This year, our merry (see what I did there?) group of crafters/blog writers decided to do a card swap among us. It didn’t really have to be Christmassy, it just needed to somewhat resemble a card.
The idea is to overthrow the ephemeral notion of a Seasons Greetings card on its head and make something with your own hands that a fellow crafter will appreciate and want to keep.
I was partnered with Hélène, felter extraordinaire, so I was naturally stressed out. I knew my card wouldn’t begin to compare with anything she created, but I put those pesky defeating voices aside and got to work.
It took me a few days to come up with a jolly (ha, again!, I crack myself up) theme for the time of year, and decided to join two strengths of mine: pattern search and knitting. Off to Ravelry I went browsing, and settled on Stay Cool by Drops Yarn.
Stay Cool is meant to be a pot holder but I adapted it to be slightly longer on two sides and kept the back plain so I could attach it to cardboard. In hindsight, I could have knitted both sides in pattern, but at this point I was still a little fuzzy on my end goal. (Sorry, Hélène!)
I used my own hand spun yarn because I wanted the “card” to be as handmade and personal as I could possibly make it. If you want to get geeky with me with specs, I used white Shetland spun woollen from pencil roving for one yarn, and an Alpaca/Polwarth blend spun worsted for the brown.
Not unsurprisingly, the back came out “longer” than the front, despite having the same number of stitches. I should’ve predicted this because fair isle knitting constricts patterns a bit, but alas, I didn’t remember.
Now came the daunting part for me: wet felting. I wanted the end result to be a fuzzy and smaller version of the knit, so off I went to the kitchen sink armed with bubble wrap, soap and very hot water.
If you think this felted right away, you’d be wrong. Nothing happened for the longest time! In fact, I nearly despaired because my idea was to fuse the back to the front, and that never happened. Apparently, knitted jumpers accidentally machine washed only become tiny versions of themselves if you never intended for them to shrink – Sod’s law!
After what seemed like four years of wet felting, here’s what my snowflake looked like:
Hopefully it still looks like a snowflake to the untrained eye. I punched holes onto the thickest paper I could find and attached the wool to it with string, because I want Hélène to be able to take it out and use it as a coaster (or something else functional of her choice). This way she can always have a laugh every time she reaches for a hot drink and sees my meagre wet felting technique.
The ink I chose has gold shimmer in it, which I found quite Christmassy. I hope Hélène can forgive the “Xmas” instead of the word proper – I ran out of space.
(Aaand, a little confession: I cheated and sent my card swap partner something extra… ‘Tis the season, after all!)
That’s it from me. I have a newfound respect for anyone who takes the never-ending task of wet felting. What advice would you give me for future soapy endeavours?