Monday, August 6, 2007

My First Trip on The Polarfleece Express


About a year ago, I started this project - a bath mat hooked in polar fleece. I wanted something for the bathroom that could be stepped on with wet feet. And I wanted to see what it was like to hook with polarfleece.

I had a stash of old polarfleece scarves and tops, to which I added some remnants from the fabric department at the WalMart near the cottage. I suspected that no matter how horrible the prints were on the bolt, once they were cut into strips and hooked in, they would add texture. Would you ever guess that my textured sky was in fact a swordfish pattern, or that the trees and highlights in the doors were originally John Deere tractors on black? I swear, I am telling the truth. Let's face it, a lot of the prints you see in polar fleece, whether on a bolt or in a blanket are downright hideous, until they are hooked. And for the less adventurous, there are lots of solids that can be used instead.

There are pros and cons of working with polar fleece, as there are with any fabric choice. One definite pro is that not only can you find it in any fabric store, but the Goodwill and Value Village have racks of polar fleece garments that are no longer being worn. The apple green that I used in the grass was a vest. The darker trees were once a plaid housecoat. You get a lot of fleece in a housecoat - multiple mats for sure. It hooks very quickly, especially if you cut it wide. And the ends hide well, just as wool ends do. Another pro is that it does feel amazing underfoot. Very soft and cushy. And I used up some old acrylic yarn in the whipping - something that shouldn't be done on a wool project.

The cons are really minor. The cutting needs to be done either by hand or with a rotary cutter, since you can't use your wool cutter. The synthetic fibers would ruin the blades in no time. I think someone told me that you could use a shredder, but I haven't tried that. The other thing is that you pretty much have to work with fabric "as is". Although I haven't tried, I don't think that dyeing is an option. The only other thing is that the mat is quite heavy when finished, so I'm not sure what the drying time will be like once I have washed it - gentle cycle for sure. Probably drying flat will be the best way to go. I don't think the sun will bleach the colour.

I did say that I began this mat about a year ago. It was one of the projects that got cast aside while others took over. But, now that it is basically finished (a little whipping left to go), I am glad that I picked it up and finished it. I realize that this plentiful, inexpensive alternate to wool is a great suggestion to hookers who don't have access or budget for its more costly cousin.

It joins the ranks of pantyhose as being a fun, somewhat unexpected fiber with which to hook. I highly recommend that you give it a try.

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