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Posts Tagged ‘felt’

Swatching

Starting where the last post left off…

I cast on 20 stitched on US size 9 (5.5mm) needles. That’s a huge size for fingering weight yarn, but felting/fulling always starts on large needles for the yarn.  Three rows of garter, three stitch garter border on each side, 10 rows stockinette, 3 rows garter. Switch to US size 8 (5.0 mm) needles and 3 rows garter, 10 rows stockinette, 3 rows garter, then did the same again with US size 7 (4.5 mm) needles and bound off.

By this point, the only thing I’m sure of is that the yarn is gorgeous, so the swatch has already let me know that I can make a shawl out if it even if I don’t like the felted fabric for a bag.  Except that mohair is really scratchy…

Doing the Math

So I took the swatch and my “Knit Check” and measured gauge.  I measured in a couple of different places on each stockinette band, so I’m fairly confident of my results.

FGF swatch

Unfelted Swatch
needle size stockinette width stockinette height stitch gauge row gauge
US 9 3.625″ 1.75″ 14 st/4″ 20 rows/4″
US 8 3.5″ 1.625″ 16 st/4″ 22 rows/4″
US 7 3.25″ 1.5″  17 st/4″ 24 rows/4″

Looking at the chart – the math just doesn’t work out.  I know that each stockinette section is 14 stitches wide and 10 rows tall, so the counted and calculated gauges don’t match up.  Obviously I have a measuring problem of some sort, I’ll just try to be as consistent as I can and hope for the best.

Then I found a tutorial about hand felting, because I’d been advised that mohair doesn’t do well in a machine, especially when it’s thin.

Then I felted my swatch.  Note to self: mohair felts fast!  I didn’t time it, but I probably should have.  I stopped the scrubbing while I could still make out the stitch definition, because I want to be able to compare before and after.  I might make my bag a little bit bigger than the measurements require, so that I can just keep going if I chose to at the time.Felted FGF swatch

 

Felted Swatch
needle size stockinette width stockinette height stitch gauge row gauge
US 9 3.125″ 1.625″ 20 st/4″ 24 rows/4″
US 8 2.5″ 1.625″ 25 st/4″ 26 rows/4″
US 7  2.5″  1.375″ 24 st/4″ 26 rows/4″

Once again the numbers seem a bit off.  Maybe it has to do with how I blocked the swatch, or how I pulled at different sections while felting it.  In addition, even though I didn’t felt completely, it’s kind of hard to count the fulled stitches.  Clearly there’s some leeway as far as how the fabric felts.  It does seem to shrink more in width than in height, which means I don’t have to worry about a repeat of the Seaglass tote (beautiful, but weirdly squat).

Now to look for colorwork patterns I like…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts June giveaway, the Ergo crochet hooks or Beaded Lace Knitting book from Mooglyblog or the  scissors fob from Lisa Bogart.  I entered her July giveaway for a copy of Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders (31 July) and a sock pattern giveaway from Snapdragon Crafts (3 July)

Doing the Math (again)

I’ve been tracking the giveaways I’ve entered since last April.  According to my spreadsheet, I’ve entered 79 giveaways and won three of them (stitch markers and patterns).  That’s almost a 4% win rate.  Not bad at all.

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Rethinking the Plans

Tapestry Mohair

Flying Goat TapestryI got four skeins of “Tapestry Mohair” yarn from Flying Goat Farm’s booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. Long term readers may recall that I have a complicated relationship with mohair yarns in general, but I also have a weakness for locally produced fiber, and I just fell in love with the colors (I think I’ve been going on a brown-orange kick lately).

FGF tagNaturally, when I got home, I went to add my new prizes to my Ravelry stash page.  Unfortunately, this yarn hadn’t (and hasn’t) yet been entered.  I opened one skein enough to plop a ruler down by it and guestimate 12 WPI, which would make it sport weight yarn.

FGF WPIFair enough.  400 yards of sport weight mohair should make a really cute felted bag.  I did a pattern search, found a pattern for a no-sew felted bag, which called for worsted weight yarn but listed sport, figured it would work,  and popped it in my queue.

The Problem

This morning I decided it was time to at least skein, if not cast on, the project.  So I took out my trusty nostepinne…

The distance between segments is one inch, so it’s pretty clear that this isn’t 12 WPI. 16 to 17 is more like it.  Which would make it light fingering to laceweight yarn.  The Ravelry database still hasn’t been updated.  I went to the Flying Goat website, and didn’t find a listing for the yarn, but there was a blog post which mentioned tapestry yarn.   What she describes certainly looks like what I have, and it’s a light fingering. So now I’m not at all sold on using the pattern, at least not as is.

The Solution

I realized I have to swatch and felt before I make up my mind.  I really don’t swatch as much as I should, so something that forces me to do it isn’t all bad.  It’s just a different process.

