Until fairly recently, felting knit goods always made me really nervous. I felttt like I didn’t have enough control over the outcome of my felting endeavors. The idea that one could put countless hours into knitting something gigantic (all felting projects start gigantic… slippers that could serve as canoes, purses that one could smuggle a years supply of snacks and water into the theater with, etc.) only to have it potentially turn into a misshapen-ball-o-fuzz with no possibility of a redo did not sound appealing. Working at a few yarn shops has made me want to expand my knitting horizons in order to be a well rounded fiberista. So, a few years ago I undertook my first felting projects and knit about 5 pairs of felted slippers. They were lovely and I was pumped.
A few months ago, I started a knit along on Ravelry to make the lovely FrenchPress Slippers by Melynda Bernardi. I coerced some of the good natured Over the Rainbow Yarnies, to join me in the shop and assured them that it was going to be a swell time. It was indeed a swell time until the felting began. I’ve had my slippers finished for about a month now, but didn’t get around to the felting process until a week ago. In usual Allison fashion, I underestimated the time that felting would take. I had a hot date lined up to play pool with some fiber lovin’ buddies. I was all ready to go, wearing my favorite black shirt when I decided to quickly felt my slippers. I threw them in the washing machine and hung around waiting to see how the felting was going. The felting wasn’t going at all. I turned the washing machine back to the agitation cycle 10 times. I took the slippers out to be shocked in cold water 5 times. I was running out of hope, so I convinced myself that it was the cooling of the washing machine water that was causing the problem and decided to start again with more hot water. In the mean time, I was becoming very late for my date and hopelessly covered in bits of burnt orange fuzz (fuzz looks real purty on black…. a great look for going out). After 2 more agitation cycles, I noticed that bits of my slippers were actually shredded. That’s when I threw in the towel and accepted felting failure. The orange fuzz was really epic, I’ve had to clean my washing machine three time. It’s still lurking in every possible crevice of my washing machine waiting to attack.
The next morning I went to work to shamefully explain to Mim that my shop sample was now a shredded lump of fuzz. After a bit of googling, Mim found that Blue Faced Leicester wool doesn’t felt. Such a lovely discovery to warn customers about! Another lesson learned! Luckily, I’m moving past my obsession with the color burnt orange and heading into an emerald green phase. I think the universe was telling me that I actually want a pair of green slippers. And that’s how I felt.