View Full Version : Felting by hand

04-19-2007, 08:34 PM
Has anyone done this? How did it work out? Right now I'm working on a modified Booga bag, using Patton's SWS. I live in an apartment without washer or dryer, so I have to use the community laundry room. It's not only a pain, but if I have to run my bag through four or five times, it will be an expensive pain as well. Does anyone have any advice for felting by hand, I mean in the kitchen sink? Would you recommend it or is it a waste of time and yarn? Thanks in advance!

04-19-2007, 08:42 PM
I have only felted small things by hand, some felted mice for cat toys. Basically I filled a basin with hot water in my sink and scrubbed (with my hands) the knitted item really hard. Felting a booga bag by hand will take a very, very long time, at least judging from my hand-felting experience.

Susan P.
04-19-2007, 08:44 PM
Iris, you often only need ten minutes on the wash cycle - make sure the machine does not go into the spin mode! so even in your circumstances that should be ok to do.

What I would do if you want to try your sink is to make a swatch using the yarn you've used on the bag. Put hot water into the sink at just enough level to just cover the swatch (couple of inches), pull on rubber gloves (but I'd put on cotton ones first as my hot water would be unbearably hot with just rubber gloves on) - and swish and knead with your knuckles over and over. Pull out after ten minutes and see the effect but you may find a solid ten minutes hard work! (I know I would).

BUT, ten minutes in a washer for your bag could be 50min by hand so it's up to you :-)

Susan P.
04-19-2007, 08:45 PM
My reply overlapped teenknitters so we've said similar things. :-)

04-19-2007, 09:15 PM
It took me like 45 minutes to hand-felt a flower...my one and only hand-felting experience. ;)

04-19-2007, 10:35 PM
Okay, you all have totally convinced me! No hand felting the booga bag, because it is huge as of yet. It will have to shrink down to about half its size or so I've read, and I don't have the stamina for that ~lol~. Thanks, guys!

04-20-2007, 04:47 AM
I'm sure there was an article in one of my magazines about hand felting...I'll have to have a look...

04-20-2007, 04:56 AM
Something to remember when felting is to have as little water as possible in the machine. Be sure the "fill" setting is at it's lowest. You can also put some blue jeans in with your bag and that will help the process go faster.

04-20-2007, 05:08 AM
Here we go, I've found it! I've never tried this though so I don't know how well it works...

(From the 'Simply Knitting' magazine)

1) Get your equipment ready. You'll need 2 large shallow bowls (or a sink/bath), a pair of rubber gloves, soap, your knitted item, hot and cold water, and ice cubes.

2) Place one bowl in or near the sink and fill it with hot/almost boiling water. With gloves on, add a little soap and stir gently, taking care not to scald yourself.

3) Now place your knitted item in the bowl of hot water. Ensure that it's completely covered and let it soak for a few minutes.

4) While your knitting is soaking in the hot, soapy water, place your other bowl in the sink and add some cold water and 2 or 3 large handfuls of ice cubes.

5) Now rub your knitting vigorously between your hands or on a hard surface, such as a draining board, or even better an old fashioned washing board.

6) Dip the knitting in the cold water and continue rubbing. Felting may happen immediately or it may need dipping back and forth between the hot and cold water.

7) Think about the shape you need. For a flat shape, rub back and forth in one direction then change direction and continue. For a ball, roll it around in a circular motion.

8.) When you've reached the stage of felting you want, rinse the fabric in cool water. Now you can roll the knitting in a towel, shape it and dry somewhere cool.

Sound any good? :shrug:

Susan P.
04-20-2007, 05:29 AM
Interesting DQ about the cold water to hot water suggestion.

Debbie mentioned the blue jeans. I don't own any but I am interested to know why these work so well. Is it the relative 'hardness' of the fabric?

04-20-2007, 07:19 AM
It's just that the jeans are so heavy and thick. It helps the felting process (in the machine) because it adds a lot of agitation. I usually use towels, but put my felted item in a zippered pillow case to keep out towel fuzz.

Susan P.
04-20-2007, 08:04 AM
Thanks SandraEllen. I've never been that attracted to the notion of felting before coming to this forum but I must admit I've really liked some of the items I've seen here so I must give it a try. That cable clutch I thought lovely (can't think of topic it was shown in).