4.04.2009

Felting, saving yourself a headache

I have been working on a purse to felt. It has been hibernating a bit. I finished it, and was quite pleased.

Felt is the oldest form of fabric known to humankind. It predates weaving and knitting, although there is archaeological evidence from the British Museum that the first known thread was made by winding vegetable fibers on the thigh. In Turkey, the remains of felt have been found dating back at least to 6,500 BC. Highly sophisticated felted artifacts were found preserved in permafrost in a tomb in Siberia and dated to 600AD.

WHO INVENTED FELTING?
THERE IS THE IDEA THAT ST. CLEMENT,
THE PATRON SAINT OF FELTERS AND HAT MAKERS,
PUT WOOL IN THE BOTTOM OF HIS SANDALS AS
HE TREKKED OFF ON A HOLY MISSION. 
THAT IS POSSIBLE, BUT ARCHEOLOGY AND
SCIENCE HAVE SHOWN US THAT FELTING HAS BEEN
AROUND A LOT LONGER THAN THAT DEAR OLD SAINT.
MAYBE AS LONG AS ABOUT 30,000 YEARS OR MORE!


Saint Clement I, was the 3rd Bishop of Rome about 100 A.D.
He is the Patron Saint of Hatters in England
and is celebrated on November 23.

The Mongolian thought is that the nomadic
tribes often used sheep skins to sit upon
while they rode their horses.  Perhaps one hot and
humid day of hard riding turn the skins into some great felt

Whoever originally discovered this process, probably many people accidentally felted something, as we all have. The first article I felted was a hand knitted sweater of my husbands that his grandmother knitted him (long dead). I didn't tell him that it fit my Barbie doll for a number of years. (about 10)

Even happier than I thought I would be, when I finished knitting the purse.

So I happily put the purse in my machine to felt it this beautiful sat morning.

Oops...

My "purse" is not 2 feet long!! Yes that's a ruler there, I don't think I can make it work as a purse. Right now just looking at it and trying to figure out what to do.

Lesson from this exercise: Knit a test swatch and felt it. See how the yarn you are using in the pattern is going to felt.

My local LYS, tells me, that all yarn felts differently, and....

1-Your water PH will affect your felting.

2-What kind of washer is used. (top loader, front loader, type of agitation)

3-Water temp

4-Use soap or baking soda, "improves felting", makes more little fuzzies to stick together. Also "speeds" the felting process up.

I have felted several pairs of clogs before and never had any problems.

So be forewarned, gauge is important in felting, knit one and process it exactly like you are going to for your finished product.

May your needles fly as fast as Dragonflies...

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5 comments:

  1. Hi Vicki,
    That was a very intereting blog post on felt. Thanks for all that info. Whoever invented it I'm glad that they did so. I have been needlefelting lately and having loads of fun.
    Sometimes when my items are a lost cause I throw them back into the washer 2 or 3 more times and also the dryer. I have turned some intended hats into flowerpot holders and tote bags into camera and mp3 player bags.
    Check out this web community. I'm having loads of fun with it and it's sister spinning site.

    workingwithfelt.ning.com

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  2. Hi Vicki,
    My sister taught me that when felting, the piece USUALLY (but not always) shortens lengthwise about 30% more than width-wise. I think she might be right in the case of your purse. But what if you wet the fibber again and blocked it over some sturdy metal form, like a pot? I block my felted hats over the insert of a tamale cooker. Works like a charm!

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  3. Very interesting post! I loved the felting history. I haven't felted anything yet and I'm kind of scared to try =)

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  4. When you block your felted item, you can't be timid. Put it on the form and pull it down hard. Felt is very strong and can stand up to a lot of pressure and pulling. My tamale cooker form is just a little larger than my head, and usually a bit larger than the felted item. So while it's still damp from the washer, I stretch it over the form and leave it to dry.

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  5. Major drag. Soooo sorry.

    Quick, do something fast so you can have a success soon. Maybe wristwarmers or a baby hat???

    LynnH

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