 

Yarn Diet

There are two large projects I’m considering once my self imposed summer yarn diet is over.  One is a cricket sweater for my husband (he’s a ‘universal’ sports fan, and the Peter Davidson is “his Doctor”), the other is the Aidez sweater for me.  I’ve already priced out the yarn for these projects at my LYS, and planned to use my accrued ‘frequent customer’ discount for both.

Craftsy currently has both these yarns on sale for 40% off.  I was very briefly tempted to break the diet, but when I compared the sale price to the LYS price with discount the totals (for each project) were within a dollar of each other – not counting shipping.  So I’ll stick with plan A.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered a drawing for a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light from This Knitted Life (3 July)

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The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up.  Last year at the festival I bought a beautiful skein of Dark Horse Leicester Longwool from Hill Farm, specifically because I wanted to make something with native Maryland wool to enter in this year’s competition.

 Image

I was thinking of holding it together with some Queensland Collection Soft Comfort Mohair, and was planning on knitting Tubey by Cassi Rovetti, published inKnitty.  Well, I got it home and swatched and, lovely as it was, decided it would be a bit itchy for a tube top.  So, instead I knit a felted, cabled tote bag.  I used a bead I’d picked up from an Ocean City shop as a button.  The pattern is by Amanda Silvera, and it’s the Braided Cable Handle Tote. I think it’s fabulous, and will be proud to enter it in this year’s festival.

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My other entry will be After Summer Merrily socks, and I’ll post about them later.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

One of today’s giveaways (yarn and a Namaste bag from Expression Fiber Arts, drawing April 30) asked me to state three things which make me happy.  I came up with

What makes me happy?
The people I love and who love me.
Learning new things, especially things which make my ‘brain all ‘splody like’.
Making things.

Craftlit’s April giveaway is for Knitted Mitts and Mittens.  Also closes April 30.  The mereknits blog’s “Chocolate Yarn” giveaway (closes April 10).  The Musk Ox blood is giving away Qiviut!!!  Drawing April 30.

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Having a Ball

One finished, two not

About Dryer Balls

I seem to have come a little bit late to the Dryer Ball party.  The idea is that you throw them in the dryer and they help your clothes get dry an fluffy faster.  Some people use tennis balls.  Some people buy plastic dryer balls from Amazon.  Heather Ordover knits them.

Dryer Balls from Roving

I felted these up using some perfectly good (if slightly odd colored) roving I got at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival three years ago.  I’d bought it to experiment with kool-aid dying and drop spinning, then, last year at the festival, I bought a bunch of fiber.

2 oz of undyed Jacob/Alpaca fiber

Every so often I would take out the drop spindle, but I wasn’t about to start with the new fiber until I’d used of the old, and that was going to take forever, and my dryer also seems to take forever.

Not much too it, really.  I wound a ‘core’ of roving, tied it on a sock and tossed it in the washer with some white towels, ran it through the dryer with them, took out a little, semi-hard roving ball, wound more roving around it, repeated…  Voila! home made dryer balls.  Not very exciting, but they do seem to work (who knew?)  One of the came out of the sock and I got a strip of felted roving.  I store it in the catnip jar and give it to the furry beasts every now and then because everything is a cat toy.

Speaking of the Sheep and Wool Festival

This years Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is scheduled for May 5 & 6.  I always get excited about it come March, because that’s when they open registration for classes.  Sort of.  They tend to sell out, so they actually have a ‘lottery system’ drawing for class space held on the 28th.  This year I’ve signed up for a class on japanese knit stitches, one on sweater detailing, and a mini-class on needle felting.  I’m hoping I’ll get into one of the three, but you never know…

I’ve given up on trying to drag the family along, except for my older sister, who has moved back to town and is as fiber obsessed as I am, or more.  Will also be joined by RRR, a knitting friend, who will not only tour the yarn barns with me, she’s also signing up for the Japanese stitchery class.  Here’s hoping.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

Following up on the Red Heart Yarn of the Month giveaway I mentioned last post, the drawing date on that one is April 6.  Knit and Seek is holding a drawing for a skein of Tosh Merino Light (March 10 deadline). I also entered the iMake drawing for the Toft Pattern Book (Closes the end of March)

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Not a Hat Yet.

pre-felted hat

I just finished crochetting a fedora, and am about to start the felting process.  It is a rather shapeless lump at this point, more of a floppy bag than a hat.
I’ve wobbled the pattern a bit, based on some comments from others on Ravelry who have made it.  I dropped two inches off of the height.  You can’t see it in the picture, but there is actually a hint of a brim which is supposed to become clearer once it felts.

I’ll probably felt it over the next several days, as more jeans and towels need to be washed.  I’ll try to photograph the blocking process if I can.

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