July 3, 2010

Who Needs a Gym When You're a Knitter?

The boots are done. As in DONE! no seaming or trimming or weaving in of the ends to do. Done. They are felted and in the last stages of drying on the table in our office. And let me tell you, the felting was an adventure.

You see, I am impatient. And possibly slightly insane. And I have a front loader washing machine. Which you can't really felt in (well you can, but you can't stop to check on size and since I've been knitting these things for months, I wasn't about to take the chance of over felting them). Now I know what you are thinking, surely I know someone with a top loader. And I do. Except, despite the fact that I've spent almost half a year puttering away at these, and the fact that it is July and next week the temperature will climb into the high nineties with some nasty humidity to go along with it, I suddenly decided at 10 pm last night that I REALLY wanted to get these things done. So I got online and read up on felting by hand.

The first thing I found out was that the boiling water method that I'd used with Evelyn's doll was all wrong. Well, not all wrong, but not the best way. It's notorious for making the colors bleed, which they did. As it turns out, it's not really the hot water part that felts wool, it's the combination of water (you can actually felt in very cold water too, I alternated with hot and cold) agitation and soap. Which makes sense, because you can stand out in the rain all day in a wood sweater and it wont felt on you, but one toss in the wash, no matter what heat the water is, and you're done for. And, you know, it's not like the Mongolians were hauling top loader washing machines around on their ponies, right?

As per the directions I read online, I filled the sink with a few inches of fairly hot water, a few drops of soap and started kneading by slippers. Every 15 min or so I'd drain the water and run cold water on them for 5 min to give my arms a break, because I'm telling you, it's hard work. Like Body Pump hard. Like, I think my biceps are bigger today hard. It took me a little over an hour, or maybe closer to an hour and a half, of swishing, beating, kneading, rinsing and wringing before they got down to the right size, but eventually they did.

I tried them on and shaped them a little, stuffing them with pot holders (by then I was too tired to walk upstairs to get a bunch of towels) and left them to dry. I think they'll be pretty good to go by tonight, I'm thinking of setting them outside to speed the process along a little, although that may be a no-no, I'll have to go check. And then I'm going to crank up the A/C (just for a little bit) and put on my slippers and dream of rainy afternoons and hot mugs of tea. Because, yes, while others dream of tropical islands, I dream of rain, it's the Oregon in me, can't be helped.