December 17, 2009
I missed the felting party at Lettuce Knit last night, so now I am going to try something, and I have a big plan involving this:
Posted by Stephanie at December 17, 2009 1:52 PM
and this information. How hard can it be?
I know, I know. Those five words have proceeded more messy episodes in my life than any other. (Maybe. It might be a tie with "You know what would be fun?") If this were a novel, then the moment when I way "How hard can it be?" and then buy the dedicated felting plunger (I have a strong, strong belief that plungers should be single-purpose) would be a noted plot point, and the answer to the question in English class "At the end of chapter 2, the protagonist suffers a bizarre setback. What was the moment that foreshadowed this setback?"
I tried to explain it on the phone with Megan. I tried to explain that I'm not going to get weird with it. That it's an experiment, and that if it doesn't work out or seems not to be going well or is taking too long or making a big mess that I will get off the crazy train at the next stop, and then take the streetcar over to somewhere where there's a top loader, and don't worry, it's all going to be very sane. I just want to see if it works, or works well, because with Christmas breathing down my neck like a rabid reindeer, I need to give it a shot. It could be awesome. It could be the answer.It could be faster than travelling to where there's a washer and there's no way to know until I go up to the bathroom, wing some ginormous slippers into the tub and beat the snot out of them with a dedicated plunger for a while. Maybe 20 minutes. If it's not working out at the 20 minute mark, I'll stop, put away the plunger, fish out the slippers, wring the water and my bitter tears out of them and head over to a top loader. No worries. There's eight days until Christmas, and I'm not going to let it get weird.
"That's what you say now" Megan said, and I know that's been true in the past. In the past I may have gotten a little locked in or determined. I know. This time though, I'm just nipping up to the bathroom with a plunger and a bunch of wool. It'll be fine. It's just an experiment.
The most dangerous words in my house are not "you know what would be fun?" They're "I was thinking..."
Good luck, and may the knitting gods be with you.
You might consider having a lot of water boiling on the stove. It might help if the water in the tub cools down a little. If this doesn't work out, you can just throw them in the washer, and continue the process there.
I can't wait to hear the next installment! Good luck!
20 minutes working a plunger? you'll be buff, regardless of what the slippers look like. i wish you luck :)
Those phrases always proceed something VERRRy interesting. But, hey, it could work......
Hey, I'm an optimist.
I asked myself the same question - how hard can i be - when I decided to felt my Noni Adventure Bag by hand in the bath tub rather than risk feeding coin after coin into my apartment building's paid laundry washing machines. Granted, I didn't have a plunger . . .
If I lived closer I would be on my way over to watch "how hard can it be" and the aftermath.
Sounds cool. Can't wait to see the results.
Steph, I do it all the time. I put the knits in a 5 "gallon" bucket (sorry, I don't know the metric conversion) and some tennis balls for added agitation. It saves water and gives your arms a righteous workout. Have fun and good luck!
Keep us posted! I would befriend a neighbor with a top loader . . . .
Sounds like a plan to me! ;) But, before I try it--how did it go?
That is exactly how I felted my Fuzzy Feet a few years ago. Except I just had one pair, so used a dedicated plunger and a bucket. My arms got a very good workout, although I had trouble explaining my sore muscles to my co-workers the next day.
We're anxiously awaiting the outcome. Gotta love the slippers. I have a front loader and want to see how well this process works for future reference.
beautiful tub. good luck.
I would side with the extra hot water, that always speeds the felting, in even the washer. Good luck I look forward to seeing them... MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Bucket. Put the slippers in a big bucket to contain the slopping, crazy mess and concentrate the agitation. (I know you know this, but I don't SEE a bucket...)
Maybe with so few slippers to felt, it would be quicker to use a smaller container than the bathtub? You're going to have to agitate an awful lot of water up to "felting speed" if you fill the tub.
Good luck. I have my fingers crossed.
Positive attitude : you'll be fine!
People have been felting knitted things for a long time before washing machines, right?
It HAS to work, right?
LOL You've made my day! Good Luck. Here's a quote I came across this morning...You just keep your goals, Stephanie!
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.
I used the kitchen sink and a potato masher and thick tea towels for agitation. I did use boiling water in the sink, and had a large bowl full of ice water on the counter. QUITE the workout...
Do you have someone designated to go for help if you're not back in an hour or so? Might want to consider that...
If the plunger doesn't work, try throwing a couple of your husbands old sneekers (tennis shoes) into the front loader with them. If they don't beat those slippers into some level of felted I'd be very suppised.
It should work fine, I do all my felting the old way and it takes 45 minutes tops and waaaay less water then a washing machine. BUT I do it with my feet instead - seriously, hot soapy water in a foot tub in front of the couch. It means I can still knit while felting - and have complete control over the felting process. I posted a picture of it on my blog: http://ladysaphira.livejournal.com/380398.html
Um... before things get crazy, I have another felting tip. Granted, I have only felted one thing in my life, but it worked and I would use this method again in a heartbeat. Just dip the slipper pieces in cold water. Throw them in the dryer on hot for 4-5 min. Take them out, shock them in cold water again and back in the dryer. It should take about 20-30 to felt. You can stop the dryer at any time. You can even throw a towel in there for more friction. Alot less work for you and more control. I don't know of anyone else who does this besides me, but it works. (Your local physicist)
I've never wanted to felt because it involves the whole, doing something after casting off dilemma, which I like to avoid.
This seems greener and less bother.
I await your progress with interest.
Considering all that the plumbing gods have dished out to you this year is, all I can say is...you've got guts, woman!
hahahaha- this should be good......
I flinched when I saw the first photo in this post. Whenever you blog about household items, it's usually an indication of some disaster. I saw the tub and I thought, "What the hell has happened to her bathroom?"
Now that I've read the post, I'm marginally reassured. Good luck with the felting.
And I'm really hoping your next post doesn't lead off with another tub photo, again prompting the thought, "What the hell has happened to her bathroom?" :)
Ah, by the way, your bathtub is VERY clean.
1st- may the force be with you
2nd- you are so lucky to be in your own house, i dyed my motherships bath blue with this method and she was not a happy lady.
3rd- i hope there are none out there who will punish you for a multi coloured bath and clogged plug hole, live long and prosper.
Bucket. Tennis balls. Do you really want to risk the finish on that pretty bathtub?
I too await the next chapter. Could you post video for us?
I was hand-felting yesterday. I used a bucket placed in the basement utility sink. The water in my house was hot enough. I added some tennis balls.
I also did some agitation on the broiler pan. I don't have a washboard, but agitation on the top of the broiler pan, placed on a cotton rug on the floor, seemed to help.
Waiting by the computer......wondering if you're still using that dedicated plunger or out in the cold finding a top loader.... :)
I normally don't post comments (I'm the quiet, stalker, type.) I happen to be reading one of your books and just finished the chapter titled "IT." I feel compelled to draw your attention to the obvious parallel between your current "experiment" at hand and the self professed previous crescendos into Phase IV of IT. I do realize my efforts are futile, at best. And I'm a complete stranger who lives knitting adventures vicariously through you. That's all I have to say about that.
Good luck! What's the harm in trying?
Also, speaking of 'you know what would be fun' are you thinking of doing knitting olympics again? Just curious. Hey, how hard can it be?
Don't you know anyone that still has an upright washer you could use? Felting by hand is hard work.
I'm just glad you have a dedicated plunger. Just sayin'...
I am just so, so happy to know it's a dedicated plunger. Good luck!
I finished and felted my French Press Slippers last night. I'm a new knitter and I am still amazed when something turns out exactly as it is supposed to. They are perfect and I put them on top of a heat vent to dry and they were finished this morning!
