Tuesday, 27 September 2011

It began so well

It's no2daughter's birthday today, we have a 'sponsored shopping trip' planned for Saturday but I wanted to add a present I had made myself  She has great taste and likes original, quirky stuff, like this felted bag from Gifted by Mags Kandis

An ideal project I thought to use up all the left overs from my rose mittens, easy and speedy to make in three different sized granny squares and learn a new skill (felting) at the same time

Not quite so quick, I had to work fast to get all 66 squares done in time, but crochet is such an easy thing to do on the train.  Then there is the added bonus of conversations that begin with 'What ARE you making?'  Everyone from people who refer to crochet as knitting and vis-a-versa to a lovely musician who chatted about knitting socks and finding yarn shops around the world as she travelled with her viola

So it was finished in time and the sewing up marathon began

How many times have I wished I had the foresight to sew in ends as I go?  So easy with crochet, but I am impatient and want to see the finished effect as soon as possible.  I even go to the lengths of tucking all the unfinished ends in under the work as I lay it out, just so I can stand back to admire.  After an evening of piecing together and half a day of sewing in the tails it is ready for felting.  

Just one more portrait.

Now - I am very experienced in accidental felting.  You may have read my cushion post where I made the best of a bad job. But I have never intentionally felted anything.  The book had plenty of handy hints but no real explanation of the basics.  After the usual sort of research I found instructions, to place the item in a laundry bag and wash at a higher temperature than recommended for wool, adding a pair of jeans to give it a good bashing. No specific temperature was mentioned but as the max temperature for wool is usually 40deg I began at 50deg and chose a pair of old very well faded jeans.

Well, instead of a sturdy chunk of felt in glowing colours the unidentifiable object that exited the washing machine looked like a pile of sheep's entrails.  I washed it hotter, then in the sink with a kettle of boiling water.

It had most definitely not felted, it had not even shrunk, it had stretched! And the colours had run so that the whole lot looked more like the old blanket that had trailed around this summer's festivals with no2son. Most of the yarn was Rowan pure wool DK, one or two tiny sections that were in Rowan cashsoft had felted up as tight as a tick but the rest - disaster!

I can't bring myself to throw it away yet, but what shall I do with it?  I am going on a knitting course in a few weeks and we are invited to bring projects to show and tell - the good and the bad they say, but this one is so embarrassing.

Does anyone else  have disasters like this? Feel like sharing?




Tracy said...

There is no justice in washing wool. I am sure that had you not intended to felt that crochet it would have shrunk beyond recovery at the merest hint of a drizzle. Perhaps someone at your course will have an explanation so that you share the answer with us. The idea was a lovely one so I hope that you reach a solution.

Anonymous said...

Oh poor you! The pure wool DK is superwash which means it has been treated so it won't felt or shrink :(

Why don't you resurrect it? Get rid of the felted bits, and sew it up into a lap blanket?

Alison said...

Ohh, no! What a shame!

I definitely think you should take it to the workshop, though; nothing gets you over a bad project faster than laughing about it with like-minded individuals.

O! Jolly! said...

Oh dear, that's a tough one. Here's just one of my disasters

Unknown said...

oh noes! poor you. yes indeed please bring it so we can have a group think. To me it looks like a giant knitted flower, piece of art perhaps. or it could still be a bag. Can't wait to meet you at P3.

Kristyn Knits said...

Oh no!! I'm hoping you find a friend to help salvage your project. I can't imagine throwing it away.

Sheeprustler said...

I don't suppose you have access to (or even own) an embellishing machine? Because then you could try lots of needlefelting. Apart from anything else the experience will do you good because it feels like you are torturing the materials!!

Liz said...

Did you ever try making this bag again with the right yarn? Looks like a fabulous bag! Can you share the pattern?

Catherine said...

Liz - I haven't tried to make it again but I do intend to. I shall buy yarn that is specifically for felting (like Feltz) I can't write out the pattern here because it would breach copyright but there is a link in the blog post to the book where the pattern comes from

Liz said...

Thanks for the link! I have just started to get into felting and made some simple flowers with Full of Sheep wool from Stitch Nation. It can be purchase at Michaels and is very reasonable...especially when you have a coupon! Good luck next you try this project...I think I will attempt as well!