Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mad about Saffron

Tuesday is brought to you by the colour - YELLOW!

From the bottom - yellow teardrop tomatoes (and a rogue rouge one) the first to actually bloody ripen. They've been in for months! And they're in my favourite yellow enamel colander.

In the middle - bumper crop of yellow squash - they've been the marrow of (only) choice for the last month and will be going for at least another couple of weeks.

At the top - the swiss cheese bag. This has been finished for ages but I kept forgetting to post about it and then there was the fluff problem.

The pattern is Spring Green Bag (Ravelry link) by the lovely Lisa Ashton from Yarn issue 8. The yarn is Alafos Flos - a mohair wool blend.

The knitting bit was fun and the attached i-cord around the top of the bag and the i-cord handles not dire at all - the thought of metres and metres of i-cord when the bag was all knitted was worse than actually doing it. Lisa was very encouraging - particularly when it looked exactly like a string singlet for a Dalek. Apparently it was meant to look like that at that stage. Handy to know.

I do have issues with the felting process. Firstly, I had too much water in machine but only worked that out after a couple of cycles (I didn't keep filling the machine, I just put the wash cycle back a few times - all Canberrans can now stop dialling the dob-in-a-water-waster number and put down the 'phone). There was some felting but not as much or as evenly as I would prefer. Instead of just doing it all again later with less water, I kept adding stuff to be washed to enhance the agitation process. Great idea except that that one of the items I added was a chocolate brown bath towel. This time the felting worked pretty well, but was still a bit uneven and the brown fibres of the towel had felted to the bright yellow. At this point I removed the bag and put it a corner of the laundry to dry, think about it's behaviour and consider it's options.

Time passes *wubba, wubba, wubba*.

I'm about to do a white load in the machine. "Aha!" I think to myself - "Maybe if I put the bag with the brownish patches in with a white load the brownish patches will rub off ". Those of you with more experience of these things are, by now, way ahead of me and probably pointing at the screen and laughing. Yes. The browny bits were still there and have been joined by lots of white fluff (from the hand-towels added for agitation) and a couple of small white feathers. I guess one of my feather and down pillows is moulting and these came from a pillowcase. *Sigh*. The good news is, by this stage I'm happier with the eveness and degree of felting - either that or I've been so worn down by the process am willing to turn a blind eye. The bag goes back into it's corner to dry and consider it's behaviour again.

More time passes *wubba, wubba, wubba*.

So on Saturday I drag it out of the naughty corner and attack it with a disposable razor. Quite a bit of the fluff came off but by no means all. From a distance it's a sunny shade of yellow, up close it's a bit muddier and flaked with dandruff.

It's still a great pattern, I'd recommend it as a fun knit and swings off the bird feeder well.


Michelle said...

I think it looks grate!! (geddit?)

Donna Lee said...

It's a great bag. I've never intentionally felted anything. Unintentionally? Well, we won't talk about that. I especially love the sunny color. Especially here in dreary Feb.

2paw said...

Cheeze, that's a fantastic bag!!!!!

TinkingBell said...

What a great bag (Zeph recommends plunging the feltee into cold water to hasten the process - and I put all feltees into a pillow protector to save the inside of the washing machine, towels etc being covered in mohair!)

(Want some plums - I'll send you some - I am plum tuckered out!)

Bells said...

Fantastic bag, Bea. I think your efforts paid off brilliantly!

I must grow those little squash. I'm sick to death of green zucchini!

Olivia said...

It looks great and I love the yellow theme photo. Did you have to keep pulling the holes open to avoid them felting closed?

But, oh, the drama - this doesn't encourage me to try machine felting!! But I guess we will see how patient I am when I get on to larger objects. I think the plunger method looks like a good compromise.

Taphophile said...

Olivia - the holes stayed open all by themselves. One of the best things about the process was the way that loopy bit that appears when casting off and on in a larger piece of knitting completely disappeared in the felting process while the deliberate holes stayed open and a lot more even than I'd hoped.

Seriously - I don't like the loss of control in machine felting. It might be different if I was prepared to stand by the machine checking every few minutes.

kms said...

hehe seriously funny description of felting, doesnt make me want to rush out and try it anytime soon tho the bag really does look great.

Sister Sticks said...

The thought of this kind of felting is a bit scary - not nearly as much control as hand felting ... and is it possible with a front loader? But hey, the Northside knitters could have a machine felting party at the Ainslie Laundromat.

Lovely bag.
Can we see it in the fibre (not the flesh) at the next Monday night S&B?

kms said...

PS you will hate me but i tagged you. but you might have done this one before.

Kylie said...

that is a classic - it looks great from a distance - even if it does look a little mouldy up close!

Janet McKinney said...

What is this I hear -

Happy Birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Taph
Happy Birthday to you