My mother-in-law did this with diapers.
Seconding and thirding with those who've said "Bucket". It would make for a more efficient experiment. Really.
EIGHT DAYS!!!!!! I can't stand it!!!!!!
YOU know that it's a dedicated plunger but does everyone else know? I usually just stick it in the washer (front loader) in a zippered pillow protector with the regular washing, it usually takes two cycles (I'm rarely short of that second load of washing)
The fact that these things are called the French Press slippers, from the first time I heard of them, has made me want to try felting them *in* a French press... and a plunger and bucket is sorta like a French press, right? So you must be on the right track.
Also, I hope your tub is deep, b/c there will be sloshing.
I can't WAIT to see how this turns out! lol Good luck!
I love your tub! Good luck with the felting; you should be just fine. Please report and show your results. I felted an oven mitt last night, hoping its shape *and* size would change during the process, but alas and alack, there still should have been some shaping before the thumb so the wrist area wouldn't be so huge. I will attempt some post-felting surgery followed by more felting to seal the dart's seam. It's a good thing there's more yarn and a little (knock wood) slack in my schedule.
Wait! You forgot the tennis balls. Your instructionssay tennis balls too!
Hey! I never realized that your bathroom is so nice! I'd like to get a tub like that someday for our showerless bathroom.
And there goes my last excuse for not making these slippers -- "I don't have a washing machine in my apartment to felt with." Okay, after I finish the last 8 scarves I may try these slippers. Maybe I can get a head start on next year's knitting?
I quite agree about the plungers - & it seems as if it would work, but your arms may be very tired. Good luck.
Ive felted in a bathroom sink before in a dire last minute felting emergency. It worked really well. You may want to keep a bucket of ice cold water (snow?) that you can plung them into to speed up the process.
Where's Rachel H. and a video camera when you need her? This might top YouTube's most-viewed videos, unless it was blocked for Mature Language. (Those different yarns colorfast, are they?)
What Caroline M. @ 2:45 said. Assuming this works out and you intended to do it again, I'd clearly label that plunger 'for knitting use only' and then hide it behind a pile of yarn in the yarn closet until you want to felt again. I'm just sayin'.
I've done this in a bucket and it works great. I picked up a mini plunger (apparantly they are used by campers) at Lowes for a dollar or so. It's just the right size and no one gets confused :)
Your tub is astonishingly clean. Kudos!
good luck. i have a top loader but used the plunger today anyways. (thanks kids! lol tmi?)
merry hoho steph!
I think I can speak for all of humanity when I say "thank the stars for dedicated plungers!" I would be a bit reluctant to accept non-dedicated-plunger-felted slippers....yuckiness!
I can't wait to see how they turn out! and also, I am extremely jealous of your tub, because it looks like it would actually fit a human being, unlike my tub. :P
I can't wait to hear how it all goes. I have only felted one larger item but would love to make some smaller ones but have a little bit of water waste guilt and worry about clogging up my machine. This would be a perfect alternative!
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Then again, I am also the experimenting type. I believe I read somewhere that you can put tennis balls into the bath water for more agitation? The wool, not you, ideally being agitated. I once hand-felted 30 squares in a garbage pail in my dorm room, refilling the hot water in the bathtub every time it cooled down too much. If I can do that, you can do this.
Good luck! My fingers are crossed for you. I bought the pattern for those slippers and I'm hoping to get to make them tonight. I also have a top loader, so I will be watching for your next post to see how it worked out :)
Stephanie....have you tried hitting the "off" button on your front loader, mid cycle yet? I felted my slippers yesterday. I brought my knitting downstairs, hauled the stool over to my machine, loaded up my slippers, and soap and told it to start. I put it on heavy duty wash, it said 71 minutes, and I said "start". After 5 minutes, I hit "Power". It turn off, door locked light went off. Opened the door, checked, put them back, hit "on" and "start". I repeated this about 5 times, with fewer minutes between checks after the first few.. The flaps were done after about 3 repeats, then the first slippers, then the second.
So, yeah, it was about 45 minutes of babysitting the front loader....it took the SAME amount of time as my old top loader did, and it required pushing 3 buttons between checks, instead of just opening the top. It was NOT a big difference! I'd suggest that pushing the buttons is less work than either using that plunger or getting on the bus!
BTW, for my machine, I can open the door quicker if I hit "off" than if I hit "stop". So, for mine, don't hit "stop", it'll drain and fuss, and then you hit "off" and it fusses some more then lets you open, while if you just hit "off", the light goes out and you open the door...takes maybe 5 seconds. One must experiment with each machine. My manual says NONE of this, however, the manual would make you think you can't felt in it. WRONG!
BTW, my slippers came out perfect!
Don't you have a friend with a top loader you could ask to use? We don't have to churn butter at home anymore and this is what your idea sounds (and looks like)to me. Good luck.
You DEFINATELY had me at the toilet plunger. I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall for this one. GOOD LUCK!
I wonder if she's out of the bathroom yet?
I think I'm just going to sit over here being very still and quiet until all of your 'how hard can it be?' urges have passed. True, their ripples don't spread with quite the danger your 'you know what would be fun?'s do, but...
Oh fun! I can't wait to read tomorrow and see how this turned out. I used to do wet felting with window screening and rubber gloves (so I'd have some skin left on my fingertips when I was done). The only thing I'd suggest is felting the color lots separately, not only for colorfastness issues (thanks, rams!), but the lint from one color slipper can felt itself onto the other slippers. And you can't always pick it off easily. Have fun!
I wish you luck felting your slippers with the plunger..I hand felted a hat in the sink because my apt even though it has a washer and dryer I do not want the maintenance people complaining about yarn wads.. After 20 minutes of plunging you will be buff and tired...this is just my bet because even through I work out even after unclogging my sink (standing on a chair because I am not a tall women by any means) I get tired... Again I wish you the best of luck let us know how they come out!!
Take a Sharpie to that plunger and label it "FOR FELTING ONLY" before someone repurposes it.
1 pair of these done, 1 pair half-done, went out and bought yarn for 3 more last night. Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas?
forgot to mention I have a blog...just started it today check it out if you want to.
Add to "How hard can it be?", "I was thinking...", "You know what would be fun?"...my own personal downfall: "How lost can I get?"
I've tried the bathtub/plunger routine - don't go there. Bucket and tennis balls or cold shock and dryer sound waaaaaaaaaaay better.
I was going to just say laundromat.
I have faith in you! You can do this, I've done it before in my sink with a plunger for felted boots for my kids (rav link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/twinspiration/little-snugs) . It worked like a charm, and was way easier than I expected it to be...and waaay easier than hitting stop and drain on my front loader 50 times. I bought some rubber gloves used for washing dishes too, so I could really get my hands into that super hot water. It's not nearly as crazy as you or your readers may think it is. I shall not fear for you!!! :)
Not that I don't think this will work. But it could also be fun to camp out at a friend's house who has a top loader. Use her machine, do some Christmas baking together (or wrap presents) and watch a movie.
Multi-tasking. A critical skill this close to deadline. I mean Christmas.
Also, for what it is worth. You are totally responsible for getting me sucked into this. I have one pair drying. One pair that will go back in for further felting, and another pair on the needles. I don't know how I get sucked in to your craziness! But I've been along on several rides.
And do yours seem awfully long? There is no way mine are fitting 5/6 size feet. I've started adjusting the pattern which almost never works in any kind of good way.
Is "how hard could it be?" Canadian for "Hey, ya'll watch this?" which is, of course, the prelude to a disaster of scary proportions?
