Most of the time when you wash your hand knit, hand crocheted items you treat them like the precious babies they are, right? Of course you do. With all the work that goes into making something, you’d be crazy to plop them in the washing machine, in super hot water, with regular laundry soap, and hit the high agitation cycle. Crazy!
Unless you’re felting and then its okay!
Technically, you’re “fulling”, not felting. As it was explained to me by a cheerful but very precise crafter one day, felting is done to unspun, loose fiber with needles and/or some sort of wet, mechanical process. If you are
doing mean things to shrinking down a piece that’s been knitted or crocheted, its called fulling. Don’t you just love grammar nazis? Yeah, me neither.
So when you’re felting (I’m such a rebel) you need a yarn that is untreated and 100% animal fiber. Acrylic blends and superwash won’t shrink. Normally that would be an awesome thing in a yarn but in this case. Wool yarns work great. Single ply wool yarns work really great. For my first attempt I used Noro Kureyon in color 332.
I decided I wanted a felted yarn bowl. I just love yarn bowls and I really love the hand thrown ceramic one-of-a-kind yarn bowl a knitting student gifted me. But… it doesn’t travel well. In fact it doesn’t travel at all, lol. I’m too afraid it will get broken so I always leave it at home. Since I am a RovingCrafter and I rove around, I had to come up with a solution: felted yarn bowls.
Working with two strands of Kureyon held together and size 11 (8 mm) needles got me this big floppy sack:
Before putting this baby in the
torture pot washing machine, I used cotton thread to sew a loose running stitch along the upper edge of the bowl. If you’ve tried felting before, you may have found that edges can get pulled out of shape. Criblet, a wonderful and talented lady from my crafting group, taught me this trick to keep edges smooth and it has worked for me every time.
(Since this is Kureyon, I gave the knitting a quick soak in ice water in my kitchen sink while the washing machine filled with hot water. Kureyon is lovely and no one does colors quite like Noro, but they do overspin their singles somewhat. That can make the yarn resist felting. A pre-soak in ice water helps.)
Here is how it looked fresh out of the washing machine:
After trimming the fuzzies, and pulling out the running stitch, and setting in a cute little clasp…. I found that it was too big.,lol. Pretty (and completely felted down) but too big. I’m telling ya, for a yarn bowl it makes a good hand bag. Nice edges though if I do say so myself!
So I decided for my second attempt I would use different yarn. What? Did you think I would just give up? Noooo. I love yarn bowls! Also, I’m 6 weeks (and counting) behind in my Mary Lennox shawl mystery knit-a-long and when I get that far behind in a project, I start looking for something else to do.
Using Paton’s Classic Wool Roving (two strands held together again) in colors Pacific Teal and Yellow, I made another sack. This time I improvised a simple two-color stranded knit pattern…
… and put in a running stitch with cotton thread
… and ta-da! A felted yarn bowl.
The big one seems to be the right size to hold 4 oz of roving. Maybe it will be a roving bowl, lol. Maybe it will just be decorative. But the smaller one is perfect. I may have to make another. I may have to make one for each WIP.
"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen
4 Comments on "Doing Mean Things To Yarn – Let's Try Felting"
These are so cool! What do you do when you’re felting colorwork with floats? Just leave them where they are?
Thanks! Yes, I just leave the floats in the back. They get felted in and add thickness to the piece. That extra padding can be nice with bowls and handbags. It might not be so nice with slippers or mittens. Just thought I’d toss that out there. 🙂
What is a ‘float’ please?
Do you have a basic pattern for a yarn bowl and is there one for making a storage container please?
A float is a stretch of un-worked yarn that crosses at the back of the work. It happens in multi-color stranded knit patterns, like the blue and gold bowl. When I was knitting stitches in the gold, the blue is held to the back and floats along.
Patterns for felted yarn bowls…
– that one is crocheted & free
– that one is knitted and… not free