Op Art Knitted and Felted Bag

What an interesting concept. According to the pattern, the decreases result in corners, and there’s only one seam as a result. These new yarns are generating lots of new designs and techniques.  From Knitting on the Net.

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For the Holidays: Felted Leaves Garland

This simple pattern , courtesy of Red Heart, is easy to adapt to just about any time of year by altering colors. The one shown here is perfect for Christmas, whether coiled up as a candle ring, garlanding the tree, or bedecking  the mantle or banister. You could even use a template for holly, flowers, ornaments, etc, or doll it up with novelty yarn, glitter, bells, or buttons. And wouldn’t it make a cool grab bag gift for casual parties? The possibilities seem endless, really. Let the crocheting begin!

Felted Recycled Cell Phone Case

One of the hottest fiber crafts around these days is making felted items out of thrift shop wool sweaters. A few months ago I visited our local GoodWill store and actually had trouble selecting which ones to buy, there were so many fantastic 100% wool sweaters! I left with 7, some in solid colors and others with patterns, having left behind only $16.00. All of these sweaters were like brand new. I put them all in the washer and felted them together, and they came out great. Here’s how I did that part:

felting instructions

Since this was my first adventure in recycled felting, I started out with small projects, cases for cell phones, ipods, or just little purses. I made three cases but have since sold one. The other 2 are pictured here. Because I’ve worked with garments for such a long time, I was able to cut these without measuring or using a pattern, but if you prefer, you can certainly do that. Here are the steps:

  • With a pair of sharp scissors, cut the sleeves off the sweater. (Yes, it’s true, you can actually cut felted wool without raveling problems.)
  • Select the portion of the sleeve, which is a tube, with which you want to form the body of the case. I used the part right above the cuff because I liked the way it tapered.
  • Cut to size.
  • Sew bottom seam. On the blue case, I used blanket stitch on the outside. For the green case, I did an inside seam that doesn’t show.
  • Choose a closure method. I used a loop and button on green, and a drawstring, for which I cut very small slits, on blue.
  • Make a strap or cord. I braided heavy multicolored yarn for both.
  • Trim as desired. I left the blue case plain, and made an extra long cord for the green one so I could trim the sides with it, and frayed the ends for tassles.

These unique little cases make terrific gifts. Have fun with this! Use your imagination and get creative. Using recycled sweaters saves so much knitting time!



Felting – ooops!!

mittens

Originally uploaded by katknit.

Felting (fulling) is an inexact art, unless you use the same yarn every time and really get to know how it will respond with respect to shrinkage. Here’s a way to restore size when a bit too much felting (oops) has occurred. It may also help if your piece has become creased.

Dissolve about 3 ounces of Epsom Salts in boiling water and let cool. Submerge item and soak for about a half hour. Squeeze excess water and stretch into correct shape on a flat surface.
When almost dry, press under a dry cloth with an iron on low to medium heat. Steam may help.

It shrinks in the wash….

Felting, or to be more technical, fulling, is currently hot in the knitting world. As you probably know, it involves knitting something extra large, then shrinking it in the washer to the proper size. This past holiday season, I participated in several local craft fairs, and making and selling many pairs of felted bags and mittens. Here’s a small sample:

felted-tote.jpgfelted-purse.jpgmittens.jpg

Generic Felting tips:

  1. Agitation is the key to felting. To help increase the agitation, you may wish to add an old pair of jeans to the wash. Be careful not to add anything like towels, as lint may get caught up in your felt.
  2. Hot water is used to soften the wool and speed the felting process, but extremely hot or boiling water is not needed. It will make little difference in the felting time and makes it difficult to handle your knitted item during the process.
  3. Detergent or soap works with the hot water to soften the wool and speed felting.
  4. To protect your washer from excess lint, place the knitted item in a zippered pillow protector, or at the very least, a fine mesh bag.
  5. The most important step in felting is to check on the progress regularly. That is the only way that you will be able to stop when the size is right.
  6. Some people do not use your washer’s spin and rinse cycle as it may set permanent creases in your felt. I have not experienced this as a problem.

Felting Instructions

To begin felting, set washer for hot wash, low water level, and maximum agitation. Add a small amount of a mild detergent. Place the bag with the knitted item in the washer.

After about 5 minutes, check on the progress. Check again every 3 to 5 minutes. Every time you check on the progress, remove the knitted item(s) from the bag and change the way they are folded before returning to the washer. Reset the washer to continue agitating if necessary. Do not let it drain and spin. Just keep agitating and checking on them, until they are down to size and firm enough to hold their shape. Smaller items may take quite awhile to felt. When the items appear to be the right size, remove and rinse by hand in cool water. Use a towel to remove some water and check the fit.

If they are still too large, return to the washer and continue agitating. When you are happy with the size, remove and rinse by hand. Machine rinsing is not recommended, as it is impossible to control the amount of additional shrinkage that may occur (I don’t have a problem when I machine-rinse.)