That's what I thought.
Whenever my husband starts thinking my fiber-arts plans are getting a little too close to crazyville, all I have to do is show him your blog and say, "Well, at least I don't do *this*."
Thank you. (Personally I think it will work great.)
Good luck, I hope it works!
In my house, those ominous words come from my husband and are: "You know, hon, I've been thinking......." as he looks at the ceiling/wall/stove or some such like household item/area and usually preceded said item/area being eliminated!
Oooh, looking forward to seeing how it goes. I have a bathtub, and a plunger, but no top loader (possibly the only thing I miss about living in NZ. Nobody even has front-loaders there, and a load of washing takes 20 minutes instead of 1 1/2 hours...)
"You know what would be fun?" or "How hard can it be?" followed closely by "What was I thinking??" Brave girl!
My boys always say any action that is prefaced by "Hey, watch this . .. " (or "Here, hold my beer.") will end in tears. "How hard can it be?" may be added to that list . . .
So relieved to see the words "dedicated plunger". Just saying...
I thought of doing a similar thing in my kitchen with a smaller pot and a potato masher. good Luck!
I can't wait to hear how it went - I have the exactly same brand new plunger sitting next to the laundry room sink waiting to be tried. I have my fingers crossed, thinking positive thoughts, it would be great if this works without resulting in physical and/or mental injury!
Have you seen NeoKnits' experience with a cookie cooling rack? It seemed as though she had success with her method: http://www.neoknits.com/2009/12/first-pair-plus-felting-by-hand/
Just giving you options...
I do hope your family appreciates you as the built-in source of extraordinary entertainment.
I've done this before when I was felting something very small and didn't want to use my washing machine. It does work. It took longer than 20 minutes, but I didn't use a plunger. I just whooshed and squished the item in hot soapy water with my hands until it was felted the way I wanted it. It look a long time (about 40 minutes), but it was neat to feel the fiber changing in my hands. I felt like I was sculpting the wool. Good luck with your slippers.
For added fun, you should try it naked.
I want to know how it goes. I, too, have a top loader. But a dedicated plunger could be purchased...
I agree that plungers should be single purpose. At least you didn't say "I have an idea"....those words these days make me cringe....
Ah also I downloaded the French Press slipper pattern yesterday so I am awaiting your results - love some of the suggestions so far, especially turning the front loader off and opening it up! I think I may try that first - after I actually knit the suckers up of course! Why is it so easy to felt what you don't want felted?????
It's been a little over 2 hours...should we send in a search and rescue party?
Holy Smoly gal, your timing for experimentation on said objects couldn't be much worse-could it. Aren't these for gifts for Christmas in seven days ? GEEZ I HOPE it works well for you GOOD LUCK you optimistic Harlot.
I keep envisioning that I Love Lucy episode where she stomps grapes. There would be a certain symmetry to stomp-felting slippers, right? Since they go on your feet?
i felted two purses this way by putting them individually in a bucket with soapy hot water, a bunch of tennis balls, and went to town with the plunger. it took me an hour per purse to get them felted down, then threw them in the dryer to help it along. maybe i just don't have the arm strength, but i think 20 mins. is a bit too optimistic...but tennis balls for agitation really helps!
Ah. The dreaded five words. "This year will be different." Much luck with your dedicated plunger.
I have a WONDER WASHER, it's the same size as a bucket, but I imagine it's easier and faster than the plunger situation. I've used it a few times for small felting projects.
You can do it!!!
And I too would appreciate video of this process. It's bound to be... educational? *grin*
Excuse me, did you just say eight days until Christmas? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? I think I can't breathe...
While I pass out here, let me wish you good luck--or break a leg, rather--with the slipper experiment. Goddesspeed!
P.S. How are you going to make sure that everyone else in your household knows which plunger is for which purpose? :)
Godspeed, Steph. Godspeed.
can't wait to see how it all turns out!
Have you ever heard of a Rapid Washer aka Yukon Plunger? It is designed to agitate water very quickly. Some Amish use it for washing their clothes.
ditch the plunger--get a washboard!! It works great--you can stand at the kitchen sink, scrub away and you won't have big sloppy puddles on the bathroom floor.
Is there some way to rig up a live feed for this? I'm thinking of something like a pay-per-view movie. You'd probably make enough to pay for your entire stash all over again. Just sayin'.
Oh, goodness, that was by far the best laugh I've had in days. Which says something sad about my laugh, but goodness. Priceless! I can hardly wait to hear what happens next.
Megan's "That's what you say now," is just the best!
Don't forget to give yourself bonus points for the upper body workout 20 minutes of plunging will give you. ;)
"No worries. There's eight days until Christmas, and I'm not going to let it get weird."
So you're saying its not weird yet? And at what point do you determine when it's become weird after you've already described what you are going to try to do??? However, I am eagerly awaiting the results.
I would take a beer with me.
Don't use the bathtub to do the plunging, put a drywall bucket with hot water, soap and the slippers in the tub and plunge away. (I bet you have a bunch of drywall buckets by now.)
Those rabid reindeer will make a person do some "interesting" things...
Instead of plunging, what about foot stomping, ala, squashed grapes for wine. I could see you looking like Lucy and Ethel in the barrel. Is there anyone else home with you. We really should have a video feed for this. Good luck! :)
Please; don't say things like "There's eight days until Christmas". Those of us in even deeper denial are just wishing we can stick our fingers in our ears and sing "nee-na,nee-na, we can't hear you..." Except that our fingers are clamped round knitting needles and moving frantically...
WARNING WARNING - Joe might like to see a 'dedicated sieve' nearby too.
In my felting experience (not great, an open day at a local Open Farm) they had us use a rolling pin to achieve the wool fibre hooking needed in felting, though this could be amended to 'plus' Glad Wrap/cling film, (or whatever it is called in Canada/USA) as slipper fabric inherently folds over for the uppers and lowers, so if there are any 'bits' that need extra felting that maybe the way to go.
You may end up having the toned arms of Michelle Obama (you will be invited on to Sesame Street next!). Toned arms aren't exactly 'loadbearing' but you maybe so exhausted you may not want to go for a run today.
In these parts the the 4 (or 5) most dangerous words are, 'Hey y'all, watch this!' aka, a redneck's last words.
So, how's it going?
I love it when another knit blogger posts about doing something that I plan on doing soon. :o)
PS - Thanks for the info the other day!
I have January sort-of off work. I want those slippers. I have a front loader, non-functional since mice ate the insulation on the wires on something important(about a year and a half ago). But...I have a splendid copper "stomper" (our household name for it) or "posser" (so called by my British aunt and her mother) which is designed for this sort of washing(years of "white cotton socks must be white" parentally enforced weekend stomping)--looks like a plunger, but wider end, conical, longer handle.
I'll try it. Next year.
"It'll be fine."
Famous last words...
You scare me.That is all.
This is wayyyyyy better than reality TV - and it's almost as riveting as Battlestar Galactica.
i live on a sailboat in the caribbean for part of the year and i have felted stuff in a bucket, with gloves and very hot water. works like a charm. and on a boat everything is wet anyway!
I have lived in places where the water from the tap was not hot enough to produce felting on its own. (I boiled gallons/4 plus liters on the stove and added it to the hot water in the tub.) Depending on the size of the object and the hotness of your water - ymmv.
I find it takes longer than 20 minutes when not using Cascade 220. (40 min and up). Again, ymmv.
For small objects, I found hand felting worked better than the plunger. To protect your hands, rubber gloves. (Single purpose is probably a good idea on this item as well as the plunger.)
