A few months ago we brought home our first big farm animals, Romney Sheep. They are big beautiful sheep with great wool for spinning. Do I know how to spin? Not yet, but I hope to learn. When we got our sheep, our friends gave us some yarn previously spun from their wool, and I was eager to try making something with it.
I have limited knitting skills. I learned to knit from my grandmother on my father’s side when I was a little girl, and every time I knit something new, I think of her. I love that I have a connection with my grandma and I can feel close to her through such a useful skill that she passed on to me even though she is no longer with me.
I am not super patient when it comes to building basic skills slowly, so I often end up trying things that are a bit beyond my current abilities, and this time was more of the same. I decided to knit and felt a bag. I had never knitted a bag or felted anything (on purpose), so this sounded like a great idea!
It took a few sittings to knit the bag in one long strip with openings for handles on either side. I then stitched the sides together with the inside out, using a crochet hook. Once the bag was formed, I got ready to felt it.
The only time I had ever felted something was when I accidently washed a wool sweater. Oops. I understood that hot water and agitation would do it, but I wanted it to look good, so I read a lot of articles and blogposts on felting wool. One common way to felt uses a top loading washing machine, but mine is a front loader so this idea was out. An idea I saw that seemed doable was to use a bin or tub filled with hot water and a plunger (new of course).
I got set up with a small tub of hot water placed in the bathtub and a brand new plunger.
I plunged away for a while and saw that it had started to work.
I kept at it and after almost an hour, the bag was felted.
I laid it out on a towel to reshape it and allow it to dry.
This was a fun project. I am eager to do more. My boys are excited to help and are each asking if they can felt the next item themselves.
If I had knit the bag a little larger, it would have made a cute bag for my laptop, but as it is it fits my planner, pens, and kindle.
Tips for anyone else trying felting for the first time:
make your item much larger than you think, a lot of shrinking happens
change out your water for hotter water often
find a good audiobook or podcast to listen to, because this process takes a while
I hope you try out felting for yourself. I am looking forward to shearing time, so I can learn more about using the wool from my sheep.
Have you made some fun projects with wool? What are your favorites? What would you like to try? Any felting tips for me?