Last Friday night the Alliance Français held a 'Passion night' for students to practice their French with a presentation or performance of some sort.
Only two others from my class participated, and I was reluctant but at the urging of our teacher, I found myself agreeing to 'have a go' at writing a little something that I could read out. I ended up writing a short piece about knitting and felting. (If you really want to read a beginner's short, stilted French composition, you can see it here.) I only wrote it on the Wednesday and sent it to my teacher with apologies and, you know, 'no worries at all if he didn't have time to look at it'. He offered to work on it with me before the event started, but I wasn't able to get away from work early enough, and turned up only just before the start on Friday night.
I was happy enough to think that I might just hang out in the audience with a glass of wine. But my teacher asked to see my text and started to make the corrections straight away. He had trouble with some of the things I was trying to say, and I had to sacrifice my favourite sentence, about 'mistreating' the wool. I don't know if I was using the verb correctly but maybe because he wasn't familiar with knitting, let along felting, I didn't seem to have gotten the concept across to his satisfaction. I wonder what he thought I meant?
The actual performance went well. It felt like most of the audience got what I was talking about (and this is not a given, when most of them were beginner students too). I was happy that I avoided using the microphone and was able to project my voice enough for the size of the room. I think my piece was the shortest one of the night - and some of them were several pages long! They must have taken a long time to write. I was surprised at the level of participation, and the range of 'passions' people both talked about, and demonstrated. There was the lady who tap-danced, a man who juggled and rode a unicycle, a singer, and several powerpoint presentations, including a very funny re-imagining of the gingerbread man story as a little man of cheese (l'homme de fromage). The highlight was the Mexican girl who spoke about her home - in French of course - and finished up by making a pitcher of margaritas. Yum.
Since my language was so limited, I thought I had better have examples to show, in the hope that some of the audience might get what I was talking about. So I had made and brought along this pair of pots, knit exactly the same, but only one of them felted.
It had occurred to me that a pair like this might be a good item to enter for the Knit1Blog1 exhibition. Since I often like to put a pre-felting photo on my blog, this would be a way to show the same sort of contrast, as part of the exhibition.
Unfortunately I wasn't completely happy with the finished shape; and I was uncomfortable with the pink and dark purple sections at the top and bottom too. I think I threw it the colours together in too much of a hurry. I really do like pink. And that dark purple is my go-to old favourite for felting. I actually don't mind it in the unfelted version, but the way the pink and purple merged when it was felted.....was it too girly? whatever it was, it was not 'me' enough to go in the exhibition.
So last weekend I had another go, using the same purple Cosy Wool and the same multicoloured Lincraft Big Wool, but pairing it with a lovely green from the recently aquired vintage boodle. And I am much happier with the result.
Oh, I forgot scale objects again - felted they are about 10cm high.
The green and purple pair have been submitted for the exhibition. The pink and purple ones are languishing here at home. So, how does this sound: if there are two girls' blouses in the comments to say they want one, can have 'em! (I'll felt the second one if anyone wants it).
And look at this! Last night when I arrived at stitch n bitch, Happyspider threw this pretty skein my way. She said she didn't realise til after she dyed it, that it was really too scratchy. I think it's going to felt beautifully. Oh yes, it has pinks and purples too, but the colours are more varied, and more masterfully put together than my example above. This photo doesn't capture it, the true colours are a little bit brighter and redder.
Edited to clarify: Scratchy wool is a great candidate for felting, both because I'm not making garments that need to be soft, and the felting process actually softens the wool a lot anyway. It's so nice to be part of a community that shares not just advice but precious stash.