Felting has been my newest frontier and I'm having a ton of fun with it. Because I live in an appartment building with one coin oporated washing machine, I've tried hand felting my stuff in the bathtub as well as a few experiments with the washer when I had a few things to felt that would be worth scrounging $1.75 in quarters.
My ultimate goal is a custom felted knitting bag that will be large enough for my 14" strait neeldes, has pockets and pockets and pockets for notions, is deep enough to hold the large print knitting books I've got, and that will hold all the other crap I carry around in my purse... sort of a combo knitting/messenger bag. (Since I have crazy commutes and what not, I usually carry a bunch of stuff with me where ever I go.)
To anyone who is waiting to try felting, I say why wait? Felting hides all sorts of funky things, and lets you practice knitting in the round, seaming, swatching, checking gage, weaving in ends, etc, and the final felted project will hide many sins.
Also, since you should usually be working with large needles, things knit up really quick so you have an instant gratification factor :)
Simple felting project for beginners that uses many important skills to practice: Basic bag (No pattern really needed!)
Use large neeldes and 100%, not super-wash wool (I'm using size 15 needles and Cascade bulky weight yarn - very inexpensive and comes in lots of great colors)
Cast on a bunch of stitches onto circular needles - doesn't matter how many as long as you get a finished tube that is reasonably sized... my tester bag I'm finishing up is just over a foot wide when laid flat. Join, and work in the round - stockenette is easy, just knit all stitches.
When you've got a tube that is somewhat taller than wide, since stockinete tends to felt more vertically than horizontally, BO. Seam the bottom shut by just doing a simple whip stitch, or whatever type of seaming you need to practice.
For a pocket, use the same color (or a color that will felt the same) and knit a rectangle based on a porportion of the bag.... So, about *this* much of the front should be pocket. This is not an exact science at all. Sew on the front.
Knit a long strip a few inches wide (three inches? four?) for the handel. Sew on corners of the bag.
Toss in a mesh bag, or zippered pillow case and throw it in the washer. Add a small ammount of detergent, or wool wash - there are some great washes that don't need to be rinsed that you LYS can point you to. Set your washer to a small, hot load and start. Check in 5 minutes, then every few minutes after that to see how it is going.
Pull out of the water (it is suggested that you shouldn't let it go through a spin cycle) and squeeze the water out. Lay flat to dry.
VERY EASY. It could be scaled down and finished up in a day if you were determined.
Point being? Beginning knitters felt on! And who needs a pattern?