When Felting Turns Bad….

My knitting news this week isn’t the stuff that will make an enthralling blog post….

I haven’t touched Eveleen but I’ve made lots more blankie squares (I’ve now done 30 out of 81 required!)

There. That was dull huh? Don’t change channel yet readers!

I think it’s time to share with you the reason I twitch whenever felting is mentioned! This is a story of not knowing when to quit when a project is clearly cursed by the Knitting Gods…

Way back in January 2006, I saw the Flint felted skirt display garment in John Lewis in Oxford Street – I fell in love! It looks so much better “in the flesh”. I bought the yarn and rushed home to knit it. Deep Blue Yorkshire Tweed and blue and pink Kidsilk Spray for the underskirts.

It’s from Rowan magazine 38 – the one that had a big article about felting and lots of felted projects.

Here’s what the picture in the book looked like…

Ignore the “everything in the dressing up box” styling and look at the skirt!

The wrapover skirt is mostly stocking stitch – acres of it – 🙁 – not my favourite – but really pretty cables and embroidery on the front panel and,” Ohhh!!!, Those Kidsilk Haze under skirts!” 🙂 I ploughed on making a gigantic stocking stitch blanket it seemed….

I knitted it, sewed it together, took a deep breath and threw is in my washing machine…..

Ben said “Are you mad? I’m not sure about this slinging your knitting in the wash lark. Are you sure it’ll work?” (He’d seen how hard I’d worked on it.)

I said, “Of course it will, Darling. I’ve followed the instructions in the pattern…” 😕

It hadn’t shrunk nearly enough. I was still massive. Bugger.

I have since learnt that using fabric softener was a mistake and I should have put some old towels in the wash with the skirt too…all useful stuff not mentioned in the Rowan mag. I should have done more research…..

Ben was smirking. “No worries! I’ll just throw it back in again on a super hot mega long wash – that’ll do it!” , I said confidently.

Oh huge error! 😮

The skirt I pulled from the washing machine was tiny and so felted it had the consistency of a navvy’s donkey jacket. 😥

I sobbed. I tugged. Ben helped me tug and resisted the urge to say, “told you so”. (He’s a sweetheart really .) Try and visualise it readers, one of us at each end of the wrapover skirt having a strange game of tug of war in the living room. The cats hid. Ben did however say it was one of the strangest evenings he’d ever spent …knit, sew, wash, cry, tug, cry some more!

We had partial success but managed to pull most of the carefully crafted shaping out of the skirt. It was still indecently short but at least it wrapped around me… bugger again.

I ploughed on, “I can save it!”

I knit the underskirts double the length to try and bring the skirt out of the “indecent zone”.

Here’s the underskirts…nice huh?

I tried to do the embroidery with the Kidsilk Spray…

The Kidsilk Spray’s varigation ranges from light blue to dark blue. I was trying to embroider on dark blue. Half of it just blended in! Bugger! (that’s 3 “Buggers” if you’re counting)

Determined to wear the “buggering” skirt, I cut out the dark blue and just used the light blue sections and completed the embroidery.

I even sewed on some Prada ribbon as hanging loops…

Lastly a posh button….

At last! I can wear it!!

It hung strangely (mainly due to the tugging). I had to wear in on the hips to make the length suitable. It took an hour to place the buttons in the optimum place to almost make it look right.

Here is is….

I bravely wore it to work with opaque tights and boots. No one laughed and pointed….It might just have been worth it!

By lunchtime there was a problem. Even though it was incredibly thick, the skirt was stretching. Bugger. (that’s 4)

By the end of the day I was desperately hanging on the my skirt with the aid of several safety pins. It hasn’t been worn since.

It has languished on my desk pending being made into a bag…

All That happened was that Thug fell in love with it…

He went out for a prowl in the garden so Mewsley decided to give it a try….

