Felting Fun

Project – Felted Posy Bag (knit)
Patons free pattern (download here)
Yarn – Patons Classic Wool in Mercury, Wisteria, Currant, Water Chestnut, Royal Purple, Lemongrass, Leaf
Blogger – YoElizbo

As I said before, this Felted Posy Bag is fast! It took me less than a week to knit it, and I wasn't even rushing things--just my usual nightly rounds and the couple of rows I squeeze into the day. So if you were really in a hurry, I think you could whip this out in no time. And then all it takes is the trip through the washing machine to turn it into a felted wonder.

Here are all the pieces knit up,

and ready for their close-up:

I already love these flowers so it will be fun to see how they felt up. Now, I have to make a confession. I have felted a ton of different yarns, but I have never felted with Patons Wool. So this was sort of suspenseful for me. How would it felt? I find that wools felt two ways--just sort of solid or it with a more interesting nubby fabric. So I had my fingers crossed as I tossed the pieces into their zippered pillow cases.

Zippered pillow cases are a must for felting. Unless you really hate your washing machine and want an excuse to kill the old one and get a new one. Because if you just toss the wool pieces in, the leftover bits of fiber that come out in the felting process end up in the washing machine's water pump and then the pump will clog and  . . . well, you get my drift. Let's just suffice it to say that lucky for me, my sister-in-law learned this lesson the hard way, and I have never tempted fate after her experience.

So into zippered pillowcases they go, and then into the washing machine with a really bad pair of jeans, some old towels and a couple of those laundry sheets that "catch color". Just in case the dyes start to bleed. Oh, and a cap full of your favorite wool wash. Then switch on the hot water, fill 'er up, and start the washing machine on the violent cycle. About 10-12 minutes into this, I usually stop the washing machine, pull out one of the zippered bags and take a peek at what is happening.

This shows the bag not quite ready. I could still discern stitches, and it wasn't firm enough. So back into the bag it goes--being careful not to get extra fibers in the washer--again, I am sort of hyper about that, but I really don't want to have to buy a new washing machine. At this point, sometimes I add a little more hot water and reset the washing machine back for another round of washing and in another 5 or so minutes, check it again. The timing really depends on your washing machine and the wool. If I have never felted with a yarn before I tend to hawk the machine and keep checking. When I am finally sure that it is all A-okay, I move the washer cycle ahead to spin and let that spinning force do the work for me.

Then it is out of the bags, patted and tug into shape and leave them to dry on a towel. So here were my delights and surprises: The Patons felts wonderfully. This is now my go-to for felting because it gets that lovely dappled nubby sort of surface. Trust me, it gives the felted fabric a rich character. And even better, the colors didn't bleed. My color catchers came out clean. I can say that has never happened with other yarns we shall not mention. So hurrah! A new favorite felting yarn. The interesting thing was that the two shades of green used for the leaves,

Leaf on the left and Lemongrass on the right were exactly the same size and dimensions when they went into the washing machine, but they felted so very differently. I find that fascinating and have to imagine it has to do with lots of factors--the dyes in the wool, how each piece was situated in the washing machine. Lots of things. But that is what is so fun about felting--you just never know how it will come out of the wash until it is done.

What have you felted? Any felting disasters you want to share? Tips that make your felting perfect every time?

-Elizbo

Comments

Patons Classic wool is fantastic for felting. I've said it before and will say it again - it's a great workhorse wool. It's great for mittens, sweaters, hats, felting, the list can go on and on! As for felting disasters. I've got a good two that thankfully happened to the same piece. FIrst - make sure you've got all of your ends woven in well as they can slip out during the violent wash and end up with a hole. Second - either use all of the same brand wool or definitely felt a swatch because they don't fellt at the same rate (or not at all) and your striped project has felted sections and unfelted sections...just sayin'.

I'm a felting fiend. I started with some (okay, 10) Lucy Bags, then clogs (kids are adorable, adult-size clogs notsomuch). I made some felted draft dodgers, but later realized it's much simpler to felt old sweaters for those! I've felted flower pelals/leaves, bobbles, totebags, even a little wool rug for a dollhouse. The one thing that didn't turn out very well was a paid or felted ballet slippers for my niece. You could still see the stitches after multiple feltings, and just like Elizbo's Leaf and Lemongrass pieces, the two slippers came out slightly different shapes. I've used competitors' brands and even some pricey wool from New Zealand, but have always had the best results from Patons. I really loved that, since Patons has better color choices and more yarn per skein than other similarly-priced brands. The one wool I thought felted the worst was the most expensive!

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