Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Prepping to Felt in Color

First, you must have something to felt.

You may remember my plans to create a felted purse to match the one that my Aunt saw at the fiber show in Sanford this past April. I'm currently knitting up the bottom piece and will pick up the body stitches along the edges. The yarn is 100% wool from Ella Rae (here's their online supplier) in classic solids and heathers. I've already done a felting swatch in faire isle and it felts lovely. Here are the colors  and my matching pencils for sketching the color patterns onto graph paper:

The body will be fair isle patterns, some metal beads added near the top, and leather handles attached once it is felted. Color work is wonderful to do when felting is involved because I don't need to be overly worried about the backside of my work looking perfect or all those different colored yarn ends being sewn in invisibly. Everything really does come out looking great in the wash!

The tricky part with felting is sizing and estimating shrinkage. I think I've got this pattern under control after one good afternoon of fiddling with numbers and a handy online percentage calculator. Thank goodness I took careful notes of gauge of the felting swatch before and after felting to determine shrinkage. Throw a couple of extra stitches in for good measure, and I felt solid to cast on. Note to self, throw even more rows onto the pattern because knitted fabric shrinks vertically far more than it does horizontally. As in 33% (vertical) compared to 12% (horizontal) after two wash cycles and air drying flat. Big difference. (I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I?)

In the meantime, I whipped up a little Leaf Top (here's the direct Rav link) for Mom from stash yarn (Naturally Caron Spa, which is unfortunately now discontinued, in "Misty Taupe"). Ok, maybe not entirely unfortunately, because it splits like nuts. It does feel like a million bucks, though. It's made of 75% acrylic and 25% rayon from bamboo. I made it as a little surprise and I am so pleased that it fits and she likes it! (It is kind of difficult to make surprises for her when we live together.)

I modified the edgings and hem length. Check out my notes on Ravelry for specific details.

Ooh, also, I have new stuff! I have recently discovered Interweave (my favorite multi-craft blanket company) publishes a magazine called Knit.Wear--and I love it. They recently had an online "hurt" sale and I discovered the entire back issue collection (just 4 issues, since the premier in 2011) priced at $10 on some of the online store pages (but not all). I called and they honored the $10 price over the listed $24.99. I now have a nice CD-ROM with all 4 issues in PDF. The magazines are normally about $14.99 each and they aren't available in normal craft or book stores, only at your LYS or from online through Interweave.

Then, in the public library, I discovered one of the books that was advertised in one of the Knit.Wear issues, Shades of Winter: Knitting with Natural Wool by Ingalill Johansson and Ewa K. Andinsson, published by Interweave (see, they are my favorite company). It is gorgeous. It partly photographed in one of the seasonal ice hotels that really exist! (I had previously thought they were just made up for that James Bond movie. Nope. They're real and apparently there's more than one of them.) You can preview some of the patterns at the Interweave online store, here, where it happens to be on sale for less than $7. Sweet deal. As I found mine in the library, I'll be visiting an office supply store to ink up my all-in-one printer/copier magic machine to copy the patterns I plan to make one fine day. It's never not good weather to knit, I don't care how hot. 

Here are my selections from the book:

Copyright Ewa K. Andinsson & Interweave.

Copyright Ewa K. Andinsson & Interweave.

Copyright Ewa K. Andinsson & Interweave.

I'll take another day to wax poetic about Knit.Wear and the patterns I'm so excited about...oh, and the articles and tips! 

*I noticed that sometimes my pictures in other posts were taking a ridiculously long time to load for viewing. To fix that, hopefully, I've reduced the resolution size of my images on this post. 


  1. I'm a big fan of KnitWear, great isn't it. I have every issue including the most recent.

    Nice work on your Mum's top, and I'm looking forward to seeing the felted piece finished.

    1. Annie, thank you so much for commenting! I just received the recent Knit.Wear, too. I'd subscribe, but I keep finding great deals on the Interweave site.

      And it is great to see you back on your blog!


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