Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fulling or Felting or Boiling even?

Purists say fulling, and those who care correct those who say felted when speaking about knit (or woven) fabric that are subsequently subjected to processes that cause fibers to permanently tangle and so shrink and stiffen the fabric. At work, where a merino product sold as 'boiled wool' is commonly used by students, the textile lecturer calls this process 'boiling' even though no boiling occurs. Which brings me to say I'm knitting myself another pair of Felted Clogs, my current clogs were made in June of 2007, and are showing wear. My first clogs don't need replacing just yet ... but soon will. The local Knitters Study Group project for June is felted slippers ... so it seems a good time to make a replacement pair to have ready. I'm also trying to use the last 34g of the 3ply of the yarn I used for my recent Leaf Beret by Melissa LaBarre. Trying - because as you will see, I'm having to try again, but I am making good progress on Toby's Gansey.

So felted clogs, last time they were not the fasted to felt, they were a very fast knit ... but a slow laborious felt. This time I was determined to use yarn that felted easily, I looked up the pattern online from work and saw that a local yarn is recommended. Naturally New Zealand Tussock 10ply (locals seem to know it as 'the one with the pukeko on it). I bought 3 balls and 2 balls of a Cleckheaton Nurture to trim the top edge with. Last time I made the 2nd smallest woman's size .. as my feet are not tiny. But as the first pair of clogs took many many trips thru the washing machine (and a boiling dye pot) to shrink enough to fit and even now are loose .. this time I'm knitting the smallest size.

I cast on Friday night and worked the sole, Saturday at knitters study group I worked the instep, Saturday night I worked the cuff and second sole and the sole and instep of the second clog. Today I finished the cuff and instep of the 2nd clog. These really are a fast knit, although after sock knitting the 9mm needles seem clumsy and unwieldy.

My new unfelted (unfulled?) clogs measure 13", huge and floppy by comparison to my old worn clogs. Currently the new ones are in a large tub of hot extremely sudsy water, and are being massaged vigorously with a toilet plunger by Bear. This is the felting/fulling system recommended to me after my trials with felting the first pair. Bear seems happy to make waves - in fact he is enjoying it so much I've left him to it.

My other 'new project' is a pair of wristers out of the 34 g of hand spun I had left over from my beret. I have divided the remaining yarn into two balls of equal weight and my plan is to knit until its all used up. I cast on my standard 40 stitches for a wrister ... but in a moment of temporary insanity or mindlessness I forgot that the yarn was more like fingering than sport or DK weight which would mean I'd need more stitches. I worked these in 2.2 rib, and they fit, but were snug. I've ripped these back and will start again with more stitches. I have Meg Swanson's A gathering of lace from the library, and am now wondering if I could incorperate a little of Norah Gaughan's Ribbed Lace Pullover patterning (Thanks to Wendy 98 for posting her swatch on flickr) into the 2.2 rib. I love the openwork between the twisted cables and the twisted cables. Might not be a quick knit after all .....

The plain knitting on Toby's Gansey went fast, already I am up to the separation rounds. The decorative all around rounds that provide a break between the highly textured yoke and the plain lower section of the gansey. That meant I had to made some decisions ... like the proportions and the length of the gussets. So I made a plan, using the suggestions in BBR's Knitting Gansey's book.
The separation band is a round of purl, a round of knit, a round of purl a round of knit. then two rounds of K2.P2, a round of knit and then an offset round of P2.K2. I have frogged a little, finding that that plain knit round was important in providing a little more definition to the stitches. Once I've repeated this once or twice more I can move onto the patterned yoke. I've charted the left side of the gansey yoke in excel .. and have to reverse it and print the chart for the right and left. I'm also toying with adding a very non traditional zip and collar ..... no decisions and no promises yet. I just wonder if Toby might wear that style more than a traditional gansey round neck.

ok - i'm off to see if Bear is tired yet, and if my clogs fit me yet :-)
take care
na Stella

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