Until about ten years ago, I used to knit a lot but then I virtually gave it up. This was partly because my children became teenagers and decided they didn’t want home made clothes any more (Note to younger Mums – this is just a phase and once they become young adults they’ll be asking you to knit and sew for them again!) and partly because I became disheartened with the quality of yarn for sale locally, which was mostly 100% acrylic and had a tendency to go horrible and bobbly after a few washes.
And, although I’m lucky enough to have a very friendly sheep – the last of a small flock, getting the wool spun is ridiculously expensive and the knitted garments are itchy and very hard to care for. It does make quite good snowmen but you only need so many snowmen! So, I started saving the fleeces pending the day when I would have the time and knowledge to get the lanolin out of them and put them to some kind of use.
That day has yet to come but, recently, inspired by a perusal of the wide variety of yarns that are now easily available online and some incredible knitted, crocheted and felted creations on pinterest, I am again finding myself entangled in a world of yarn and fibre.
I considered starting another blog as a sort of Journal to record interesting discoveries and my makes. But I don’t think I’d manage to keep it going because of course I’m still wanting to sew and make quilts and I already struggle to find enough hours in the day.
Instead, I’ve decided to start WOOL ON SUNDAYS. From Monday to Saturday each week Rainbow Hare will carry on unchanged with my usual mix of sewing quilting and random and I’ll save anything related to wool or yarn for Sundays – so if you’re a quilting friend who doesn’t like knitting you’ll know to skip my Sunday posts!
On the other hand, if you have a post of your own which includes felt or yarn arts of any kind you are very welcome to pop along to my Sunday posts and link up :)
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During the last couple of weeks, I have finally embarked on a long intended adventure into the unpredictable art of felt making. My real ambition is to attempt to felt some of those fleeces in a controlled way, hopefully without having to spin them first (I have already felted/wrecked a jumper :( ) but when I stumbled across Wash + Filz It I decided, with some trepidation, to start with a product that other people who know more about it all than I do seemed to think was genuinely going to work out. I say ‘seemed’ because although Wash + Filz It is described as shrinking and felting easily in the washing machine at 40° (or sometimes 60°) I struggled to find clear product information anywhere about exactly how much it shrinks. I did find an excellent blog post – A felting primer for hand knits (wet felting) – with a lot of helpful information in both the post and comments, though, and I eventually decided the best thing would be to buy a pattern and wash it on my machine’s shortest 40° cycle (30 minutes) and reserve judgement about whether to finish felting it by hand if it didn’t work out. So I bought this pattern from Black Sheep Wools and followed the ladies size for my first attempt to give myself a benchmark for future projects. I used Wash and Filz It Fine and knitted on 5mm needles. If you’re thinking these are looking a bit clunky, that’s because I had to go go three needles outside my comfort zone!
I stuffed carrier bags into the thumbs and hands to stop them felting together and I found they shrunk by about a quarter in the first wash, rather than the third estimated by the pattern so I put them through again and they shrunk a little more.
I also found they shrunk more widthways than lengthways but they had enough stretch whilst they were wet to adjust the size within an inch or so and overall no one could have been happier or more surprised than I was when they came out of the washing machine.
I would have considered putting them through on a longer cycle to try to shrink them down a bit more but my daughter was staying and we wanted them to dry in time for her to take them home so we left it that if they get even bigger with wear she can put them in her washing machine and make sure to stretch them into shape whilst they’re wet.
I then persuaded one of my three sons to have a pair because he travels to Poland a lot, although they had to be black or grey and plain! I again used the ladies size and I kept the length but made them four stitches wider.
This time I used a 40 minute 40° wash and they shrunk to perfect size first time. Although you can’t really see it in the pictures, the felting closes up the holes and makes these warmer and windproof.
Now, hot off my needles, is a slightly more ambitious project, which might work out ok or might be disastrous…
I’m not expecting this to be a very popular party but I’d love it if anyone has anything they’d like to link up with WOOL ON SUNDAYS.There are just a few rules:
If you have any yarn themed posts, I’d love you to put a link to your post in the comments. The rules, as usual, are: 1). Posts must include some content – makes or musings or photos – related to knitting, crochet, felting, spinning or yarn. 2). Projects sewn from felt or wool fabric or stitchery using wool are also welcome but please don’t link posts that are exclusively about sewing, quilting and non-woollen fabrics. 3). Posts don’t have to be from the past week but please put a link to WOOL ON SUNDAYS in or at the bottom of any posts you link up. 4). MOST IMPORTANT visit anyone else who links. The next Wool on Sundays will be on Sunday 1st March.
[LINKY PARTY LOST IN MOVE FROM BLOGGER]