Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for October 23rd, 2011


How to Hand Felt with a Little Help from Your Kitchen

October 23rd, 2011

Pin It

I’ve always wanted to be a certain famous pig for Halloween, so when my boyfriend expressed an interest in being a certain famous frog (news reporter fedora included), I jumped at the chance.

Naturally, I decided to knit the pig ears and nose I needed for my costume — and for some added authenticity, to felt them as well! Since the pieces were small, I hand felted them in a hot bath using just a few tools I already had in my kitchen. Here’s how I did it.

Not all yarns are created equal. In order for your project to felt properly, you must use non-superwash yarn made from animal fibers. I used Martha Stewart Crafts™ Merino in Milkglass Pink. [Note: For a pattern, I searched online for a knitted leaf pattern and modified the shaping.]
I got my felting tools in order: a large saucepan to hold the project, potato masher to agitate it, and shampoo to help speed along the process. [Note: I do not suggest using a non-stick pan for your felting project. As an alternative, try filling a sink for your project. Just be sure that you have a good-quality strainer to catch stray fibers.]
I put the pan directly into my kitchen sink in case I would splash a lot of water around. Then, I drizzled my project with shampoo and filled the pan with very hot tap water — too hot for me to touch! I grabbed my potato masher and, using a twisting motion, started agitating my project. [Note: In addition to helping with agitation, the potato masher has the added benefit of letting you use extra hot water, since you don't have to touch the project with your hands.]
After a minute or so, my project appeared to stretch out. [Note: If this happens to you, don't worry! The fibers spread and become more malleable when they are introduced to hot water. The agitation is what causes the felting.]
5 minutes later, as you can see, the stitches started to shrink together. [Note: If your water cools down or becomes too sudsy, pour it out and add new soap and water. I changed my soap every 10 minutes or so.]
After another 10 minutes, my fabric started looking more like actual felt. [Note: Some stitches, like the ones on the edges of the right ear, still hadn't felted. I made sure to focus on those areas when I returned the ears to the water.]
Another 10 minutes later, my project had felted completely. I soaked the pieces with hot water and vigorously rubbed them together to finish the process.
After rinsing the pieces and rolling them in a towel to remove excess water, I blocked them around soup spoons to give them my desired shape.
Here are the fruits of my labor. Fit for the most glamorous of pigs, if I may say so myself!

Are you incorporating yarncrafts into yours or your kids’ Halloween costumes this year? Let us know in the comments!

css.php