Thursday, 4 September 2008

Felted bags, berries and other things

I haven't been lazy all this time - I just didn't have the time to do all that many textile things! But - looking on the bright side, the kitchen is redone, nice and clean, new shelves, things sorted through (some thrown out!) and as a result of reorganising my cookbooks - I have now one empty book shelf in my "wool room" as well (not to mention that all cookbooks are in the kitchen, where I need them)! yep, I will be able to put all my textile book on a proper shelf - for a short while, as it is nearly full again - and some have been borrowed by a friend and will come back in a little while. so not really an excuse to buy more books - but what the heck, is it my fault that so many people publish so many interesting new books all the time?
I have also tested a pattern that I saw on a photo a short while ago. it was a knitted octagon, which formed a blanket together with small squares inserted in between. not a difficult pattern, so I graphed it and started to knit it with cotton chenille. but to my disappointment it didn't look all that great with this yarn:( somehow untidy and not very attractive. back to the drawing board - and a different yarn. I still have leftovers of Kilcarra Tweed, blue, purple, red etc... I already know that it felts - a kid's sweater, worn by DS years ago, felted slightly more every time I washed it (by hand!), so I was sure that it would work the same in the washing machine. and it did! I knitted two fairly large octagons (well, ok, it looks like a circle unfelted:) in the pattern and a simple stripe in garter stitch. after sewing all of them together I added a small stripe with buttonhole to close the bag if needed (I tend not to close mine, but this isn't for me - and I found to my annoyance that bag magnets can cut quite easily through felted fabric).
it measured 50 cm in diameter before the felting, and 38 afterwards; felted at 60 deg. C with added normal washing powder.
it worked quite well; after I felted it I pulled it into a slightly more octagonal shape and the size is a bit more practical as well (apparently not everybody runs around with huge sacks - like me:). I will add some embroidery or other embellishment once the bag is dry - I think I'll just follow the lines of the "wheel", which should be quite easy. the holes did shrink enough during the wash, so there's no need to line the bag with fabric. and as I quite like the bag in shape and size - I am going to make another one for myself soon:) I don't really like the Kilcarra tweed for knits worn on the skin as they are pretty scratchy, but they are perfect for felting - and they don't even change colour when put into the machine with washing powder. this makes felting easy and economical as I just stuff the knitted piece in with the normal wash!

I am also still collecting dahlias and rhamnus berries for dyeing - they look really tempting, black and shiny - and unfortunately not edible! but they do leave funny marks in tattoo colour on the skin (I have been dropping some of them when picking and when they roll down the skin they leave interesting lines - that are hard to wash off!:) the blackberries would be ready for a first picking too, but as the weather hasn't been great (still very damp) I won't pick too many as they tend to go mouldy pretty much over night. we were told for weeks that we'll have a great indian summer - but so far september has pretty much started the way all of august went - cool and damp and miserable most of the time:( summer? oh yes, I faintly remember the first 2 weeks of june:(( well, there's nothing to be done about this - so I just get on with my textiles as if it were late autumn already. and read everything within grasp!


Helen said...

I think your felted knitting is very exciting and I loved the octagonal shape. The way it all transforms in the washing machine is like a little bit of magic! My knitting is so painfully slow I could not face knitting to felt but there is no two ways about it they do make hard wearing bags. (I have one -but not made by me)

Woolly Bits said...

yes, I like them a lot! if you just knit them, they stay too "meshy" and aren't really practical, but a run through the machine and they'll last forever! as long as you choose felting wool that is - I distinctly remember a mitten in elephant size that wouldn't shrink - I had lost the label and didn't realise it was superwash:)) and anyway - I can knit fast - but I could never do such lovely felts - the way you do!