Felt is living its renaissance today, and we can see more and more of felt apparel on runways and in boutiques by indie designers.
Felting is a fun and easy way to make your knitted projects more durable and unique looking.Below is a discussion on how to make your own felt.
Many people start out by creating felted slippers or a felted bag. All you need is 100% wool yarn and a washing machine! Felted bags are probably the very easiest because all you need to do is knit a giant tube, sew up the bottom and then throw it in the washing machine. It’s that easy.
When you felt something, it needs to be 100 percent wool, so make sure to check the yarn label or ask your local yarn store employee before you begin. Tell them that you’re going to do a felting project. Next, you’re going to want to use needles that are a lot bigger than what you would usually use to obtain the gauge that you would get for knitting something.
Let’s say I wanted to make felted mittens instead of regular mittens, which would be lovely. They’d be very, very warm and you could easily add other little designs. For worsted-weight yarn, instead of using Size 7 needles, you would use something like Size 10s or 11s to make them, so that there’s a lot of space in between your stitches. When you’re all done, you just throw your project in the washing machine with something bulky like a pair of jeans, and if you’re worried about it getting ruined, you can zip it into like a pillowcase if you want.
Make sure to add some detergent and put the washing machine on hot. Top-loading washers work best for felting because it’s easy to check on your project as you go, to see how it’s coming along because you do need to watch it. Things can felt a lot and quickly, so what you’ll want to do is just be able to check on it every once in a while. One cycle probably won’t be enough, so after one cycle just check it out and just take it out and see how it looks.
Once the stitches start to disappear, it’s going to felt quickly, so you want to keep an eye on it once the stitches start to go away, and once they’re all the way gone you’re done felting. Otherwise, if you let it go too long, it will continue to felt, and you will have bullet-proof mittens instead of something that’s felted but still comfortable, so make sure you keep an eye on the time. Ten or fifteen minutes in the washing machine should be plenty, but make sure that the water is on hot.
You’ll also want to avoid putting it in the spin cycle or the dryer. Just take it out when it’s wet, squeeze any water out and lay it out flat to dry, and you can even shape it with your hands or in the case of a bag or a bowl, you can shape it over something like a box or a container that you have in your kitchen, so that when it dries it has a really nice, even shape.
Afterward, you can embellish your felted project by adding buttons, a bag strap, or even a little needle-felted design when you’re done. So give felting a try. It’s super easy!
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