Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Transfiguration - First Felted Project Ever!

Okay, I've turned in the six classes required for Second Year Ultimate Quest, but y'all know I'm crazy, right? So, naturally, there had to be MOAR KNITTING. Specifically, I decided to try my hand at felting for Transfiguration. I LOVE the mittens I made for Defense Against the Dark Arts, and wanted Things That Matched to go with them. (I'll be working a scarf & hat into Winter Term classes; there may be a jacket in the works, too, someday.)

I've never felted anything before, mind you. Didn't really see the point. I have, however, made bags before... and getting them so knitting (and kntting needles!) don't fall out... well, that's a challenge. For this, felting might actually be something worth trying, right? So, using the graph from the Flaming Mitts (which I turned into Flame Mittens), I started to knit a bag.

It looks like a sweater....

I made the world's biggest short-row toe to start, which took an entire ball of Debbie Stoller's Full-o-Sheep on size 15 needles - I had to go get more to get a few rows past the "start knitting in the round" point and get the flames started! Then, the flames, then to the black. Then a lot of around and around and around in the black. Then the casting off.

Before - 4' wide, 3.5' tall.
Bigger than a sweater!

Then the terror. Lots of terror - I was going to actively do Something Bad to this lovely, if totally oversized, bag I'd just knitted. Luckily, Cat & Eric of LetsKnit2gether.com have Helpful Hand-Holding Felting Videos (Felting aka the Science Experiment, Pt. 1 and Felting aka The Science Experiment, Pt. 2). Found a lingere bag and some sheets, and ran the washer as hot as it would go. Given that I'd knitted a body-bag sized object, getting it to felt down took a lot longer than I thought it would. And I did some slightly unrecommended things in the process. First off, 20 minutes of hot-hot-hot washing got me this - which was both shorter and wider than I'd expected. For felting, the rule is generally "knit wider than longer", since for normal people, things will shrink in rather than down. Once again, the bizarre way I throw my yarn gave me an opposite result - it shrunk shorter and stayed wider than expected.

2' wide, 1' tall - how strange!

Yeah, it's slightly wonky-looking. So, based on my mother's intuition and several tales of what had happened to sweaters of hers in the early days of her marriage, it went into the DRYER for 20 minutes... and, while still wonky looking when it came out, it was workable. A wee bit of nipping, tucking, stitching and whacking into shape, and it started to resemble the tote-bag I was going for. At this point, it is now 20% of its original size!!!

It's smaller than initially expected, but that's fine - it's still a workable tote-bag size, and the handles I got for it will work even better, since they're for a medium-to-large bag, and this is a nice, solid medium. I used Cat's plastic-bag-over-a-box-and-PULL blocking method, and put the little critter in front of our main heat-vent. By Monday morning, half of it was dry, so I turned it around.

Blocked - roughly 18" tall x 16" wide x 3" deep

Monday night, I put on the handles - and, Ta-Dah! It's an actual totebag! I'm still trying to decide whether or not I'm going to line it; the fabric is pretty darned thick (getting a needle through it to attach the handles? Quite an adventure!)

The inside, unlined

My first felted project, and it came out great!


  1. It's fabulous. I can't believe this is your first felted project! The yellow markings look like flames rising up. Very cool!


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