It’s irrational, I know. Am I the only person who feels this way? The fear of interfering with the natural progression of my washing machine has prevented me from trying felting for years. To be honest, I’ve never had that much interest in felting, so my reluctance never really bothered me. There have been a lot of cute felted bag patterns that I’ve admired over the years but nothing moved me enough to try it for myself. For one thing, it seemed like too much trouble to run the washing machine, stop it mid-cycle, and then let it run through the rest of the cycles. I suppose if I had some jeans or some towels to wash I could have thrown those in and let them finish after removing the felted item. The rational part of my brain knows that when you open the top of a washing machine, it simply stops running. You can stick your hands in there and everything. But the irrational part convinced me that sticking my hands in a dormant but technically “on” washing machine was a bad idea. So merrily I knit on, convinced that I wasn’t really missing out on anything by not wanting to felt.
Until I met this scarf. This is Cheryl Kubat’s Chevron Scarf from Knit Noro. Cheryl is a local designer, so when this book came out I made a point of driving up to Newburyport so I could buy it from A Loom With A View, the wonderful fiber arts shop that caters to knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers. I bought the book as well as all the Noro Kureyon needed to knit the scarf. The knitting was fun and easy; I finished the scarf in a week last June. It was the final two words of the pattern that sent chills down my spine: felt slightly.
I wasn’t ready to felt, not even slightly. I thought about felting it by hand but that would have been impractical. The scarf is over seven feet long and I didn’t relish the prospect of felting it section by section in the bathtub. So my scarf sat in a project bag for six months. It was only when the weather grew colder that my desire to wear the scarf won out over my fear of the washing machine. Finally, in December, I took the scarf down to the basement along with an old pair of jeans and some towels I wanted to wash. I was ready to felt–slightly.
Slightly seemed like a good place to start. I wasn’t going to end up with a completely stiff item, and I could always throw it back in if I wanted it a little more felted as I went along. As you can see, the process was a success–and I didn’t break the washing machine, or lose a hand, or flood the basement. A whole new world of felted possibilities is now open to me. There’s a felted hat pattern in Knit Noro that’s also knit in Noro Kureyon that I want to make. I have everything I need: the needles, the yarn, and the washing machine. By the way, can you spot the error in the scarf? I forgot to switch colors after two rows so there is a larger patch of blue on one side of the scarf. Nobody’s perfect.
My LYS Seed Stitch Fine Yarn is holding their annual sale this week. They offer yarn by the bag, patterns, books and project bags at discounted prices. Every year eager yarncrafters mob the giant sales table in the middle of the floor and grab their bargains. I went looking for books and patterns, since I really do need to knit all the yarn in the house before buying any more. I picked up some back issues of The Knitter, a British magazine, as well as a really cool project bag. I already have too many bags around the house but this one was too good to pass up. There was a stack of five of these bags on the table. Personally, I can’t imagine why there were so many of them sitting around. Sure, skulls aren’t everyone’s thing, but this is Salem; the skull and crossbones is a very popular motif both with tourists as well as locals. Maybe the original price of $32 put people off. The bag is a little lightweight; I wouldn’t cart books around in it but I can easily put a decent-sized project in it. It was a good deal at 50-percent off. It’s made by a women’s co-op in India. I hope Seed Stitch sells the other bags this week.
Another Christmas has come and gone, and all the build-up and anticipation leading up to it have faded into memory. As time goes on and available space in my house shrinks, the question “What do you want for Christmas?” becomes more difficult. Things for the house are always appreciated: kitchenware, a nice set of towels, a nice warm blanket. This year, what I really wanted from Santa was the gift of storage. Santa, in the form of my favorite aunt, came through and on New Years Eve a new bookcase was delivered to my house. I could finally take all my books out of the boxes they’ve been sitting in for over a year and give them a new home. I have space for all my craft books with room to spare! So now I can buy more…