Learn to Felt - Knitted Purse

Uploaded by verypinkknits on 15.05.2011

In this lesson weíre going to learn how to felt. Which is a way of knitting something
up really big and putting in the hot washing machine, and shrinking it down.
And while weíre learning to felt, weíre going to learn make this basket.
So in this lesson weíre going to learn how to work with different colors, weíre going
to learn how to do some of the unique shaping on this bag, including how to do the handles,
and then in the last part of the lesson weíll actually venture out to my garage, and put
the finished piece in the washing machine to felt it up so we can watch the process
of how that works.
And first up, weíre going to talk about the bag bottom, and picking up stitches for the
bottom of the bag.
So to get started on the bag, youíre going to want to follow your pattern to knit this
bottom section.
And if youíd like to follow along with this pattern that weíre using here, itís available
for purchase and download over on my website.
So if youíre following the pattern, youíll end up with a piece that looks like this.
And again, the felting process is going to shrink everything down, so things are huge
and floppy right now.
You start by casting on just a couple of stitches, and then increasing, until you get to the
part where you have enough stitches, and then you just knit plain for a while, and you decrease
down back to two stitches again.
And thatís all spelled out in the pattern, including links to the two increases and decreases
that youíll need to make this happen.
And there is an important thing here. We need to have markers placed between the angled
sections and the straight sections.
And I want to show you exactly how to place those markers to get things just right.
So letís go ahead and take a look.
Okay, Iíve knit up a much smaller piece here to show you exactly what we have.
And I have used yarn as a place marker on here because itís really handy, after you
knit this piece, to iron it out.
And you can see this piece is looking so flat and beautiful and itís easy to see, but it
was a curly mess right after I knit it.
It was curling up like this. It looked pretty much like that.
So if you use yarn, itís okay to iron this out with a steam iron. If you have a little
plastic marker, itís going to melt, so I recommend using yarn.
Okay, so here is my piece, weíre going to pretend that I have knit up ñ of course,
this looks nothing like the piece youíll be using, but weíre going to pretend that
Iíve knit up to the part I need to place a marker.
And the pattern tells me exactly where to place a marker, at the end, after Iíve finished
a row.
So weíll pretend that this is the piece here.
What you need is a short piece of yarn and a tapestry needle. Iím going to thread that
on to there.
And the thing that you want to mark is the stitch thatís on the needle.
The stitch thatís currently on the needle.
So you put your tapestry needle in there, with the loop on the needle.
And then just do a little overhand knot.
And this scrap yarn will be removed later, so itís not a big deal how it looks.
You just want to make sure you get it in the right spot.
So thatís how youíre going to mark that stitch.
Youíre also going to mark the same stitch on the other end of the needle.
And thatís it.
Itís really important in the pattern that you get those stitch markers placed just right!
Next up, weíre going to pick up stitches around the bottom of the bag.
Thereís a lot of unique shaping going on in this bag.
And we already talked about what the first piece looks like when youíre done with it.
And again, this is all ironed out flat and easy to see.
We have just a couple stitches, it gets wide, itís straight, then it goes down to just
a couple stitches again.
And that is the bottom of the bag here.
This one in black, this oneís in red, this oneís in black.
And itís this whole piece right here.
So we need to pick up stitches around this to be able to knit the body of the bag, and
thatís what Iím going to show you how to do now.
Okay, youíre going to follow your pattern.
You have these markers placed so nicely, and this again, is a much smaller piece than youíll
end up with.
I just knit this up for a sample.
And what you want to do is roll the uh ñ you want to start working across one side
like this, and youíre going to start over here at the right marker, and then roll it
so youíre sure youíre looking at the edge stitches.
And the edge stitches are going to look like Vs.
You want to skip the marker, and put your needle under both legs, meaning the whole
V, of the next stitch.
Youíre going to grab your other color of yarn.
And Iím just using this for an example. Iím not sure Iíd put these two greens together.
And pull that through.
Then you go to the next stitch, wrap your needle, whoops, wrap your needle and pull
it through.
