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Monday, September 01, 2008

Any felting in my future?

I'm not sure there will be any felting in my future now...

I've never felted before mostly out of a fear of over-felting and ending up with something doll sized in the end. Even so, there was always the possibility of felting if I ever chose to do it since we had a top-loading washing machine at the Old House and we inherited an old top-loading washing machine with our New House.

This is what came with our New House:

Old washer & dryer that came with the New House

Yup, that's the way it was connected too. As I understand it, the previous owners moved this fridge from the kitchen into the garage. They connected a power strip to the wall, and then plugged in the fridge and dryer to the power strip.

We had some electrical work done to the house before we moved in, and I think we added an extra outlet back there so that we could plug the fridge into the wall and plug in the dryer back where the power strip was plugged into the wall.

We had been thinking about replacing these for some time, the only thing really holding us back was the expense. But with the dry years lately and the dreaded D word that finally came up, we made more effort to replace them sooner with newer more energy & water efficient models.

Look what got delivered on at the end of July:

New front-loading washer & dryer

I was really impressed with delivery. The salesperson told us that the delivery people would call us 30 minutes before arrival. The night before delivery day, we received a phone call informing us that our delivery window was 3:15 PM to 5:15 PM. Hey, it's better than those 4-hr+ windows! Anyhow, on delivery day, I received a phone call at 2:30 PM informing me that they'd arrive in 20 to 30 minutes. Hung up. OK, I was thinking more like 30 minutes or more. 5 minutes later... ding dong. They were already at my front door!

It didn't take them very long to remove the old units and put in the new ones. There was a little concern about whether the gas hose would reach. With the ways the doors are oriented on the new units, the washer needs to be on the left and the dryer on the right. This is the reverse of the old units. Fortunately it all worked out by shifting the units leftwards a bit, and I didn't even have to move the fridge further left. (Looking at the before & after photos, it looks like I had moved the fridge at some point in time shortly after we moved in, probably after we did the electrical work and plugged it into its own outlet) Of course by shifting the washer/dryer to the left, it exposed the part of the wall that was previously hidden by the washer. It's not pretty to look at. Oh well.

So of course I had to try out my new toy that afternoon. I did an empty load first per instructions in the manual. Yes, I actually read. :-) Then I did a real load of laundry. I thought I was over stuffing it by shoving in more stuff that I normally would have in the old washer. Then the washer started. It was very interesting to see how it filled with water and spun around. Stopped Filled with water and spun in the opposite direction. Anyhow once it was in full wash mode, I was totally surprised at seeing very little water in there. They weren't kidding when they said these front loading washing machines use a lot less water!!! I was expecting to see some water level around halfway or more up the window. And while it was washing, it looked like I didn't really put much clothing in there. Oh, I almost forgot to mention how QUIET this washer is. I couldn't believe it. You can barely hear it. And you definitely don't hear it in the family room which is adjacent to the garage. We used to hear the old washer loud and clear, especially while spinning and when it spun off balance. And the "done" beep indicator for both units is a nice soft beep, not the loud wake-up-the-dead buzz the old dryer used to make.

I'm still making the adjustment to knowing how much laundry I can actually wash in one load.

As for using HE laundry detergent, I picked up a huge box of the Costco Kirkland Ultra HE laundry detergent whose box states that it can be used in both standard and HE washers. Ok, it's nice that one detergent can work in both. What totally confuses me is the chart on the back that pretty much says to use more detergent for the HE washer than the standard washer. I would have thought it would be the other way around.

So did you notice that the washer (left) has chrome around the door and the dryer (right) is white around the door? They're not really matching units.

While shopping for a washer, we were mainly looking for features we were interested in and at a sweet price point. This turned out to be the Kenmore HE5t non-steam washer. Yes, I know steam is the latest thing in washers; we decided that this wasn't a must-have feature. Kenmore didn't have a matching HE5 non-steam dryer and we also decided that we did not want the (more expensive) HE5 steam version dryer, so we downgraded to the (more affordable) Kenmore HE3 non-steam dryer.

While at Sears, the salesperson gave Miss M an inflatable red ball. This kept her occupied and content while we shopped. After making our purchase, I keep thinking that this was a very expensive ball. lol.

I still can't believe how much the washer and dryer cost, even with the sale price. I keep telling myself this is a good thing in the long run. Uses less energy. Uses less water. And it's supposed to be big enough to shove a comforter inside. Yes! That's what they advertised.

Many weeks after using the new washer for regular laundry, I finally worked up to shoving our big queen size comforter into it. Boy was that a snug fit. But it did fit! The comforter came out feeling as though there was some slippery soapy residue, so I gave it another rinse. Next time I wash this comforter I must remember to use less detergent and use the 2nd rinse feature. The comforter also fit in the dryer. The only thing I had to do was dry one side, then flip it over and dry the other side.

