Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sock Surgery

I've been itching to cast on a new project the past few days, but decided I should stick to my goal of finishing my WIPs first. To that end, I prepped my Paraphernalia Socks for surgery last night.

The pattern design is a series of cables surrounded by ribbing. It starts with a center twist over two ribs, which you can see in the picture just below the lowest needle. After that comes a quite lovely intertwined cable worked over six ribs, which pulls in the fabric quite a bit.

Unfortunately for me, one of the intertwined cables fell right at the top of the gusset and therefore right at the point where my socks get stretched the most. Another hit was that the complex pattern started right before the heel flap. If I simply frogged back to before it began, I'd lose all the heel flap and gusset knitting I'd done.

What you see above is the whole sock frogged back to a few rows after finishing the gussets - I had knit about 2 inches before trying it on - and the main pattern ripped out row by row. Yarn from the individual rows top to bottom is fanned out from left to right. I picked up a tiny crochet hook this afternoon, which will serve as my scalpel during this sock surgery.

My plan to alleviate the tightness in the pattern across my ankle is to reknit the pattern with only the central cable continuing through where the original intertwined pattern was. I'll continue for one full repeat with only the middle cable, which should land far enough past my ankle to make the socks fit better. I'll start out picking up the two columns of ribbing on either side of the pattern, and then work the cable itself row by row. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Still Life: Felted Balls

Still Life: Felted Balls, originally uploaded by Camping Jason.

The fruits of my labor last night. Yesterday's post was really all about the quote, so here's a bit more detail on my process.

I used water from the tea kettle - very hot! - and only used enough to cover the balls in the bucket. Before, I had used a half full bucket which resulted in lots of splashing. With less water, I felt (ha!) I could get more friction with the plunger.

Before last night's efforts, the group at top left was completely unfelted. They still need lots of work. The group at lower left are almost finished, one more go should do it. The four smug ones at top right are the only ones I've deemed finished. And the sad yellow one all by itself was my first attempt and is too small. By the way, the yellow one just northwest of it is supposed to be the same color. That's what I get for felting washing darks and lights together. Didn't my mother raise me right?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The madness continues

So I felted more of those little spheres I've been knitting tonight, or tried to at least. My setup this evening consisted of two buckets in the bathtub - one hot, one cold - a plunger and rubber gloves. I alternated agitating the knitted spheres with the plunger in the hot and cold water hoping to shock them into submission. I didn't want to dump the wooly water down the tub drain and end up with a clogged tub, so I poured the buckets out into the toilet. I don't know if you've ever poured water into a toilet before, but it basically force flushes the toilet without the bowl refill; it's designed to work that way. What was left was a near empty toilet bowl with some grayish water. I didn't get to do a final flush to clear it out before my wife got home. All of this led to the quote of the night by my wife: "Did you plunge your balls in the toilet?"

Thank you, I'll be here all week, try the veal. Goodnight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Three little balls of wool are we

I haven't gotten sick of these yet. I think I'm up to 6 plus the first yellow one (which is too small/squishy). I felted the green one by hand and decided to try the others in the washer; no such luck. I put them in a pillow case to keep any fuzz from destroying our washer and they started to felt, but got nowhere near what they need to be. I ran through through two cycles too. I really don't want to have to felt 1,000+ balls by hand.

I'm still trying to hone in on the perfect configuration for these. Using different yarns is definitely going to make things more difficult. In the long run, I'm hoping that slight size differences will balance out the finished project. I have made a few mods to the pattern, increasing directly after cast on and working the final decrease row in smaller needles, to eliminate nipples on my balls. Oh dear.

P.S. I have no idea why my entries show up like crap in the RSS feed. I'll try to fix it, but if anyone has any suggestions...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

And so it begins. This was a test, to see how big my balls are. Turns out my balls will be bigger than Alice's. (Ok, I'll stop now.)

I followed the Oh Balls! pattern as written and ended up with a 2" diameter ball after felting. I used some crappy, fuzzy, acrylic yarn for stuffing and I don't think I used enough. I was wary of the ball shrinking too much, but I probably only lost about 1/2" in size. Next time, I'll have to stuff the balls so they're nice and firm. (Sorry!)

I felted it by hand in the tub, and switching from hot to cold water seemed to produce the fastest results. Everyone knows balls shrink in cold water. (Alright already!) I popped it in the dryer for 20 minutes to suck some more moisture out. It wasn't completely dry, but I didn't want to run a full cycle for just one ball. It did make a rather pleasing sound, tumbling through the dryer, I can only imagine how 50 would sound.

Why do I get the feeling I'm going to have lots of little felted balls all around my house... it'll be like some sick kind of Easter egg hunt.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who commented on my changes post. It's good to know who's reading and that you're so supportive.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Talk about your epic project

Felted Wool Rug, originally uploaded by Camping Jason.

When I saw this post on and the corresponding inspiration I immediately set to work figuring out how long it would take to make one.

For a 6' diameter rug (which incidentally costs approximately $1,394.35 on Hay's website) one would have to knit and felt 2,304 1.5" diameter balls. Some more math: if you knit 1 ball a day, it would take over 6 years to finish. To finish in 1 year, you'd have to knit 6.3 (so 7) balls a day every day. And that doesn't take into account connecting the balls and forming the finished rug.

I suppose if you weren't in a hurry for an spectacularly colorful wool rug, you could poke along and finish it when you finish it. I know I have no place to put such an item in my current house, but I have the vision of my future home with a room off limits to dogs and small children and all my favorite things inside. Could you imagine sitting down on this to spin? Sweet.

ETA: So it didn't occur to me until almost 4 hours later that if I were to undertake this particular project, I would, in fact, be literally knitting with balls. I suppose that means I have to do it, huh? :)