Sunday, May 7, 2017

How I feel about felting...

Don't you love it when you try something you've been putting off - maybe it seemed difficult, or you didn't think you had the proper tools for it - and it turns out, once you give it a try, it's really easy and you didn't need anything special to do it after all?

Such was my experience last week.  

I needed a quick and easy project for a CAL I'm hosting this week on Ravelry and I came across a pattern for making felted coasters and a felted container to hold the coasters in.  The instructions looked too easy not to try - even though I didn't really think it could be as easy as the designer made it look.  I figured even it was a bust, it was worth a couple of hours of my time to finally try this felting thing.

Well, lo and behold, felting a crocheted (or knitted) coaster and bowl is extremely easy!   You need to use 100% non-superwash wool and you'll need a few items everyone has at home, and you're good to go.  My coasters are still "in process", but my bowl is finished:

 I'll be the first to say it's not the prettiest thing, but I'm still very excited to have a success. 

If you check out the pattern link and think you'd like to crochet a set of coasters and a container to put in them, I have some thoughts to share:

First of all, I had to make my coasters and the base of the bowl larger than the designer said to (maybe because I crocheted too tightly?)   Shrug.  For the coasters I crocheted 10 rounds to get a 5-inch coaster (pre-felting).  After felting (and drying) my first coaster measures 4 1/5 inches across - which is a perfect size.   I made the base of my bowl two rounds larger than my pre-felted coasters, but that ended up being a bit too small to hold my coasters.

So, I think this is important to mention...  If you want to make a container to fit coasters into, I suggest making coasters first (felted and dried) and then make the container's bottom at least an inch and a half larger than the felted coaster, then crochet the sides.  Once felted, this should give you enough space inside the container to fit the coasters.  That said, it's all still a bit of a guessing game.

If you're curious about my experience and things I did differently from the designer of this pattern, I've written a detailed explanation of how I felted the bowl above on the CAL page on Ravelry.  

Here's the thing... felting is an inexact science (or maybe it's more of an art - but regardless, it's inexact).  Everything shrinks during felting and I'm thinking it's pretty near impossible to accurately determine how much shrinkage you'll have.  After I have some more experience under my belt, I may feel like what I have to share about this business is worth writing about in more detail, but for now I'm embracing the uncertainty and enjoying turning something like this:

into this:
Just because I can.  

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.






10 comments:

  1. I find felting very fasinating. Never have tried and probably won't because of wool. Your coaster holder is very nice though and I love the way the colors changed with the felting.

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    1. Thanks, Marsha. The lighting has something to do with the colors (the unfelted bowl was taken with a flash - it was probably nighttime and I'm thinking I wanted to get the bowl in the wash), but the colors do mute a bit when felted. I'm looking forward to getting some more colorful wools to felt.

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  2. That is gorgeous. Well done. Felting seems like magic to me and I always enjoy the process.

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    1. My husband watched me felt a coaster yesterday and he was impressed. He didn't use the word magic, but I think he was kinda thinking it. lol

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  3. You might get this twice; not sure where the first comment went!
    Anyway, I love this bowl with the browns and blues. It's like a robin's nest with eggs.
    I have done some felting myself, and have a little tip for you should you decide to do more. I made a lovely bag with blue, yellow and white yarn once, and no matter how much I washed and scrubbed it the white would not felt as well as the other colours. I spoke with a yarn shop owner, and she said the bleaching process for white yarn removes more of the barbs that hook together during felting than the other colours. White will still felt, just not as densely.
    It is fun though, isn't it? It's always a surprise when you take it out of the machine. I have a basket of colourful wool with no purpose, so I think a little felting is in my future. Thank you!
    Happy Days,
    Jenn

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    1. Jenn, that is very valuable information. I've been gleaning from reading on the internet how different yarn processes affecting felting, but I'm a long way from knowing what those different processes are. I read somewhere that different colors felt differently. I know with acrylic yarn, different colors can feel different, so this doesn't surprise me, but it's all still a mystery to me. Thank you for sharing about bleached wool.

      It is very fun. It's like this is all I want to do now, except that my other projects are calling me after playing with wool and felting last week. What will slow me down is that I'll have to crochet (or knit, I suppose) anything before felting it. So I figure gaining experience with this will be a slow process. Though, I do have that bag of wool sweaters I've been saving for some crafting process. Gasp. I'd forgotten about that! Yippee!

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  4. I love this felted result! The bowl looks great. I can't felt here b/c we have front loading machines.

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    1. Actually, I used a front loader to start the felting and then I finished felting by hand.

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  5. Never tried felting, but always was interested in it! I also feel like there is no one exact formula for it, it will come with experience. Love these two colors together!

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