I have been experimenting with felted wool. I love the look and feel of the natural wool fibers, there are so many things you can do with them. I found these bowls on Pintrest and immediately fell in love with them.
My idea was to make bowls with the natural look of un-dyed yarn and add a bit of fall flair to the outside with some Halloween type decorations. Since these bowls were first knitted on the round and then felted, I thought I could easily duplicate their process.
I have these great looms which are very easy to use. I purchased some 100% wool yarn especially for felting, and I was off and knitting.
I used 3 different sized looms to knit the bowls, so they would nest like the ones in the original photo. The knitting was very easy and only took a couple of hours while I was watching television. The shape of the bowls is defined by a balloon or a ball which is used during the felting process. The wool is held onto the balloon with a spare pair of panty hose. This was not very pretty, so you will have to use your imagination on this one.
The bowl on the left has not been felted. The bowls on the right have been felted. They shrunk some, but not quite enough to look like the ones in the original photo. Not at all. More like Granny’s crocheted underwear.
To felt the wool, the would-be bowl is dipped in boiling hot water with a table spoon of dish soap which acts like a surfactant on the fibers so they will grab and hold together. I tried numberous times to find the magic amount of soap. I ended up with a soapy mess every time.
I followed directions from several different internet videos on you tube for this process. Dip it in hot water, then cold, repeat 3 times.
In between dippings the bowl is to be smashed and kneaded. I worked and worked it. I smashed the begeezes out of it. It still didn’t look any different to me. I repeated the process several times with each bowl thinking I was doing something wrong. The results were still the same. The wool shrank, but not the 50% shrinkage promised in the original post. Perhaps I got the only skein of wool in America with anti-felting properties. I even got fed up and threw it in the washer and then the dryer (which they said never to do because it would be felted to much) and it still looked the same.
Then you are supposed to shape your bowl and allow it to dry over night. I couldn’t leave it with out it drying over another container, it would collapse. It has no shape holding properties at all. I also tried spraying it with starch as was suggested in a book I read. It didn’t help.
Then we added the black wool decorations on the outside. That’s when things really went south. James did better than I, and patiently made his ghostly face on the outside of his bowl with the felting tool. I stabbed the heck out of mine, had bloody fingers, and still my jack-o-lantern looks like Hercule Poirot on Botox. I didn’t even bother with my third bowl, it is not worth the effort to me. They are not pretty. Not cute. Not even a little bit seasonal. After I read the original post from Pintrest again, I am not the only one who had difficulties making these bowls. I am somewhat relieved. Somewhat.
Once again, I apologize for this post.
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