Some sort of filter for the water when it is released from the tub. (I've heard nylon pantyhose work wonderfully but I wouldn't know.) I actually use a regular old bandana-weight piece of cotton cloth. It traps the fibers but does slow down tub draining. (An old t-shirt would work - and then you gather the fibers off (dispose of as you wish - Denny may want to spin them ;) - and throw the tshirt in the front loader (with lint filter) for reuse.)
Good luck! The magic of felting (and last minute Christmas rushes always amaze me.)
I would just think that the knitting time on the bus both ways and while you wash would be worth it weight in Christmas knitting. Plus, you now have enough pairs that need felting that you should not feel any guilt about the water used. Always weigh the costs and the benefits....
Is it too much to hope for a video on youtube?
i have TOTALLY made this work with a pair of slippers and a gnome (i even have a plunger that says "rachel's knitting plunger" so as to not get it confused...) someone up above mentioned the idea of boiling water, and I agree. things move a LOT quicker....
Before you get all crazy - I felted mine in a front loader! Went through the wash once and it wasn't really enough, so I put them in the dryer, still not enough. Once more in the wash and PERFECTION! So, wash them twice! It's a lot easier and more fun to re-knit than to sit there for twenty minutes plunging yourself to death. Also, if they shrink too much they can be a childs gift. And then you get to knit more! Double-win.
Just make sure you filter the water somehow before letting it all down the drain. Hate to see your tub stopped up by wool lint that felts in the pipe.
And to think I just came over in hopes of a photo of lots of finished slippers to get some vicarious "I finished something" vibes. This is terrific!
I liked the naked felting suggestion above. So how well is that furnace working anyway?
It should work. Several decades ago when I was a teen-ager I handwashed my wool sweaters in very warm water and felted them. My thrifty mother cut them in circles and squares, applied embroiery and crochet and made an afghan for my first home. Also felted the argyle socks that hubby's girl friend had knitted for him.
Also beware of the phrase "Hold my beer!"
I made a knitted poinsettia wreath a few years ago. Did the felting in the kitchen sink with a washboard. About wore holes in my knuckles, but it worked!
Good luck! I just bought this pattern and can't wait to try it.
I'm looking forward to see how this works out. I have a small project that will need felting in a few days, too. I wonder if using a lid with a hole in it would reduce the messy splashing?
I have heard of people giving the unfelted items with instructions on how to felt so the receiver could "felt to size". It sounds almost thoughtful when you phrase it that way (and not at all like you were trying to get out of work!).
Dear Husbands Looking for Wonderful Wives' Christmas Presents:
Unless you know FOR CERTAIN, IN WRITING, that the love of your life wants a "dedicated plunger" for Christmas, DO NOT buy one and put it under the tree. We're knitters who carry sharp sticks! Shop wisely.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Knitting Safety Council.
I'm a little concerned that you have made the leap in logic that a bathtub is a suitable substitute for a 5-gallon compound bucket. I'm thimking that agitation WITHIN A CONFINED SPACE (such a washing machine) might be a key ingredient to success. Just sayin'.
Those are ginormus? They look a bit big for me, but I bet they would fit my brother perfectly. (No, he doesn't wear ladies' slippers. That's just how big his feet are.)
If the plunger doesn't work, you could always try one of these: http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry___Washing___Rapid_Washer___66RW?Args=
(Knarly URL, I know. But the gadget is pretty cool. :o)
Forget about the plunger and hop on that streetcar right away to find a top loading washer.
Guess how I know.......really, don't waste your time as I wasted mine.
The plunger is great for one single piece; but three pairs of slippers, six pieces and wanting at least two matching pieces come out in the same size.....streetcar....now.....
The dryer may work as well as the washing machine.
(I guarantee you will not have "batwing" arms if you do this plunger felting with any regularity--
then you can also churn butter, too)
Good luck! I've long been intrigued by that Knitty article myself!
I'll be watching the blog with great interest to hear the story that follows this. Good luck! ;)
Oh please hurry Stephanie! I really need to know how it turns out! When we moved and replaced our washer a couple months back, well, we never thought about the felting angle. My husband researched the most efficient model and it was a front-loader. Not until we got it home and hooked up, did it hit me that I might not be able to felt with it. I was crushed. I love to felt. Why were we so stupid? With all the craziness of packing and making a cross-country move, I was a little muddled and couldn't believe we'd done what we had just done. Not a front-loader! Well, I've now knit a bunch of gifts that will need to be felted immediately after opening. I've read up on how to do it---and I'm not very convinced. I'm hanging on the edge of my seat (while knitting), awaiting your results!
At the very worst, you have 20 minutes of vigorous exercise. It might be the next fad!
I admire your intrepidity (and myself, for being able to spell that sans dictionary).
Maybe I've been playing Farmville too long over at Facebook, but my first thought was that you need a butter churn.
It doesn't matter what is done with the plunger AFTER it is used for felting. What matters is what was done with it BEFORE it was used for felting.
I have a little yellow and black sink plunger that I got at WalMart, I think, or Home Depot. It has a knob on top and is a corrugated gizmo at the bottom. It works very well in the sink for small projects like coasters. I have used a potato masher too! If I were you, I would put a bathmat in the tub and use a bucket of water on the bathmat along with the dedicated plunger. :) The sloshes would go in the tub and the tub wouldn't get scratched. Have fun! I can't wait to see those slippers!!!
I agree with all those who called out 'bucket', and submit that if you need something bigger, a rubbermaid-style bin would do nicely.
Frontloader or toploader washingmachine: in Europe they must have an emergency-stop, check the instructions. That way you can stop the cycle any time you want. We had 25 cm.of snow today, the north of the Netherlands came to a nearly total standstill, a bit like someone pushed the emergency-stop-button. Funny how when you do not want to felt a new sweater, it perfectly felts, if you try to repeat it with something you want to felt, forget it. Good Luck and congratulations your daughter is home again.
I see a wooden handle and no mention of gloves. FOR THE LOVE OF WOOL, Steph, put on some gardening gloves before you do the felting! Nothing makes it harder to hold knitting needles than a giant wooden sliver in your palm or knuckle joint.
Far be if from me to splash cold water in the face of such unbridled enthusiasm.... but assuming you bought a NEW and specially-designed-for-all-your-knitting-needs plunger, i'm going to guess that you had to leave the house to make this purchase. so um, couldn't you have used that same time/effort it took to leave home and purchase the plunger to go somewhere with a toploading washer? probably in the house of a friend who would likely give you coffee and a Christmas cookie to enjoy while the whole magic felting process was taking place? but hey, it's only a question! Plunge on Girl! Can't wait to see how it goes! :)
I can't wait to see how this one turns out.
p.s. Love that tub!
glad to read this as i have no access to a felt-friendly machine and tried finishing the slippers by hand with no success. i has a bucket! now to get a plunger.
There's an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Mr Krabbs needs to make some money so he get stuff out of everyone's rubbish bins and has a garage sale.
Patrick spots something and says, "Isn't that my old toilet plunger?"
Mr Krabbs quickly turns the rubber bit inside out and replies "No, it's an antique soup ladle."
Patrick says, "Boy, was I using mine wrong!"
If you don't end up with serviceable felt, you may well end up with sculpted biceps and deltoids.
'felting speed' - this caused me to laugh at work and for my co-workers to be confused and then also left me unable to explain what was funny. I sing in a choir. We have 'universal sightreading tempo' aka. durge speed. We have 'up to speed' aka. about right. We have 'ramming speed' for going really fast, and i think that now we will have to add 'felting speed', for times when we want it messy and chaotic!
