Recommendations for First Time Felter?

I’ve never felted before…I’m making a simple striped bag, double stranded with my leftover 100% non-superwash wools and am about ready to felt. I remember on Knitty Gritty a tip for hats, which was to put the item OVER the agitator when it comes time to spin. Otherwise, do I go for the HOTTEST setting and HIGHEST agitation (cotton setting) on the machine? Or is it best for some reason to do it slower, in steps perhaps?

Do I use soap?

I only ask because I know there’s no going back.

I remember on Knitty Gritty a tip for hats, which was to put the item OVER the agitator when it comes time to spin.
Hmmm. I don’t understand what this means.

But I don’t see any reason to go slow. High agitation with hot water is what I would do and yes you use soap (Some people distinquish between soap and detergent. I would use regular laundry detergent. You might also put something else in the load to add to rubbing action and even things out some. People suggest a pair of jeans. Most machines will allow you to check the item as it agitates, you could do that if you want but it usually takes one cycle, sometimes more.

I think sometimes the spin cycle can create wrinkles in an item, maybe that has something to do with the advise from Knitty (whatever it was :slight_smile: )

The KG advice was to place your item (if it’s tubular, like a purse, hat) on top of that middle agitator, the big thing in the middle of the machine, for the spin cycle. Just so it doesn’t come out all smooshed.

Thanks for your input! :wink:

I never heard that for a hat, but it makes sense - keep it spinnig evenly so it doesn’t crease.

I agree, check it once or twice thru the cycle to make sure you don’t shrink it too much, but don’t be surprised if it takes more then one cycle. But do check it thru the 2nd/3rd cycle - don’t get cockey, ie - oh, it didn’t felt much thru the 1st cycle, I won’t check it again till the 2nd cycle is done. You may find it suddenly shrinks quickly when you least expect it.

I agree with “checking” it and it WILL shrink when you least expect~ Maybe just me but I never let anything spin out…I get unwanted creases…very hard or impossible to remove. Good luck…:muah: :hug:

I make sure that I put the item to be felted in a zippered pillowcase (if the item is small enough) to reduce the amount of lint that has the potential to go into the water pump of the machine.

I was planning on attaching a hard handle, now I’m thinking perhaps I’ll make knitted ones…Can I felt the bag itself first and if I decide to knit the handles later just poke through the felting, knit them, and re-felt in the wash the whole thing???

Might be better to felt the handle separately. If you put the whole bag in to felt with the un-felted handle, it will likely shrink some more.

Finished knitting last night. Will the felting straighten out the rolling stockinette at top, or should I rip a few rows and end in garter?

Is there an easy way to tell if some yarn found is wool & will felt, wihtout having to knit and wash it???

Handle idea…I thought I’d join some yarn leftovers and knit about 10 strands at a time in an i-cord. Crazy? I’ll try. Is it better to have a tight knit for felting that or loose??? I’m thinking size 13s or 11s.

I think it might felt better, stay smooth & flat, if you re-do the top few rows in garter stitch.

when you don’t know for sure the yarn content, to tell if yarn will felt you can do a ‘spit join’ - spit or wet/damp via other means 2-3 inches of 2 ends. lay them overlaping each other in the palm of your hands and rub your hands back and forth fast and see if they have joined.

Your handle idea sounds like a good one, though 10 strands might be too many for size 13 needles. You do want it knit loosely for felting. Your bag is knit loosly, isn’t it?

Match/burn test will determine either:
Cotton(plant fiber)-smolders and leaves a soft burned edge
Wool(animal fiber)-has a definite burned hair smell
Acrylic(manmade fiber)-melts and leaves a crispy burned edge

Otherwise, I would do the spit/join test as Mirl56 has described.

The looser something is knit, the better and tighter it will felt so size 11-15 needles ARE recommended. Extra stranding may not be necessary but will make the handles thicker. Check the handles while you’re felting, they don’t always felt in length at the same rate. You may need to stretch one more than the other.

:hmm: Uh…no…:lol: live and learn.

Handle-wise…do I attach before or after felting? It seems that they could pose a problem in the machine.

With shoulder or longer length, I attach afterwards, felting them in a separate bag so they won’t melt/felt together or the bag. Examples:

With shorter handles, join to the bag before felting:

That burn test rocks! I did about half a dozen, knowing which were 100% wool and which were acrylic and sure enough, the wool fell apart in my fingers after burned, the acrylic was solid.

:hug:So far so good, here are some pics. Ravelry project page includes detailed info & more pics. I’ll upload more pics when I get the handle done, I have an idea…I’ll share it if it works. Peanut (below) looks worried, but I’m not. :teehee: Thanks all for the great help! I included your tips in my Ravelry project page.

First pic is already felted, as you can see, I didn’t want an abrupt stop to the color, so I changed strands at different rows. I like the effect. In hindsight would not have done more than a couple of rows of that, but I still like it. I’m off to work on those handles! :cheering:

I LOVE the colors, Lu!!! The gradual change is a super idea!!! :cheering: :woot: :yay:

Congrats on your first felted project! Your bag looks wonderful!! I haven’t felted anything in about a year and I’m getting the itch again. :slight_smile: Great job!