Felting for the first time

The other day, I attempted to felt yarn for the first time.

I was making a minion hat and until now, I have made all my hats very simply…acrylic yarn, ends weaved in and voila!

IMG_2023

I have been pretty happy with them, as have friends who now own and wear them proudly 🙂

But lucky for me, one person requested wool rather than acrylic.  I searched for a nice brand to use that would offer a good selection of colours and came across Cascade 220 yarn. It’s 100% peruvian wool and is quite affordable.  Many reviews online mentioned that it felts nicely and my curiosity was piqued.

I have read about two ways to felt…by hand and by machine. Because I wanted to actually witness the felting process, I decided to try it by hand.  I used my kitchen sink and submerged the hat in hot water.  Sadly, the water in our apartment doesn’t get *hot* so I also boiled a kettle and added that water to the mix. Using rubber gloves, I spent about 15-20 minutes agitating the hat.  I rubbed it together and found the rubber gloves added helpful friction to the process. Eventually, I started to see the beginning of felting.  The stitches began to blend to together and soften.  I really liked the effect and decided to stop, allow it to dry and see what 20 minutes of hand-felting looked like.

I will admit, at that point my arms felt like they were going to fall off, so that added to the desire to stop. 😉

Since then, I have made the eye to attach to the hat and I felted that separately in a small bowl.  I poured boiling water over it and instead of jumping right in, I allowed it to sit for a few minutes.  This seemed to allow the wool to soften and really sped up the felting process!

For comparison purposes, this is an acrylic unfelted hat that I made a few weeks back:

minion hat unfelted

The stitches are obvious, easily counted and when stretched out, they separate, creating space between them.

The semi-felted hat as of today, looks like this:

felted minion hat

felted minion hat top view

As I mentioned, it is only semi-felted so the stitches are still visible to an extent but their fibres have begun to mesh together.  The spaces in between each stitch and smaller and therefore the material feels quite a bit denser and warm.

I think I will try the machine felting technique next to see how it compares.  The one downside to it that I can foresee is that you can’t actually see the process without stopping the machine and pulling out the piece to check on it.  But at least it will be easier on my arms! 😉

Some quick resources regarding felting:

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter03/FEATfelthis.html

http://www.freshstitches.com/tips-and-techniques-for-felting/

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Crocheted Skulls, a new obsession

Red Merino/Silk Shawl 2 by A Dash of Noir
Red Merino/Silk Shawl 2, a photo by A Dash of Noir on Flickr.

Perhaps that title is a little misleading.

Yes, I have been crocheting many, many skulls., but said skulls are parts of crocheted shawls that are all similar patterns. So, yes, lots of them, but not much variety I’m afraid.

Yet.

I have been spending time looking up ideas for adding skulls to various patterns: scarves, bags, blankets. My Ravelry list of favourites is ridiculously long. The projects will come, eventually. Right now I’m in my collector (of patterns)/obsessive (about one single pattern) phase. It changes on a regular basis but this skull shawl obsession seems to have more staying power than most things that capture my attention.

Silkscreening Fun on Queen St West

I recently spent a whole Sunday at a silkscreen workshop in Toronto.  A friend and I were given an awesome 2-for-1 coupon for the workshop, held at Peach Berzerk in Toronto.  I highly recommend the workshop…and I also highly recommend doing it with a friend!  Much more fun that way! 🙂

I’ve always wanted to know how to silkscreen but never had the opportunity.  The women running the workshop were awesome; very energetic and willing to help out, answering any and all questions, no matter how inane some of them were.   They were incredibly knowledgeable about silk-screening and you could tell they had run the workshop many times before.  Their props, their explanations…everything was crazy clear and easy to understand.  I felt comfortable, as though I was learning along with a group of friends rather than strangers.

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