Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Felt.... It Isn't Meant for Elmer's Glue.....

When I think about felt, I always get transported back in time to the 2nd grade when we made Santa Cookie Tins for our parents at Christmas time. We each brought a coffee can from home and with the instruction of the teacher, we took our Elmer's Glue and covered the can with red, white and black felt to make them look like a Santa suit. Then we made a Santa cap to go over the lid. In our house this can sat on top of the TV every holiday season throughout my high school years. It never held cookies, but rather homemade fudge. Oh, nice story, right? No, not nice, it was an experience that imprinted on my brain the certainty that felt was bad, very, very bad. Felt and glue, not a combo that should be attempted by the faint of heart. I learned from that project, that felt and glue do not (that's DO NOT) play well together. I was peeling felt and glue off my fingers for days. Children were crying because their Santa cans looked liked blobs of felt and glue. Now granted we were second graders and our skills were less than stellar, but these cans were just bad. I blame the teacher (who had been teaching since the dawn of time) because she should have known better. I really think she liked seeing children struggle. I base this on the craft incident and other examples (ask me later.)

Now, if you are from the Chicago area and grew-up in the 60's you may remember a morning children's show called "Ray Raynor and Friends." Ray showed cartoons, gave the weather report, the local sports scores, feed his duck "Chelviston?" corn flakes and made a craft projects. Now Ray should have learned right at the beginning that felt and glue were not good friends. Every single time that he brought out the felt, I would shriek in terror, "No, Ray not the felt." I knew exactly what the next few spine chilling minutes would hold. It was like watching the proverbial train wreck. After so long, I just started to turn away. I couldn't take it anymore. It was crushing thing to watch. Ray would try and try and try and no go. Once again, I was certain that felt was bad, very, very, bad!!!

It is these two specific incidents that have made me shy away from the act of felting any of my lovely knitted projects. I mean why would I turn all of my hard work into a pile matted ugly fibers. It just seems to go against the natural rhythm of things. I have gone into LYS after LYS and have been asked if I would like to attend a felting class. Pretty as you please as if it weren't a conspiracy to get their hands on my precious knitwear. I know what they wanted and I wasn't buying. The next thing you know they'll be telling me to get out my Elmer's glue and I can turn the felted project into something even more beautiful. Ha!!! HaHa!!! Yes, I have issues, there's no shame in my game when it comes to admitting that. Anyway, I would nicely decline and then run from the store.

Now, about two weeks ago I'm minding my own business and searching around for free knitting patterns for house socks/slippers. What do I come across? Felted clogs/slippers. At first I recoil just slightly and then I notice that these clogs are cute!!! Felt, eh? Interesting! I go on and read up on this felted clog and no where in the instructions does it mention Elmer's glue. This is looking up. I'm not ready to commit yet, so I go on a little Google search and I find page after page with information and patterns for felted items made from good old knitted wool. I'm not recoiling anymore, it got me! I seem to remember a pair of slippers that I knit a few months ago that were made of Fisherman's wool. Lovely chocolate brown with cream, but truth be told I wasn't wild about the slippers. They were just there. So, I decide to go home get said slippers and try my hand at felting (I think I'm possessed at this point.) I was literally unable to stop myself from throwing 100% wool into my washer with hot water. I wait the twenty minutes of the wash cycle and there they were, felted slippers! I was able to form them into sweet little boots and then I got hit with another idea. Take out that cross stitch floss that's been sitting around and put some little star/flowers on the cuff. "Oh, aren't they sweet." All of the sudden I realized that I had felted. The world didn't come to an end, ghosts of second graders didn't come flying into the laundry room. Everything was just fine. No one got hurt, no glue was used, and I was hooked.

So, why is it that we dig in our heels? I don't have the answer to that one, but I do know that felt is a lovely thing as long as it stays away from Elmer's glue.

Peace and joy to you all......
The Green Girl

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