söndag 3 maj 2015

Fulling mittens in the machine - an experiment

Very big mittens - 33 cm long and 14,5 cm wide
I have seen many friends and bloggers that have knitted mittens and then fulled them by using the laundry machine. The results have often looked nice and fluffy. I wanted to try the same thing. Since I did not have a pattern I searched the web and found a few of them. They were a bit vague, and often related to a specific yarn.
Rauma 4 tr. Strikkegarn
So I decided to make my own version. I used Rauma "4-tr Strikkegarn", a four ply, 100 % wool and very strong yarn. I have knitted socks with this yarn and they were as durable as socks knitted with sock yarn. My guess is that it is the strong Spelsau-wool that makes them suitable for socks.
After machine washing in 95 degrees Celsius
So I knitted a pair of very large mittens on double pins 4,00 mm (US 6). 33 cm long and 14,5 cm wide (13,2 x 5,8 inches). I knitted them as I almost always knit my mittens, with a thumb gore. After that, I washed them in the machine on 60 degrees Celsius. I did not get much of a reaction at all, despite the fact that I had other clothes in the machine to get more of a "beating" to add to the fulling process. A bit disappointed I decided to try the program on 95 degrees Celsius - if by chance they would end up too small for me I could always give them away as a gift. The result was surprising. Not much of a change. The length was now 31 cm and the width 14 cm (12,4 x 5,6 inches). This was not what I had expected. The mittens were still gigantic.
Fulling board, soap and mittens
My guess is that it all depends on the long strong outer coat wool fibres from the Spelsau, not easily prone to a massive shrinkage. So the experiment on fulling these mittens in the machine was unsuccessful. 
In the middle of the fulling process
But I still had a pair of (far to big) mittens, in a good quality yarn, that I could not use. The only solution left was the fulling board. A fulling board, a generous amount of soap and plenty of very hot water. The process was not as "easy" as I had hoped. It took me about 60 minutes of intense work for each mitten. But the result is quite fantastic. These mittens could probably be used as stove-mittens if needed. The length is now 25 cm and the width 12 cm (10 x 4,8 inches).
Comparison after fulling the right hand mitten
I am pondering whether or not I should decorate these in some fashion. I´ll have to give it some more thought.
A fulled pair of mittens
I will of course have to try out the machine process with another yarn some time in the future.

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