06 April, 2007

felting - the kimberly kitchenaid method

so i had these little swatches that i had knit a year or so ago -- teaching myself how to knit patterns (hearts) directly into a piece. i didnt really know what i wanted to do with the pieces.

first, i stitched them together into a scarf (which i never took a picture of), and it looked okay, but it was too scratchy for my liking - seeing as the yarn it was knit from was pure wool. i ended up selling the scarf at bazaar bizarre. but i still had swatches (with little mistakes) left over with no real purpose. well, i decided to experiment with them by stitching them together, felting them, and turning them into little pouches. felting is a bummer if you dont have your own washing machine and you dont want to work at it by hand. too impatient to wait to get to the laundrymat the next day, i came up with a brilliant plan -- how about using my kitchenaid? it made perfect sense to me -- fill the bowl with hot water, a little dishsoap, throw in the pieces (they were tiny!) and put it on low speed. agitation+hotwater+suds=felting, right? so that is what i did and bingo - only about ten minutes of agitation and it worked!

(it looked so pretty! like strawberry whipped cream!)
brilliant! of course i googled it to see if anyone else had thought of this brilliant idea, and it doesnt seem that anyone has written about it (at least, not that i can find)! so here i am, writing about it. i did it. i felted using my kitchenaid mixer. and it worked. i would NOT recommend doing this with anything other than tiny little knitting pieces -- nothing that could get tangled in the mixer-paddle. that would be terrible - to kill a kitchenaid.
so then, after the success of the felting project, i needed to finish the pouches. how to create closures? snaps? nah, they really needed zippers. well, i had only put a zipper in something once, long ago, and i didnt have any zippers. but i was determined. i ended up getting a whole huge bag of zippers while out on a thrifting/antique-ing country drive in PA. and that very night i put the zippers in -- a challenge since they really should be put in before sewing the other seams. but it all worked out and i am actually quite happy with the finished projects. i added some little tabs to make the zippers easier to pull.. not so bad for an experiment project!!


Anonymous said...

this entire post looks so cool.
job well done, kj.

dragon knitter said...

this is so freaking brilliant! i liked it so much i posted it to the Lime & Violet Daily Chum. hope you don't mind, but i used the image of your kitchenaid as a prop.

thanks a ton!

dragon knitter said...

oh, the website, duh!


thanks again!

Nea said...

Brilliant! Now I don't have to dread felting some of my small projects.

Margaux Repp said...

Oh now THOSE are cute!!

Auntly H said...

I second dragon knitter's comment. Seriously, you are a genius! I'm psyched to start a felting project now.

Anonymous said...

I just had the same idea grow out of frustration and desperation, due to my having a front-load washer and then discovering that the laundromat downstairs has the WORST "hot" water ever.

I googled kitchen aid mixer hand felting and found your post - thank you for giving me the confidence to try it!

chezkimberly said...

hey, thanks all! i hadnt looked at this post in AGES (years!) so i hadnt noticed that i had gained so many comments! and then i just saw today a new link to here. yes -- it worked for me, but really -- be careful! and dont leave the mixer unattended while felting! pay attention to the sounds it's making and if it seems like anything is tangled or going slower or sounding funny, shut it off immediately and investigate! i can only recommend this method for teeny projects. i havent been knitting in quite some time, so i havent been felting - my kitchenaid has seen a lot more baking action than felting action in the past three years. have fun!