Sounds like an excellent workout. But won't you need a second bathtub filled with cold water? Seems to me the temperature shock is part of the felting process...
You are a madwoman. . . and therefor are my hero. Plunge away, madam. I'm not into felting but I am very much into watching what happens when you say "How hard can it be?" or "You know what would be fun?"
As an aside, I want your bathtub. It looks perfect for reading and soaking!
will there be a video clip forthcoming?
I love Samina's idea (December 17, 2009 4:27 PM). Live Webcast. Yeah!
I had read a Ravelry member say she soaks the knitting to be felted in cold water for 10 minutes first - it opens up something in the fiber structure (Don't remember what tho).
Never mind felting, your readers comments/blog links have me deciding all my clothes should be washed in two buckets (Solve the "I hate to go to the laundromat" issue). I have a shopping list to buy soap, washing soda and Borax. Must buy Rapid Washer from Lehmans, and maybe a wringer - that will have to be a Google search.
It should work. I have felted in a big pot of soapy boiling water on the stove using a potato masher. It worked better than I expected and took less than 1/2 hour.
Good luck with that. I'm in envy of your tub.
And why is it we say to our children "when will you ever learn?" :) GOOD LUCK!
I'll say it, as no one else has -
Don't forget the strainer.
May the force be with you!
Is that 20 minutes per piece? Felting in a front loader is way too easy, I have experience. I think the felting in the dryer sounds interesting. Less painful than a clogged drain. If I ever want to felt on purpose, I might try it.
Heh. This should be good!
You might want a dedicated salad spinner to get the excess water out of your successfully felted slippers. Just sayin'
Can't believe there aren't any comments from Rams or Presbytera...they should be rich! Also, I suppose your're way past any help you could glean from a schedule from Lene?! Just can't believe Christmas has snuck up like this. What I get for living one deadline/crisis @ a time.
um....could you set up the video camera while you're doing this. and turn the sound up. I'd love to see that!
I'm with them, if you want it to Stay a dedicated plunger you might want to hide it well, like in the basement by the washing machine. In a dark corner. Good luck with your slippers, I envy you your tub, no wonder you don't want a shower, if my tub looked like that I wouldn't want one either
I just want to say- I love the bath tub, and i wish i was a slipper getting ready to get in it...ok, maybe not if the plunger is getting in with me.
I never comment, but this is how I felt my knitting (when I want to felt my knitting, I mean -- sometimes it happens accidentally in other ways). We have a front loader and a septic system (the fibers from the socks -- not good for the septic), and hand-felting has worked very, very well for me.
Granted, it starts out seeming like it will never work. I spend 15 minutes standing in the tub, wearing no pants, splashing hot water out of the bucket all over myself, and readjusting the little bit of cheesecloth stretched over the drain opening to catch the bits of lint, and I think, this isn't working, this is never going to work, why do I think this is a good idea.
And then, it works.
I don't shock the yarn with cold water, I just keep topping off with more hot, and when I read your post a few days ago, about how you had to do 20 minutes of extra felting to perfect the first slippers, I thought, that's about how long it takes to felt them by hand if you start out with that intention.
It might take a smidgen longer than 20 minutes, or it might take less. In general, the more knitted material in the bucket, the faster it goes. But by 20 minutes, I've always stopped thinking it's never going to work.
Ask me about felting with my KitchenAid. Or a 5 gallon bucket and a giant wooden spoon used for brewing beer. Or the same 5 gallon bucket with a washboard purchased just for the experiment. ~sigh~ I am waiting anxiously to see if your escapade works out any better than mine have.(plunger idea is brilliant, BTW but I also thought my KitchenAid idea was pretty spiff too). When my front loader dies, I'm definitely reverting back to a top loader just for this very reason.
If you do the felting naked, make sure the bathroom door is locked.
(Although it might be more exciting if you left it unlocked.)
Okay....hoping you have had luck...
At least,you will have had substantial exercise.
How heavy are five pairs of felting slippers?
[Maybe too late to ask, but did you buy something to strain the water before it goes down the drain?? Might be a little, um, fibrous?]
Fingers crossed. I admire your spirit of adventure.
And you will be getting back to us on this, right?
"There's eight days until Christmas, and I'm not going to let it get weird."
right there, that's the second plot point that foreshadows this cannot end well. i mean, really, you are talking about beating a bunch of wool with a plunger. what could be weird about that?
Hey, if your arms get tired wielding the plunger you can just step in the tub and stomp the slippers like grapes!
PS. Yet another "trouble ahead" phrase: "what could go wrong?"
Not to throw a wrench or anything, but my slippers have been drying since Saturday. Still damp. 8 days might not be enough time! (unless I bake them... hm)
I have an old friend who got me into a lot of trouble by saying, "How hard can it be?"
*I wonder what would happen if I tried.....*
is the catchphrase of danger in my house....
how HARD can it be?
I'm SURE you will let us know ;)
Happy Holidaze to you!
Eagerly awaiting your next post to see how this goes. Whether it's a success or fail, and I hope for your sake it's a success, I'm glad to see you're taking the idea out for a test drive! I may be curious about a lot of fiber related things, but that's not to say I'm willing to give them a shot.
RachelH is an intelligent woman with who places a high value on self-preservation.
Amanda, on the other hand, is a proven risk-taker. I bet she'd run the camera if we all asked nicely...
You have a stronger back - or stronger confidence in your back - than I might.
Will wish you the best.
Okay, now. I'm sure you'll do fine.
I just want to see what Rachel H and Presbyteria say. Unless they're in hiding. Or planning an intervention??
Oops, there they are! Right above me.
Let us know how it worked. I have a front loader too.
After reading your blog for a long time, I thought the 5 words that prefaced disaster for you were, "this is going really well." Hope it did!
In addition, plungers are not items to be borrowed, which is not something the guy who showed up to my in-laws door seemed to think was an inappropriate thing to ask.
Reading your blog is about the only thing that gets me through Christmas....
Ditto on the use of the dryer. It felts just as well if not better than a washer. Ingredients are all there - wool, water, heat, friction. And you can check progress any time.
First, good luck.
Are there any laundry mats around? Many of them still have front loading washers (but not the one in apartment buildings, most of them are new).
Dude, I need an edit button like Rav. *top* loader, not *front* loader. Durr.
I CANNOT wait for the follow-up post!
I cannot wait to see what happens. Post soon, Harlot! Post soon!
Ooooh! The suspense.
And I hope you don't decide to simultaneously heed the advice of those who recommend doing the felting naked AND the advice of those who recommend video taping the process . Pretty sure that's one iTube video you'd regret posting.
OOOoooooooooooo......I love a good mystery!!!!
I hope it works out! I've fully finished one pair of these slippers, and I had to drive 30+ minutes to a friend's house to use her top-loading washer. I'm making another pair tomorrow and have plans to drive there again on Saturday. I love seeing my friend of course, but it would be easier on my time-management to just do it at home.
I confidently use my front loader to wash, in hot, then with an eagle eye, I use the D-R-Y-E-R with some tennis balls, or just some relatively clean sneakers. I haven't tried this pattern (oh so cute) but it has worked nicely with felted clogs, bags, and other felted knit stuff. Good Luck and Happy Solstice!
You did WHAT with a WHAT?? Good god, I hope it works!1
I felt in a 5 gallon pail and a "new" "felting only" plunger, as mine is a front loader washer as well.Works great. A wee bit messy- but it works.
Stephanie, are you still up there?
May the Force be with You! Believe it or not, this is what I did with my single pair just last week, as I have a silly HE front loading machine.
(It did take a wee bit longer than 20 min. though, I fine tuned the size over 2 days, intermittently.)
