First time wet-felting

Just over a year ago, I bought a skein of Noro Kureyon, a scratchy wool yarn the yarn shop proprietor said was good for felting. I couldn’t decide what to make with it, so it sat for ages. Well, with my new drawing habit, I wanted something to keep my pencil and eraser in – mostly so they would be easier to hold on to when I wanted to move between the dining table and sewing room table.

The shape I decided on was a barrel with a flap in the long direction, buttoned down near each end. The pattern is at the bottom of this post (behind the cut, if you’re on my main blog page); before that are my experiences with the felting process.

pencil pouch, preassembly assembled pouch pre-felting

My pre-felting measurements:
Gauge: a bit over 11 stitches and a bit under 13 rows in 4″.
The rectangle is 10.75″ tall and just over 9″ wide.

assembled pouch pre-felting, showing end pouch brushed, pre-felting

I read this was a good but slow felting yarn, and decided to help it along by brushing it with a cat brush before starting the felting process. I don’t know whether it helped, but then I don’t have any comparison.

slightly felted pencil pouch slightly felted pencil pouch

slightly felted pencil pouch partially felted pencil pouch

I started with two rounds of wash-wash-rinse in my giant washing machine, with two spiky plastic dryer balls for company and a little bit of soap. The machine was set on heavy soil, hot water, and the heavy duty cycle, and the pouch was in a mesh bag to keep in lint. Even after a run in the dryer, very little happened (the results are the first 3 pictures above). Afterward I did a round of hand-felting by shaking the pouch (without a mesh bag) with the dryer balls in a plastic canister, in two changes of water, each with a bit of dish soap and one also with baking soda. I read that hard water inhibits felting, and while I wouldn’t call ours hard, it’s far from soft. Another trip through the dryer, and still just about nothing (last picture above).

After a bit more research, I learned this “good for felting” yarn has a reputation online for being persnickety about felting. I went back to the washing machine, but more seriously. Same settings, with a round of wash-wash-rinse, but this time with two pairs of pants in addition to the dryer balls, a kettleful of nearly boiling water added to each wash, and a pretreatment of soaking the pouch in ice water before the first wash – the temperature change is supposed to help shock the fibers open. No mesh bag, either, because it didn’t seem to be shedding badly.

fully felted pencil pouch - front fully felted pencil pouch - back

That is when the magic happened. So much smaller, so little stitch definition. I don’t know how much was the particular method I used last and how much was the fibers finally being ready to give up their original shape, but I can say I’ll start with this method next time. A shave (see notes on razors in an earlier post) and some buttons and it was ready for use!

shaved pencil pouch pencil pouch on sketchbook

Final measurements: 7″ seam to seam and 8.5″ end to end, since the ends are poofed out. Not quite 9″ around from opening to end of flap (what would be the height of the original rectangle); 2.5″ diameter. The rectangle lost almost 2″ in each direction.

Continue reading First time wet-felting

Illumination

This is the 133rd anniversary of the opening of the Savoy Theatre in Westminster, London, which was the first public building in the world to be lit entirely with electricity. In honor of that I have old and new lightbulb patterns for you.

three light bulbs in crochet

Lightbulbs Aplenty Pattern

In the early days of this blog I designed a compact fluorescent lightbulb and stitched an incandescent bulb to go along with it. In honor of today I thought I’d write a pattern for the incandescent bulb, clean up the CFL pattern if possible, and add an LED bulb pattern to the mix!

LED lightbulb

The CFL changes have been made to the original blog post, and for the LED pattern you’ll have to get the Name-Your-Price pattern in the store (which includes all three bulbs). The incandescent pattern is below.

Incandescent Light Bulb

incandescent lightbulb Gauge is not terribly important, but since I use an E/4 hook (3.5mm) on the CFL, I used it on the incandescent as well. You’ll need worsted weight yarn in two colors, stuffing, and (optionally) something to weight the bottom with (I have used tangled necklace chains, beads, pebbles, and coins). My crochet abbreviations and conventions are on the crochet reference page, and any stitch instruction you might want is linked to from the pattern page.

In bulb color:
1. Form magic ring, ch 1, and sc 6.
2. 2sc around (12).
3. *Sc, 2sc* around (18).
4. *2sc, sc 2* around (24).
5. Sc 2, *2sc, sc 3* five times, 2sc, sc (30).
6-8. Sc around (30 sc; 3 rnds).
9. *Dec, sc 5* four times, sc 2 (26).
10. Sc 2, *dec, sc 4* four times (22).
11. *Dec, sc 3* four times, sc 2 (18).
12-13. Sc around (18 sc, 2 rnds).
14. *Dec, sc 4* around (15).
15-17. Sc around (15 sc; 3 rnds).
18. *Dec, sc 3* around (12). Stuff bulb.

Cut yarn and needle join in second stitch from end; FO bulb color.

In base color: tie slip knot and place on hook. Insert into any stitch of rnd 18 and attach with slip stitch.
19. Starting in next st and ended in same st as sl st, sc around (12).
20-23. Sc around (12 sc; 4 rnds). Stuff, finishing with bottom weight if using.
24. *Dec* around (6). FO.

Dish glove keeper

My husband wears gloves when he washes dishes, and we needed a place to put them in between. Long ago I crocheted him a sort of strap, a loop that hangs from the oven door handle, and he put the gloves through the loop for holding. However, that didn’t work so well (though we kept it for probably close to two years). The gloves would regularly fall out and the strap didn’t contain their wet grossness, so I got an unpleasant fwap in the leg numerous times.

I had in my stash some pieces of a dollar store mesh laundry bag that I bought eight years ago for aeration in a gym bag (I don’t think I ever showed it to you, since it was before the blog; see the bottom of this post for photos). Finally I made a new holder with it.

rubber glove holder rubber glove holder

I laboriously zigzagged the piece into a tube (it kept getting sucked into the machine) and then folded it so the seam was center back. Bias tape (extra wide double fold, my favorite kind) across the bottom and around the top, and then in a hanging loop. Simple and quick.

Finally, as promised, a few pictures of the gym bag. Click to embiggen (as always) and un-crop.

bottom of gym bag gym bag, hanging view into open gym bag