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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Finally Felt Like Felting

I am not a patient person.  In fact, I started writing this post, hoping to have some kind of creative opening about time-saving ridiculous things I do, or how to multi-task, but I grew impatient as I kept stumbling around and couldn't find the right words.  Instead, I'm just going for a dive-right-in kind of post.  HiHowAreYouLet'sGetGoing!

I have never crocheted or knit a blanket, or sweater, or socks. They take way too much time and/or concentration.  It's not worth it to me.  Why make one big, glorious afghan when you can make a gazillion adorable hats?  Well, the same itchy feeling that I get from taking on two big of a knitting project can also crawl on my skin when thinking about Felting (also referred to as Wet Felting).  Ever heard of it?  Using wool yarn, you knit or crochet a larger scaled project, then toss it in the washing machine on the hot cycle, and shrink it down.  In that shrinking process, it creates a thicker, fuller product great for bags, purses, clogs, etc.  So why haven't I jumped into the felting fiesta yet?

For starters, you generally have to make it THREE TIMES THE SIZE as what the final project will be.  Meaning: you waste three times the time, only to have an end product one-third the size of your original effort.  Let the skin crawling commence.  I couldn't get my(impatient)self to devote more time into making something big, only to get something much smaller.  But, I must admit, the felting process intrigued me.  After weighing the time factor against the this-could-be-fun factor, I finally decided to give felting a fighting chance.

I chose a small project, found through Lion Brand's website, to create a small holder for my crochet hooks, though the original pattern was intended to be a pencil holder.

I purchased a few skeins of 100% wool yarn, and began knitting.  And I knitted some more.  And took breaks.  And knitted even more.  I worked on knitting row after row over a period of a month - to which I should add I got bored, and picked up other projects, and then came crawling back - and had this final rectangle:

Knit Rectangle (Quincy, at 8 months old, was my assistant photographer)

Next, I tossed it in the washer to shrink it down.

Washer Settings

And then I washed it again.  And yet a third time.  And then I realized I had screwed up.  Because I had felted just a rectangle, not a pocketed hook holder.

Thrice Felted Rectangle

Apparently, you're supposed to sew up the pockets before you felt the project.  But I was impatient.  And didn't want to wait.  So why would I wait?  Realizing my mistake, I improvised by loosely stitching up the sides to create the portion for the hooks.  But then it looked more like a clutch to me, so I made one pocket to fit a phone, and added a braided loop as a button hole.

Improvised Clutch

Back into the hot waters of the washing machine it went, and out came a very fuzzy clutch.  I picked and groomed my way through, and after a large glob of fuzz, I had a trim clutch that just needed some final touches.

Felting Lint Fuzz

Fuzzy Clutch (Post First Grooming)

I sewed on a funky button (I've had my eye on this very button for a while, and this clutch seemed worthy of such a stellar piece), cut off the scraggly button loop (due to the felting process, my once pretty little braided loop had become a bit too much beverly-hill-billy-beard-esque for my taste), replaced said button loop with a more simple one, sewed on some decorative features, and now am happy to reveal my final project!  I call it the Felt The Love Clutch˚.

˚As in I felt the love put into this clutch. Punny, yes.  Can I help it?  Sadly, no.

Front View: Small Stitched Heart, Funky Button, Improved Button Loop

Back View: Large Stitched Heart, He Loves Me/He Loves Me Not Counter

Inside View: iPhone Pocket, Cash/Card Pocket

Funky Button
Seriously, my favorite button of all time.

He Loves Me/He Loves Me Not Counter
Who needs to pull petals off a flower when you've got this counter?
It adds a unique feature to the clutch you won't find on other pieces.
Plus, if you're a fidgety person, you'll always have something to play with.

Small Stitched Heart
For a little bit of love...

Large Stitched Heart
For more love (you can never get enough love!)

Sadly, I have discovered that I'm allergic to wool, or at least have quite the sensitivity to it: scratchy throat, watery eyes, some dramatic sneezes.  It is for that reason that I will be putting this item up on my new Etsy shop, as my very first item!  Yep, my Etsy shop is called Tugboat Yarning, and you can check it out here!  To the person (whoever you may be) that purchases this clutch, I hope you enjoy it!  I guess if you're reading this "birth story" of sorts, you'll realize that I had no clue what I was doing but that it turned into a cool design in the end.

Have anything you felt like doing, and finally did?

Impatiently yours,


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