Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Christmas in July days 30 and 31

For these last 2 days, I have thoughts of electronics.  Most people have portable devices of one kind or another.  To wind down on a simple note, offer a little fun, and a chance to try out something new, I have this idea.

Get some wool yarn.  Yes I know we are heading into the dog days of summer.  Save this for later if you like or find an air conditioned place to sit.  Grab a hook or pair of needles that will match your yarn to give you a little larger gauge.  For this I mean that if your ball band recommends a size H hook or size 7 needles to get the suggested gauge, go up 2 sizes.  If you already have to change your hooks or needles, go up 2 sizes from that.  Now grab a copy of a stitch dictionary and pick a bunch of stitch patterns you want to try.

My idea is this.  felted sleeves for portable electronics.  Measure your intended appliance, add 30% more stitches  (3 more stitches for every 10 needed to get the desired measurement).  Then knit or crochet the stitch pattern you chose.  Seam it.  Wash it to felt it either a little or a lot, but only until it matches your needed size.  Let air dry.

Let us use this example:  I have a portable device measuring 2 inches wide by 4 inches tall and is less than 1/2 inch thick.  My yarn suggests a size H hook or 7 needle to get 16 stitches to 4 inches.and 19 rows to 4 inches.  I know that means that I will need to chain or cast on for 11 stitches.  My math is this:  16 stitches divide by 2 is 8 plus 3 for the 30% (I rounded up).  19 rows is 4 inches but I know that felting also pulls vertically more than horizontally so I will add up to 40% more rows to counter this.  So 19 x 40% is 7.6 rows more, round it up to 8 rows.

I know that my pattern has to have space for 11 stitches wide and 27 rows for one side.  Small patterns for small devices allow for more repeats.  Cables require even more stitches for width.  I would add another 20% (2 for every 10 of original number.  Then add the felting 30% ).  So if I choose cables, I would start with 8 stitches plus 2 for cable plus 3 for felting to give me 13 stitches.

I could even choose 2 different patterns for front and back.  I would not choose laces for felting though.  The felting is there to offer some protection from the daily bumps and drops some things get.  The felting will also offer scratch protection.

If you've never intentionally felted anything, have no fear.  It's easy.  Once the Pieces are done and sewn together (I find it easier to sew before felting,).  A bucket of hot water with some soap and a long handled wood spoon are all you need to get started.  The hot water is one felting agent.  The soap provides lubrication for the fibers to slide together.  The spoon provides the agitation, another felting agent.  Do this outside under a shady tree if possible.  It will get you wet.  The idea is to viciously stir the bucket with the soapy water and one or two small objects for felting.  You will need to remove them from time to time to see if the felting is done far enough but not too far that you can't get your final object in.

Once felting is achieved, let air dry.  You can then add a zipper to the open edge or ties or a clasp of some kind.  Have fun and thanks for this journey through July with me.