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 Post subject: Home-made woolen gear.
PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 8:44 am 
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A discussion on the merits of wool has been going on here.

My interest in home-made woolen gear is limited primarily to mitts (but to a lesser extent to toques also). I started out by learning to knit mittens and felting them to replace a lost Dachstein (boiled wool indestructible mitts). The first turned out way too long (all that work!) and the second is perfect so I use one Dachstein and the one home-made mitten.

Since then I have knit dozens of pairs using the same formula but have experimented widely with needle sizes and with wool types and sizes. (Single strand, double and even triple as well as very thick wool and fat needles) I tried once using very small needles with normal thickness wool.

I've especially experienced what happens to ordinary wool mitts when you use hiking poles or an ice ax and your hands sweat. There ensues significant shrinkage/felting of the palm and inner thumb over time while the rest of the mitt remains unchanged. I've seen how each type of construction works in the field at various temperatures and how it evolves over time due to the felting.

I nearly always wear shell mitts over the wool ones, which prevents them from wearing out from the friction with hiking poles.

Is anybody else doing this sort of "applied research "?


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 9:46 am 
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well yes. But mostly my "applied research" is devoted to not losing one of a pair.
And I always forget which wools felt well and which don't. I know blends and superwash preclude a satisfactory felting outcome.

Once I tried to knit heavy socks. I can't remember what needles I used and what pattern.. Sox of course get tossed in the machine.. the accidental felt. But they felted just enough to be still usable in pac boots for standing around watching ice fishing.

Cascade is good. Briggs and Little not so much. I was surprised at that as that wool is in every small general store I went to in Newfoundland. You'd think people there would want a wool that felts. Reviews of the Band L yarn say it does felt... but they must be spending a lot of time with a washboard beating on it.


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 10:17 am 
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It makes sense to use the same wool for several projects so as to have as few variables to work with as possible. I finally started a file with a picture each pair I make and keep track of a number of parameters: wool type, needle size, number of stitches, length and width before and after felting etc.

At the knitting store they said Cascade 220 had a very good quality/price ratio so I've been using that lately. Have also used Cascade Lana Grande and doubled stranded it on Number 13 needles for very thick and warm mitts.

I found that Alpaca type wools made for mitts that were too slippery when it came to gripping poles and axes. I also got the impression that my body heat was lost more easily.


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 12:13 pm 
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Alpaca is just too soft. And its a bit expensive! I use it for dress scarves ( we have a local alpaca farm that spins yarn)

Merino does fine in a blend.. But when Icebreaker gloves are on sale for 15 bucks its hard to justify knitting.

I'm pretty much stuck on 11's. When you need circular and double pointed it gets expensive.


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 12:59 pm 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
I'm pretty much stuck on 11's. When you need circular and double pointed it gets expensive.

I only know how to use a set of four double-pointed needles for mitts and knit in the round. For the current felting project I'm using #5's (3.75 mm) which makes for 48 stitches a row once past the thumb. At 8 rows per inch that's a lot of stitches but I don't want this pair to be too warm.

I would think the Cascade 220 would be too small a caliber wool for number 11's.

again.)


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 1:22 pm 
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2 skeins used.


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 4:11 pm 
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As an aside which shell mitts do you wear over the felted wool mitts. I'm having a tough time finding just a shell.


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 4:36 pm 
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I have two types. The MEC shells unfortunately are no longer made. The ones I use now mostly are OR Revels, which are more expensive, feature rich (like, who needs features in a shell mitt?) sturdier and the palms are tougher and waterproof. They are sized a LOT smaller than MEC shell mitts. For instance the OR large are a lot smaller than the MEC medium.

I have med. and large Revels and will get X-large for when the MEC shells wear out.

Nevertheless, the OR's quickly showed signs of abrasion (blame it on the ADK granite) at the thumb and hand tips. I also got a couple of very small rips. I "fixed" all of that with seam grip. Seam grip = magic gear repair. substance.


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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 7:46 pm 
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I too have been looking for good over-mitts. Good advice. Littleredcanoe, is there anywhere or anything you haven't been or done? I need to read your life book.

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PostPosted: January 26th, 2016, 8:43 pm 
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my_self_reliance wrote:
I too have been looking for good over-mitts. Good advice. Littleredcanoe, is there anywhere or anything you haven't been or done? I need to read your life book.


I am just old :rofl: Exploring is my passion. I can't build a canoe without help.
I have overmitts from OR but dang if I can remember the model name. I got em some 20 years ago. I use em for winter kayaking.

Not grabbing granite like Hiker Neil does. :clap:


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