It works, although a bucket might control the process a bit better. And it may take more than 20 minutes. But it does work and relieves frustration to boot. Why yes, I do my felting this way, why do you ask?
If it doesn't work out, hop the next plane to L.A. I have a top loader.
OMG Puuuuleeeeze! Tell me this is a NEW plunger!!!
Dips in cold water do help to speed the process.
waiting on tenterhooks for part 2.
My danger moments almost always begin with, "I wonder...." Good luck!
I think you need to find your neighbourhood laundromat. There must be one close enough for you to not have to take the streetcar anywhere. They often have the industrial top loaders that will felt the life out of anything (intentionally or not).
The suspense is killing me.
(Hmmm--over nine hours without an update...people, should we be worried about her?!?!!)
I tried hand felting once and found it less enjoyable than root canal. How did yours work out? If it didn't, I'm telling you... you should get a WONDER WASHER.
I am keenly interested in the results! It just seems like one of those things where the sum is greater than the parts. Not only do you have a bunch of lovely slippers, but also a story to confuse the heck out of all sorts of people with.
Just one question....How does the rest of the family know that it is a "dedicated plunger?"
I had a strong wave of relief at the words "dedicated plunger". Everything else is a harmless experiment, so I hope you have fun. Good luck!
I hope your experiment went well. If it didn't (and knowing that you really like to felt things) try using a more alkaline soap than the wool wash they used in the Knitty article. Kiss my Face bar soap works pretty well, and so do the Castile soaps that you can get at the store. I made some soap just for felting and it works like a dream. Ugh on the 8 days til Christmas thing though. How did that happen? I've had so many catastrophes this month that somehow I still seem to think it's December 1st! Ugghh!!! I did get my nephews scarf done, but I have 2 more presents to knit and I haven't even started them yet. SIGH!!! I definitely hope you're having a better time of it then I am. Happy Felting!
I suggest setting a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and leaving it in another room so that you have to step away from the tub to turn it off.
(and maybe labelling the dedicated plunger for the avoidance of doubt)
I knitted a scarf and the slippers out of the same wool. Laundry mat top loader didn't felt the first time - needed to get kids - felted in front loader at home - scarf shrunk to nothing - slippers took FOUR more times before they shrunk down - full complete cycles with towels! - my water bill! I must admit the slippers do look lovely and I have a felted coaster for my tea cup.
The ominous expression at our house was "Nothing to it" spoken in either one of Canada's two official languages. When you heard that expression it was duck and cover time. As for your felting, I think it is an excellent idea. I mean, you have a tub, you have hot water, you have a dedicated plunger, what could be easier. Nothing, oh never mind!
Totally sitting on the edge of my bathtub to hear the results. I am in the same felting boat as you, and would love to have more options.
Oh, dear. Mine took three trips in the long cycle of the top loader. This may take longer than 20 minutes. Peace be with you. :}
This may sound crazy, but I think we may have been channeling each other yesterday. I too tried the plunger felting technique for the first time, and I'll totally do it again.
Sounds like fun actually.
The one time I felted I spent so much time feeling guilty about running the washer twice with 2 small knitted items that this plunger idea is making me rethink felting.
I am relieved that the plunger is brand new!
Isn't there an iPhone app for this? There should be.
You know, you could increase a kid's vocabulary if there was one in the vicinity. I can so see that working. Well, I'd like to see it. I'd sit on the commode and referee. Is that in the splash zone?
F.Y.I.--If anyone's making those slippers with Lamb's Pride worsted, that stuff felts in about a minute. I made purses that turned into clutches in 10 minutes in the top-loader.
I have a top loader. Andrea has my number.
Looks like fun! I am so buying this pattern this weekend. Life is actually settling down the weekend before Christmas.
Another scary phrase ... and expensive in the case of home remodeling/repairs ... is "WHILE WE'RE AT IT"!!
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Sooo, how did the plunging experiment work out?
Of course plungers should be single-purpose! And I think all the recipients of these fine slippers will be glad to know you think so, too!
Other turning point phrases include:
I have a plan...
What could go wrong?
Hopefully your turning point is a good one.
Just think - you're preparing these slippers to go out into the world. Being beaten by a wet plunger will probably be the weirdest thing that will happen to them, so you're just preparing them for whatever comes!
I think a corner's been turned.
You know, when the kids are little and they want a dog (or cat or rabbit) and they say, "I'll take care of it and walk it, play with it, feed it. Really I will." We all know how that works out.
Now I notice it's the daughter saying to the mother, "Yeah, you say that now." Next, she'll be saying, "No, you have to eat all your carrots before you get dessert."
P.S. I'm having flashbacks to the time I found an article on how to make butter by shaking cream in a jar. I'm with you. How hard can it be?
So that's what a clean bathroom looks like...
Well your experiment ought to be interesting. Have fun and good luck!!!
I second (or third) the dryer idea. I've felted a lot of slippers in the dryer, with an old towel.
Cool idea and if it really works it could be the answer to many a knitter's problems with felting. I can't wait to hear about your adventures!
And this just in.. residents in Toronto reported seeing a short handled black plunger fly out of a second story window this afternoon. Witnesses noted that the plunger was accompanied by "strong" language and a few wet, misshapen objects that smelled of damp sheep. Full story at 11. Back to you in the studio, Ron.
Here's hoping for a quiet, news free afternoon culminating in 4 pair of sweetly felted slippers.
Of course this will work! I've done it lots of times to make boiled mittens. You can also felt by rubbing the item on a washboard or other corrugated surface. And if you get tired of plunging in a bucket, put on your rubber boots and place everything in the tub and walk around on it.
A nordic method is to just whack the wet fabric with a stick--such as for sturdy felt innersoles for boots.
The Mongols made felt for their yurts by spreading wet fleece on a piece of canvas, rolling it up around a log, and dragging the log around behind a horse. Compared to that felting with a plunger sounds downright moderne! Have fun--
Steph . . . You might try using a smaller container than the bathtub, e.g. a 5-gallon bucket, so that you can get more agitation (less water to move) with the same effort.
Every winter from 1990 until 1998 we went to Baja California, Mexico and other southern places for 2 to 4 months in the winter. We had a 20-foot 1970-something motor home. It had high clearance and took us to remote outposts. This was when Cabo San Lucas was a sleepy fishing village . . . Laundromats were few and far between. Wait, villages were few and far between. My back-up washing machine was my plunger and bucket. It was good enough to get clean underwear and shirts in the most isolated out back . . . provided we could find water. ;-)
"It'll be fine." - Famous last words.
Fare thee well?
I don't know how helpful you'll find this, but for dying and felting, my implement of choice is a potato masher.
You have to find one in stainless steel if you're going to use it for dying, and it has to be the kind of masher that has a connection to the handle on one side only. When you look at it from the side with the handle vertical, the connection to the handle will go toward either right or left and still down, and the masher part will be horizontal. This configuration lets you use it almost as a hook to reposition your felting/dying project for another swat.
It's hard to describe. You can see a photo of the type of masher I mean here: http://astore.amazon.com/losart-20/detail/B00004VWTU
A rubber or other cushioned handle with a lack of slipperiness is helpful, too.
Whatever happens, good luck with your felting project!
Addendum to the previous comment:
I really like this kind of potato masher for fiberarts, so I put it in my Amazon store. When I did that, I read the description, but since then, Amazon has revised the description, and missed the boat somewhere.
