Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Word of the Day -- Felted

So, the word of the day is "Felted" (or, perhaps more correctly, "Fulled"). 

Once upon a time I thought this was a dirty word.  Not generally, mind you.  But the very idea of taking something I love (yarn), knitting it up into fabric, then "ruining" it by dunking it in hot water and rubbing it vigorously until it shrunk up into a matted mess was, to me, absolutely mortifying. 

Then, one day, I had a bunch of leftover wool yarn that I could not possibly turn into anything that I would wear, or give someone else to wear.  And I started wondering what the heck to do with.  While in this wondering state, I was flipping through projects on Ravelry and came across a felted bowl.  It was pretty.  It was artsy.  It was useful.  It was cool. 

Having nothing better to do, I got out some double-pointed needles and started knitting a little hat-shaped thing.  I knit until I had a floppy, little, round bowl. 

Now, I had no idea how to felt anything on purpose.  Never thought I'd want to know.  So, to the world wide interwebs I went.  If I'm gonna' do this thing, I'm gonna' do it right.  So I Googled "how to felt knitting."  The first page I came to explained in detail how to machine-felt my knitting.  Fantastic!  The problem was, I lived in an apartment with a coin-operated laundry machine . . . down the hall.  There was no way I was going to be able to use this method.

So I kept looking around and found some information on felting by hand.  In my apartment.  In my sink.  With just some hot water from the tap and some dishwashing liquid.  Yeah, okay.  That I could do. 

dunk. swish. swish. rub. squeeze.  rub.  rub.  rub . . .

Twenty sweaty, sore-armed, "what the heck was I thinking" minutes of this later, I had a bowl.  A small, hand-felted bowl.  That I made myelf.  You would not believe how excited I was about this little thing.  And I loved the process.  Watching and feeling the fabric transform in my hands was, surprisingly, one of my most satisfying fiber experiences. 

shaping.  an extra rub here.  a little stretch there.  shock with a little cold water.  back to the hot. 


I loved the process so much, that I made another little, hand-felted bowl.  Then another.  Then a couple o' cups.  Then a vase, and some boxes . . . 


Word of the day.

1 comment:

Whitish said...

I must admit that I felted quite amused at the story of your journey towards feltation. I was wondering if it was possible to use the process to make an ashtray that would somehow NOT be a serious fire hazard. Perhaps, the water-dipping step of the process would have to be re-created once the Marlboro butt ignited the yarn. I don't actually smoke, by the way, I was just curious. I don't want you to put too much time and money into research and development, unnecessarily. I just really enjoyed the blog post, lol. Keep on feltin'.


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