April 24, 2005

New project

Thank you, as always, for the compliments on the silk raglan. I think it’s going to become a definite favourite in the wardrobe.

The end of one project means the beginning of another. I’m signed up with Dani’s Stashbusters knitalong — the idea is to knit up one big project a month from stash, for April, May, and June. The silk raglan was my April project. For the May project I’m cheating a bit on two counts — I’m starting now, and I’m using yarn that I’d ordered the day Dani announced the knitalong, but didn’t receive until a few days later (does that count as stash?). However, when you hear the details, I think you’ll agree that I need the extra time. Next up is my most experimental design problem yet: a felted vest for Mark. For reasons that are too complicated to get into, but involve sports coats and a silver pocket watch, Mark would like a felted vest with pockets. So I’ve undertaken to provide him with one, although I admit to some misgivings about it all. Still, I’m sure at the very least I’ll learn something from the process…

The first step was swatching. I made a large swatch with Patons Classic Merino in black:


The bits of white thread are marking out 20 sts by 20 rows. I measured the swatch itself, as well as the 20X20 section, and then ran it through the washing machine. This was the result:


The colour didn’t change, regardless of what the picture seems to indicate; it’s still black. It seems to have shrunk to about 78% of its width and 65% of its height. The fabric is nice and dense:


(Again, ignore the colour — just camera weirdness). Now I have to measure one of Mark’s knitted vests, calculate the size of the pre-felted pieces necessary to produce those measurements, figure out the numbers of stitches for each part, work out rates of decrease for the armholes and neck, and then hope like heck I’m right about it all. And then, of course, knit miles of stocking stitch in black…

If anyone has any advice, feel free to give it — but don’t bother telling me that it’s crazy to make a felted vest to be worn under a sports coat — we already know that. Or that there’s a good chance this will all go hideously wrong and I’ll be left with alot of potential coasters. I know that, too. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And this way you’ll all be assured of entertainment as it all unfolds…

Posted by Aven at April 24, 2005 12:41 PM

Hi - sorry, I don’t know your name. BUt what I would do with the felted vest - and maybe this is cheating - but I would make a large piece of felted fabric - just a square or rectangle. Treat it as piece of fabric, cut out the pieces of the vest (based on measurements of a current garment) and sew them together. Voila. A felted vest. What do you think?
Can I ask you a question about your raglan silk from the Incredible Fit Raglan pattern. I’ve had that pattern for awhile, but am always stumped by how deep to make the armholes. I think the instructions say something like - until as deep as you desire - but is there a general guideline on that? If i’ve never done it before, how do I know how deep ‘desired armholes’ are? Thanks for any help. Your use of colour in that sweater has inspired my for a sweater where Iam one ball short. Thanks. Brenda in Ontario’s London

Posted by: Brenda at April 24, 2005 02:55 PM

Sounds like you have taken on a nice math project. Hopefully you can be patient enough to double check the math before you plunge in…. seems like you will, you took time to make and felt the swatch. Good Luck.

Posted by: Chery at April 24, 2005 04:16 PM

I am a bit scared of felting myself, but I bought a kit to make a felted hat from Knitwhits, and will be starting my felting with that. Probably I’ll do it in about 3 months since I have so much backlog right now.

Posted by: Maria at April 24, 2005 04:43 PM

i’m almost too scared to watch…but if it works it will be fantastic! you have way more courage than me

Posted by: jacqueline at April 24, 2005 06:03 PM

Wow… you’re one brave woman! I’m getting scared just listening to you describe it. Good luck with the project… I’ll be watching from the sidelines.

Posted by: eileen at April 24, 2005 08:51 PM

I still can’t believe you agreed to do this. ;) Enjoy it! I think felting is so cool.

Posted by: Kathleen at April 24, 2005 10:33 PM

Looking forward to this knitting adventure—the last 2 sweaters were just delightful and inspiring! I just hope that Steve can hold out for a while before asking me for a Zoidberg jumper!

Posted by: Anita at April 24, 2005 10:46 PM

Aven, I have seen your knitting, and it is always perfect, so I am sure that it will work out well. I can’t wait to see it!

Posted by: Dani at April 24, 2005 10:46 PM

Hi! have you seen the felted vest in the Purl Stitch (Sally Melville)? and, in my experience, pockets are best felted alone (they might stick to the project) and then sewn on later-don’t ask me how I know- I just do!!!! :-)

Posted by: Deb at April 25, 2005 07:35 AM

I’m still scarred from trying this for Craig last year. I used the pattern from the Purl Stitch and made some mods and well…it didn’t go well. Check out my archives for the what not to do’s and email if you have any specific questions—I’ll try to remember what I did.

You’re one step ahead of me using the cotton threads to mark off the space when swatching, so I think you’ll do great!

I’ve been meaning to make a pillow with the vest or cut it and make Xander a teeny sewn vest.

Posted by: Steph at April 25, 2005 11:00 AM

Should have been more specific—archives for February 2004.

Posted by: Steph at April 25, 2005 11:13 AM

My limited felting experience tells me that all that precision in the swatching and measuring may just be for naught. Sorry…. But I made 2 things of the same wool and washed them in the same washing machine, but some weeks apart, and they didn’t react in just the same way. I think you might want to find the ancient deity associated with all this and work out the appropriate sacrifice… But, that said, I wish you all good luck!
Mary de B

Posted by: mary de B at April 25, 2005 12:24 PM

Hi! Great idea on the vest - trying something new is how we learn, right? I was thinking I seen a pattern for a felted vest and promptly dove into my books… aha, found it…Beverly Galeskas’ Felted Knits… she has a pattern for felted vests on p. 62… no pockets but perhaps a good starting point?

Posted by: asterpurl at April 25, 2005 05:28 PM