Learn how to felt

I would like to know how do I learn the technique of felting. I am very curious as to how you knit something and have a felt look for this finished project. Is it easy and does it cost alot to do? Thanks in advance for any and all help.

Felting is not difficult at all, you just need patience!

Your item has to be knit out of a natural fiber - usually wool is used for felting. You just toss the knitted item in a washing machine with several pairs of jeans or old towels (none of them that you care about) and run it through the agitation cycle in HOT water. You can put the item in a zippered pillow protector or lingre bag to keep the “fuzzies” from getting in your washer. You can use wool wash, woollite, dish soap, laundry detergent in small amounts if you want to…but it isn’t necessary.

You run it through the agitation cycle and pull it out every once in a while to check the size. Keep running it through the agitation cycle until it felts down to the size you were hoping for or until the stitches are no longer visible.

If your hot water doesn’t get too hot you can boil several pots of water and dump them in the washer (I’ve done this several times).

You can rinse the finished product in cool water, or not. You can toss it in the dryer for a bit to help it dry, or not. Once it is the right size you’ll probably want to block it on boxes or stuff it full of plastic grocery bags to get it to maintain the size/shape you want.

Felting isn’t expensive, persae, but hot water can get pricey!

I hope this helps - here are some really great articles on felting for beginners. If you have any other questions feel free to ask!

Article from Knitty.com

Another Article from Knitty.com


thanks for the reply and all the info. I have never checked it out so I will ask…is wool yarn expensive. The first thing I would like to make is a purse / handbag so we can use that as an example. To make a purse would one skien be enough? Can you by any other natural fiber yarn from places like Hobby Lobby and Wal mart other than wool?

You can get a very expensive wool or you can get a fairly inexpensive wool. For felting you really don’t need to spend a lot of money on the yarn, especially for something like a purse because it won’t be close to the skin.

I would suggest, as an excellent first felting project is the Booga Bag. It uses 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon, which can be fairly pricy (but the colors are worth it). To subsitute any yarn - if you don’t want to use the Noro you’d just need about 330 yards of 100% wool.

If you want a good inexpensive source for wool that felts perfectly KnitPicks.com (that advertises on this site) has yarn called “Wool of the Andes” (or WOTA) that is very inexpensive ($1.99 per 110 yards!) and comes in a wide array of colors, if you wanted to do stripes.

Hobby Lobby might have some wool yarn but from my experience WalMart does not.

Felting is awesome, so I hope you can find something perfect for your first project!!

I ran across that bag pattern once before and that is what got me to thinking about felting. Thanks so much for all the great info. That will surely be my first project especially since I love purses. Thanks again.

Woohoo- felting!! Sara gave great advice for felting! The only think I would add/stress, is to make sure you swatch! Every yarn felts differently - even different colors of the same type of yarn can vary! Felting is so much fun- I’m addicted.

Also, I knit a lot - and felt almost everything, so I tend to buy cheap wool yarn. My favorite at the moment is from Michael’s - it’s Patons Classic Wool. It’s 100% and you can get 223 yds. for $5! And it goes on sale fairly often. I have wanted to try the yarn Sara mentioned, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet- I’ve heard it’s wonderful! I just like being able to run out to the store if i run out or want something new!

My first felting project was a bag - I didn’t even need a pattern! I just knit a large rectangle, folded it in half and stitched up the two sides. Then I knit two I-cord handles and stitched them to the inside of the bag. I threw it in the washing machine (in a laundry bag to catch the lint) with an old pair of jeans and let it go!

Just dive in and give it a try! :cheering: [color=darkblue][/color][/img]

jjhubbs… you make it sound so easy ! What is the old pair of jeans for when you wash it? I don’t have any old jeans but dh has plenty :slight_smile: does it mess up the jeans ? Did you use anything to make it stand up when you sat the purse down? Sorry for all the questions and thanks for your help.

It really isn’t hard- you just have to experiment until you figure it out. Have fun with it! Felting happens when wool experiences extreme temperatures and agitation. The jeans help move and rub the piece to speed up the felting process. I use an old pair just in case the yarn looses some of its dye. I also make sure to put my knitting in a laundry bag so that any lint that comes off doesn’t clog up my washer. As for the purse, when I sewed it up (inside out) I pinched and sewed the corners to make them square (you can look this up on the internet- it’s used a lot in sewing) so that the bag has a little bit of a flat bottom. But even then, the bag really won’t stand up on its own - it’ll always be a little floppy! Just get some cheap wool and experiment!

ok, I have finished making the bag and am now in the felting process. I am running it again in hot water but I just checke dit and it is very very small. Looks like I made a purse for my 7 year old. It shrunk an awful lot. :shrug: I am running it again in hot water because you can still see the stitches. What in the world did I do wrong? Thanks for listening to me sob and cry.
ok after seraching the net, I think I found what I did wrong. I used a full load of water instead of a low level amount of water in my washer. Oh well, I will just chop this up to a learning experience and find something else to felt. Thanks to everyone that helped me out.

Darn! What type of yarn did you use?

I think I read somewhere that as a general rule, the knitted fabric will shrink about 30% or so… but it’s different for every yarn! Also, if you’re looking at a knitted piece as it was on your needle (with the rows running horizontally) it will shrink more in length (vertically) than in width. Does that make sense? I try to make a swatch (about the size of a pot holder) every time I try a new yarn (but I’m usually not patient enough to do it… haha). I take measurements and then felt it. Hmm… I’m trying to remember some other things that I’ve figured out… oh- The larger your needle, the more the fabric will shrink. It’s just because there is more empty space when you use a large needle and the fabric has to shrink more to close up that space (so you may have to felt more than once).

There are tons of great felting books out there as well! My library carries quite a few, and I think I’ve read them all! Knit One Felt Too and Felted Knits are good - I started with those last year. I’ve read more, but I can’t think of the names! Anyway, there are also a lot of free patterns online.

Try www.knitty.com and http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory/bags_totes_purses.php

They both have great patterns - felted and non-felted items!

I hope all that made sense… oh, one last thing. I’m saving my “learning experiences” for another bag. I saw a cute purse online somewhere that was made out of swatches and cut up mistakes! I have also cut up a mistake bag and made appliqués for another bag.

Good luck with your next project!