Tag Archives: felting

firing the blog back up…

Hello one and all … it has been 6 months since I posted…I was working…what can I say…although that excuse wears thin a couple of months ago…so be it.

I am sick of starting new blogs when I travel so I am just going to stick you people with my travel stuff too.  There aren’t that many of you anyway.  I am leaving tomorrow for India and Bhutan (aka the happiest place on earth).  I have been to India, but never Kolkata, twice before (25 years ago on Alan and my year long 1/2 bike trip…India killed the bike part) and 8 years ago with the kids on the six month trip documented on:


This time I will spend a couple of days alone in Kolkata then be joined by my sister Felicity’s son, David, My sister Penny’s daughter, Laura, My sister Nicola’s husband, Surya and my sister Melanie’s husband, Pat for the Bhutan part of the trip.  I have already familiarized myself somewhat with the GKA, even though I am not actually on a plane yet.  This is for two reasons…1) we gave our Lonely Planet, India to street urchins in Bangkok so they could make money re-selling it and I don’t want to pay another $42 for a 2-inch book only a few pages of which are relavent.  and 2) did I mention I would be alone?

I have been getting ready for the trip by exercising.  I have been walking with friends and attending aquafitness classes.  I have discovered a pool where three times a week it is possible to go to 4 aquafitness classes in a row, thus getting 3 hours of exercise.  This has helped me build my stamina so I can do the walking around (with my pack if neccessary).

I did make a hat last week on the new years party hat theme..it is felted three times through the washer and dryer.  I am thinking of inserting an ear covering armature for cold nights and adding some decorative bits…

..he insisted that the cat may become an internet phenomenon if only she got exposure...

..Alan insisted that the cat may become an internet phenomenon if only she got exposure…

Back to basics…felting again

I decided to work out how to do a bit of a brim on a basic felted hat shape.

Basic felted hat with brim

Basic felted hat with brim

This hat could probably be used as a base for decoration like the pillbox, but I am showing it plain first.

Do it yourself: Patons Classic Wool size 4 1/2mm needles

Brim:  Cast on 200 stitches,  I worked the brim in garter stitch…knit one round, purl one round, decreasing was done on every other knit round (4th, 8th, 12th,16th and 20th rounds). There were 10 stitches decreased evenly around on each of the 5 decrease rounds, and the decreases were staggered each time.

Body: When you down to 150 stitches, continue in stocking stitch (knit every round) until work measures 9 1/2″ (24 cm) from the beginning.

Top: Next round *knit 27, slip 1, k2 tog, psso* repeat around (this will dec 10 stitches around).  Knit 2 rounds plain.  *knit 25, slip 1, k2 tog, psso* repeat around.  Knit 2 rounds plain….continue in this manner doing the decreases with two plain rounds between until after the row with *knit 15, slip 1 k2 tog, psso* at this point start putting only one plain round between until the round with *knit 3, slip 1 k2 tog, psso* after this round, keep knitting 2 together constantly until you have 7 stitches left.  Break your yarn and pull it through.

Run a string round the point at which the brim meets the body of the hat.  Pull it to the correct diameter for your head and tie with a reef knot.  Send the hat through the washer, dryer, and washer with laundry.  Dry on a form.

Cute but dumb

Way back when, when we were in high school, one of our sisters dated boys that fit into this category.  Back then, I was all over the cute, but not so much the dumb.  This phrase is what I have been thinking about  while making this hat.  And I have had as much fun making it as it is useless…

I think I mentioned that I had to make a trial run at the top of the fez the other day because I couldn’t get the red wool right away.  I had a pink flat felted top lying around and I felt (ha, ha) I had to use it.  “Self”, I said, “what else besides a fez has a flat top?”…answer…a pillbox hat…and so it goes…

After I had the basic hat made, I broke into my “stuff” cupboard and got out a 2″ (2cm) wide strip of leftover crepe bias which I gathered the edge of and put around a vintage button I picked up at the knitting guild vendors night.  Then I used pairs of peacock feathers that NIcky and Suja brought me back from India.  I put the pairs back to back so they are nice from either side and put them in behind the button.

This is NOTHING like the plan I had when I went into the stuff cupboard, but I am happy with the result.  I remember when I was doing my diploma in ceramics, I used to drive one of the professors crazy at the crits because she was an “artist” who believed you had to draw a picture of the finished pot before you started throwing the darn thing.  She would ask me why I did things to the pots and all I ever had to say was  “because I thought it would look good” or “I kept doing stuff till I thought it looked okay”.  Needless to say, my pottery never made it to galleries.

Do it yourself: (Patons Classic Wool 4 1/2 mm needles)

Sides: Cast on 112 stitches onto a 16″ (40 cm) needle.  Knit for 6 inches.  Cast off.  Run strings around the cast on and cast off edges, through each stitch.  Pull each string to a 5 1/2″ diameter circle and tie with reef knots. Put through the washer and dryer twice.  Fold bottom edge over 1/2″

Top: Cast on 4 stitches, purl one row, turn, Increase one stitch in each stitch (8 stitches).  DIvide onto 3 needles.  Knit one round plain.  Increase one stitch in each stitch around (16 stitches total).  Knit one round plain.  Knit one, increase one around (24 stitches total), Knit one round plain.  Knit 2, increase one around (32 stitches total).  Knit one round plain….continue until you have 112 stitches ending after the plain round.  Cast off loosely.  Put through washer and dryer twice.

