experience felting?

Hi guys,
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?


Bill's picture

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.

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?

Bill's picture

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 yarns.
Don't forget...you could knit with several strands of laceweight, felt it and probably get exactly what you want...

Lumpynose's picture

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.

davidUK's picture

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?

Bill's picture

...but probably...
Even different colours of the same yarn felt differently...so it's important to swatch...

Tallguy's picture

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 dyed fibres.

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.

okay. swatch you say, and swatch i shall...