Sunday, February 28, 2010

Felting - 'Dhobi'-Style!

Its has been my long-time dream to try felting. And, I finally got around to trying it over the weekend! I being myself, made a felted bag.. Now, its an universal truth that I can never have enough bags.. and, most of mine are hand-made by me! I used the pattern for a felted entrelac clutch by Meg White. Its an awesome pattern and very well-written for a first timer trying entrelac. Did I tell you that its my first entrelac project?! I am totally proud of myself with this bag! My Hubster is impressed too! Here is the finished bag:



I followed this tutorial on hand-felting and, let me tell you.. it is very tiring to hand-felt a big object.. This is how I hand-felted this bag:

I used the yarn Wendy Aristocrat in two colors. I doubled the yarn and knitted the bag body on 6mm straights and knitted the top on 5.5mm cirs as I didn't have circs in 6mm. On hind thought, I should have used 5.5mm needles through out! The colors reminded me of guava fuits.. green on the outside and pink on the insides! Though I wanted the pink to tone down a bit, I am happy with the way it turned out in the end. This is how the bag looked like before felting..



I filled my kitchen-sink with HOT water..added a mild soap to begin with.. and soaked the knitted bag in it. I kept agitating the bag in the sink every 5 minutes. I did this till the water came to a 'bearable' temperature.



Once the water cooled down a bit for me to put my hands in it, I started scrubbing the bag like crazy! Felting took a long time to start. I changed the soap to Surf Excel as the mild soap wasn't cutting it for felting! I had to scrub for 45 mins before I got the light-bulb moment to change the soap. Once I changed the soap, it started felting easily. (Excuse the BIG.FAT.ARMS. here!)



I was merciless while scrubbing. I kinda scrubbed the life out of the bag in typical Indian 'Dhobi'-style. I took the bag now and then out of the water and pounded on and kneaded it to aid the process. When the water became lukewarm, I drained some and added some more HOT water and Surf Excel.



Once it started felting, it went pretty fast.. I quit the scrubbing after the bag shrunk to the size I wanted(or rather after I got tired of the workout). The entire process of hand-felting took me an hour and a half to get the final results. Boy! was I tired or wat?! I think it was pure crafter's adrenaline that got me finish the felting.. I didn't realize it would tire me out so much! So, all those you want to try hand-felting anything substantial, have an energy drink at your side.. ;-)

Tip: To speed-up the process of felting, dunk the FO alternately in cold and hot water during scrubbing. It will be handy to have a bowl or a bucket of cool water. 

After all the elbow-grease in soapy water, I rinsed the bag in clear water and rolled it in a Turkish towel and jumped on it to squeeze the water out! Hubster had the fun of watching me jump like a clown in the middle of the house, though Alvin was immune to it!(And, NO!! there are no pictures to document this step in felting!) Then, I stuffed the felted bag with plushies and towels to give it a good shape and let it to dry on a table and started clicking photos!



Here is the project on Ravelry: Felted Entrelac Clutch!
Pre-felting dimensions: Height: 16 inches; Width: 17 inches
Post-felting dimentions: Height: 14 inches ; Width: 15 inches

It gives me a high to try new and different techniques in my crafty hobbies and I am glad conquered felting! I see more felted FOs in the future! But, all this resulted in Ravelympics 2010 FAIL!! Work was hectic last week and I couldn't think of working on a 300+ stitches-and-still-growing shawl at the end of a tiring day at work and this entrelac bag fit the bill nicely. I would work on a few squares each day and I finished the knitting in 10 days!:-) But, here is my Ravelympics 2010 failure project(Some day soon, I will see it to completion!):



But, I have one more good news on the crafty side! I finally finished hemming the half-circle skirt I made way back in October last year! I followed a few online tutorials and the book Sew What Skirts!! for making this skirt. Despite all the high-school math I recollected about pi and the circumference of a circle, I ended up with a waistline that would require me to put on a few hundred pounds more! so, I made a casing for the waistline and inserted elastic cord through it to make it snug around my waistline! Here is a picture of the skirt after it was finished:



So, it was a highly productive weekend craft-wise..and to top it all, I have an off on Monday on account of Holi! Happy Holi to all.. May this year be colorful and cheerful for all of you!

-Josie

12 comments:

  1. Did you try felting in the washing machine? Would it be any easier?

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  2. happy holi!!!!!
    and thank you for the detailed explanation again!

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  3. Wouldn't 'Dhobi-Style' involve a river, a stick and some rocks??? Or at least a concrete ghat? ;^p

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  4. And, P.S., is your skirt/pillow fabric mill goods? or handprint or handweave? Where did you buy it, and what was the price??

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  5. @Anjali:

    I guess machine felting wud've made it easier! But, I noticed that after I changed to Surf Excel, it felted very easily.. looks like lifebuoy handwash is too wimpy for felting!

    @M: thank you!

    @Z: yea..there were all those things in my kitchen.. the kitchen-sink subbed for the river, my counter for the ghat.. and my hands for the stick! ;-)

    the print cost me 90INR per meter..in a shop close to my home. its a mill print not a hand-woven fabric.. but, a good quality cotton print!

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  6. Anjali, felting in a fully automatic top-loading washer connected to water heater (geyser) is quite easy. It can be done in a front-loader too, but you don't have the option to continually check and remove the object as soon as it is felted enough; you have to wait till the washer is empty to open it.
    Josie's method, which is a bit strenuous for anything the size of her bag or larger, but not bad for smaller objects, gives the most flexibility. I've even seen ppl felt only a section of a woolen object in a sink or bowl, without getting the rest of it wet.

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  7. Though ur felted bag looks fabulous, I still feel sorry for the original which looks fab too....Make one more again and don't felt...:)

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  8. Lovely skirt josie! Can we get the complete pic of the lady in the skirt plz.. :)
    and the bag.. before felting looked real nice too!!!

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  9. joslyn u hav done a gr8 job. i wonder how u get time.

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  10. That story had me giggling. I can only imagine how hard you worked on felting the bag!!! Turned out pretty:)

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  11. OMGosh I love this bag, I think I'm going to need to knit it!!
    Good luck with lining it!
    Vicki

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  12. A gorgeous collection of fabric's bags -:)))))

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