Thursday, 7 April 2011

The basket is done

I finished the basket several weeks ago, and now it is in full use.  I was surprised that it turned out OK in the end.

I finished the knitting by doing several rows of garterstitch at the top, striped, so that I could use up all the wool.  I decreased a couple of stitches at each side to make it turn inwards slightly.  How do you knit garterstitch in the round?  You purl every other row - simple really.  Then I knitted handles, in different colours because that was what was left, in my first ever i-cord, and not even from a pattern but from what I remembered from reading a pattern.  I did one with four stitches and it is just the right thickness. only slightly unevenly knitted.

Then I took some pictures, with the basket stuffed with towels.

Now I got to the exciting part - I put it in the washing machine.  After reading about felting I decided that there was no need to try a 40 degree wash - I went straight for the 50 degree, but gentle wash.  The instructions said to add a pair of (old) jeans.  My Gap jeans can only take 30 degrees, so I used the next best thing - a couple of old towels.  I added a little bit of washing powder to get rid of any dust etc.  My machine does not like being tampered with, so I let it go through all the rinses although probably not necessary.

And this is how it came out:

The sides are bumpy in places, but it is sturdier than I expected.  The handles came out really well; all the unevenness has disappeared.  I had hoped that the colours in the moss stitch would blend together more, but it is fine as it is.  The garterstitch rows seem to have shrunk more.  The arrangement of the colours could easily be improved on.

All in all I'm very pleased with it.  It is something that I can use, a big basket to keep knitting and wool in.  The handles really make it into a cross between a basket and a bag.

Even so, I can't help wondering what would happen if I put it back in the washing machine, perhaps even for a 60 degree wash?  Perhaps one day...  At least this has got me interested in felting.  The Mason Dixon book goes on to do a rug - I have got plenty of chunky wool that would be suitable.

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