Yes, it's true. I, Janna Vallee, am a compulsive felter.
When I was finally finished my Debbie Bliss vest, I tried it on and it wasn't quite right: too big, the v-neck was much too long....I'm assuming I should have checked the gauge before I started (you know, like they recommend). But, Like the stubborn knitter I am, I neglected to follow the rules of the pattern. THEN, I had this fabulous Idea that I would just simply felt it to fit me. Yes, just like they said in felting class.....'You can always fix felted things, shape them into desired shapes.' So, off I went to felt.
Actually it went more like this:
I had worked all day then spent about 2 1/2 hours finishing my vest, and I needed a major break. So, off to the bath I went for my evening soak before bed. In the corner of my eye was the over-sized vest, taunting me....'felt me, felt me'. So I drained the bath a bunch, added some fine fabric soap and had a bath with my sweater. Before I knew it, it was stretching out to be about twice the size. It seemed the wool was felting but the holes between each stitch were getting bigger. I panicked and pulled it out. As it lay to on a towel to dry I felt sad that it wasn't my nice fluffy sweater anymore. So, I thought I'd give felting another try (don't ask). I stuck it in the washer (that always worked well for me with thrift store sweaters that I wanted to felt). But as it swished around I remembered the many hours I had spent knitting it. This wasn't just another thrift store sweater! So, I pulled the sweater out and stuck it in the kitchen sink.......and continued to hand felt it in hot water and soap (I was a mad woman on a mission). The more I felted the shorter it got. It wasn't shrinking width wise! Why God, Why?
So I gave up. I am officially grieving the loss of by vest sweater. The saddest part is that I could have gotten away with wearing it. It wasn't awful by any means.
I am a compulsive felter and I need not felt.
Too bad my felting project is due next week.
Janna Maria Vallee is a tapestry weaver, longtime knitter, and 2013 graduate of Concordia University's Fibres and Material Practices program. In her art practice Janna combines textiles and socially engaged media. She founded VY in 2008.