So back to felting. Although I've never intentionally felted any of my knitting, I did understand how it was supposed to work in a top-loading washing machine. I just don't see how it would happen in a front loader. It seems like I would have to drain out the water each time I check on felting progress, then refill it with water if it needs more felting.

I have non-intentionally semi-felted something. It was Miss M's baby blanket, knit with superwash wool, which went through the wash so many times that it eventually semi-felted. The blanket is not quite as soft or flexible as it used to be, and it has also shrunk a wee bit.


Isn't the sheep pattern on this needle holder cute? This is from Aunt Kathy -- thanks Kathy!!! -- and the needle holder is made by Loraskeyhole. DPNs and crochet hooks fit in the needle holder. There are 3 pockets and you can see the two crochet hooks I placed in it if you look carefully in the middle and right pockets.


This is a Cable Needle Necklace from Darcy and Leslie Wind -- thanks!!! Leslie Wind makes these cable needles herself! My first thought when I saw this on Darcy's blog was how does this work? Fortunately Darcy has a couple of videos on her blog that show how it is used. Both videos show back cable crosses where you hold the cable needle in the back. You would just hold the cable needle in front for front cable crosses. Picking up the stitches from left-to-right requires a little adjustment but you'll get used to it like any other knitting technique you would learn. The great thing about having this hanging around your neck is that you will never lose your cable needle while you're knitting (or in my case, toddlers won't pick it up off the sofa or table and walk away with it). That is so clever!


I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. I love 3-day weekends here because a lot of people leave town. You can really notice the difference when you are driving. Definitely less traffic!

Miss M is staying overnight with the grandparents so I managed to finish a scarf which is blocking now. Aaaahh... it is so much easier to block stuff when I have the house to myself. :-) I'll try to share photos and more details in my next post.

Petra Scarf blocking

I finally got around to seeing the movie Cars, which was better than I expected however not quite as good or fun as Ratatouille. although I have to say that Monters, Inc is one of my favorites. Let's see, other movies I get to choose from this week include: Transformers, The Painted Veil, The Last King of Scotland, and King Kong. Which one would you choose? I'd like to see The Painted Veil. Although I have read a number of WS Maugham novels, this is one I hadn't gotten to yet.


Friday Fill-In #87

1. When I'm sick I feel even more miserable because I can't quite get the rest I need while still taking care of my toddler.

2. When I take a walk, I think about what I will knit next, designing things in my mind, or what I will blog about next, then forgetting the details when I get home! (I do the same thing while driving too).

3. Money can't buy happiness but it can it can make sure the bills are paid.

4. Cotton makes me feel cool and comfortable and leather makes me think of shoes and handbags.

5. The strangest person/character I've had lewd thoughts about was no one, can't think of anybody.

6. My favorite color these days is purple because well, I'm not sure why but it is my favorite color and I am usually drawn to objects of that color.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having seared ahi tuna, tomorrow my plans include dropping off Miss M with her grandparents and Sunday, I want to knit & catch up on Tivo'd stuff!


Okeedokee ... it's time for us to go pick up Miss M ...


9 stitch(es):

Aunt Kathy said...

Marie, try felting with something easy like those roses I made. The pattern link is in my projects.

Oh and that cable necklace I WANT one so bad... I refuse to knit another cable EVER until I have one. I just don't have $40.00 to spend on me yet. {{{sigh}}}

I love the looks of the new appliances...

Darcys Knotty Knitter said...

Yes isnt it lovely this is the all sterling silver cable needle necklace we havent put it on the website yet for purchase.Hugs Darcy

Janet said...

Did you catch up on Tivo'd stuff? I'd like to see The Last King of Scotland! Thanks for playing :-)

Alison Purple said...

Congrats on the washer and dryer...YOU CAN FELT IN A FRONT LOADING WASHER!!! I have one and I felt all the time!!!

Georgi said...

I love the cable needle necklace, I think I will breakdown and buy one. I had to buy a new washer and dryer when we moved to Denver and was amazed at how expensive the steam capability was. I decided I could throw a wet washcloth in the load and get the same affect for half the money. But I love the new washer and dryers, they are so quiet, even when they are full and spinning :-)
BTW, I have felted with a front loader, but I am not quite as enamored with felting for some reason. I don't know. . .

Cactusneedles said...

Love your new washer/dryer! My friend has one and loves it! She can wash her queen sized comforter in it and it comes out great!! Take care!

Susan said...

I love my new washer and I can fit a ton of stuff but I can't felt anymore. I have to borrow my daughter's washer. But I can wash my knits so it's all good!

Esther said...

Love the new washer and dryer - together they look like a bug-eyed alien.
Foreigner question - why do you need a gas hose?

And you can felt perfectly in a front loader, I know from experience. When I was a teen my Dad felted, on separate occasions, my 2 favourite angora sweaters.

hakucho said...

Good luck with your NEW washer and dryer. They sure are a handsome pair :)