January 13, 2012

Felting is very big right now. Am I right?

I’ve been meaning to try it. For like, years. Probably ever since I saw Leigh Radford’s Alterknits, which I liked so much I actually bought it. (Even when I’m not broke, I’m cheap. It helps to prevent future brokeness). One of the projects in the book is  blanket made from wool sweaters, felted and cut into square-ish pieces, and completely gorgeous. I’ve seen that particular idea lots of places since, but Radford’s book was the first that I’m aware of.

Naturally, once I’d bought a few sweaters the local thrift stores seemed to completely run out of them- or at least they ran out of ones that weren’t beige or brown. Or beige and brown. So I carried around a few sweaters for a long time until I got tired of it and returned them to the great thrift-store stream from whence they came. Of course, as soon as I did that I started seeing beautiful wooly sweaters everywhere, for almost nothing. I looked at them- and thought no, I’m not going to get sucked into that again.

There’s a cool idea in one of the  Mason-Dixon Knitting books, too (sorry, I don’t remember which one):  a pattern for little felted Christmas trees. Like all good crafting ideas, I’ve seen it all over Etsy since then. I guess in a way I’m guilty too, ’cause I tried out the idea without buying the book. I didn’t copy the pattern or anything. It seemed simple enough to knit a pointy tree-shape with leftover wool and then run it through the wash. Guess who has a project bag with three or four knitted, as yet unfelted trees plus various little balls of leftover green yarn?

Part of the problem was that I don’t have a washing machine in my apartment. (It’s like how L.A. apartments don’t come with refrigerators. A regional anomaly).

But when a couple of my go-to wooly winter sweaters got moth holes, I figured I’d felt them and see what happened. I could start a blanket like the one in Alterknits, or make little felted ornaments/ sachets/ etc. There are so many things you can make from a felted sweater. (And yeah, I know the technical term is fulled. But screw that).

Here’s the sweater before.

Sad Moth-Eaten Sweater (Knitpicks catalog for scale)

And here it is after.

Can you tell the difference?

Ok, it’s a little smaller. But I’m definitely going to have to run it through the machines again when laundry day comes back around. (And you know that can take a while).


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