It spent a few weeks as a favourite cat blanket – just enough time to make sure cat hair was irremovably embedded in the fabric. Then the curse even affected my hand knitting loving cats…

Even they won’t sit on it now 🙁

I think it’s time to utter my final Flint related “Bugger” and let this one go…

Completed Knit Report 
Name:Buggering Flint Skirt
Yarn:Yorkshire Tweed DK & Kidsilk Spray
Pattern Problems:None except the felting process didn’t work for me – mainly down to “user error”
Pattern Modifications:Made the underskirts longer and added hanging loops.
Washing and Wearing:Ghastly. Even my massivly overfelted version stretched so badly it would have fallen off by the end of the day if not secured with a dozen safety pins. I’d like to hear how a “properly” felted one wore??
Knit It Again???:No! No! No! Not ever!
Difficulty:An easy knit, easy embroidery (if you are au fait with basic embroidery) hideously difficult to get the felting right – hand felting would be the (laborious) solution.
Other Postings Relating To This One:None 

11 Responses

  1. feltboots
    feltboots September 24, 2007 at 2:47 pm | | Reply

    Is it wrong to laugh ? If so, then I’ve just got a tickle in my throat… at the point where Thug and Mewsley made their appearance 😀

    Looks like a beautiful skirt though. I’d be heartbroken after all that work.

  2. Arianwen
    Arianwen September 24, 2007 at 7:33 pm | | Reply

    The plus points of this are you are very brave to have tried felting a skirt. It does look lovely on both the hanger and the cats . You have a great husband mine would have laughed his head off and not helped!

  3. Rachel
    Rachel September 25, 2007 at 8:08 pm | | Reply

    An absolutely rollicking story, LOL throughout! Loving your work (knitting & blogging, both).

  4. Soo
    Soo September 26, 2007 at 3:15 pm | | Reply

    What a tale of heartache!

    (Although I have to confess to giggling in the corner with Feltboots when the cats took over the skirt!)

  5. Lucy/Bearium
    Lucy/Bearium September 26, 2007 at 7:21 pm | | Reply

    I’m sorry but I laughed too. It did look lovely in the picture though. Cats and felting don’t mix but hey, at least you/they got some wear out of it 😉

  6. Vikki
    Vikki September 26, 2007 at 11:11 pm | | Reply

    Oh no!! It looks beautiful but I have to admit to giggling when the cats made an appearance too. It’s the look of utter bliss on Thug’s face as you’re going “bugger this”.

  7. susan crowe
    susan crowe September 27, 2007 at 8:11 am | | Reply

    You are all mean and horrid to laugh at my tale of woe! 🙂

    Not really – I have to laugh or I’d never knit again!!

    I am pleased to report that I was brave and the dustman finally took the cat fur encrusted, misshapen, unwearable bugging skirt away.

  8. Claire
    Claire October 30, 2007 at 8:39 pm | | Reply

    Your post made me laugh, but what a beautiful skirt you made, it’s a shame they don’t tell you exactly how to get it right in the patterns.

  9. Margaret Gniewosz
    Margaret Gniewosz June 21, 2008 at 5:14 am | | Reply

    Here are the lessons you have missed and knitting veteran like me (with many bugger project behind my belt)will reveal to you:
    Lesson #245
    Rowan patterns are bad, bad, bad. Looks luring and perfect on their pictures, but rarely works out. I was attempting a knee-highs that call for an unobtainable gauge. That was one-big-bugger project that turned into semi-attractive hat.
    Lesson #246
    Tweed does not felt well and is unpredictable (and expensive).
    Lesson #247
    Always make a tunnel for elastic for every knitted skirt felted or not.
    That elastic will save your face (or ass). I was showing off my newly knitted skirt and after riding 2 hours to the 4th of July fiesta, that shimmering, ribboned skirt fell off me while I was stepping out of the car. I have about 20 witnesses to vouch for that.
    Lesson #248
    Felting works more or less like this: 30% length-wise and 40% width-wise
    I am contemplating knitting and felting a skirt (currently 100 degrees outside) that is how I stumbled onto your blog.
    I will definitely incorporate the style from the Rowan skirt. It is lovely.

  10. Tracey Leeson
    Tracey Leeson August 22, 2008 at 6:34 pm | | Reply

    I found your site a couple of weeks ago, and have spent most of my free time (time that could well be used for knitting I hope you realise) reading the accompanying comments from your various projects. I must ask
    1. How do you find the time for so much knitting?
    2.Are you an incredibely fast knitter?
    3. Do you have shares in Rowan?
    I only ask because I consider myself a complete knitting freak ( recently rediscovered) and still struggle to find a decent amount of time to knit!
    Anyways, your projects are beautiful and you are an inspiration. The other freaky thing is that there at least 7 items that I also have either have OTN or completed. Me thinks we have very similar tastes!!! Please continue with your blog – you make me laugh outloud, Cheers- Tracey

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