Questions about felting

I’ve joined new here. I live in India, which will explain a lot of my problems re: materials.
I want to felt my first item, a bag yet to be knit! (I will probably make a long rectangle and sew the seams together, to keep it simple).
I have 2 skeins of Debbie Bliss Maya sent to me by a friend and I want to use it to make a felted bag. Now my questions:

  1. I do not have an option for hot water on my top-loading washing machine, what can I do? Should I heat a bucketful and pour it in?
  2. The recommended needle size for the yarn is 5.5 mm and I read somewhere that you need to use needles at least 2 sizes bigger. My problem is, the largest size I have is 5.5 mm. Can I still use these to knit the bag? Will the result be misshapen or something? I cannot buy larger size needles in most of my country.
  3. I do not have zipped pillow covers, can I just use a cotton cloth pillow cover instead?

I’m being so nervous about this because I will probably never get this yarn again and I want the finished product to be good.
I know I’m crazy to be thinking of working with wool in 40 degree heat, but nobody said I’m normal :smiley:
Can you tell my heart is being wrung at the mere thought of “wasting” this precious yarn by making a swatch (You mean I have to cut the yarn!!!) :shock:

You need hot water. If you put it on the lowest water level and add hot water, you should be okay. Another option is hand felting, but if it’s a big bag, that could be a real pain in the behind.

I don’t think it will cause a problem using the 5.5 needle, but you would have to swatch to see what happens.

You can use a regular pillow case, just tie the end shut or wrap it tightly with rubber bands.

Good luck!

You’ll want a holey knitted fabric for it felt properly. If you swatch with 5.5 mm needles and you’re getting spaces between the stitches, you are probably ok. I don’t see any problem with adding hot water to the washing machine. As Sara said, just make sure the water level is low.

Thanks for the replies. I’ll swatch (gulp, cut the yarn!) with my 5.5 and see what happens. Then if I manage to knit the bag, I’ll use a normal pillow cover and add hot water.