Tuesday, October 23, 2007

After the Whacking

This is the beginning of my alpaca scarf, using the skein that I dunked in hot water/dunked in cold water/dunked in hot water/whacked against the wall:

It DOES look different from the swatch I made from the undunked and unwhacked alpaca (below), but it's not entirely a controlled test. (Different pattern, the second swatch is washed and blocked, etc.) However it seems less hairy, and I didn't ruin my yarn, so I'll take what I get. The idea is, I guess, to very slightly full the yarn so that the hairs don't stick out as much. I should have taken pictures, but I was too terrified of felting the whole skein to think about anything else! The whacking against the wall is very satisfying, for the record.

I like the top pattern -- it's Ann Norling's Diagonal Ridges -- better (just like Kathy said I would:) but I think mine is too narrow (only 5.5 inches -- the pattern calls for 6 and I think maybe I want a little more than that) so I'm going to start over. Pooey.

EDITED TO ADD: Never mind. I dug out the scarf in this pattern that Kathy made for Will and it is the same width and it looks fine. Onward!

Forgot to take a picture of the new, improved socks I started for my mom and today it's pouring. But I think I'm starting those over too. I missed a cable, and I want to try the new size needles I ordered from Knitpicks (the larger size 1s, which fall between the regular U.S. 1 and 2 sizes.) Last time I knit a sock on 1s it drove me insane, but I would like a slightly finer fabric.

That was my blog break, back to spring fall cleaning!


I pulled out the box of scarves, gloves and hats this evening. Fun to see all the handknits in there. Not THAT many, not compared to many of you who are far more prolific than I am. But it still tickles me to have made any practical items at all.


kathy in juneau said...

That, Kathy! Is she always right?

The scarf looks likes it's going to be a keeper, sorry you have to restart.

Stell said...

i'm out of the knowledge loop on knitting alpaca, yet I have 3 lots in my stash, so could you please explain a little more about the dipping and the whacking? please? pretty please?

Hilary said...

I think you might not need to do this for machine processed alpaca, vs. handspun, but it was something the woman I bought it from suggested as a way to make it less itchy -- she said she does it for yarns like angora, to make them shed less. I don't think you need to do it -- most people don't seem to have heard of it and my yarn was very soft to start with. But I thought maybe it would shed less, and I think it does -- the difference is very slight, but then again I am not good at noticing things like that! I probably could have fulled it a bit more -- maybe I should have agitated it some, but I was SO afraid of it felting.

This is the only reference I could find to it on the Web (scroll down to Nov. 6)

though now I have found all sorts of references to fulling handspun in general, ie.

Anyway I posted about it at KR and got this advice

and that is all I know! I just filled one big pot with hot water (from the tap, as hot as I could get it) and another with cold, and dunked hot, cold, hot. I didn't agitate at all, just pushed to keep it underwater.
So far the results are not dramatically different, but I will keep you posted.

Teal said...

Fascinating. I had no idea that a yarn might require pre-treatment like that. We are getting a stretch of cloudy days in Rochester aren't we. Seems like every time I'm home and want to take a photo there isn't enough natural light. I'm enjoying watching your projects progress.

Anonymous said...

I got here from Tiennie's blog. Interesting about how the yarn felts and de-fuzzes a bit after it's dunk and whack. I noticed that after making socks for my kids- one pair straight from the ball, one pair dyed in the crockpot. The undyed ones fuzz like crazy but the dyed socks seem really smooth and sturdy.

Regardless, the scarf looks great. is it a travelling stitch pattern?

Hilary said...

Hmmm, I’m not sure what makes a traveling stitch! (Anyone?) The lace pattern is just yarn forwards and K2togs, it goes diagonally because there is an increasing number of plain knit stitches at the beginning of each row. I hope that explains it! It’s a really lovely pattern; I tried a few similar ones I found free on the Web but this one is much nicer and was worth buying. The back is lovely too.