Friday, July 18, 2008

Adventures in Felting

I'm not at all certain how I've managed to avoid purposefully felting a knitted item. I've felted plenty of stuff unintentionally. I once took a beautiful, overpriced Pendleton sweater, much like this one and washed it in the machine. Sometimes, I'm not too bright. It felted to the point it could have fit Paddington bear. I have a few pair of felted socks that really shouldn't have felted, but did. Never, never believe those washing instructions for superwash wool. Hand wash those socks. I pass my felted socks along to people in this house that are blessed with smaller feet than me. Sometimes, it's a sad thing when it happens to a favorite pair of socks, but it does. I've felted without intent too many times. Subsequently, I thought I'd earned an honorary degree in felting. Enough anyways to have at it.

Step No. 1: Knit the blob.

Over the weekend, I went diving into the stash and came up with four skeins of Wisdom Yarns' Poems in many shades of brown. It's color 572. I knit Black Sheep Bag's Booga Bag Pattern (free) in no time. I used US size 10 needles and really only used 2 1/2 skeins of the 4. There is an icord strap included in the total of yarn used. I think the strap took me more time than the bag. This yarn is self striping and wonderful to work with. I knew it'd be a disaster in the making should I have used it for anything other than a felted project. One way, or another, this yarn was going to be felt.

Step 2 (you can start with step 3 if you'd prefer but you will have to do this): Introducing your woolen item to hot water, agitation and soap.

Today, I enclosed the bag and strap in a pillow case (I wasn't this careful when unintentionally felting items) and threw it in the machine with a pair of jeans that are pretty much just sitting in the closet awaiting a 10 pound weight loss. In other words, waiting for donation to Goodwill or for hell to freeze over. Whichever comes first. I put a cap of Woolite in to the scorching hot water.

Step 3: The art of unwinding at the end of a long week.

I popped the top of a bottle of red and made sure the wash was set to small load. The beer was to celebrate the end of the week. Thanks, Sam.

Step 4: Do not overdo step 3 during the agitation process or you'll be sorry.

Once agitation began, I kept an eye on the time. Five minutes. I stopped at four and I'm so glad I did.

Step 5: Admire the art and science of felting. Vow here and now to protect your wool from the elements.

Once out of the wash with my shrunken blob, I rinsed in cold water and rolled it in a towel to squeeze out excess. I stepped on the rolled towel to finesse the last bits of water out. I utilized my extra 10 pounds I'm lugging around to help in this step.

Step 6: Shaping.  Make sure you hide the evidence that you stole everyone's breakfast by covering it in plastic.

I took a box of Raisin Bran Crunch and covered it with a trash bag. I gently placed the blob on the box and am now waiting a day or two for it to dry. Ta-da.

Step 7: Repeat step 3. Just the bottle of red part. It's all done now. Perhaps, watch Paddington Bear eat a Marmite sammy.


WT said...

Wow, that's amazing! You made a bag for your boogas, I just wipe mine on my jeans.

Rose said...

What are you doing? Rubbing it in that I suck at felting?? My felted bag looked like I skinned a Muppet! (not my phrase, my stepdaughter's) Your bag looks very nice. Now I'm off to Atlanta!

Rudee said...

wt, I must be more cultured and discreet than you.

Rose, you must have accidentally skipped step 3. Next time, start with step 3 earlier in the process. Have fun in Atlanta.

Wilde Thyme Knits said...

Great bag. I must put it on my faves list!

laurie said...

i never heard of felting before. cool!

but i've heard of sam adams. my buddy.

Anonymous said...

Intentional felting is really fun. Plus it hides a multitude of knitting errors. Screwed up your stockinette? Who cares? It melts away.

Step 3 is critical, I'd say.

Rudee said...

Amy, I think Rose may have skipped step 3 which is crucial. Or, she repeated step 3 too many times.

Brenda said...

I to am clueless about felting, but I used to knit. It has just been so long ago I maybe just forgot the term, but would love to pick it back up someday. I have way too many hobbies and never enough time to do any of them. Spending too much time on this computer is a new hobby of mine. This laptop on my kitchen table is just too hard to walk by and not sit in front of. Oh well....that's life!

Rositta said...

Felting is so much fun, I've done a few things. Step 3 is majorly important, never skip that one. I do use cheap dishwash detergent though...ciao