Monday, April 28, 2008

ugh... what's that dreadful smell

Wet wool... is there anything that smells worse?

How about hot wet wool... definitely much worse!

For those of you not familiar with the felting process, I'll give you a quick rundown of how it works. Basically you take your beautifully knitted project and subject it to hot soapy water and lots of agitation. Treat it as badly as you possibly can, until the wool becomes matted and you can no longer identify the individual stitches. Then shape it a little and allow it to dry.

I use a front loader washing machine. Of course front loaders are renowned for their gentle delicate washing motion. I don't want gentle. I don't want delicate. I want ABUSIVE. But my machine doesn't have an 'abusive' cycle, so I improvise by adding a pair of gumboots and some old jeans into the load. (Don't make the mistake of including clothing you would ever want to wear again.) I set the water temperature at the highest setting. You need to pop the item into a separate wash bag or you will clog your filters with lint and destroy your washer. Add the soap and away you go. Important not to let the machine go through its spin cycle, or you will ruin the shape of the item.

When the washing is done, you remove the hot, wet, stinky mass from the machine. Ugh. It does not smell good. Reminds me of high school on a cold wet day. The smell of wet woolen blazers. Ugh. Everyone crowded around the heater trying to warm up, and the smell of that wet wool fills the room. Makes you feel claustrophobic. Ugh. Funny the memories that come with particular smells. Suddenly I feel like an awkward teenager again. Ugh.

Pat dry. Shape. Allow a couple of days to air dry thoroughly.

That's where I'm at at the moment. Making use of a couple of large pasta serving bowls. I'll keep the felted bowl sandwiched between them to try and give it some shape. It needs all the help it can get. I think it's going to be a very floppy bowl. If I was using this pattern again I would definitely use double stranded yarn for extra stability.

felted bowl drying

felted bowl drying (sandwiched)

1 comment:

Rima said...

I totally hear what you are saying. When I made the granny basket, I also thought it was turning out floppy. So I felted it once more (in this hand felted it...for about 2 minutes) and it was fine.