How do you felt something to its right size?

Okay, last time I asked what felted was. I shrunk a couple of desingers sweaters by accident and I was very upset. Now for the same priciple, things shrink when you felt it. How do you know how big to knit to felt to a certain size you want?

Your best bet is to knit a swatch with the yarn. Once the swatch is done, measure it then felt it to the texture you’d like, then measure it again. That will give you the basic idea of how much it will shrink. It is hard to make a generalization because yarns felt at such different rates. Good Luck!

Also keep in mind that felted items usually shrink more vertically than horizontally. So when you take pre- and post-felt measurements with your swatch, make sure you measure in both directions.

Debi :thumbsup:

And to make things even more complicated, felted items shrink more at the edges than they do in the middle, so your swatch only gives a very crude idea of how much shrinkage to expect. It is more helpful to assess the qualities of the final fabric.

If you really, really had to have a good idea of how much shrinkage you might expect with a given yarn/combination, you could knit a really big swatch (maybe 8" square) and then with non-felting cotton thread mark off a square 6" x 6" in the center, and then felt. The final measurements of the thread square will give you the best idea of expected shrinkage.

Can I just say, I’ve never done this, nor can I ever imagine doing it, but at least I could if I really wanted to. :shifty:

I just use the old rule of thumb that in stockinette or garter, you lose about a third in height and a quarter in width. And in multi-directional knitting (like entrelac or feather/fan) you lose about a quarter in both dimensions.

I agree that a swatch is the best way to go. If you’re hand felting, you can just stop and remeasure frequently until you get to the size you want. If you’re using the machine, you’ll have to stop the cycle and check for felting. Some yarns like Cascade 220 felt really quickly. Others take several wash cycles to get to a felted state with no stitch definition.