Tuesday, April 28, 2009

it's been a long time....

I used to do a lot of felting. If you look back at the beginning of my blogging days you will see early felting experiments that I documented and shared. I loved the technique and my ability to design bags with it. I made many of them in a vibrant array of colors and sold them in my etsy shop, gave them as gifts, and donated them to be auctioned off at community fundraisers. Then, last winter, I stopped making them. Just as my store became successful and as I had my washing/felting times down pat, I decided I had enough, and moved on to other projects.

Felting (or fulling,) I should explain, involves working with 100% wool yarn on larger needles to create an object that will intentionally shrink when you wash it. Much like when you accidentally wash a wool sweater, the fibers tighten and you get the effect of a solid, fuzzy fabric where you can't see the stitches. It's great for making sturdy things, like purses, clutches and Christmas stockings as well as other crafts and accessories.

One of the reasons I got away from felting was that I moved to a new apartment without a washer dryer of my own. Feeding quarters in the machines at the laundry mat to wash our clothes was enough of a nuisance, getting used to the new equipment and all those test cycles just wasn't in me! Also, I found after a long time of knitting numerous projects that would later be felted and not show my stitches, that my stitch definition was getting sloppy and I wasn't progressing with the new techniques I wanted to learn (sweater shaping, lace work, socks, etc) so... it's been awhile, but I am back to felting, for today at least. I made a couple of soon-to-be-felted bowls, which look like stretchy ski caps before they run through the hot/cold cycle. The bowls are for a workshop I will be teaching at Unravel in May and they are pretty fun to make. As long as you have a washing machine that cooperates!

It's amazing how quickly things dry here in the desert! I removed my two bowls from their third trip through the washer (I have cleaned just about everything I own by now!!) and started stuffing them with plastic shopping bags to form the rounded shape. Honestly, after a few minutes in the warm New Mexico sun they were dry! They do kind of look like little Jackie O. hats, don't they?

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