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Left: Swatch knitted with yarn finished normally
Right: Swatch knitted with yarn that has been felted
I felted a sample skein in 2 small tubs of water: one contained hot soapy water; the other, cold water. I mashed it around quite a bit by hand, and alternated between the 2 tubs. I think I repeated the process around 10 times. When I pulled it out, it was a matted mess.
I was pretty worried about pulling the strands apart, so I chickened out and let it dry over night. The theory was that it might not fall apart in my hand if I let it dry first. I don’t know why I thought that, except that it might have something to do with procrastination.
Guess what? I think I could have saved myself a lot of anxiety if I remembered the last step of the felting process. Whack the heck out of the yarn against the edge of the kitchen counter (or any hard edge), to break up the felt a bit. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember until I started knitting with the finished yarn.
Last night, I pulled the strands apart and wound it up into a ball. It pulled apart fairly easily, once I determined that it wasn’t all that delicate anymore. I immediately started swatching, using the same stitch pattern (linen stitch) and same needle size (US #7) as before.
As you can see from the above picture, the swatch made with the felted yarn showed better stitch definition.
For my birthday, Martin graciously accompanied me to Retzlaff Winery for the annual Spinning at the Winery, where he helped me pick out 3 fleeces. 2 lincoln/corriedale crosses for a tapestry that I wanted to make, and a black merino fleece.
The lincoln/corriedale fleeces are absolutely luscious. Take a look at these beauties.
I grabbed about 1.5 pounds of each fleece and scoured them right away, because I hoped to finish the tapestry by the time we leave for the British Virgin Islands in early July (going sailing for a week!). It’ll be a present to the couple that’s organizing the family for the trip. (Did you guess that once I decide to do something, I can’t rest until I start it? Finishing it is something completely different.)
I used the cold scour method (lots of soap and soak the fleece in cool water overnight) because I wanted to retain the lanolin. I was a little worried because the next morning, the wool felt a bit tacky when wet. But, it dried beautifully. All the tackiness is gone. There’s now just the feel of lanolin rich wool. A lady at CNCH told me that the lanolin helps a woven wool rug wear better, so I decided to try it. But, I’m not willing to spin the wool raw, as she did. A little too much sheepiness for me.
Anyway, the wool was rinsed 3 times in cool water with vinegar in each rinse, to bring the acidity back. (Soap is alkaline, and wool likes to be a little on the acidic side.) I let it dry outside in wire bins over the course of the past 2 days (90 degree weather helped quite a bit).