The Kiki Mariko for Olive’s ramp has been knitted, felted, steeked, trimmed, and installed.
How it’s supposed to work.
Now all that’s left is to convince Olive to use her ramp—as a ramp. We’ve made some progress: Over the last couple of months, she’s gone from avoiding the ramp, to ignoring the ramp, to napping on the ramp, to using it as a booster step (in the flat, zero-incline position), to the current status: using it as a booster step at the lowest incline setting. This means that the ramp must remain parallel to the bed, so that Olive can get down from the bed in two hops instead of one big reckless leap. I’m calling it a win—but whose win?
How Olive likes it.
I do think about how Olive managed to communicate her specifications and conditions for ramp use with such precision, without using words. One begins to feel a superior intelligence is at play.
I left a little extra at the ends in case it contracts a bit with use. There was a nice felt keyboard coaster left after trimming.
Olive does enjoy the woolly cushion effect, and I imagine she appreciates that touch of mohair in the fiber mix of the Lamb’s Pride Bulky, mohair being the one kind of yarn she will deign to steal from me.
Felting Tips and Tricks
At our Steek Night Live zoom on Monday night, we got fully as many questions about felting as about steeking the rug.
I think you and I have an ease with felting because we lived through the early 2000s, the high-water (get it?) mark for felted knits. Remember the French Market Bag? (Mine, a forerunner of the Ikea blue bag in terms of its size, lives on in beautiful coasters cut from its capacious fabric after I wore out the handles.) And our own pattern, the Felted Boxes? (Mine are still in use, and still necessary to my life, and I think Cristina may still have the nesting set of mini and maxi felted boxes that I made for her in a felting fever one summer.) And in those days there were any number of felted bowls, mats, oven mitts, clogs, slippers, and of course, our beloved Kiki Mariko Rug.
Felting so many things back then gave us a casual attitude about throwing knits into the washing machine and seeing what happens, and a laissez-felt attitude is actually helpful. If you are going to felt your knits, it is liberating to let go of the need for precision or control, and to instead adopt a posture of optimistic excitement: it’s going to be lovely, it’s going to be useful, and it’s going to be felt, but it might not be the exact size, texture, or thickness of felt you envisioned.
After such a long felting sabbatical, my big takeaway from felting Olive’s ramp rug is that washing-machine felting is easier than I remembered. I put the rug into my venerable top loader, filled it with hot water, let it agitate as long as my nerves could stand it (3 or 4 minutes, tops), looked at it to see that yes, it was felting, and then spun the water out and rinsed it. I put it in the dryer, which I set to hot because it’s a mature dryer and basically has two temperatures: hot and not on. The rug tumbled until it was almost dry, and a bit more felted, very nice and smooth.
And then I did it the whole process all over again. I decided I had been too tentative in my felting on the first try, and that my Kiki Mariko needed a bit more oomph. Repeating the process gave it a little extra chewy texture, and I left it on the counter, barely damp, to dry overnight.
It’s still not as felted as my two small practice pieces, which I just put in the washer, whispered “que sera, sera,” and left them in there until the whole cycle had run. This definitely felted them more than the rug, and extruded more mohair from the fiber. I had to actually give these pieces a little shave with my scissors to remove the mohair beard, I mean halo.
To watch me steek all three pieces, hear our advice on felting, steeking, and finishing a Kiki Mariko Rug, and see a great gallery of the assembled Kiki congregation, you can watch the recording of Monday night’s Zoom call, linked up top. We had a big time, and we’re grateful to all who joined us.
As we enter the final week of our Bang Out a Kiki Mariko knitalong, we will be perched in the MDK Lounge and on the #BangOutaKikiMariko hashtag on Instagram, watching the beautiful rugs roll in. You done good, people! Please keep sharing your gorgeous work and fun outtakes from the process. We live for this.