Monday, May 2, 2011

Felting with Mr K

Felting in the Kenwood Chef

Technique: Felting, Crochet

100% wool yarn

4mm crochet hook
electric mixer with a dough hook

Mr K. Wood is my Kenwood Chef. All my appliances are named, including my pressure cooker which is called McSteamy and my Epilady which is called Mr Pinchy.

I wanted to try felting, so I wanted to try on a small scale project. As such I didn't want to run the washer on a full hot cycle for just one itty bitty thing, so I got to thinking, what else in my house works like a washing machine but is much much smaller.

I had two options, Mr K, or Mr Needy, my bread machine. Both have a bowl that can be filled with hot water, and the bread machine can be put on a kneading cycle to agitate, or the Kenwood could have the dough attachment fitted. For today's experiment I chose Mr K.

So here's the little project I made, it's a hat that can be used as a stand alone adornment or ornament, however the clever amongst you will see it get used in a project very shortly!

For felting you want the tension to be looser, the stitches to be bigger, so that as the agitation occurs the scales in the wool raise and interlock with each other. It's important to use 100% pure wool, and wool that hasn't been treated with anything to prevent shrinkage, we want the shrinkage!

Using black 100% wool yarn and 4mm hook and working in rounds.

Round 1: Magic circle, 6 sc in circle (6 sc)
Round 2: 2 sc in ea sc (12 sc)
Round 3: 2 sc in ea sc (24 sc)
Round 4: [2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc] around (36 sc)
Round 5: sc around
Round 6: working in back loops only, sc around
Round 7: [sc in next 4 sc, sc2tog] 6 times (30 sc)
Rounds 8 - 16: sc around
Row 17: working in front loops only, sc around (30 sc)
Row 18: [2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc] around (45 sc)
Row 19: sc in ea sc (45 sc)
Row 20: [2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc] around (60 sc)
Row 21: sc in ea sc (60 sc), finish off.

The experiment procedure:

I hand washed the hat for a few minutes in a little pure soap (not detergent) to help remove anything that the wool might have been coated with. Then tossed it into Mr K's bowl on a low setting for 10 minutes, after which I rinsed it in cold water and then repeated the 10 minute cycle in a bowl full of hot water.

The experiment results:

Well the hat certainly shrunk, but I wouldn't say it felted. I think that is due to the wool I bought more than anything though, however it could have been due to not having a large enough hook size also. This technique warrants further experimentation, as I think for small scale felting it will work a treat.

Felted Top Hat

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