Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Felted Knitting

This year is flashing by; its nearly March already!

I have been booked to teach a number of hand knitting workshops for Alton Knitting and Woolcraft, the yarn shop in Alton. One of the workshops I was booked to teach was 'Felted Knitting' and the original date was 10th March.

In the second week of January Marion, the manager, rang me to say there had been a 'cock up' on the dates and the programme said I was doing the workshop on 10th February, (which did in fact happen). Suddenly I had only 3 weeks to make the samples instead of the month and a half I had expected.
At the end of last year there where a couple of articles in Knit Today about felting knitting which proved to be useful. I had done quite a bit of washing machine felted knitting with both hand knitted and machine knitted items but my previous attempt at hand felting had been OK but not as easy as I had hoped. In the Knit Today article they mentioned using protective shelf liner from Lakeland; a plastic mess which comes in a roll. I ordered some and when it arrived tried it out, and I have to say I was very pleased with the result.

It didn't shrink the knitting as much as the machine washed pieces but it did make a very acceptable piece of felted knitting very easily. It worked very well for flat pieces but I think 3 dimensional pieces will felt better in the washing machine.

For the workshop I knitted a bag in Rowan Tapestry and Kid Silk Haze with an eyelash yarn for the top section of the bag. I knitted some leaves to add to the bag as decoration. I also made a flower corsage in Rowan Scottish Tweed. The bag was washed at 40 degrees and felted well and the Scottish Tweed was washed at 60 degrees. (I have tried felting it at a lower temperature but it doesn't work as well).

In the last few months the yarn spinners have also caught onto this idea of felting knitting as both Twilleys and Elle Yarns have a good range of yarns suitable for felting in the washing machine at 40 degrees.

The bag in the picture is knitted in Elle Merino Brights, a softly twisted, singles, merino wool, dyed in long lengths to give a gradual colour change which felts in the machine at 40 degrees. I used a modular knitting technique to make the front and back panels, and short row knitting to shape the side panels. Wherever possible I picked up and knitted pieces together as I would rather knit than sew! I also made a knitted lining for the base so I could use stiff card to keep the base flat.

The pattern should be available soon along with other patterns on my website. I am also teaching the Felted Knitting Workshop again on Sunday 25th March at the Interknit Cafe in Farnham.