, but even for me this was an awful lot of anger to be hurling around on the Intarwebs.

Knitting isn’t going so well lately (see above photos), and when my knitting is out of joint, I find myself feeling out of joint too. It’s easy for me to blog my knitting triumphs- who doesn’t love a happy ending? – but when it gets ugly, I never feel quite so ready to share.

I’m not shy about my imperfections, or embarrassed about making mistakes. You hear it all the time, and it’s true: mistakes are just a part of the process. If you knit long enough, you’ll figure out how to prevent and correct many errors, but you’ll never stop making them all together.

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore says that because his intelligence is far greater than average, his mistakes are far greater and more terrible than average too. The same can definitely be applied to knitting. The more adventurous and experienced you become as a knitter, the more complex your mistakes will become.

I know all that, really I do. I accept that I will have to rip things out and re-knit. I accept that I will twist stitches where they shouldn’t twist and drop them where they shouldn’t be dropped. My happy knitting experiences outweigh the bad ones by far. But for some reason, I feel like I should keep my knitting problems locked in a closet, as far away from the public eye as possible.

I hypothesize that my feeling of wanting to cover up the seedy underbelly of knitting stems from a desire for others, especially non-knitters, to see this craft as one that is largely pleasant and productive. I figure that if "the muggles" get wind of the fact that knitting doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, and can occasionally bring the knitter to the brink of desperation, they’ll get scared off. It’s the same reason that you’re not supposed to tell pregnant women how awful labor is and how your baby mostly cries, poops, and throws up on you. (Maybe it’s okay before they’re pregnant, but definitely not after it’s already too late to turn back.)

Ah, confession really is good for the soul.

Anyway, I had started the Central Park Hoodie and I was absolutely in love. Everything was going fine, until I decided that I needed to adjust the depth of the armhole. After spending a couple hours pondering over the mysteries of recalculating the slope of the decreases and trying to self-measure my armpit to see how deep it actually is, I was forced to admit defeat and ripped my beautiful orange tweed back for the second time. I know it’s not the yarn’s fault, but I still feel like punishing it. ("Bad yarn! Back in the closet! No knitting for you!")

To sum it all up, I’m feeling very under-inspired at the moment. My last successful project was the Kitty Pi from Wendy Knits. I definitely want to make at least one more (extra large for Fat Louie, of course), but it doesn’t sound particularly fun at the moment. I’ve decided to swear off the knitting of all things with sleeves for the time being. I think the orange yarn might be destined to be a vest, but I’m pretty sick of looking at it. I started working on a little felted strawberry purse from the latest issue of Knitscene, but it is a pain in the ass. (More on that later.)

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So anyway, I’m sorry for the downer of a post. Maybe I’ll get inspired and knit something awesome, which should lead to happier blogging.

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Back on Track

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Life is looking considerably brighter here at Casa de Golightly, as you can see from my glouriously organized stash. The yarn corner is 110% improved since yesterday, some languishing projects have finally made it to cast off, and exciting new projects are in the works. (And those new projects are totally Rotation legal- sweet!)

Last week, after the emotional upheaval of aran disaster, I decided that what I really, really needed was a break from anything involving charts, seed stitch, or thought. Serendipitously, that very day I saw a post on Crazy Aunt Purl about her Kitty Pi. It was love at first sight. I had to buy needles for it the second I left work. Can you believe after two years of knitting I didn’t have a single set of size 11 DPNs? What is the world coming to? 

Also serendipitiously, Tara recently gifted me with more black felting wool than you can shake a stick at (thanks again!), so I had plenty of raw material. I cast on for the Pi Tuesday night, and today I cast off! A super fast, totally brainless project was what I needed and Kitty Pi delivered.

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I should be felting it tomorrow when I do laundry. Having something to felt is great motivation to go to the laundromat. Maybe I should make a Kitty Pi every week…

I’m planning to make at least one more, and possibly a third for a cat loving co-worker. If you think your favorite kitty needs a Pi, this is a free pattern from Wendy Knits. If my resounding endorsement doesn’t convince you, check out the finished Kitty Pi gallery. (Warning: Viewing gallery could cause cute cat overload.)

As of last night, I’m officially finished with my 2006 Holiday Knitathon. Behold! Mylea’s Fingerless Mitts:
Orangefingerlessmitts The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca’s worsted, although you should be warned that this yarn is a very, very heavy worsted. One more ply and I think we could safely call it bulky. I knit it a little too densely on my trust Susan Bates DPNs, sizes 4 and 5. The pattern came from the Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. I find that this book really lives up to the title, especially when it comes to Xmas knitting. Mylea likes them, and I knit them to match her Grown Up Bonnet Scarf.

I know I’ve said this every year since I started knitting, but this time I mean it: I’m not doing the whole Xmas knitting thing next year. I’m sure some people really enjoy it, but for me it always ends up being stressful and annoying. I love knitting things for my fellow knitters, but from now on I’m sticking to birthdays. At least those are spaced out through the year.

Last but not least, I ripped out the orange aran and it felt great! It felt even better when I cast on for the Central Park Hoodie. No regrets here, not a single one.

So, just for the record, the Rotation projects are as follows: one pink and aqua Ballband Warshrag. One Grown Up Bonnet Scarf. And one Central Park Hoodie. There are a couple other things still on the needles chillin’ out in the frog pond, but since they’re soon to be recycled yarn, they don’t count!! Woohoo!

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