Yesterday at knitting a woman asked me what I was knitting. I said, “It’s a potholder.” After a moment’s silence she says “But, that’s a beginners project! What happened?” And then I get more comments, “You knitting a potholder out of handspun?” I can get where they are coming from, but would like to refer to my previous post about how many small skeins I have from my fiber club spinning. There is really only so much you can do with under 200 yards of a given yarn;a hat, mittens, a small scarf, fingerless gloves. I have knit most of those things several times and will probably knit them many more. I can honestly say that this is the first time I have EVER knit potholders. My plan is actually to felt/full them.
It came about like this… I decided to add an art component to the homeschooling curriculum. We had several needle felting kits I had gotten this summer and had not had time to do them with the kids, so I decided to start there. Needle felting is sculptural and once you have the idea down, and plenty of fiber, which I do, the sky’s the limit. The kids loved it. They made penguins and then went on to a bluebird, platypus and a bumble bee.
Keeping with the theme I decided that we would explore all the different aspects of felting something. Recently, I had obtained a copy of E. Z.’s Knitter’s Almanac. In the process of reading it I found the pattern for the double knit pot-handler. I thought “the kids could knit potholders and then felt them and embellish them with needle felting.” we picked out yarn and they cast on and knit two rows during which time my son split almost every stitch and my daughter lost two stitches on the first row. I decided to start over with different yarn. In the process of looking for yarn, I came across these singles I had spun and thought “Hey this would make great potholders!”
I started to knit E. Z.’s pattern and while it’s true it’s a beginner’s pattern, it requires some knowledge of basic knitting. It requires one to keep track of stitches and slip every other stitch while moving the yarn from the back to the front and back between stitches… This is not something my children are up to. In fact the truth is that they might not finish this project in a timely fashion, probably never. So I have decided that we will felt my potholders and an old sweater and then use the sweater to cut up and make somethings out of it. I just want them to get the idea that there are many different ways to make something felted.
When the weather warms up I plan on doing some wet felting with them and possibly some dyeing.