Felting in the washing machine

Did you know you can felt in the washing machine?. You may have accidently done this with your favourite knitted jumper that you put on a hot wash by mistake. So why would you want to purposely put the wool in the washing machine?. Well it can save you a lot of time if you have a project that you need to complete in a hurry.

Soap & Agitation

Felt is made by adding water, soap and lots of agitation will make wool fibres attach together and most f the time I do this by hand, I have been making some bird pods lately and these take around 2 hours to lay out and felt but half way through I can add to the washing machine and save about 40 minutes and my arm muscles.

Not all wool will however felt and each time you undertake a project the results may differ due to the type of wool and water temperature. The bird pods are ideal for the washing machine method as they are all unique in colour size and texture.

So the next time you accidently shrink a garment…tell them it was meant to be.

Full House

Are you every in need of a change but can only afford to spend a little?. Sometimes all you need to do to brighten up a room is move the furniture around and introduce a new handmade touch that is unique and not available on the high street.

Printing & Felting

There are lots of crafts that could be incorporated to give your room a little lift, a wet felted bowl or a plant pot cover, a hand printed cushion, a handmade quilt, a lampshade, the list is endless. You can also keep the costs low by upcycling fabrics

At a recent Indian Block Printing workshop we ran we discussed lots of ideas of what to do with the pieces of fabric that attendees had printed on . Any of the sample prints could be put into a frame or added to a blank card for that next unexpected occasion.

Lampshade’s & Clocks

As we are starting to plan our workshops for next year we are going to add some of these suggestions, may be the small lampshade first and then the clock, you could come up with your own colour co ordinated home furnishing s range, we might even add a waste bin…..

Mad Hatter

The Tale Of The Mad Hatter

So in my last post I mentioned that my husband had booked me onto a wet felted hat workshop. Last week we travelled up to Cheshire and I spent the day with Alison Rose from Rose Creations whilst my husband took my son to the Outlet Centre for a spot of retail therapy – think I got the better deal…

So thinking about the style of hat I wanted to create had me thinking about the ‘Mad Hatter’ from the Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” where the cheeky rabbit was famously featured.

However, contrary to believe the phrase “mad as a hatter,” used to describe someone who’s prone to unpredictable behaviour, didn’t originate with Carroll.  So where did it originate?.

The expression is actually linked to the hat-making industry and mercury poisoning. In the 18th & 19th centuries, a toxic substance, mercury nitrate, was used as part of the process of turning the fur of small animals, such as rabbits, into felt for hats. I can confirm that I only used soap and water in my workshop and no small animals where harmed in the process either….

Workplace safety back in the day were lax and exposure to mercury caused employees to develop a variety of physical and mental ailments, including tremors (dubbed “hatter’s shakes”), speech problems, emotional instability and hallucinations, not the best working environment and glad to report that the use of mercury in hat making was banned for use in the early 1940’s.

Fitted and Felted

We spent the first hour  measuring my head so we would get a good fit, preparing the template and choosing the wool which of course was my favourite colour – purple. Several hours later and after a lot of felting, fulling and shaping I had a hat to take home and dry.

Process and Practice

The process is long but enjoyable as you see the shape appearing. I shall make another hat in a different style as the more I practice the more I will learn about this great craft.

Hope you like it: