Happy Accident

I blame my tendency not to read and re-read instructions on the four years I spent in law school and all the reading I had to do there. That’s my story; deal with it. 😉 This happy-accident story is a result of my not carefully reading the instructions for this little bowl.

A year or so ago, I had a nice leftover ball of merino wool in a beautiful rich blue shade, enough to make into something small. For years I have loved flipping through Joelle Hoverson’s “More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts” and dreaming of making each one of these darling projects. (Yes, I do also own Joelle Hoverson’s “Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.” One can never have too many books.)

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While writing this, I read Joelle’s bio on the back of the book, then googled her. I never knew she was one of the co-owners of one of my favorite shops in the world, Purl Soho. If you’re a knitter or quilter, you must visit Purl Soho on your next visit to Manhattan, or just click over to see their sleek site. I receive their newsletter on a regular basis and greatly admire its understated elegance. Go visit!
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Knitted Bowls

The bowls, as they’re supposed to look.

So, a while back, like a couple of years ago, I quickly knit up this little bowl. But I never wove in the ends. (If you have no idea what that means, it’s the final step in finishing a knitting project. All the strands of yarn that are left hanging at the beginning and the end and anywhere you changed yarn in the middle of the project must be woven into the knitted “fabric” so they don’t come loose during its life.) And in my mind, this bowl was to be felted. (Again, if you don’t know … to “felt” a 100% wool project, you throw it in very hot water and beat it up in a washing machine or in a pot on the stove. This causes the wool strands to join themselves to each other and it becomes a much denser fabric.) Here’s a better explanation, with pictures.

Of course, if you read the description of the bowl in the book, you might notice right away that not only is the bowl not to be felted, it’s not even suggested for knitting in wool!!!

Felted Bowl side viewWhen I pulled the little bowl out of my antique wringer washer, I was a little disappointed that it didnt felt up very well. The individual stitches in the fabric are still visible. Now as I’m explaining things here, I realize I forgot an important aspect of the process: soap. Dang!

So how can I make this soft little bowl (which I truly do love, even if it’s a misfit) more useful. I’ll start by spraying a little Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener Spray on the base and see if that gives more of the effect I want. If you’ve read much of what I do here, you’ll recognize that I’m all about experimentation and learning. Next step: ordering some high quality cotton yarn to try these bowls the way Joelle envisioned them.

And in the meantime, what else might I do with the bowl, besides hold cool African trade beads that I bought at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show fifteen years ago? Well, it could be a hat for an American Girl or other 18″ doll.

Or a teddy bear.

Smaller felted bowlUpdate after lots of soapy thoughts:

Felted Bowl side viewThe more I thought about this floppy bowl and its lack of true felted texture, I decided I wanted to try it again. I put hot-from-the-tap water in the wringer washer, then added a teakettle full of almost-boiling water and a scant teaspoon of Dawn dish determent. I coiled two accidentally-felted wool socks into the center of the bowl and slipped a rubber band around the entire bundle. I slowly submersed it in the hot water until it was completely wet. Bear with new hatThen I closed the lid, engaged the agitator, and walked away for thirty minutes. When I came back, I was amazed and thrilled. It was really and truly felted this time.

And if you want proof of its shrinkage, look at its new place as teddy bear hat. Now that’s the right fit for a hat! 😉

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About Jan

Musician and geek and Juris Doctor; lover of fine art and fine craft; mother and grandmother and significant other and friend. Passionate about sewing.

2 Responses to Happy Accident

  1. Geneva says:

    Hi jan, I can appreciate how illness sometimes changes your direction. Just had 6 pins taken out of my wrist and am trying to do much with my other hand. Last night I was torn between the shaky new writing on usual hand and the interesting writing on the other hand. Have decided the entire episode is a good way of getting out of my rut. As my grandmother use to say, “another day above ground to see what else is out there”. I am not able to go to D.O.L. as I can’t draw, write or sew but water colors with the other hand?

    • Jan says:

      Geneva, sorry for whatever caused you to need six pins, and glad they’re gone now. Watercolors sounds like a great alternative art form. My four pins, on the other hands, er, wrist, will be with me forever. Not sure which is better. At least I don’t set off TSA screenings!

      Hope you’re back to what you love doing soon.

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