>> Friday, December 09, 2005
This is a knitted bag that I tried to felt. It worked perfectly, on the bottom half! This yarn was from a sale and wasn't labelled, but it seemed like both the purple and the turquoise were the same type of nubbly yarn. It turns out the turquoise was wool and the purple yarn must have been some kind of wool/synthetic blend. It's not a big problem, it just means the bottom is nice and thick and felted, but the top part is a bit thinner and floppy. I've decided to maybe try using interfacing for the first time, and attach it to the blue cuordory I'm going to use to line the bag. I'll post the results.
In the meantime, here are my felting tips:
1. Felting only works with 100% wool. But some pure wool is specially treated to be non-felting, ie. it's designed so that you can wash your item without shrinking. I have actually boiled a bag made with washable wool in a pot, and it wouldn't felt.
2. You can felt simply by throwing the wool item into the washer. The heat and agitation will make the knitted item shrink and become really dense. If you take the item out part way through the cycle you can see how it's doing. If you want it even smaller/denser, you can run it through the wash again.
3. You can also felt things by hand. I use hot water and rub the knitted item between my fingers. I also use soap. If it's taking a while you can put it in cold water, then back in hot, which sometimes helps speed up the felting.
4. The results: the item will shrink, sometimes more lengthwise than widthwise, so test with a swatch if you want to be sure of the results. It will also get much denser and softer. The stitch detail in the knitting will be blurred. I find that nubbly wool works really well.