Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life



In the spirit of not mincing words, yesterday was diabolical.

It started off well enough. I had a productive meeting with my boss, and came home to finish Francis Revisited. It’s a lovely pattern, and I’ll definitely be knitting one of these for me! But this particular one is for a friend.

Then bad news struck: the job was cancelled. The Canterbury earthquake has affected all sorts of activities in New Zealand, and my job was one of them. It was a bit depressing to lose the first job I’d been able to find in months, even though I fully support and understand the rationale behind the stoppage.

It wasn’t so much about the money, as I understand I will get paid for the job anyway. But it just felt soooo good and fulfilling to be back in the land of productivity, teamwork and a form of self-reliance.  Not to mention that it’s very healthy for one’s confidence and self-esteem levels.

No matter. The sweater got finished, and it was beautiful. I was so proud – it would fit my friend perfectly, and looked exactly how she wanted it. I gave it a quick soak in lukewarm water and put it in the machine for a short, gentle spin, like I always do with my finished projects.

When the cycle finished, I took the project out of the bag, and my blood ran cold. My beautiful Francis had felted.  The alpaca fibres in the yarn had somehow managed to fluff out of the wool and grab on to each other, felting it. In a short, nine minute spin. It was fine when it went into the machine.  I’d done this with other alpaca I’d knitted.  I could not understand how this could have happened.  I tugged and pulled at it in vain.  Hot tears sprung up. What a ‘great’ way to end the day. Patons Jet, I will never knit with you again.

Here it is, being dried anyway. Although I felt like cutting it up into tiny little pieces last night.

My mind was in turmoil. Failure and frustration at every turn, I needed to calm down. I grabbed a couple of balls of Noro Silk Garden that I had been saving to knit for a little bit of a luxury treat. After a few rows, my breathing slowed and my heart wasn’t quite as ‘bumpity bumpity’. The pure beauty of the yarn, the texture and colours were soothing to the soul.

In fact, I started to have a little fun with it – I had a treasured ball of Iro in my collection too, and decided that as the colours looked identical, I’d make a textural piece:

I think this is going to be a lovely cowl. Except for the slight variation in texture, you can’t actually see I’ve used two different Noro yarns in this.

But back to my problem: How was I going to explain this to my friend? She’d paid over $100 for the yarn. And now, it was completely, and utterly ruined. Not to mention all the work and care I’d put into knitting it. This friend is not a knitter. I wasn’t sure how she’d take the news that $100 had just flushed down the toilet. Nor might she understand how a yarn could just felt in a heartbeat like that (neither can I, for that matter).

I’d gone to great trouble to select the yarn for her.  It had to contain alpaca to match the qualities of the yarn used in the pattern so that the effect would be the same, and there isn’t a lot of worsted weight alpaca in New Zealand.  I had not knitted a garment in Jet before, but one does not think that a mass-market yarn like Patons would be a bad punt. Needless to say, I dreamed about felted garments all night.

This morning, I went to see my LYS owner and cried on her shoulder.  She has kindly offered to seek compensation from the manufacturer.  I hope the money can be refunded.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to knit her another Francis in a safe yarn and show her the felted failure as an explanation of why I switched yarns. I’ve picked Naturally’s Naturelle 100% pure New Zealand wool in Aran 10 ply.

The tension is the same, and I know this one will not felt when treated to a short spin. It’s a close-enough match to the colour of the original yarn. There’s no alpaca in the yarn, but the way I’m feeling, I don’t think I want to risk it. Hopefully she’ll like it. And if she doesn’t, I’ll just have to gift it to someone else I guess. She’s a size smaller than me, so I won’t be able to wear it. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!

If I had a real choice of yarn, I’d love to use Zealana’s Kauri in worsted weight. I had the lucky opportunity of seeing some of the worsted-weight (10 ply) up close recently, and now I fantasize about knitting a Francis in it.  Available in a drool-worthy range of colours, it is snugly, drapey, light and warm – a knitter’s dream. It would be the perfect choice. But you can’t buy it in New Zealand because none of the yarn stores here stock that weight. Damn.


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

27 thoughts on “Jettisoned

  1. Unfortunately Paton’s Jet has done the same for me, but it was with a pair of crocheted mitts; so able to be rescued. As a result I made an oversized hat with the rest with the intention of felting it. I still have some in my stash, but no clue as to what I’m going to do with it. Funny thing is the chunky version (Inca) didn’t felt, but it does stretch with wear. Personally I think I’ll use a different brand next time, or maybe spin my own.

    • I’m very glad to know you are safe. Good mojo to you that your job will still be ok.

      Thanks for sharing that the same thing happened to you. I’m just relieved for you it wasn’t a large project!

  2. Forgot to say, sorry about the job, I take it that it was for the census? My work is a bit up in the air atm also due to the quake, but mainly because it’s also based here in Christchurch and they don’t know how much has been lost in the factory till Monday.

