I love the idea that homeschooling isn't just for the kids, it's for the parents too; while the young ones learn about whatever they want to, so can we. It's in this spirit that I took up knitting over the holidays and, while I have been knitting for only a month or so, I've certainly dived right in.
I finished this sweater last week, and I love it. I called it my experimental sweater, a good name because it doesn't really fit me all that well - it's too long in the arms and too broad in the shoulders, while at the same time it's not quite long enough in the body and so I end up looking like a gorilla wearing a sweater that's too short. It is not pretty, which is too bad, because it is such a lovely sweater.
As I was finishing it up, I realized that this knitting stuff is habit-forming, and that I felt really strange without something somewhere on needles. So I decided to make a felted tote from the best knitting book ever (the one we've taken to calling 'Stitch n' Complain' in our house because the real name contains a swear.) I figure I'll use the tote to keep my knitting in, so that I can take it with me wherever I want, instead of using the far-less-transportable basket that houses current projects now.
But the felting presented a problem: to take wool and turn it to felt requires very hot water and agitation. Most people toss their projects into the washing machine to accomplish the task. But we have a front-loader - great for saving water, and cutting down on drying time and wear on clothes - but sucky for felting because you can't stop the washer to see when it's time to stop felting, and also it hardly agitates at all (hence the less wear on clothes). I would have to find another way.
First I tried boiling the heck out of a gauge swatch, but after ten solid minutes of rapid boiling, all I had was a house that smelled like a herd of sheep lived here. So then I found a blog post on the web in which the blogger stuck her project in a bucket on a towel in her bathtub and used a (clean, new) plunger to agitate in very hot water. I must admit I was skeptical, especially after the boiled-on-the-stove experience, but I tossed the swatch into the bucket along with a bit of dish soap and a pair of Owen's jeans, and in about three minutes, voila! I had felt.
Now, it was time to take my finished bag and try it with that.
There it is. I was afraid to stick it in the bucket, because I worked so hard on it.
And here we are mid-agitation. I am getting scared at this point, after five or so minutes of hard labor, that maybe it won't take.
But after another few minutes, less than five, it worked! It felt all felty. So I rolled it up in a towel to get out some of the moisture, and then laid it flat to dry.
And THAT is why I feel that I can call myself the Queen of Felting. Best of all, I ended up with about two combined skeins of yarn in three different colors, so I can make other stuff to felt! Socks, mittens, perhaps another purse... habit-forming, I'm telling you.