Thursday, 6 December 2012

Bingo wings buster...

 I won't lie, there are times when I sit in my running gear, hook in hand and end up crocheting for an hour instead of going out exercising. Not particularly helpful for burning off mince pies... Now I am pleased to tell you that I have found a way of combining crochet with exercise!! Hand-felting crochet will have you breaking into a sweat and tone up your arms in the process.


Before felting...

I have recently felted the Herdy Wool granny squares I have been making. Herdy Wool is chunky and a 6.5mm hook is recommended. I used a 5.5mm hook as I wanted a firm felt without many gaps. It felts wonderfully.


Hand felting is a simple process and I chose hand felting as opposed to machine felting as I wanted control of the finish. I used Ecover washing up liquid as this is what I had to hand, and you need a supply of water as hot as your hands can tolerate.

I filled a washing up bowl with hot water and worked the washing up liquid into the crochet until it was in a lather. Now this is where the exercise comes in... once the lathered up crochet is in the hot water, vigorously rub the crochet between your hands. You can also make use of the bottom of the washing up bowl and rub the crochet on the bottom of the bowl as well. Keep topping up the hot water and soap. Every now and then I put the crochet under running cold water to shock the fibres and then re-lathered and placed back in the hot water.


 
It is now time to have a breather and a cup of tea.... and maybe a chocolate biscuit to help keep up your energy...
 
The more times you repeat the cold water/hot water process, the thicker the felt will be. Make sure to vigorously rub the joins of the granny squares to felt them together, as this will make your felt sturdy. It is a slow process and an energetic one, but it will allow you to keep some stitch definition, which is the look I was going for.
 
Once you are happy with the results, rinse the crochet well. Any soap residue left in the wool will weaken the fibres over time, so make sure you squeeze and rinse thoroughly. Roll the crochet in a towel to squeeze out excess water. I pulled the crochet back into a square shape whilst it was damp with my hands, and left it to dry lying on a towel. You could re-shape using pins and then leave to dry on a towel.
 



I made the felted crochet into a cushion cover and left the back un-felted, to contrast with the front. For the first time, I put a zip fastening in. This felted cushion is so soft and cosy and I love the colours... It was a lot of work to produce, but there is no doubt that this cushion cover will stand the test of time.

 
See the Avoca throw... lets just say there was a chilli spill near white sofa incident... hubby now sits on the throw and we only eat at the dining table!


So  here is my first piece of felted crochet... Herdy Wool would be fantastic for making a felted rug as it produces a lovely thick, warm felt and it is something I would love to make in the future for our bedroom. This cushion cover used £40 worth of yarn; it has made a such a beautiful homemade cushion and once I have recovered from the hand-felting process, I would like to make another!

Can I just also say "thank you" to Gwendolyn who left a super lovely comment on my blog, but is a no reply commenter. Gwendolyn, you brightened up my day x


 

20 comments:

Sharron said...

The finished cushion is really wonderful! A lot of hard work, but creates a super effect. I would never have thought you could do that. Such an interesting process, thanks for sharing.

p.s. added bonus that it could banish the 'bingo wings' if you do enough of it?!! :) x

Irene said...

Oh WOW such a beautiful cushion, it's elegant and gorgeous. I love the colours and throw.
luv
irene
xxxx

Ellie Foster said...

As a felt maker, I know exactly what you are talking about. It is a lot of hard work (something people don't realise when they pick up something made of hand felted wool that you have sweated over and then choose to buy something mass produced and probably imported for the same money - sorry, a litle bitterness is creeping in there!)
Your cushion is beautiful and the wool has felted really well too. I like the way different wools felt - I work with one that takes about three quarters of an hour of pummelling to get it to felt! (I'm still working on the bingo wings!)
Best wishes
Ellie

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

I never even knew you could do this! Obviously I've shrunk woollies before, by accident, saying I was felting it up didn't wash (apologise for bad joke) with Mr Bea as I had only just brought it from Laura Ashley! This looks stunning, much better than my black lambs wool cardigan, which did look lovely the couple of times I wore it!! :)

serendipity said...

It looks lovely, the colours match the throw beautifully. You're brave having a white sofa, wouldn't last 5 minutes in our house! xx

Mereknits said...

I have the same confession, but I am usually reading blogs instead of exercising. Love you beautiful, fun, bright felted pillow,
Hugs,
Meredith

MeMeRose said...

Whoa! 45 mins of pummelling is an awful lot of work. But once the fabric has felted it is so strong and durable that it is worth it. I will have that cushion cover when I am an OAP! Thank you for your kind words... I shall pop over and have a look at your endeavours now x

MeMeRose said...

Oh I've been there with the involuntary felting... have a good weekend x

Jo said...

What a wonderful way to exercise!
The effects of the felting are lovely
Jo :)

daiseyjayne.com said...

that pillow is beautiful, love the colors and thank you for the great tutorial :)

daiseyjayne.com said...

Wait, I just read the title over, Bingo Wings! That's hilarious!!!

creatingincanyon said...

Your pillow looks amazing. Isn't the the most wonderful feeling when you picture something in your mind and when you go to make it everything just work. You should be giving yourself a big pat on the back. If your arms aren't too sore from all that felting to reach your back that is :)

Wendy said...

absolutely gorgeous! I love the colours. Did the colours change at all with the felting process, or does it not affect that? I've felted using tops, but never crocheted then felted.

I'm still making my giant granny blanket, that's wool and I toyed with the idea of felting it but can't decide... mind you, it's not pressing as I've got a long way to go to finish it!

MeMeRose said...

Hi Wendy, thanks for your comment. I think the colours did become more muted with the felting process. I wouldn't have the nerve to felt a blanket, but if you hand-felted then you don't have to go to extremes. Look forward to seeing what you do x

Pati from London said...

The cushion looks lovely and very cozy, doesn't it? Perfect to hold onto in the winter nights ahead. Enjoy the weekend! Pati xx

Shawna said...

Such beautiful work that brings lightness and cheer to any space. Congratulations on a beautiful piece of work. The colors work so well together. I love it!

Angela said...

Your cushion is stunning. The colours of the Herdy wool are so lovely and vibrant

Liz said...

I absolutely love the colours you have used in your cushion and thanks for telling us how to go about felting. The effect is lovely - felting is something I've not tried before.
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

vintage grey said...

Such a beautiful cushion!! Love how it came out!! xo Heather

Samantha Roberts said...

Hello, after reading about your felted cushion I though of you when I discovered this new website and this yarn: http://performance-yarnshop.com/product/felting-mania I have neither tried yarn or bought anything from website but will do. Hope you don't mind me messaging you like this, Sam www.betsymakes.blogspot.co.uk xxx