Felting is a bit of knitting magic. You turn a piece of knitted wool and, no matter how wonky, how many mistakes you made, it all disappears in a mass of felted fabric. It’s a great way to make firmer, sturdier fabrics that create more durable projects. One of the first things I ever knitted was a bag that I felted for my older daughter. I’ve kind of fallen off felting for the last couple of years, but I’m starting to think I’d like to get back into it again. Felting serves so many wonderful purposes! What I love about felting: 1) It encourages me to do my laundry. (You laugh, but it’s true!) Felting hand-knitted items requires washing, so you need to throw your knitting into the washing machine. And felting requires agitation, so you need to throw other items in with it. I usually add blue jeans and/or bath towels. 2) Your stitches can be less than precise. Felting is so forgiving! If you make a mistake or two, chances are excellent that they will be erased with the magic of felting. 3) It makes really cool, durable projects! Bags, slippers, mittens, hats… some of the most enjoyable projects are felted after being knitted. And you never have to worry about unraveling!
How to Felt
If you’re ready to go all-in with felting, you should know that there are right ways and wrong ways to felt. For instance, did you know that it’s not the best idea to use a clothes dryer when you’re felting? I did not. I thought using a clothes dryer was a quick route to felting. The trouble is that machine-drying can lead to lopsided fabric. I learned that factoid in the first of the two tutorial articles shown below. You’ll learn more tips and steps in the felting process thanks to these two articles. Tips and Techniques: Fabulous Felt This Lion Brand article gives step-by-step advice and important tips to keep in mind during felting. It also offers good advice on how to felt a project using the Lion Brand yarn Landscapes (50% wool and 50% acrylic) that may well help if you want to felt using another yarn that is half-wool and half-another fiber. Felting for Absolute Beginners This Knitty article is less a step-by-step guide and more a collection of valuable tips to help you succeed in felting. A bonus is its suggestion of what you can do with felted swatches. They don’t have to be wasted yarn!
Ready to try felting? Let’s start with smaller, quicker projects and then move up to bigger, more complex projects. Felted Pothandle: This is exactly what it sounds like: a felted bit of fabric that slips over the handle of a pot (this would be especially great for cast iron). An extremely practical project! Felted Butterfly: Let’s go from practical to utterly whimsical. These butterflies are delightful, great for decorating a garden or offering to a child as a toy. (The blog page on which the pattern is linked is in French, but never fear; scroll a little past halfway down the page, look for “Free Pattern in PDF,” and click; you’ll get the pattern in English.) Beginner’s Lucky Pouch: This is a fantastic first knitting project for anyone, new-to-felt-ers or new-to-knitting-ers! Felted Mouse Cat Toy: Want to make some quick, cute mice for your cat, or perhaps for cats at the local shelter? Try this darling pattern. Lord John Grey’s Felted Wool Mittens: This pattern was inspired by a series of novels called “Outlander.” But what’s great about these mittens is that they’re simple, plain, and perfect for just about anyone. Awesome Felted Oven Mitts: A step up from the felted pothandle, these would make great gifts. Felted Fluff: These slippers look so cute and even more comfy! The Roses: This has to be the most beautiful felted hat design I’ve ever seen. And it’s not as difficult as it looks; the roses are the result of embroidery – which is much easier on felted fabric than it is on unfelted knitting. A Petite Felted Bag (2 Handles): Here’s a fun, simple striped tote bag, perfect to use for the beach or the grocery store alike. Woolly Bully Bag: I love this messenger-style bag, both because I enjoy this style and because the shoulder strap is also knitted and felted (no need to purchase a separate strap). Beginner Backpack: I’m a sucker for a good backpack, and this pattern seems pretty simple considering it produces a wonderfully practical sack. Ready to start felting? I think I’m ready to hit the stash and look for some pure wool for a new felting project!