First Time Felting!

First Time Felting!

A few months ago we brought home our first big farm animals, Romney Sheep. They are big beautiful sheep with great wool for spinning. Do I know how to spin? Not yet, but I hope to learn. When we got our sheep, our friends gave us some yarn previously spun from their wool, and I was eager to try making something with it.

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I have limited knitting skills. I learned to knit from my grandmother on my father’s side when I was a little girl, and every time I knit something new, I think of her. I love that I have a connection with my grandma and I can feel close to her through such a useful skill that she passed on to me even though she is no longer with me.

Grandma Ida

Grandma Ida

I am not super patient when it comes to building basic skills slowly, so I often end up trying things that are a bit beyond my current abilities, and this time was more of the same. I decided to knit and felt a bag. I had never knitted a bag or felted anything (on purpose), so this sounded like a great idea!

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It took a few sittings to knit the bag in one long strip with openings for handles on either side. I then stitched the sides together with the inside out, using a crochet hook. Once the bag was formed, I got ready to felt it.

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The only time I had ever felted something was when I accidently washed a wool sweater. Oops. I understood that hot water and agitation would do it, but I wanted it to look good, so I read a lot of articles and blogposts on felting wool. One common way to felt uses a top loading washing machine, but mine is a front loader so this idea was out. An idea I saw that seemed doable was to use a bin or tub filled with hot water and a plunger (new of course).

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I got set up with a small tub of hot water placed in the bathtub and a brand new plunger.

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I plunged away for a while and saw that it had started to work.

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I kept at it and after almost an hour, the bag was felted.

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I laid it out on a towel to reshape it and allow it to dry.

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This was a fun project. I am eager to do more. My boys are excited to help and are each asking if they can felt the next item themselves.

If I had knit the bag a little larger, it would have made a cute bag for my laptop, but as it is it fits my planner, pens, and kindle.

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Tips for anyone else trying felting for the first time:

  • make your item much larger than you think, a lot of shrinking happens

  • change out your water for hotter water often

  • find a good audiobook or podcast to listen to, because this process takes a while

I hope you try out felting for yourself. I am looking forward to shearing time, so I can learn more about using the wool from my sheep.

-Mary

Have you made some fun projects with wool? What are your favorites? What would you like to try? Any felting tips for me?