The Felted Bowl Saga

May 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

I am new to felting, so far I’ve felted two things.  The first time I tried I sort of followed a bag pattern, then read a little bit about felting and jumped right in.  And it worked great!  I’d made a small clutch, just the size of a short drinking glass, in a nice wool yarn.  Then I stuck it in ice water, boiled it several minutes, ‘agitated’ it (using classic yellow dishwashing gloves), repeated a few times and then blocked the whole thing around a couple glasses (one for the bag and another for the handle).  Everything worked exactly as expected aside from a slight burn on my palms (felted wool really holds onto the boiling water!).

Impressed with the ease of this new technique, I set about to make a felted bowl.  I’d seen a pattern for a really cute knit bowl in a flower shape, but I wanted to crochet it.  Not to worry, I’ve made plenty of double crochet circles, I can make a bowl.  After a few tries with the petals I had a nice looking but slightly floppy bowl, I thought the felting would solve the floppy problem, not so much.  I started out just felting with ice water/boiling water like before.  It amused my audience (I was visiting my parents house for Easter weekend) but resulted in an almost flat piece of fabric that wasn’t very well felted.  Still feeling somewhat hopeful I set it in a bowl to dry overnight and hopefully regain its shape.

The next day I could clearly see that it would flatten with even the least bit of pressure, so I thought I would look up some fabric stiffeners.  One homemade recipe just involved watered down glue.  With renewed enthusiasm I painted some on and put it back in the bowl to dry again.  A few hours later I checked back to see that little had changed, if only it looked nice when flat I would have quit there and sold it as a trivet.

Finally, I decided to try putting it through the washer/dryer on hot with a full load of laundry to get as much felting as possible.  I didn’t think it would do much, but it was my last hope.  I’m not sure whether it was the washing or drying or combination of both, but at the end of both cycles it was finally felted!  The only problem was it had dried with a crease…  Not wanting to wet it completely to risk undoing all of my progress, I steamed the crease and massaged it back into a smooth curve.

All in all I crocheted, iced, boiled, agitated, glued, washed, dried and steamed this bit of wool.  It was an awful lot of drama for one bowl.  Next time I’ll just use double strands or single crochet!

This item is available for purchase now!  Felted Red Flower Bowl (Crochet).

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