Thursday, November 18, 2010

Adventures in Felting

I have two small problems:
1) Lucy likes to hide and/or chew on the coasters that tend to float around the living room.  This isn't so terrible, but one set of coasters is stone (not great for chewing on...chipped little baby teeth, here we come) and the other set smells like recycled tires, which I just don't feel good about her SMELLING, let alone chewing on.
2) I have a ton of scrap wool leftover from various knitting projects I have done in the last few months.

So to solve both these problems, I am knitting some coasters, which I will then felt.  Cool! Here are some pics of my work in progress:

I knit them using Cascade 220 , size 8 double pointed needles (the pattern said to use size10.5 needles but I only had 8s), and using a simple pattern that I found for free online...that I can't find here a reproduction of the free pattern that I found somewhere:

Cast on 6 onto dpn.
Divide stitches onto three needles (2 per needle)
Round 1: *k1 f&bl, place marker, k1 f&bl repeat from * (increase to 4 st on each needle)
All following rounds: k1 f&bl at the beginning of each needle and after each marker (inc by 6 sts each round).
Continue in pattern until there are 18 stitches between marker (if you use size 10.5 needles increase until there are 12 stitches between markers)
Bind off loosely.

Here's how mine looked:

After I knit all six (I still have tons of wool scraps left, but I was excited to try felting) I did a quick internet search on how to felt wool.  I found a ton of different techniques, but the one I liked best was what one blogger called the accidental technique.  Meaning who hasn't accidentally felted a wool sweater by machine washing it?  Well, I hadn't, actually, but I got the gist of the process:

Put the wool items in a pillow case to avoid wool fibers mucking up your washer.  Set the machine on the lowest water setting, the highest agitation setting and the hottest water setting.  Toss the pillow case in the machine start the cycle and check on it every 5-10 minutes.  Easy enough!  I had to restart the cycle a few times to get the coasters to shrink to the size that I wanted:

They looked a little like wool fortune cookies.

Then I steam ironed them flat and let them dry under some heavy books:

And now here they are - cute as little woolen buttons!

I might still sew a water-resistant backing on them and maybe lanolize.  But I am really happy with how they turned out!

No comments:

Post a Comment