Thursday, 18 September 2014

Felting Experiment

"There's no such thing as a failed experiment" is my adage - moreso, I find, in middle age. Often, a new way of doing something, even if not necessarily approached voluntarily, can lead to interesting discoveries and profound improvements. Or, if not, at least one knows more now than one did.

Along those lines are these blankets. I wove them in advancing twill and made the second one part of my Autumn Storm series. It is another blanket that tells a story: one end is predominantly heathery orange and rich greens, then the grey clouds move in, then the other end is mostly greens of the conifers with the coloured leaves gone.

Here's one of the advancing twill blankets in detail. All photos in this blog are by Pat Teti who used a temporary line of coloured thread to return to the same spot for comparison.

SH082 before washing

SH082 after handwashing - completed

The beautiful advancing twill weave structure creates a lovely movement to the eye, but the second blanket had long floats of individual threads throughout.

SH084 before washing

As a blanket, I was afraid that the floats would catch and pull which would soon make it a mess. I wasn't sure what to do about this. So I tossed it into the washing machine on a regular cycle with the laundry. I knew this would felt the blanket considerably and lock in the floats.

The blanket was waiting for me at the machine door when I opened it. Wow!

SH084 washed (felted)

It has indeed felted and shrunk to a width of 107 cm and length of 132 cm. It's rather gorgeous, I think, and the felting has softened the colours and colour shifts. All that take-in has made it pretty thick and heavy. It's still a very nice size as a blanket, but just not the type to wrap around the user as much as all my other blankets do.

I certainly won't be felting all my blankets, but this one is rather special. I consider it another successful experiment.

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