I just knitted a tote bag that measured over 20" tall and maybe 18" wide before felting. Used Patons Classic Merino. The pattern is Bon Voyage tote by Leigh Radford, the V-neck version. A basic tote that was to have measured 11" tall x 15" wide post felting.
Okay, I did a swatch. I measured and timed it. I was a good girl. My water is wicked hot, by the way. I put in a pair of jeans and about a tbl of detergent and put the swatch in for 10 min and checked it. Put in for 5 more min and checked it. Put in for 6 more min and checked it. Finally determined that approx 25 - 30 minutes of total wash time occurred. Swatch shrunk appropriately in that time. Keep in mind I dunked it in cold water every time I checked it.
So when I went to felt the actual tote, I figured what could it hurt to throw in a little more detergent (I don’t know why) and to put it in for the full 18 min wash without checking it. The math seemed to add up. Sounds logical, yes? And the Two Old Bags say to run the Patons though 2 wash cycles to really felt it. Who would argue with an old bag? Particularly two of them?
Guess what? I now have a little tiny tote for a little tiny lady. I am not a tiny lady. Mine measures 9" high x 13" wide. It is very pretty, and is now a nice little pocketbook or sock in progress tote. And it sure is thick. I can live with that. But damn.
Moral of the story: CHECK YOUR FELTING. OFTEN. Don’t assume, even if you swatched. Too many hours went into your knitting to end up with something that is quite different than what you anticipated.
Thanks for listening!