The yarn whisperer

Sometimes a yarn is going to do what a yarn is going to do, and such was the case today when my friend Andrea came over with a bag she had made that was in need of felting.

This adventure started innocently enough. Andrea had found several cute tote patterns and had asked me which one I thought would be a good first felting project.

After some discussion, she settled on this bag from Red Heart Yarns:

crochet rose garden tote by michele wilcox
Red Heart Yarns Rose Garden Tote by Michele Wilcox

the pattern for which is available at Red Heart Yarn’s website.

Having decided what pattern she would use, Andrea then asked me how I did my felting. I started to answer, but I could quickly see that a complete response would have be long and convoluted. It was easier to invite her over for lunch and an afternoon of felting fun than to enumerate the details of my process. To my delight, she was able to come.

One of the constraints Andrea faced in making this bag was that she had given up buying yarn for Lent, so rather than buying yarn specifically for the project, she worked with what she had available, and the result was nothing short of extraordinary.

Here is what Andrea brought to my house today:

A wool crochet bag before felting
Andrea’s crochet bag before felting

Clearly the bag we were about to felt did not in any easily recognizable way resemble the bag in the photo. As she has worked with the yarn, the yarn began to reveal itself, and rather than trying to force the yarn to be what it was not, Andrea allowed the yarn to speak.

Before we began the felting process, the bag measured 22″ across:

A wool crochet bag 22 inches wide before felting
A crochet bag twenty-two inches wide

and 17″ deep:

A wool crochet bag seventeen inches deep before felting
A wool crochet bag 17 inches deep before felting

We started by soaking the bag in water and vinegar to fix the dye, and while the bag was soaking, I got together my other felting tools and supplies including a hand-turned power washer my mother insisted I had to have, and some Shout color catcher sheets that I throw in with my felting projects to catch any dye the vinegar doesn’t fix:

The tools I use to felt wool crochet projects
Getting ready to felt Andrea’s wool crochet bag

Once we had safely secured the bag-to-be in the tumbler of the pressure washer where the magic happens, we spent the next 90 minutes chatting and turning (we did a lot of chatting) and occasionally checking on the progress of the bag. When the bag finally emerged, it was 16″ across:

A felted crochet wool bag measures sixteen inches across
Andrea’s felted wool bag measured sixteen inches across

and 12″ deep:

A felted crochet wool bag measures twelve inches deep
Andrea’s felted wool bag measured twelve inches deep

When the bag has fully dried, Andrea is going to attach these handles:

Andrea's wool crochet bag fully felted
Andrea’s Lent wool crochet bag post felting, shown with a prospective handle

This is, to my mind, a wildly successful project, and that success is in large part to due to the fact that when the yarn spoke, Andrea listened.

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6 thoughts on “The yarn whisperer

  1. That is so beautiful. And I love the hand-turned power washer. So cool. I’ve never seen one, and now I feel that I need to get one.

  2. OK Jealousy is not something I am accustomed to feeling – but now I feel a tinge as I realize I will never live close enough for you to share in this way with me….. thrilled to have you to turn to for technique or advise but this kind f play:oh baby!!!!! Lovely project too! Now I will consider felting as well… thanx ladies! 🙂

  3. You know, I would never have understood it had I not been there to watch Leslie work her magic. . .

    Plus, she’s just a hoot!!!!!

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