Sunday, April 12, 2009

First Felt: Nesting bowls

V insisted I make her something for her birthday. So in honor of her birthday, I learned all about felting.

I decided to felt bowls and was inspired by painted fish studio who was inspired by design sponge diy.

I learned about all the details of felting through lots of people's blogs (gathering the details about how to do it was the hardest part), so thought I'd contribute to the blogosphere with a bit of detail on my process.

I did buy the book, One Skein, where you can find the pattern, but as with most knitting patterns, I'm challenged to find a yarn I like that also fits the pattern. The pattern called for bulky/chunky weight yarn, and, of course, I couldn't find any in the colors I wanted in a bulky knit. Instead I doubled a worsted wool weight yarn, and it worked great.

Lots of people talked about having problems getting their 100% wool to felt, so I tried a swatch. This started as a 4 x 3 rectangle and felted at 2 x 3 1/4. I put it in my front-load washing machine with a pair of jeans and had no problem. Of course, all the instructions for checking your piece every five minutes in the washing machine are useless for a front load. For me, it worked to just throw it in and forget about it. Here's the swatch:

Here's what they looked like before I felted them: Medium bowl: CO 45 sts, knit for 5 1/2 inches and decrease.

That's Jeff watching the Master's and that's Ray Parker on the big screen at his last hole of his golf career. (I learned way more than a non-golfer should ever know about golf this weekend.)

One Skein has a pattern for only two bowls, so I guestimated my third small orange ball. CO 35 sts and knit for 3 1/2 inches.

For the big bowl, I used Lamb's Pride Wool, but unfortunately, by doubling the yarn, I needed more than one skein. CO 55 sts, knit for 9 3/4 inches and decrease.

Here's how a bowl came out of the washing machine before I shaped it. Btw, all the bowls went through the cycle including spin, and despite what Ms. One Skein says in her book, they were fine. It was easy to shape the bowls with my hands, and I found it unnecessary to use bowls as a mold.

Thanks to V, I have a renewed interest in knitting and look forward to doing some more felting. Feling is great for grunge knitting, and it's a nice change from another scarf, hat, or baby something.

Notes on felting:
--No superwash wool
--Only 100% wool will felt.
--You can mix non-felting yarns with felting yarns for fun.
--People recommend washing your knitted item with a shoe, a tennis ball, or a pair of jeans. Some people say it's unnecessary.


Pamela said...

They look so cute. I like them on the model, too.

painted fish studio said...

i loooove your bowls! fabulous colors!

Vanessa said...

Those are some damn fine bowls, I say.

Sara said...

I learned about felting when I washed my favorite 40-year old wool sweater in the washer. It is so cute now!

Can one refelt? Like unravel the sweater, make caps for Jeff, and then wash them again to turn them into bowls? Do you think that that would work? I love the color of my old sweater!