Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lion Brand Wool-Ease Does, In Fact, Felt

Hello!  To non-knitters, the sentence above makes absolutely no sense.  It just looks like bad English grammar.  It's not.

Felting is a knitting process involving agitating something already stitched in order to make it more fuzzy, solid, sturdy...basically, you are turning yarn stitches into a piece of fabric that looks and feels like felt.  Remember felt?  The stuff that you used to cut out during the holidays and put under your Christmas tree so Santa knew where to put the gifts, and Mom didn't have to vacuum the needles directly off of the carpet?  That stuff.

So, rewind to 2007, when I was living in Portland, Oregon and just picking up my knitting juju.  I used to go to this yarn store in the Sellwood neighborhood on Saturdays, drink coffee, and practice my knitting.  At the time, it was definitely practice...now, I can do things like read patterns.  Then, well, it was more like reading Gregorian Chant.

One day, I decided I would practice decreases.  How hard can it be, after all?  Knitters have been doing it for over a thousand years!  I had half a ball of Lion Bran Wool-Ease with me at the yarn store, in addition to the purchase I had made earlier in the day.  It was my practice-ball; make a mistake on three-dollar yarn, and it doesn't hurt as much if it looks like poo in the end.  I cast on 100 stitches, and just knit across each row and decreased one stitch on each end until I had two stitches left.  What I had left was a very elongated triangle...about head-wrap size.  I tied the ends together, and POOF.  Instant headband.  I loved it from the moment I first put it on my head.  Silly, garter stitch, light blue, 75% acrylic and 25% wool yarn.

One of the girls at the yarn store told me that she uses Wool-Ease all the time as practice yarn as well, but the one thing she did not like about it is that it didn't felt.  I was afraid of the felting process...I still am, actually.  I don't understand making something pretty and then mushing the beauty of the stitches up in the washing machine.  Same feeling about knitting socks, although I agree with the world that my sock-knitting fear is something I have to get over.

So yesterday was July 29, 2011.  Over four years after I made my silly headband, I wear it all the time because I was told by my workplace that bandanas are inappropriate for management.  It has been tied in the same position for so long that I just leave the knot where it is, but now I have less hair than I had back then (see my facebook page for supermodel-hair photos).  For months now, I have been telling myself, "I really should just take the five seconds to make that knot tighter..."

Turns out it didn't matter.  At 3:45 this morning, as every Saturday, I went to dig out my laundry so I wasn't going to work naked.  out falls something blue...and felt-looking.  Apparently, my headband went into the wash.

And I assure you, it felted.  It felted like no other mainly-acrylic could possibly have felted.  That sucker was SOLID.

But it was no longer too loose!  Just the opposite...the felting process makes all of the little wooly barbs stick together, so it causes the item you're felting to shrink on you.  I now had to un-knot the thing to get it on my head, and of course the knot was all felted over as well.  Hmm..hell hath no fury as a knitter scorned by felt, I tell you!  I ripped that knot as if I was using a hand-clamp to pry loved ones out of a burning car.  Success.

So to the girl in Portland who told me that Lion Brand Wool-Ease doesn't felt:  You can go eat it.

5 comments:

  1. Agree agree agree!!!! Hand wash only!! I learned the hard way *sob*

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  2. Thanks! I actually was hoping it would as I would like to make dryer balls with it .

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  3. You'd still have a better shot at making dryer balls with 100% wool, but you can use Wool Ease if it's knitted tightly enough and felted in warm enough water.

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  4. Your story made me laugh at the end, so I'll thank you twice. Once for the laugh, and once for the knowledge. I'm a relatively new crocheter (and don't knit at all) who recently decided to try something other than cozy, easy, reliable cotton. Enter Wool-ease. I quickly discovered that I truly enjoy it. I've been industriously crocheting along, without knowing quite what it was that I was making. And this afternoon, some 78 rows in, I stopped to look to see if I could yet identify it, and thought maybe it was a small rug or mat. Then I had to wonder if there was enough wool in it to felt. I'm very glad to hear there is hope!

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  5. Very funny post! I traded yarn with a friend and she had a huge ball of wool ease in a rusty color that I just loved! I was hoping go make a scarf out of it but ended up making a cowl. Now I have a bit left over and was thinking of making some icord makeshift dread looking hair tie things but was unsure if it would felt. I now know it will and can't wait to get started on them! Thank you!

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