Saturday, December 17, 2005

I Never Would've Believed It...

...if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

In Felted Knits, Bev Galeskas explains that felting is an unpredictable process, and sometimes two different colors of the same brand of yarn will felt differently. Even different lots of the same yarn hold no guarantees that they'll felt the same way every time. The first three felted totes I made were all of Lamb's Pride in the color called Blue Magic, and the fourth was of Old Sage Lamb's Pride. The degree of felting seemed to be fairly consistent among the blues, and between the blues and the green, so I decided that the degree of difference probably wasn't that extreme. Knitted fabric shrinks in both directions during the felting process, but much more so in the vertical direction. My resulting totes had started out as rectangles when knitted, but finished up nearly square after felting.

I usually wait until I have multiple bags knitted so that I can toss them into the washer to shrink together. The bags aid one another in agitation and help speed the fulling process, plus I feel less wasteful by using the same amount of hot water for more than one article at a time. This load consisted of Jody's tote bag in the green-and-gold Andes wool, and two more Lamb's Pride totes: Kathy's in Charcoal Heather and Libby's in Pine Shadows.

When I pulled the bags out of the washer after the requisite amount of agitation and opened the pillowcases so I could rinse them, I was amazed. The Charcoal Heather bag felted into a rectangular shape, much more like a purse than like a tote bag. The Pine Shadows bag came out much closer to square and will be larger.

I was very impressed with the way the Andes bag felted. I've always been taken with the "tiger stripes" that appeared during the knitting, but they've felted into quite the beautiful, solid fabric -- and still with tiger stripes, albeit a tad narrower than they were before felting. I have to get hold of more of that yarn and do some more things with it.

Photos will follow in a few days as soon as everything is dry, I promise.

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