As a knitting-newbie there are still many techniques that I don’t have much experience with. One of which would be felting something that is knitted. Up until about a week ago I was not even aware that you could do this! But after visiting with my sister this past weekend I now have a much better grasp on how to felt a knitted project.
If you are new to this as well, do not panic! It is not nearly as difficult as I was expecting it to be. The best part is that learning how to felt a knitted project will add a whole new level to your knitting. Once you have experimented a bit with felting there are so many more possibilities because there are tons of knitted projects that are perfect to felt. To give myself some more ideas I have been looking at this collection of 13 Patterns for Felted Knit Purses that is on our AllFreeKnitting site.
Now, as you are learning how to felt a knitted project, the first thing to remember, as I recently learned, is that any knitted piece you choose to felt must be 100% wool yarn. Also it is important to take into account the fact that felt shrinks and the amount of shrinking depends on how long you felt it for.
So to begin, you put your knitted piece into the washing machine. Now, after doing a little extra research, I discovered that while some people just place the object in the washer as it is, others recommend first putting it into a zippered pillow case or a mesh bag or some sort. The reason for this being that, after you remove it from the washer, you will find little bits of the felted project that came off during the cycle. Putting the piece in a bag before washing it simply keeps those particles from falling off into your washing machine.
The next step in learning how to felt a knitted project is figuring out how to give the knitted piece enough of the agitation that is needed to create a felted project. You can choose to add elements to aid in the agitation of the knitted piece or just allow the wash cycle to be the main source of agitation. My sister likes to toss an old pair of sneakers into the washer as an added element. But I think that the strong cycle on my washer at home will cause enough agitation.
Also, make sure that the settings on your washing machine are specifically set to these options. The water level should be on the lowest setting, the speed should be heavy and the temperature of the water should be hot/cold. You should also add just a very small (roughly half a teaspoon) of washing detergent.
After you start the washer and the felting process has begun, you can check how it is going about every five minutes. This process can continue for up to about 25 minutes. Just be sure to repeatedly turn back the wash cycle each time after you stop it. When you are satisfied with the amount of felting, the next step is to allow the machine to drain out the water and begin the spin cycle. But do not let the piece spin for too long because this can result in permanent creases!
When you are learning how to felt a knitted project it is very important to block the project, once it has been removed from the washer, into the shape you desire before allowing it to dry. Place the piece flat on a towel and then, if needed, you can use pins to hold it in place while it dries. Then, once dried, you will need to use scissors to remove all the extra fuzzy pieces that stuck out while drying. After this is complete, then you have officially mastered the technique of how to felt a knitted project!
I have decided that I am going to try to felt one of my knitted bags this weekend. Can’t wait to see how it is going to turn out! Have you ever felted a knitted piece before? What kinds of knits? If you haven’t tried this before, what projects do you think you will felt?
For other felting methods check out this helpful video by Rebecca Roush from ChemKnits!
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