If you go to the link (http://astore.amazon.com/losart-20/detail/B00004VWTU), read the WHOLE description. it says that this kitchen tool has "COMPLETE Functionality - Bluetooth wireless capability with other Bluetooth devices, Alarm, Clock, Calendar & Programmable On/Off Timer (Bluetooth requires the optional PDG PANWF01 for the Bluetooth to be active)."
There's lots more, and it's funny!
Hmmm, It's been a really long time since she started....Steph have your arms fallen off from felting & you can't type or tell us how it's gone? The world (okay the knitting world anyway) waits with baited breath. I'm assuming it's fine since so many other folk posted that this works for them, but your descriptions are always so much fun.
A. In AA they say the most dangerous place in the world is between our two ears.
B. You can knit at the laundramat.
Waiting with bated breath, cause I have the same plan, but on a smaller scale. Smaller bucket, one pair of slippers, and a cane. So, let us know already!!!!!
i'm dying of suspense! how did it go?
Please tell me that plunger has never been used.
I would love to steal your bathtub. What a great tub to soak in.
The dangerous words at my house are "While we're at it, why don't we..."
um, its been more than 24 hours. should someone be breaking down the bathroom door to check on her?
I am waiting with baited breath..... :O)
And I want to thank you again for finding this lovely pattern for me and saving Christmas! I finished my first pair, and tonight I will get the second pair knitted for felting tomorrow!
The comment that sends my family screaming into the night is..."I have an idea".
Seriously though, I found the tub to be too much space and too much water. A large bucket worked much better!
Can't wait to see how it goes......
me again, with a technical question this time.
if you felt in the bathtub as opposed to a bucket, won't the hot water cool off in no time flat? i mean, more surface area = more cooling, no?
now i'm beginning to think that bathroom door really should be broken down to check on the general well-being of the occupant...
When the plunger turns out to be too much work (and I am imagining: messy), toss it aside. Just pick up each little slipper and beat the snot out of it by whacking it against the side of the tub. Works very well on several levels. Enjoy.
It will totally work! You can also felt by repeated throwing the wet knitted item with as much force as possible into the bathtub, or on whatever surface is handy. Concrete covered with a sheet works in the summer when I am happy to be splashed. I have also felted art pieces by arranging roving/locks on a piece of screening, then roll it up and roll it around on a counter top (wet and soapy also), alternating the direction of rolling frequently and occasionally picking up the whole roll and banging it on the edge of the counter (or porch step or whatever). All of the above makes a big mess - but it does felt so clearly the slippers + bathtub + plunger will = felted slippers... right?
Actually, why don't you do the "grape dance" instead - be more fun!!!
Check it out....
I'm interested in finding out what happened, and if it helps tighten my arms, it could be the new popular work out.
Also you might want to clearly mark the plunger... you know just in case.
I just want to say thank you very much for posting on your blog as often as you do. I am looking forward to see how your slippers came out with the plunger method!
When I started my own blog, I was going to force myself to post at least once a week. Three weeks later, I posted again and resolved to do the same. A few more weeks after that I resolved to do so once a month.
My mind is now made up (until the next time) to just work on it whenever I can, and do the best I can with it whenever I'm in there. It's nowhere near as gripping and polished as I want it to be, but it makes for a nice little record of where I've been (and haven't been) with my knitting, and my best intentions (mostly).
Well? How did they come out?
The suspense is killing me. I can't wait to find out how it all turns out....do tell!
So... it's been more than twenty minutes... wondering if it got weird?
Are ya sure yer husband didn't mix up the plungers?
Can't wait to hear the end of this tale.
Me, too...how did they come out. I also have a front loader and am not crazy about the occasional creases in felted goodies. Not to mention having to find smaller recipients.
I felt everything by hand in a dishpan with boiling water, using 2 wooden spoons. When the water cools enough to put my hands in, I add one more kettle full of boiling water, then when it again cools enough to put my hands in, I finish up, working any areas with my fingers that didn't felt evenly. It takes me about 1 hour to completely felt the project this way (as in no stitch definition at all). This is for smallish felted purses. I would think your slippers would go a little faster. Good luck!
I forgot to add... I put a teeney bit of woolite or dishsoap in the water when I'm felting, then just rinse thoroughly under cold running tap water when it's done.
So according to this knitty article ( http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall07/FEATfeltingoldway.html ) you can totally do your plan. Way to go the extra crunchy mama mile. Can't wait to hear how it goes!!
Did you notice all the comments about using a bucket........good idea. When you use the tub and the plunger, you generate a fair bit of turbulence and suction and even if you promise you won't get too close to the drain....well, you may end up with stuff you would rather not have anywhere next to your once clean knits. Don't ask, it's too painful to talk about.
Here in the UK we don't have top loaders, so I have been keeping my eyes peeled for tips on felting - thank you!
This sounds like a video worthy experiment - lol. How many slippers would you need to knit to make it a worthwhile expenditure to just buy yourself a top loader? lol
What an adventure to have in your very own bathtub. Good luck and thank goodness you will post whichever way it turns out... curious minds want to know if it works.
Many years ago, my mom felted her wool items by wrapping them with netting, (you could use the netting for wedding veils, tulle), and then rubbing them up and down on a washing board, having wet them with soapy water. I don't think it even took that long. She had a spinning wheel, and spun her own wool, I don't know if that made a difference... but I would guess not.
But I have also heard of people doing hand felting of small items in this manner:
bamboo mat (placemat if the item is small enough)
item to be felted, soaked with soapy water,
roll up the mat, tie it closed on both ends,
and then roll back and forth, sort of like kneading bread.
You could place a thick towel on the table to roll the bamboo on so it would soak up any excess water, and make clean up easy.
I haven't tried it myself.... but I think it's worth a try! No investment there, except for the bamboo placemat!
Emi @ www.Hectanooga.etsy.com
Think of all the calories you'll burn... and then, all the Christmas cookies you have to eat to keep your energy up! Whoo hoo, have fun!!
It's been two days, folks... anyone see the Harlot? Anyone??
Couldn't you do it like grapes and wine...in bare feet? And make it good for your feet with a nice moisturizing soap???? Get felting and a mini-pedicure!!! Merry Christmas, Steph!
When all else fails, I throw a handful of baking soda into the water. Didn't do well in chemistry in high school, and I don't remember where I read the tip, so I have no idea why it works. But it works.
Is anyone else worried that we all seem to think this is an interesting plan?
Waiting patiently to see results. Was she successful? Did she indeed beat the slippers into submission?
Waiting impatiently to see results. I'm thinking of dishpan and dive boots in bathtub and stomping the slippers. I don't have a designated plunger-----yet.
1 word. Laundrymat. But hope the bathtub works :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoW8XYI9rIQ seems to work for these guys too
I'm pretty sure you are sitting back, laughing at us all as we sit here anxiously awaiting the update! Merry Christmas, Harlot, may the knitting gods smile on you this season!
I know nothing about felting and, therefore, can offer no help. I just wanted to say that I love your bathtub.
All I can say is, do you want to FELT your plumbing????
Listen to the lady who TURNS OFF her front loader to check on the felting.
I have used a similar set-up - with plunger, and a simple sink plunger is superior to a "closet" plunger - for washing hand-wash items, like sweaters. BUT with some modifications.
Get a LONG handle, like a mop handle. bring the plunger with you to make sure it threads together properly. If you consider it, yours is the equivalent of a short-handled hoe, which used to be used in the fields. Can you say "BAD BACK"?
Sometimes I use a 5 gallon bucket, but since I still have a top-loader, I use the machine as a soaking tub.
* Put items in machine
* Add water of proper temperature for items, only as much as is needed. You don't have to let it fill.
* Add soap appropriate to items.
* Add items to be washed.
* Plunge gently a few times.
