In this Instructable, I will show you how to take a knitted piece (with 100% wool yarn) and turn it into a funky felted bag. For any of you that love knitting, and have never felted before, you will see how easy this process it. It can add a whole new dimension to your knitted projects. Enjoy!
Step 1: Beginning Knitted Piece
To start, I knitted up a simple piece with 100% wool yarn. To felt things, you need to have 100% wool yarn, or it will not felt. To check this, look at the yarn wrapper. Most will say if they are for felting or not. You can't use Superwash wool yarn. This has been processed and will not felt.
For the handles on this bag, I used a garter stitch, and the main center part of the bag was done in a stockinette stitch.
One thing to remember with felting is that anything you felt will shrink, so you want to take that into consideration before knitting anything. The amount of shrinkage depends on how long you felt the piece.
Step 2: Add Seams to the Side of the Bag
I folded the piece in half and sewed a seam on either side to create a bag with more 100% wool yarn.
Step 3: The Felting Process
Take the knitted piece and place it in a mesh wash bag. You can also use a zippered pillow case, and some people prefer to just put the piece itself in the washer. I personally like to use a bag because when the piece felts, the process does leave some residual remnants of yarn in the washing machine. The bag helps keep them contained and easily cleaned up.
There are two schools of thought about agitation - some like to just use the wash cycle agitation, but some people like to add elements to help the agitation. (i.e. tennis balls, an old pair of jeans, tennis shoes, etc.) I have tried both methods, and in this case, I choose not to use any additional materials, but rather just used the heavy wash cycle on my washing machine.
The settings on your washing machine should be the following:
Water level - the lowest setting
Water Temperature: Hot/Cold
You will also need to add a small bit of soap (no more than a half teaspoon). The soap can be detergent used for delicate washing, or if you don't have that, you can use dish soap.
Step 4: Check on the Felting Process
Once the felting process has begun, you will need to check the progress every five minutes or so. Since the washing machine is full of hot water, I suggest using a tongs to fish out the bag from the machine.
This process could take up to 20-25 minutes to complete. Keep turning back the wash cycle on your washing machine to continue felting.
Step 5: Completing the Process
Once you have determined that the piece is felted enough, let the machine drain out the water and start the spin cycle.
Be careful not to let the piece spin too long, or it will get permanent creases set into it. The spin cycle is mainly to help get most of the liquid out of the piece.
Step 6: Blocking Process
Once you have the piece out of the washing machine, you will need to block it into shape before allowing it to dry completely.
Put the piece flat on a towel and stretch or pull the piece into position. You can use pins to keep the piece in place during the drying process if you'd like.
As you can see, the piece is much smaller than it was originally. The stitches are no longer visible either.
Step 7: Finished Product!
Once the piece is dry, you will need to do one final step before you can use your cool and funky bag!
The felting process will create a bunch of 'fuzzies' on the bag. To get rid of them, simply take a scissors, lightly pull up on the fuzzies and carefully snip them off. Be careful not to cut your felted bag in the process!
See! Felting is very easy and simple to do! I hope this encourages you to experiment with your knitting or crocheting projects. It can add a new dimension to all of your projects! To add even more fun, try mixing a fun non-wool yarn for added texture (like fun fur!) to your knitting. It won't felt with the rest of the yarn, but adds a really neat addition to your piece.
Enjoy and Happy Felting!