Sunday, March 12, 2006
I did a Felt!
OK, lots of people felt stuff, some of them deliberately. This small bowl is special because it's the first thing I've made on the spur of the moment, without a pattern, that's really worked. I like it. Perhaps the last 48 years have taught me something after all :-)
I was intrigued by this moebius scarf thing I'd read about, so ordered Cat Bordhi's A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting because it had cat beds in it, too. In the book I read about felting as something worth doing on purpose, as opposed to something bad that happens if I mistreat my sweaters, and decided to try it using my least-liked wool left over from a Kaffe Fassett sweater. Remnants of brown, red-brown, unmentionable brown, ochre, red, and a tiny bit of green and blue I rather liked. I found a pattern for something completely different that told me how to make a circular base and just... started knitting. I changed colours as the fit took me, made it what seemed 'big enough' (after all I had no idea how big it would be after felting) and late one night I cast off and just felted it without stopping to worry about 'how hot' and 'how long'. Putting it through the Dyson would have wasted water, so the initial felting I did by hand. Hard work, that, especially at 10pm after a long day. The books may say water temperature doesn't matter, but I found a kettle-ful of boiling water really made the wool pay attention to what my hands were asking it to do. The potato masher was a good idea, but (like so many good ideas) no use at all In Real Life. The end result was felt, but not as small as I hoped, so on the the spur of today's moment I sealed it in a pillowcase, sealed that in another pillowcase, and put it through the wash with a load of darks. 40°C, cotton cycle, heavy stains, 1400RPM spin was on reflection a bad idea, but I've been able to work the creases out. I love it, especially purl side out. It's like a sunset, or layers of sedimentary rock, but it feels so organic, so nest-like. I am astonished that something I liked as little as I liked those scraps of wool have been transformed into something I like so much. Minnow is in the picture for scale, by the way. One should always include something to give the scale; Maine Coons are useful that way. And that pink lump in the bowl is the sari silk, which was OK after all. Tightly wound into a ball as some website-or-other suggested, and waiting for me to be inventive.
 The only momentous felt I can recall was when my mother machine-washed the woollen suit I'd had to make in my how-to-use-a-sewing-machine course when I was about 9. I still wonder whether she did it on purpose. Was it that bad? I'll never know.