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Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Finished Bag....and what I learned!

Well, here is the finished bag.  It's not bad, but not great!  It looks unevenly felted to me, and the stitch definition is still slightly there - not ideal for knitted felting!

So....what did I learn from this second attempt?

  • Use a mesh lingerie bag - not a pillowcase bag. Not sure where all the loose fibers went - it may have been yarn that didn't emit lots of fuzz - but there was none in the pillowcase as I transferred the piece to the mesh bag. And it could be that the pillowcase works fine and I just didn't give it enough time.
  • Do NOT use tennis balls with holes.  I haven't tried un-holey tennis balls, but the ones I used threw out their rubber innards in tiny, little pieces.  Those tiny pieces of rubber infiltrated the wool and had to be picked out painstakingly!  I did end up using two hard dog toy balls, each with two large holes in them.  I think this worked!

  • Add only about 3 drops of soap.  I used Woolite, but I've heard that just about any detergent will work.  There is soap designated for felting, but it's not necessary!
  • Use HOT water.  I added some almost-boiling water that had been microwaved.  The water level should be no more than 3 inches above the item being felted.  Too much water will not work!
  • Check the process every 5 minutes or so.  Be sure the wool is not felting to itself.  If it is, pull it apart right away. You do NOT want what is supposed to be a bag or slippers or whatever to be felted together.  I haven't looked yet into some type of resist to prevent this.
  • Check too to see how evenly (or unevenly) the piece is felting.  Smooth out and vigorously rub areas that seem NOT to be felting as fast.  I did a bit of final rubbing by hand to try to even out and smooth the piece.
  • I didn't do this with this piece, but I ironed the first one after it was finished, because it seemed so uneven.  Pull the piece into shape.
  • Placed in a towel on the floor and stomp all over it to remove the water.  I do not rinse my felted pieces.
The experiments continue!  I'm still looking for a seamless way to do this type of felting that I LOVE(d) - pun intended!  Too bad it takes so long to knit something to try all over again.  I will not give up, but I am mourning still the loss of my old, trusty washing machine.  And I WILL post additional tips as I continue to try to produce a bag that somewhat resembles the results from my older washer.

Here again is my Ode to Wonder Washer!

Ode to Wonder Washer

Wonder Washer is its name
Felting in it - not the same.
Give me back my old machine.
Felting magic, clothes get clean.

This contraption is a hoot!
Sloshes, churns, and gives a scoot.
The finished bag, uneven and creased.
Came out OK, and so I ceased.

My motto stands: Nothing is simple!
Not a crime if there's a wrinkle.
A simple bag, once distressed,
Now is dressed:
Nuno, knit, and needle blessed.

3-felt bags are my goal.
Process/product is a whole.
Oh, PLEASE help me get a life
Reduce the stress for far less strife.

Wonder Washer is its name!
Felting in it - not the same!
But I prevailed and so I stand
A fan of this amusing brand!

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