* Let soak - up to all day.
* Turn machine on to SPIN.
* Repeat without soap once or twice.
* Lay items out as desired to dry.
Much less strain on body and hands. Some of us, who have had more birthdays than others, want to go easy on our hands.
This works for anything I have needed to wash, including silk, etc. The rubber plunger is smooth enough for silk.
LABEL THE PLUNGER WELL, THEN HIDE IT!
I tried the plunger method, and if you're looking for a great arm workout... here's an idea: you can make a video of yourself plunger-felting, then sell it as 'jiggle-free arms by summer' or something.
It was too much work for me, so I'll try boiling the Fuzzy Feet I knit... oh, almost a year ago. Maybe that'll be easier on my hands, which I need for typing and knitting.
I felt in my front loader too...use express wash, hot water and several towels, can stop it and check things as often as i like. I do think you have to rearrange the pieces so that they felt more evenly. I have felted 7 snowmen in the past couple days this way!
Good luck! Can't wait to see how it turns out.
1) How many beers did you drink afterwards?
2) Do you do these things just to amuse us?
We are amused.
Thanks for the tumble dryer trick!!!
And I can vouch for how well it works, I've been felting all morning!!!
You're killing me here!! How did it turn out?? How long did it take?? Are they adorable?? Did the knitting fates smack you down or kiss you on the forehead? Are you really going to not post on the weekend and make me suffer for two more days not knowing how this ends?? Aaaagggghhhh! Must..know...how it...eeennndddds......
I suspect she is flirting with the feeling of the power of the knitting gods, watching all of us sweat it out waiting to see the outcome. She knows we are dying to know. This may be the closest any knitter has come to the sensation of watching lowly knitters do their gauge swatch and having ultimate power over knowing the outcome. Just like my alpaca swatch behaved perfectly and it wasn't until the thigh length jacket turned into a floor length dressing gown when I put it on - the knitting gods knew ages before letting me know.
How does it feel to be a goddess? And more importantly, are you a goddess with good slippers?
Way to leave us hanging here, Steph! How'd it go??
Ok, It's Saturday night in California and I am dying to know how the 20 minutes went.
Also, that tub look really comfortable.
ps: your bathtub looks really inviting.... and SO clean and shiny! :)
Last Christmas I made my sister in law felted clogs, except as I have no washing machine and the laundromat frowns upon using their machines for felting, I had to do it by hand. In a bucket in my bathtub with a potato masher, because the only plunger we have is the one that has been in intimate contact with the toilet. I threw some hand towels in the bucket with the clog (I could only do one at a time, it was small) for agitation purposes. After an hour of alternating the potato masher with my hands and doing my best impression of Lucille Ball stomping the grapes (I could fit one foot in the bucket, and I was getting tired of hunching over it), I had some roughly size 8 clogs. And at that point, in more pain than someone under the age of 80 should be in, I decided "close enough" counted in horseshoes, hand grenades, and hand felting.
I hope your attempt went much, much better than mine.
You have to watch out for new top-loaders too. I proudly brought unfelted clogs to my mom so that we could make sure they fit her perfectly when they were done. Turned out that her new washer had sensors to judge how much agitation was needed based on how dirty the garment was. There was no override or manual setting. Plus the door locked for the whole cycle and the only way to start the agitation over was to cancel the whole thing, let it drain, and begin again. It took 2 hours, some elbow grease (I agitated manually between cycles), and a lot of wasted water to finish that project.
You're FELTING? How long has this been going on? I tell ya, that's what I get for taking a long hiatus. What happened to "there's no way I'm going to take the time to knit something just to ruin it in the wash"?
I have to admit, those are some pretty darn cute slippers. Ok. I get it.
Oh my, I have a bad feeling....
Hot water is good, however you can wash wool in water so hot you cannot touch it. Two things felt wool, temperature change or agitation.
Just saw a cryptic tweet about a "felting related injury". Yikes! Good luck dear Harlot! Perhaps dictation is in order? Your fans are having a collective melt down.
Just saw a cryptic tweet about a "felting related injury". Yikes! Good luck dear Harlot! Perhaps dictation is in order? Your fans are having a collective melt down.
Though it will be lost in a sea of comments, I just thought it a good idea to let anyone who happens to notice know this:
TENNIS BALLS ARE NOT COLORFAST!!!!!
If you're working with the perfect shade of baby pink or ice blue and planning to use the tennis ball method, you could be in for some heartbreak.
I never would have realized, but I was gifted with a large quantity of tennis balls for my dog, and I decided to snag a few of them for felting. Since they were lightly used balls, I wanted them clean for felting. Stuck 'em in the sink with hot water and came back to lime green water :X
I can't take it anymore!!!! I keep checking back but no new post yet!! The suspense is killing me! I need to know if it worked!! More exclamation points!!!!!!
I do it all the time. Good luck! It's best if they're crowded in, rubbing against each other - try to put them in a big bucket rather just in the bathtub.
Did I miss something? Why don't you use your front loader? I've done all of my felting in one. Whenever I want to check on the item being felted, I just have to turn the washer off and wait 5-7 seconds before the door will "unlock" itself and let me open it. Otherwise it works pretty much like a top loader, in terms of felting. (The doors in modern front loaders are up higher in the drums, so the water level is below the door.)
O.K. Now I am 'hooked' on knitting... pardon the pun, (I am into crochet and pattern designing more than knitting)....and am falling in awe with the fabulous and wonderful harlot... but now the ongoing saga about felting slippers has me coming back for updates on how the felting enterprise is working!!!
I have never done felting.... but I consider myself a problem solver... (as does my circle of humans)... so I was thinking..... I wonder how a gallon ice cream container (or any type of container with a tight lid), some soapy water, a bunch of marbles, and some salsa music would work?? Has anyone tried anything like that? I am thinking it would work for small items such as slippers.
Emi from www.Hectanooga.etsy.com
Is no news good news in this case??? Looking forward to the outcome!
it's been 4 days... you still plunging the wool?!
curious how it worked out! :D
So...how did the plunger felting work-out go? Sounds like a great way to get two things done at one time.
My arms are tired and sore from stirring cookie batter. I'm ready to go to sittin' and knittin'.
dying to know how the experiment with the plunger worked out....
Ohhhh lovey!!!! Another entertaining up-date... I thought I was going to read that the information was a bit linty, (where it was a bit fuzzy!, lol).
I sent up a prayer to the creator.... for a special person, Stephi Yarn Harlot... (the creator actually knew who that was.. and finds her quite entertaining as well!),.. and for the family who is lucky enough to call her theirs!!
A prayer to guide her in her very risky felting
endeavors, done for her own pleasure, as well as our own, and for her continued safety in risking her shoulderblades, and other important body parts.. just to enrich our lives with the experience (even though vicariously) of felting, any way, any how!! Fronteirs no man has ever entered before.. but are being forged through courageously by the daring and pioneering Yarn Harlot!!! Way to go Harlot!!
Emi from Hectanooga (pattern designer)
those 5 words are almost as scary as "I was thinking..."
Wishing you and your family many bright blessings in the new year. Thank you for all of the inspiration you've given us!
I ordered your slipper pattern and am most anxious to get started. Thank you for sharing how to make these! I have knitting experience, but do have a question. Perhaps you can help clarify so I can get started.
I'm looking at the pattern, which seems rather straight forward. And yet . . . I don't know what m1 means. The key says, "make 1." But I don't know what that means. Must not be either knit or purl, because that would be typed. But I have no idea. Can you help?
Actually almost done with a bobble hat and will need to have something new to work on soon!
Thanks for your help!
Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org