Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Felting for Beginners

Felting -- the process of taking a natural-fiber knitted piece (wool, alpaca -- any fiber that will shrink) and washing it by hand or machine until the fibers cling together, making a thicker, non-raveling piece. Felting often will shrink the garment about 40 percent (more in length than in width). Fulling is doing the same thing, but with a WOVEN piece of natural-fiber.

I love to felt my knitting things -- it's very fun to be able to mindlessly knit a huge sack that will ultimately be something quite useful. I usually felt bags or backpacks, but I've also tried felted slippers (which are amazingly warm and sturdy); I've even been known to purposely felt something that I didn't like, cut and sew it into something completely new -- just ask my MIL: I made her a gorgeous Christmas tea cozy with matching coasters from a fair-isle vest that I hated once I was finished with the knitting. Felting gave it new life.

Felting is also a GREAT beginner project because you can alter the shape of the finished product and hide small mistakes (like a doubled stitch or uneven gauge). Felting is a very do-able action with your knitting that exponentially increases your design possibilities!

If you're interested at all in finding out more about felting, here are some of the best (IMHO) books on the subject:
  • Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas -- this wonderful book is written by the established "queen of felting". Galeskas is the designer behind Fiber Trends, the folks who were trying to get everyone felting their knitting back in the '90s (actually 13 years ago)!
  • Felt It! 20 Fun & Fabulous Project to Knit & Felt by Maggie Pace -- I like this book! The designs are a bit too funky for my tastes -- wait till you see the "Night Star Wrap"! -- but they are extremely varied and unique. More importantly, she has great tips and techniques that will save new felters (or even those "experienced felters") quite a bit of time and effort. This really is a great paperback!
  • Fabulous Felted Hand-Knits: Wonderful Wearables & Home Accents by Jane Davis -- has such wonderful projects, with nice clear directions and information. Like Maggie Pace's book, you get so much more than the unique designs -- you get helpful advice from a woman who has felted many items and so knows how to do it right!

There are MANY other knit-felting books out in the stores. If you browse Tattered Cover, you'll find nine others (plus the plethora of felted crochet books).

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Thanks for the visit to my blog and comment on the camisole! It's been a...journey, should we say? I agree with you completely about the photography. You can never tell when a publisher will have a totally bad photography day. It can ruin the nicest design...even I had to convince myself that the camisole could look better...