I’ve tried felting in the past without much success. My first attempt was a Cat Bordhi moebius bag. I had some undyed Condon’s on hand (woolen mill from the Maritimes that’s long gone out of business). To digress, when I was first weaving at art college the college bookstore sold skeins of Condon’s. I came across it again at the Co-op Store in Taloyoak when I was teaching jewellery in the high Arctic for Arctic College. I knew the mill had closed down quite some time back and that the stock had been on their shelves for years. I convinced the manager to sell me all the skeins for $2 each. I still have many skeins in my stash.
Fast forward to the moebius workshop I was going to attend with Cat Bordhi. I decided to dye my own yarn for the project and started experimenting with Kool-Aid dyeing. I knit my bag (and had a great time at the workshop – if you ever get a chance to take a workshop with Cat, she’s a hoot). I finished it at home and felted it in my washing machine. It seemed to take forever and the wash water looked and smelled very much like a huge tub of grape Kool-Aid. I swear, when I dyed the yarn I did rinse it until the water ran clear! Even with all that washing, I wasn’t able to get the stitch definition to disappear – the darn thing just wouldn’t felt any tighter. So between the bag being noticeably paler by the end of the process and not as felted as I would have liked, I was somewhat disappointed.
My next felting project was a pair of slippers for my son from Amy Singer’s Knit Wit. The adult pattern is on Knitty. I used some burgundy coloured Briggs and Little from my stash with a bit of eyelash yarn at the cuff for fun. The slippers were HUGE after knitting. My husband and son thought I was crazy. With a little trepidation the felting began. After probably 5 full cycles in the washing machine with alternating hot water and cold rinse plus a couple of old pairs of jeans I decided they just wouldn’t go any smaller. This took forever since I was checking it every 5 minutes or so as recommended. Yikes, I could barely get them small enough to fit me! After a very few short months of wearing them holes started to appear on the bottom and because they didn’t felt very well, they really fell apart once the first hole appeared. I think they might be my only handknit that I’ve actually thrown in the garbage!