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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reverse Psychology

This is the front of the bag in which I've been keeping the Cockatoo Quilt: I made it the day I washed my first fleece. It's a crazy bag and I made it by crazy process of reverse psychology . . .

I'd been warned to prevent felting when I washed my fleece. I'd read that temperature changes and agitation were the main things to avoid. So I was very, very careful. I used lukewarm water to soak the fleece overnight; I handled it gently, and all the time I was anxiously looking out for any signs of felting--not that I really knew what to look out for. By the next afternoon I had a clean, unfelted fleece and a body full of anxious energy.

With the washing safely out of the way, I decided to give vent to some of my pent up energy. I took a few handfuls of fleece and determined to find out what I would need to do to make it felt. I let myself loose on that fleece for an hour or so.
  • I lathered it with soap,
  • I poured boiling water on it,
  • I rubbed it and scrubbed it

. . . I treated it as badly as I knew how . . . and still it hardly felted. But I did feel better. Then I spread the wool roughly over a rectangle of gold coloured fabric, I added scraps of silk and stitched it all down with variegated cotton thread. Another piece of fabric and a ribbon handle and there was my crazy bag. I'm more confident handling fleeces now, but the crazy bag is still lots of fun.