Does anybody have experience knitting for felt? I want to make about 180x60cm
of felt. Any experience with shrinkage and what stitches felt up best? Is a
pattern recognizable after felting? Should it be knit tight or loose?
okay. swatch you say, and swatch i shall...
Yes, the yarn you use must be animal fibre. A small blend of other fibres
may work, but takes longer.
Knit much looser than you think! One way to prevent felting (the actual
correct term is "fulling") is to knit tightly. Felting is using carded batts
to make your sheets of matted fibres.
You will find that natural coloured fibres don't seem to matt as well as
And always do a test swatch! You will find that each yarn will behave
differently. You cannot predict with much accuracy what will occur. Even
experienced people will always be a little surprised what any particular yarn
will do for them. Plan big, and you can always cut it down later. The edges
usually curl or wave, so those are most often discarded.
Just do a sample swatch first to know what to expect in timing and
results. Use that as a rough guide at best.
I'm sure you know this but make sure it's 100% wool! I've had great
results with rowan and with leftovers of hand woven very natural stuff.
does wool cashmere work?
Even different colours of the same yarn felt differently...so it's important
Knitting looser is better, that way the fibers can move around more and
felt better. Garter stitch is a good stitch to use since the stitch pattern
pretty much disappears and garter stitch is square (18 rows of 18 stitches
will be a square).
I like to make the felting process the constant and control the size by
how many rows and stitches I use. That means swatching and felting the swatch
to see how much it shrinks. Holding the felting process constant for me means
running it through a full wash cycle, with detergent, on hot and then running
it through the dryer as well. After that you won't get much, if any,
shrinkage if you wash it again.
Things don't always shrink evenly; what started out as a square may end up
as a slight trapezoid. I did a circular piece and it came out like an amoeba.
Things will also curl but patience with a steam iron can get rid of that.
Stretching it back into shape is unlikely. But this may all be due to my
aggressive felting process.
Be sure and wash with something that doesn't give off any lint. Towels are
the worst. Blue jeans and heavy canvas or twill pants are good.
Lion Brand Fishermen's wool is good for experimenting with and is
relatively inexpensive, especially if you have a JoAnn's in the area and you
get their coupons.
Hi Bill. Thanks for the feedback. Any suggestions on the gauge? I don't
need thick felt. in fact the thinner, the better. Can I block it afterwards
if it needs to be thinner?
You can steam iron it, and stretch it....but you might try a swatch with
laceweight yarn to see if that will give you what you want.
If you have particular thickness in mind...it would be worth trying several
Don't forget...you could knit with several strands of laceweight, felt it and
probably get exactly what you want...
Plan to knit the piece about one third bigger than what you need. Wool
shrinks about one third with felting. You can shrink it less by removing it
sooner. Most patterns will soften or disappear.
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