Pin top down onto the bottom every 1/2″ (1 cm), then sew together using a ladder stitch.  Embellish as desired.

Yer basic felted hat

…remember on New Years day when I said if I mention felting again shoot me?  IT WAS A JOKE…please don’t shoot me, it would hurt…it seems like felting is all I can think about these days…It’s not that I have an one track mind or anything (like my father or several other family members I could name in an instant..you know who you are)…

This is a basic felted hat I have been working on.  I had been planning on using my embellishing machine to play with the surface of it but I like it plain for now.  I may do another one and play with it.  Since it is straight knitting it can be done anywhere. Heather and I are getting along a lot better lately.  She is only providing constructive criticism these days…not such good copy but a much calmer homelife in general I must say…Not to worry, she is 17 and I am me so I am sure we will be able to tick each other off again at some point…  The purple bow accent was her idea and I think it is nice.  It is the same bow tie as I made the other day to go with the Dr. Who fez.

Do it yourself:

(Patons Classic Wool … lime green 4 1/2mm needles) I use a 16″ (40cm) needle until the stitches won’t fit then switch to a set of 4

Cast on 140 stitches.  Do 2 rounds k1, p1 rib then knit plain till it measures 9 1/12 inches.   Next round…knit 25, slip 1, k2 tog, psso, around (=loose 10 stitches).  Do two rounds plain, Next round knit 23, slip 1, k2 tog, psso around.  Do two rounds plain…

Keep going this way doing your decreases every third round until the round that you do knit 15, slip 1 knit 2 tog, psso around.  At this point you start only putting one round in between your decrease rounds instead of two.

At the point where you have done knit 3, then your decrease around (i.e. 20 stitches left) it is time for the rapid descent or you will end up with an elfen point.  When I got down to the 20 stitch mark, I just kept knitting 2 together until I had about 7 stitches left, then cut my thread and ran the end through and pulled it tight.

I sent it through the washing machine twice and the dryer once in between. If you look at the pictures close up you can see that there is still some detail in the stitches visible.  You would have to cast on more stitches if you were planning to felt it completely and make the fabric indistinct.

I dried it the second time on my hat form.  A cheap alternative to a hat form is a Styrofoam wig stand you get from a beauty supply place.  If you were going this route, I would put the hat on my head and tell it where to go before I let it dry on the Styrofoam head.

Bow:  Patons Classic wool 4 1/2 mm needles.  Cast on 26.  Divide onto a set of 3 needles.  Knit 12, p1 until it measures 4″(10cm). Cast off.  Sew up ends with purl stitches running down the sides and cinch the middle.

Telling your felting where to go

This post is relatively technical and if you are not a knitter, you may want to stop reading now before the boredom hits too hard, but please look at the pretty pictures anyway…

I have figured something out over time while I have been doing some of these felted hats. I may have been told these things somewhere back in the distant past and forgot them, but I will never forget them again. There are two major contributing factors to the shape of a knitted hat, only one of them being the stitches that are put into it.  Any knitter that has blocked a lace shawl (or a sweater for that matter) knows the power of the pins.  Felting in the washing machine and dryer is no different but you are not in there with the stuff to control things and there is no board to pin things on.

I would never expect to wash a lace shawl without blocking it so I am not sure why it took me so long to figure out I had to corral the hat before I felted it.  This is what went horribly wrong with the Remembrance Day hat back in November (before the epiphany).  I just put it through the washer and dryer and let it get tugged around by the wringer and the other laundry willy nilly.  It shrank but there was no control to it.  I went back today and re felted it with a string around the cinch point.  The hat may still have issues but that one is fixed…

It now looks quite a bit like the 20’s style cloche I was originally trying for but thought I had failed miserably at.  I also had only put it through the wash and dry once.  It really felts a lot the second time through.  Actually often it seems only two washes with a dryer in between is enough; take a good look after the second wash and decide if you really need to put it in again or not.  Things seem to depend on water temperature (hotter felts more) and the amount of other laundry in there with it (space to move felts things more).

So yesterday on the Doctor Who fez, I actually ran strings through the cast on and cast off edges.  I pulled them to about the tightness I thought they should end up at and eased the fullness around before I sent them through the washer and dryer….and P.S. be a Girl Scout…tie a reef knot so it will not come undone in the washing machine (ask me how I know!)

Lest we Forget

Remembtance Day hat, felted version

Remembtance Day hat, felted version

I had the idea for this Remembrance Day hat a couple of weeks ago.  it was supposed to be a felted version of a twenties cloche with a crocheted poppy.  I think I have discovered on Halloween and today why knitted felting was a short lived fad.  Firstly a felted hat has at least 50% more stitches in it than a regular hat because of the shrinkage.  Secondly, the washing machine turns into a real crapshoot.

Remembrance Day hat, unfelted version

Remembrance Day hat, unfelted version

unfelted version, top view

unfelted version, top view

I spent the last couple of days off and on knitting the felted hat.  I mapped it out on paper and used the (newly recovered) tension square that I had made and lost for the witches hat on Halloween to calculate the stitches. I knitted and knitted, and then put it in the washer and dryer.  I got a pattern for the crocheted poppy from Treasures in Needlework by Mrs Warren and Mrs Pullan, 1870, and threw it in the laundry with the hat.  This morning I got them out and found what I thought was a shapless, unusable mess.

I then set about spending today knitting the second (unfelted) hat and making a scaled down crocheted poppy from my head.  Now I am not sure which one is better.