JF and I "felted together" last weekend. It was a bonding experience. I bought 5 skeins of Paintbox by Classic Elite Yarns. It is a "colorful merino wool" that "felts beautifully" per the label.
I decided I was going to make a proper knitting bag for JF. I wanted to do this right so we conducted a little experiment. We knit several different swatches of the yarn. We tried 3 different sizes of needles: size 11's as indicated on the label:
and size 17's (no 15's were available so we jumped up a size):
We took turns knitting a swatch in each size. I did the stockinette stitch swatches with a garter border and JF did all garter. I just made one swatch on the 17's as it was getting to be a lot of swatches! Here they all are in their pre-washed states:
As you can imagine we needed some sort of system so that we would be able to identify which swatch was which once they had been washed. As there was no shortage of stash yarn lying around JF cut a small piece of 5 different yarns and knotted one onto the corner of each swatch. Then I measured each one and wrote down all the information in this chart:
After all that preparation the time had finally come to actually wash them. Since we were at JF's parents' house we took advantage of the "free" washing machine. We put all the swatches into a lingerie bag and put them in the machine with a pair of jeans. First we washed it on the lightly soiled cycle checking on it every five minutes. We found the agigation phase of this cycle didn't last very long. Then we washed it on the heavily soiled cycle to get the most agigtation. And here are the results. First the size 11's:
Then the size 13's:
And finally the size 17 swatch:
Here they are all posing together:
It was interesting to hold each swatch and get a feel for the relative stiffness of it depending on the needle size. I liked the look of the stockinette swatches better since they were smoother but JF preferred the garter since there was more surface area to felt.
After they had dried I remeasured all the swatches. Then I calculated the percentage of shrinkage lengthwise and widthwise for each swatch and took an average of all the numbers. The numbers actually worked out pretty consistently. The swatches shrank by 1/4 widthwise and 1/3 lengthwise. So now everyone reading this can go out and buy this yarn with confidence knowing how much it's going to felt. You're welcome :-)
In other knews I recieved my Secret Feet partner today. We each knit each other a pair of socks then exchange them in two months. Of course the person you knit for isn't the same as the one who knits for you; otherwise it wouldn't be much of a secret! So I have her favorite colors and yarns and have to decide on a pattern. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to get too fancy. Otherwise I'll never get them done in time. I'm going to try to knit them together using Magic Loop. Penelope (no blog) demonstrated this to me and it didn't seem too difficult. She said the most difficult part was casting on then it's smooth sailing from there. To the sock yarn stash I go!