How do I figure size for original felting project?

I am a geometry teacher and I usually see patterns and designs in my mind. I could not find a pattern that suited my needs for a handbag for my daughter so I decided to make up my own. I am having so much fun…but I have a question, because I now want to make up a pattern for a felted purse. If I wanted to make up a pattern for a bag and then felt it , are there any guidelines as to how much you can expect the project to decrease in size…What I am really asking is how large should my project be to have a finished pocket book that will end up about 8" by 2 1/2 in. base and about 8" high.

Will it make a difference if the yarn is 100% as opposed to 50% wool. (BTW, the company says the 50% will felt but suggest using hot water in washing machine and then drying in dryer–it is Lion brand Landscapes yarn)

To estimate the shrinking you usually do a test swatch that you felt.
Like make a 4’ X 4’ swatch and then measure again after the felting procedure.

If your like me and like to be surprised(or don’t have enough yarn to do a test swatch) just make the bag about 50% bigger than the smallest bag you would like.
I don’t think that there’s a yarn that shrinks more than 50%(others might prove me wrong here :wink: ) and so you will at least end up with an appropriate sized bag.

As for the Landscape: I found a similare yarn over here and knitted+felted a bag with it. You can see the result here. It shrank about 40%.

The shrinking percentage is different from one yarn to another and it also depends on how you tread it…

Thanks, I did not know if I would have enough yarn…but I will try that soon…your doubling idea is a great suggestion.

Does the needle and weight of the yarn have anything to do with it…because to me it seems that if you knit tightly with bulky yarn that once you try to felt since the stitches are already dense and that the project might not felt as well.

Javede, I noticed on your site that you’re in Germany. So is my daughter. If you see her, would you please tell her to GO HOME! :?eyebrow: Her mother misses her. :crying:

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. :blush: Back to the discussion at hand. :lol:

Amy wrote a GREAT post about felting a while back…boy, am I glad that I copied it and saved it on my hard drive, as I can’t find it for the life of me!! Here is what it said:

Here’s just about all I know about felting!

Felted projects are usually knit on larger needles than normal for the yarn. They also shrink dramatically, and the rate at which they shrink is dramatically different for different yarns, so it’s best not to combine different yarns if you’re going for consistency; unless you’ve done a test felt and confirmed they have the same rater of shrinkage. Remember to use wool or other animal fiber. You can test to see if the fiber felts, by trying to make a felted join, as on the basic techniques/ more page. Wool will always felt, but wool blends and other animal fibers you probably want to test.

Be aware that felting can dramatically change the proportion of your item. Felting shrinks more height-wise (over the rows), than it does width-wise (over the stitches).

Here’s a useful link for figuring out the math from your own test swatch, to determine how many stitches to cast-on. I’ve had similar results as the sample given, in my own felting experiences. Here’s my own numbers, using’s wool of the andes yarn, and size 10 1/2 needles. I started with a gauge of 3.5sts and 4.75rows to the inch, in stockinette. (The yarn is normally knit at 4.5sts/inch, but it’s done bigger for felting.) I wouldn’t worry about having an exact guage to begin with; if it’s too big, you just felt it longer, ya know? If you’ve knitted with smaller needles, like those normally used for the yarn, you can still try to felt it. I imagine you’d just felt it less.

Here’s how I figure out how big to make something. These numbers are based on a test swatch I did. I’ve found that the shape of the object can affect how it’s felted when done in a washing machine, so this is not fool proof. I used a top-loader washer, and hot water, and two pairs of jeans , or other objects to add friction without adding lots of lint to your felted project. Soap is not necessary, and I imagine it may felt better without soap; but I’ve also felted with soap, so do what you like.

Size is in inches…

For good, well-felted, slightly dense finish:
Stitches: (desired size) x 1.2 = pre-felting size.
Rows: (desired size) x 1.42 = pre-felting size.

For very dense felting:
Stitches: (desired size) x 1.43 = pre-felting size.
Rows: (desired size) x 1.78 = pre-felting size.

I’m going to make a large bag based on these numbers. I may tweak these numbers when I’m done. We’ll see how accurate they are for a larger object. The biggest challenge with figuring out these numbers, was that the square test swatch looked hour-glass shape in the end! I dont’ know why that was! I took the measurement of the most shrunken area; so we’ll see if that holds true for the actual project.

Happy felting!

Thank you so much…I really appreciate the info…