  3. So glad I have never used Jet – here you are, an experienced user of yarn and this happens! What must happen to less experienced people and how distressing for them especially if they have laboured for months over a garment. I am surprised a label like Patons would do this. It is frustrating that we cannot easily get 10 ply weight in NZ when so many great patterns are created in it internationally – maybe there is some way we can put pressure on manufacturers to do so?

    • I know! I wondered about that too. It’s not a pleasant feeling not to be able to trust one’s yarn to behave especially when care instructions have been followed. I understand that more 10 ply is on its way this winter. Once it’s all in the stores, I shall be able to introduce them here. Yay!!!

  4. Also forgot to say sorry about the job – am sure something else will pop up soon for you 🙂

  5. Oh my god oh my god oh my god what a terrrrrrible thing Wei Siew
    I was cringing when I read that post
    I’m so sorry your friends jersey felted, what a waste, I hope Paton’s replaces the yarn, I think they absolutely should
    I love how you found solace in Noro, it truly is a healing yarn!
    I’ve missed your posts and e-mails, it has been nice to have a catch up with you again despite the bad news of your felting and your job, I thought of you when i read the article, what a shame,
    I’ll e-mail you later about the spin-in

    • It IS funny how we both turned to Noro to comfort our knitting failures. I can’t see how anyone could not like Noro – lucky you, getting to knit with Sandra’s yarn! 🙂

  6. Oh and according to blonde knit world lady, Knitch’s shop is incredible, I think we need to do a road trip….

  7. How awful for that to felt in a spin cycle! All that work!!! aaaaahhhh! I have some Jet in my stash and I am sure I have used it for numerous things and now that I think of it I was using it to add a bit of colour to some crochet bowls that I felted….I didn’t realise it felted so well! I shall have to remember that. Sorry about your job…..Noro is just the thing to cheer you up 🙂

    • My son made a very observant remark as I was trying to be adult about the whole thing, while attempting to stretch it back into shape “What a shame! And you’ve put so much work into that!” Bless him. Noro has indeed cheered me up. The cowl is done, and I’m sooo happy with it, that I think I can face knitting Francis v. 2 now. 🙂

  8. Oh I am soooooo sorry! I would have cried and cried. I remember when I was gifting a blanket to a friend of mine for Christmas, and I planned on having it finished the night before (all I had left was to finish the border). But she showed up early to the house, so I couldn’t pull it out. Desperate, I woke up early and tried to finish. But sure enough, she had the plan of getting up early too. So, I had to gift it…. sigh.. uncompleted… I was so sad. So I completely understand how frustrating that can be. I am so sorry! I hope that everything goes well! 😀

    • Oh how frustrating! I can imagine how that would have felt. If only your friend had known!

      • It was terrible. But I told her afterward that I had tried to finish it, but she didn’t care. She just snuggled underneath of the rest of the blanket, while I finished the edging 🙂 I hope that you get refunded though! That is so odd that it would felt up so quickly. I told my Kevin, and he felt so bad for you too! He knows nothing about knitting, but he just put his head down in his hands and said “oh no… that is so terrible… poor thing.” We feel your pain!

  9. You have had a frustrating week! Thanks for the warning about Jet. I haven’t used it, yet, but I’ll be sure to stay away from it in the future as I always spin out my knitted items after washing them. I’m really sorry about your job, too. Being paid for it is great but it certainly doesn’t replace the satisfaction of actually DOING it. Also, why do Zealana not make all their yarns available on the New Zealand market? It really isn’t fair when they are made here but not available for us to buy! Grrr!

  10. So sorry!! How about making a felted pillow from the sweater – but not until you’ve finished the new one. Cutting it up could be therapeutic, and it would still be something beautiful.

    • Yes, a nice, firm, square pillow with a large button in the middle. As I said to Kathy, I don’t think I could bear to keep it though. I’d be growly every time I looked at it!

  11. Oh – what a day! Awful about the job and the sweater. I love the idea of cutting it up and making a pillow – you could embroider it, or put buttons on it! The Noro cowl looks divine. Hang in there!

    • Thank you. 🙂 Claudia’s suggestion of a pillow is a good one, and it had crossed my mind. I’ll definitely think about that, once I’ve done with it. Although I’m not sure I would keep it – too many bad associated memories I think!!

  12. Noooooooooooo…..

    My blood would have run cold too, so sorry you have lost all that time and expense as well as the job.

    Hope you find solace in your knitting.

    best wishes and good on you for being so determined to re-knit.


  13. Have been thinking since I read your post – I know that I have read somewhere (maybe on Ravlery) about unfelting a garment by using hair conditioner. Is it worth a bit of research? Might be worth a try.

  14. Hiya just thought I would drop a line to let you know that I stock the 10ply Kauri in my shop. The Zealana range is lovely. Drop me a line if you want to know more.

  15. I’m sorry about the loss of your job and the felting of the sweater. Maybe it can be worn anyway? I once knitted myself a woolly jumper that ended up really over-sized – then I accidentally felted it and it was not only the perfect size, but also perfectly wind-proof.