I hope this finds everyone enjoying their day! I know I am…I’m working on making toys, making scarves, making…well, whatever Miss Muse brings up! And, I’m delighted to share with you, my felted “Shadow” scarf is finished, washed, and ready to join the world! See those gorgeous gray undertones? I’m calling this one my “Shadow” scarf because that’s the name of the sheep that the roving came from. This scarf is about as natural as it gets, in that I got the prepared, ready-to-spin roving from Lynn, who got it right from Shadow. I spun the yarn for this scarf on my favorite hand-made drop spindle, and crocheted it with a very basic extended single crochet stitch throughout. The most decoration this piece has is in the finished ends, which I did in a reverse extended single crochet. That’s crab stitch…with an extra loop.
I decided, when the piece was finished, to lightly felt it. I didn’t want to lose all of my stitch definition, but I wanted a softer, less scratchy piece. So, borrowing from instructions for felting Artfelt (and I’ll go down that very cool road, soon…) I washed and rinsed the scarf, and, still very wet, layered with: Plastic sheeting, then scarf, then at the leading edge, a rolled up dish towel, and rolled it all up.
This, I put into a nylon knee high, then tossed the whole thing into the dryer and listed to it go, “Bang! Thumpthumpthump, Bang!” for about a half an hour. (Please note that Artfelt instructions call for fifteen minutes in the dryer at low heat, but since I had a heavy piece, and am running a very apartment-sized dryer, I ran it through for half an hour.)
Now, I’m going to stop right here and share with you the very first thing I learned about this felting technique.
Never use a printed shopping bag. Ever.
The video instructor on the Artfelt site claimed that “any plastic will do,” and, as far as possible melting would go, I’m quite sure she was correct in this assumption…the plastic, no matter what you use, will not melt in the dryer at low heat for fifteen to thirty minutes. I initially used a few Shop Rite bags, cut open, handles cut off. What a great way to recycle these sunny yellow bags with their bright red market logos! I did my thing, rolled it all up into the shopping bags, stuffed it into the stocking, and ran it through the dryer.
When I took the piece out to inspect my handiwork, I thought, “Hey, this doesn’t look bad! Maybe one more run….” and unrolled it all the way to find… A bright red INK SCHMOTZ all over my hand-spun, hand-made crocheted wool scarf.
Huh!!! Okay, so now I’m standing over the piece, my hair tightly grasped in my hands to keep my brain from expelling its neurons out through the top of my skull, when my eye fell upon my hero,
Eureka! Sanctuary!! Up went the prayer, down went that bar of soap into the big red schmotz, out came the water bottle to make sure I had plenty of slick lather rubbed in, and sure enough, the splat rubbed out, disappearing into the ozone.
I do not know what is in Fels Naptha. I do not care what is in Fels Naptha. I only know that I have yet to find a stain that this stuff can’t tackle. I’ve tried a lot of stain removers in my time, and always come back to this, this 99-cent grocery-store miracle. It just works. That’s probably why it’s been on the market, mostly unchanged, for over 100 years.
So, my hero removed the big red schmotz, I rinsed out the scarf, washed it again in Jodi’s magic laundry soap, and did the Artfelt thing again, this time with some light weight clear plastic sheeting I had kicking around. I took my “package,”
and tossed it into the dryer to ka-thump-thump-thump about for another half hour…you see, it isn’t just the heat that felts the wool..it’s the agitation! With this second time around, the scarf felted exactly the way I’d hoped. I have a stronger, softer fabric with better drape.
My edges are smooth, and the stitch definition, while smoothed out a little is still prominent, with very little loss of texture.
All of Shadow’s natural tones are intact, even showing up better now, and I didn’t even lose any of the tiny hay bits!
I’m delighted with this scarf, relieved that I didn’t destroy it, and planning on further exploring the wonderful world of Artfelt.