Thursday, January 25, 2007

MD Felted Bag

I decided the other day to play around with MD knitting and felting*. I used the same MD squares that I've posted about before but worked them using stockinette st. I rationalized that the stitch/row differences could for all practical purposes be tamed by felting. I remember reading in many places on the web and having some experience that items generally felt more in one direction than the other (although I don't remember which way that actually is, nor do I even now! lol). I was hoping that this uneven felting would take care of the st/row discrepancies. Plus the fact that I was going to be felting this by hand I would have better control------remember my washer is not felting friendly.....sigh.

Thus began the knitting:

I used one entire ball of Lion Brand 100% wool blue, and about 2/3 of a ball of pink. This piece was, as I said, made using the same manner of the MD squares I've posted about before. I used # 10ish needles and 12 stitches per side in stockinette.

Then I seamed it. A quickie whip stitch, nothing fancy.

The plan was to put the handles on the outer peaks and a magnetic closure on the center peak, creating a not too deep but longish bag, on the small side for sock knitting and such. Then I felted it.

Don't you just LOVE my kitchen sink!?! Gillian calls it the bathtub in the kitchen, but I couldn't love it more. For anyone interested I'll include the sink spec below.

....back to fiber stuff..... I prepared for a work out but the felting time was really only 10 minutes!! (hmmmm not bad, I think I might make some FT clogs for me and felt them by hand)

All things considered I like the shape of the original bag, but I wasn't pleased with the proportions (sorry no photo). So I cut out the seams I had made and re-seamed it into this bag:

I'm liking it. Next time, and there WILL be a next time I'll work the squares so they'll run up and down, like they did in the original design (see pre-felted photo). It's a nice size "bucket" bag. I know this pic is crummy, but I'm prob'ly not going to spend anymore time on this bag. I'm not planning on lining it, nor even bothering to put straps on it. It's really not up to my standard of bothering to finish, but it's a grrrreat proto-type! :-) I'll prob'ly use it as a project basket, just fold and tack the upper points down and ta da it's a basket!

The kitchen sink specs:
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my kitchen sink!!!!
It is a single basin that measures 42 x 24 and is 8 inches deep.
It is made of Terrazzo Marble. Think of those mosaic-like/chip marble floors you see in really old schools and that's what it is. My sink is in the green colorway, which means that the color of the marble chips span the spectrum from nearly black to the palest touch of green you can imagine. Those chips are then tumbled into a mixture of white portland cement and the sink is molded into one piece. It weighs a ton. OK I'm exaggerating but the it does weigh over 400 pounds.....nearly a quarter ton! :-P

Oy the trouble of getting it here out in the middle of nowhere plus installing it!!! OMG another Crazy Lady story to tell someday. Suffice to say, it took two trucks, a semi, and another beast of a truck, a fork lift, a farm tractor and 6 men not counting drivers and operators to get the sink into it's final resting place. Joe has since stopped cursing and it's only been two years so I guess it wasn't that bad! LOL

* felting vs fulling....I'm not going there. I know there's a difference, exactly what, I don't care. So I have, and prob'ly always will, use the word felting in regard to many types of wool manipulation that involves the meshing/tangling/and so forth of tiny wool fibers to create a cohesive no-warp, non-raveling fabric. :-)

Food Coloring Trials

Here is a pic of the test dyeing I did over the last couple of days. Reading the color sets clockwise from upper right, neon blue, regular blue, regular green, neon purple, and neon green. All samples are 5 yards of 100% wool (from recycled Irish Aran Sweater). All were soaked in lukewarm water before being dyed. Dyed solutions were 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp vinegar, and various amounts of dye (see below), set in a water bath on the stove top.

The blue specs:

L to R: 3 drops, 6 drops, 9 drops neon blue.

L to R: 6, 9, 12, and 15, drops of neon green.

L to R: 12, 9, 6, 3, drops of neon purple.

L to R: 3, 6, 9, drops of regular blue.

L to R: 3, 9, drops regular green.

All in all, I'm thrilled with the new colors. They are bright and saturated. The regular dyes yield some really good colors but are much more muted and toned down, which is what I expected on both counts. The regular green 9 drop sample is pretty perky though.

Still not overjoyed with the neon purple. Nice colors, but not of the same caliber as the neon greens and blues. The dyeing was inconsistent too. As you know the red components of the purple dye are absorbed first then the blue, this is normal, but it also gave a more mottled effect rather than a blended true purple than other types of dyeing I've tried. The resultant mottled effect in the less saturated samples is very pleasing and gives the sample great depth.

Oh, and btw, I wouldn't call the color I got as being true purple either, but that of course is tainted by my personal point of view of what is "purple". It's not that I don't like the resulting colors, I do, the 9 drop sample is nearly identical to my livingroom walls. :-) The paint was called cabernet, I'd call it black mulberry. I did try the recipe for dark purple that was given on the box of the neon dyes. The result was pretty yucky for purple. Not much different than the color you get when you use blackcherry koolaide. I didn't bother with that pic.

In conclusion, I'd have to say....if you're interested, try it yourself, I think you'll be pleased with new neon dyes. This is all so subjective, biased with my tastes, my poor photographic skills, the amount of available sunlight, and puter monitors etc. To put it in a nutshell, the neon food color dyes are very different than the regular food color dyes so if you ever wanted more out of your food color dyes, the good people at McCormick have given it to you.