16 January 2006

Felting Fun

The other day I completed a couple of felted vases. I really like the one on the left, which was made using two strands of Plymouth Galway (one red, one off-white) together. Nice and valentiney. The one on the right, however, felted oddly. It was made with Berroco Foliage. As my hubby commented when he caught sight of it drying in the bathroom, "What is that thing growing in there??"


But what to do with it? Seems a waste just to dump it. Then I turned it over to dry more thoroughly:

and inspiration struck. Hideous, malformed vase, but not a bad pincushion! So I'll just stuff some fiberfill inside, and pincushion it shall be. I may even pretend I meant it to be a pincushion. So there.

And no, this isn't the mystery project to which I alluded yesterday. That one's still in progress.


Peg said...

So please enlighten the idiot: what exactly *is* felting and how do you know it went wrong (and how do you only know that after and not during).

I'm sure I could look all this stuff up.

dephal said...

In this case, felting is throwing the thing into the washing machine, with the water set to hot. Technically, I think this is actually called fulling, rather than felting, but who needs technically? Anyway, the thing shrinks and becomes much thicker and less flexible. Only animal fibers felt.

The thing with felting is different fibers felt at different rates, and also felting tends to happen quite quickly. So you have to check on your project frequently while it's in the washer, and you never know quite how it's going to turn out. And once it's felted, you can't unfelt it, although you can sort of prod the object into various shapes while it's still wet.

As for how you know it went wrong, if the thing turns out ugly, it went wrong. The Ugly Vase That's Now a Pincushion actually felted just dandy; it's just the result ain't pretty.

Peg, if you want to play with felting (it's fun!) I can recommend some books. Or just throw a couple of wool sweaters in the machine.:-)

Peg said...

Thank you for the explanation. I realized it had to do with the transfiguration but not that it was such a complicated process.

Also, I know it's now a pincushion, but I think if you added long legs to this it would make a neat rasta jellyfish, or a rastapus.

dephal said...

I like the rastapus idea, Peg! Maybe that is what it was meant to be.

I didn't mean to make felting sound complicated, because it's really not. It's just that you never know quite how it will turn out--which is a big part of the fun.