Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gefilte turtle

Gefilte fish > gefilte turtle > geh-fel-tah turtle > Go felt a turtle.

OK - so it's a dumb play on words. I enjoy playing with words. In that dumb way.

Another thing I have a good time with is felting.
If we're looking to use the correct term to describe the phenomenon of shrinking-animal-fiber-in-hot-water-and-with-agitation, let's say: fulling.

Fulling is the technique of taking a large piece of knitted fabric and manipulating the fiber in such a way that it condenses, tightens and SHRINKS. Think of what happens to your favourite expensive cashmere sweater after being inadvertently washed in hot water in the washing machine, and you'll understand fulling. A larger piece of knitted fabric gets made smaller. Sometimes much smaller.

Typically accomplished in a washer, fulling can also be done, manually, in the kitchen sink - so long as it is filled with the hottest water and you're willing to plunge your hands into it and agitate the fabric into shrinky submission (wearing dishwashing gloves helps to cut down on the burned hands factor). You can even 'full' in a rubber dishpan.

Felting with barbed needles is something else altogether.
The video is a bit long, but it does show that a cute 3-D object can be needle felted in just under 11 minutes. Pretty cooooool, but take care not to pokey da fingahs.

This weekend I finally finished a U.F.O. (UnFinishedObject) - a tote bag - which I began some months ago:

Here is the knitted tote before fulling.
The shoe is photographed alongside
to indicate the rather large size of the pre-fulled knitted bag.

With this project, I fulled and even managed to add a bit of needle felting.
Here is the finished tote:

The bag did shrink, yet it's still an ample sized tote.
The loosely knitted fabric is now wool felt - dense and thick. The green rectangle in first photo above was first fulled and then cut into pieces to become the turtle. A bit of needle felting technique was employed to attach legs and tail to the body and to add brighter green roving for the eyes.

Here's a closer look at the little guy, who sports embroidered french knot pupils.

Sorry the photos aren't clearer...
this is the best I could do whilst in something of a hurry to publish this post.
Translation: Haste Due to Haven't Posted in Quite a While Guilt.

Hmmmmmm. Gefilte = deboned fish, ground into a paste.
If you think about it (OK, this is a stretch...) 'to gefilte' isn't really so dissimilar 'to full' or 'to felt'. Deboned and paste-like maneuverable. Hmmmmmmm.

P.S. Turtles are considered lucky symbols.
Luck would have it that I actually completed another knitted project - rather than leave it around for years, hidden in the back of the closet, tossed in a plain brown paper bag.


mom said...

I am most impressed by bag AND turtle...very cute turtle!!

And the shoe isn't too shabby, too.

Conn said...

STOP IT! I still to this day don't get it... and i have done it many times.
The finished project looks great!

baffle said...

Conn and justducky - so sorry! Your lovely comments came into my e-mail for acceptance - I read them, then deleted them before posting to blog!

Crap. I really appreciate what you'd written. Dang.

The reason I opted for reviewing comments before accepting to this blog, is because some friggin' junk mailer got hold of my comment section and posted 350 unwanted 'comments'in about 175 of my past blog post - each 'comment' was the same - and lengthy with names to link to. I spent hours deleting each and every one of them.

Now I'm 'screening' comments - and will get the hang of it soon - I promise.

Derek said...

hurray mom! it turned out great!

Derek said...

oops- just realized i'm signed in as derek- this is lauren! anyway, love the bag!

Karen said...


Love the purse--I'm a novice knitter but determined to be pretty good by the time I have grandkids. I don't know who's feeling more pressure to perform--me or my son and daughter-in-law.

I haven't felted yet but this is a great 1st project. And I love the turtle. It's my power animal, symbol of abundance.

Where can I get the pattern--if it's not a blogger's secret?

baffle said...

derek who is actually lauren: thank you! sometime soon you will be able to pet 'da toytull'.

karen: I would really love to share the pattern with you, but it is one designed by my knitting teacher - and not available for worldwide distribution just yet. I can tell you, though - that the technique used is 'modular knitting' - there are books....and felting is easy stuff. Moreover, felting/fulling covers up any little mistakes in your knitting. It 'all comes out in the wash', y'see. If you haven't already, find yourself a convivial knitting group to join and spend time knitting with. Knitters are among the friendliest, most helpful, and generous of crafters. Welcome to the knit fold!

baffle said...

postscript on the design of the tote bag - the bag can be knit in two or three 'tiers' - mine is 3 tiers high.
Rather than simply sewing the handles on, I attached them with those coooool buttons - which also serve as a decorative element. I then designed and added the Lucky Turtle. Too much Felt n' Full FUN!