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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ten Feet of Fabric Machine Knit

How long would it take me to knit ten feet x 45 stitches by hand on size 10 needles? A month at least, I'd guess. By machine: 1 1/2 hours! YES! And that was with some yarn issues that kept getting caught in the mast. (Old stuff, probably a little moth issues on the outside of the cone, but can't be sure. Or it just was defective.) Anyway, back in the knitting mood once again.

I wanted to knit a felted wool ruffly scarf but not spend too much time short-rowing or doing any other kind of patterning. So, using my SR midgauge machine, in the mood for flying by the seat of my pants, I cast on with a closed edge over 45 needles, knit with the first color 330 rows (an arbitrary number, the length of which seemed about right) plain stockinette. Then I switched to the second color and knit another 330 rows and bound off. This entire piece was ten feet long! After the fact, the gauge calculation turned out to be at T 10+ 4.5 stitches to an inch producing about 10" in width and 5.5 rows per inch producing the 10 feet. The 10 feet are needed because the felting and the ruffling takes up about 4 feet of the length.

Then I felted it in the washing machine for about 10 minutes. Removed it even though it was still damp. I used a large-eyed needle and a long piece of the first color yarn doubled. Back-stitched up the center, doing a knot every few inches, gently ruffling and pleating it as I went. Knotted it at the end of the first color, the middle of the scarf. Then I did the same with the second color and put it back in the washing machine to finish felting. The hand stitching pretty much melted into the scarf.

The gently rolling ruffles stayed in place and I just had to snip off some yarn ends. Didn't like the ends of the scarf very much so when it was dry I cut off both ends with an ordinary scissors, just a free-hand curve. The sides looked really curled in before felting, but afterward had a nice edge---as though I planned it that way!

The only thing I don't like about the scarf is that it's really heavy. I used Schuss Plus, 100% wool, which is a light worsted weight. I think a finer wool yarn would make a nicer, dressier scarf, but it turned out ok considering the flying-by-the-seat-o-my pants method used. Certainly used up some yarn!!! And we still need the warmth around here.

I used the little Canon PowerShot my daughter gave me. Finally figured out how to turn off the flash. (I think Tracy told me how to do that a long time ago but I forgot.) But when you turn off the flash, the aperture gets bigger and the shutter stays open longer, you really need a tripod. So that's my story with the blurry pictures.

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