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  #1  
Old 03-21-2006, 11:26 AM
Cat Jones Cat Jones is offline
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Felting - nothing kinky ...

.. just getting my knitting in a twist

I'm knitting up some yarn to make a bag, so far so ridiculously easy; rather than have to line said bag I'm going to 'felt' it in a washing machine. Now google is my friend and I've looked up various sites about this but I still have a question - in your experience, is it better to felt the whole bag or to felt the individual pieces and sew it up afterwards ? Relying on the blocking/drying to make sure things fit together ? Is there any risk that the two sides of the bag will stick together ?

For info - the bag is really simple and "slim", two knitted squares to be sewn together along three sides. I've yet to decide if I'm going to put in a 'floor' even.

Thanks for taking pity on such a novice
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2006, 11:29 AM
lissener lissener is offline
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I have not done a lot of felting, but in my limited experience I'd suggest assembling it first. It'll be easier, of course, before felting. Also, you'll get a little bit of a "seal" at the seams if you felt them. I have felted a lot of old sweaters before cutting them up and using the fabric, and they don't tend to felt together, front to back, so I don't think that will be a problem
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:06 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Assemble and then felt; it will make the whole thing cohesive, and smooth out the seams as mentioned. It's going to get a lot smaller too; how big is it now and how big do you want it?
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:15 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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This is a timely thread as I just took my first felting project out of the washer! (I crocheted it, BTW).

I would have it all assembled before felting. As someone else mentioned it will provide a more seamless join. Personally I think you are more likely to have it twist and stick if it is all in pieces. Plus, felted fabric is incredibly dense and I would think it would be a real drag to assemble after!

As mentioned by gigi felting will shrink the project around 40-50%.

have fun!!
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:59 PM
Cat Jones Cat Jones is offline
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Thanks guys, I knew I could rely on you - size isn't really an issue here as I'm using wool I found in an oddments bin on offer - there were only two balls !! I half had in mind to try using up some other yarn too and maybe putting together something vaguely like this so if it comes out smaller than intended I can just make another pocket.

However I'm surprised you say expect 40-50% shrinkage I got the impression it would only be 15-20% ? I'm using this mix of 80% wool and 20% acrylic.
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:33 PM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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I used a wool/acryic blend that was supposed to felt well, (Landscapes) and it felted less than the 100% wool yarns...in fact, shrunk almost not at all in length, and not nearly enough in width. The purse I just finished for my daughter felted down to 10 inches wide from 12, and 11 inches long from 14. I had to shave it afterwards because the yarn was very shaggy and linty, and I usually line the purses so that shedding wool doesn't get into everything. And definitely assemble before felting...it would be horrible if the pieces didn't felt evenly, and the stuff is so dense afterwards that neat seams would be impossible.
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:36 PM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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Oh, in case it wasn't clear...the purses I make are 100% wool. I used the blend for a hotwater bottle cover. Which wasn't such a brilliant idea, because the wool blend does such a great job insulating that the heat does not escape. So you are sleeping with a big. scratchy, slightly warm squishy lump.
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:45 PM
FilmGeek FilmGeek is offline
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There's very little chance of the sides sticking together. I've found the best way to felt (for me) is to put the object in the washer with hot water, a little soap and a pair or two of jeans. If lint bothers you, put the felting into a zippered pillowcase.

Periodically while it is agitating in the washer, take it out and shock it with cold water and more agitation, then back into the hot. It's possible to felt by hand, but I'm too freaking lazy.

Some yarns shrink more than others, and I think crochet shrinks more than knitting.
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Old 03-21-2006, 05:03 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittenblue
Oh, in case it wasn't clear...the purses I make are 100% wool. I used the blend for a hotwater bottle cover. Which wasn't such a brilliant idea, because the wool blend does such a great job insulating that the heat does not escape. So you are sleeping with a big. scratchy, slightly warm squishy lump.
Wow, that's just like my boyfriend, only he's got elbows too. If I put him in the washing machine, will he shrink and hide his seams?
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  #10  
Old 03-21-2006, 08:12 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Jones
However I'm surprised you say expect 40-50% shrinkage I got the impression it would only be 15-20% ? I'm using this mix of 80% wool and 20% acrylic.
As I mentioned I am a beginner but remember when using blends that the acrylic part of the blend simply will not felt -- only the wool part will. Since your yarn is predominantly wool, I think it will be ok. However I think you will end up with some texture rather than a smooth felted surface due to the acrylic content.

The use of an acrylic blend may also be the reason you have been lead to expect around 20% shrinkage (the acrylic portion of the yarn also will not shrink in hot water). However, the other felters in my knitting group (who knit their bags) advised me to expect 40-50% shrinkage with 100% wool and that's exactly what I got.

The long and the short of it is, felting is always a noble experiment each and every time you do it. You never know what you'll get! Have fun!
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  #11  
Old 03-22-2006, 12:37 AM
Cat Jones Cat Jones is offline
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Noble experiments with warm squishy lumps - this could be more fu than I thought !
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  #12  
Old 03-22-2006, 12:38 AM
Cat Jones Cat Jones is offline
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fuN
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  #13  
Old 03-22-2006, 03:13 AM
flodnak flodnak is offline
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Definitely assemble first.

If you don't get enough shrinkage the first time, remember you can repeat the process - possibly with the machine set to a higher temperature to encourage felting. I tried a trick with felted slippers, sewing three strands of thin yarn to get a mottled effect instead of the one strand of thick yarn the pattern recommended. The first time I washed the slippers they barely shrunk, so I cranked up the wash temperature and tried again. They're still not perfect and I doubt I'll try that trick again, but the second time definitely worked better.
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