And I just made a mistake there I can talk about.
When you put your needle in and wrap the needle, itís going to require a lot of tension to
get that needle to pull through.
This is the way youíre going to ñ whoops! I almost forgot something.
When youíre picking up the stitches between these two markers, youíre going to pick up
one, two, three, and then skip one.
And then pick up one, two, three, and then skip one.
So thereís my one, two, three.
Thereís the next one, Iím going to skip it, Iím going to go into the following one.
This will give us a nice flat piece.
So thereís one, two, three, and then thereís the next one, Iím going to skip it and go
into the following one.
Okay, so youíll follow your directions to pick up everything you need to pick up on
the straight side, on the straight part of the piece.
And then when you get to the next marker, you will actually pick up the stitch that
this is marking.
And then youíre going to turn your work. So youíll be working up from this side.
And youíre going to pick up and purl on this side.
And I want to show you what that looks like.
Um, how am I going to do this? Okay.
When youíre picking up and purling ñ Iím going to just do it from this knit side here.
You come ñ instead of coming from the front to the back, like this, youíre going to come
in from the back to the front.
So you come in this way, and your yarnís in front because youíre purling, you wrap
the needle and pull it through that way.
Now Iím just demonstrating on this side. This is actually the knit side.
Iíll show you again.
You come in from the back to the front under both legs of the V.
Whoops, I just went into the same stitch.
Come in from the back to the front under both legs of the V, wrap the needle, and pull it
through to the back.
And thatís going to give you a nice edge on the right side of the work, without getting
this ridge that you see Iím getting while Iím picking up and knitting.
Anyway, so let me talk more about this.
You pick up between the markers. On this first row, you pick up this one that is marked,
and then you turn your work.
And then youíre going to work all the way across, purl all the way across, and pick
up the one that this is marking on this side, and then turn your work again.
And then this is where things change.
Now youíre actually going to be picking up stitches along the slanted edges.
And when you do that, youíre going to be picking up every other stitch.
So when I come back this way on the third row, thereís the last one I picked up, Iím
going to skip this one, and go under both legs of this one, and turn the work.
And then when Iím going on this side, itís going to be the same thing from there on out.
Iíll work past this one, skip the next one, and pick this one up.
Thatís whatís going to give us the nice angle on the sides of the bag.
Once you pick up everything on one side of the bag, youíll of course repeat the same
thing for the other side of the bag.
And when you pick up both sides, it will actually start looking like a bag. You will have a
bag shape.
Then youíre going to follow the directions to do some decreasing on the sides.
And next up, I believe, weíre going to talk about, yes, weíre going to talk about doing
the bind off for the handles.
The handles on this bag are really simple.
Itís really just binding stitches off, and then casting stitches on using the backwards
loop method.
But there is a tricky part in counting the bind off stitches. And thatís what I want
to demonstrate for you now.
First up, let me show you [laughs].
This is what your bagís going to look like when itís finished. And I will give you a
bigger shot of this in a minute.
But this is the handle part of it, and these are a bunch of bound off stitches, and these
are stitches cast on using the backwards loop method.
And then you knit a few more rows.
Thatís what Iím going to show you now.
Iím going to use this little sample piece to show you how to do it.
Youíre going to follow your pattern and knit up to the spot.
Where it tells you to start binding off.
Weíre going to pretend thatís the spot.
The thing to remember is you have to knit two stitches to bind one off.
But the knitting of the two stitches does not count as part of the bind off.
So Iím going to knit two, and then this action right here counts as one bind off.
Thatís two.
Thatís three.
Thatís four.
You see?
Itís actually pulling one stitch over the other one that counts as the bind off.
Now weíll go ahead and pretend that this is all I need to bind off, and um, Iíll have
how ever many stitches remaining when Iím done with that part.
I already have one stitch knit. Donít forget to count this.
This is left over from the bind off, but it should actually be included with these stitches
right here in your count.
So youíll finish knitting the rest of the round.
Then on the next round, when you come up to this gap right here, youíre going to do what
is the backwards loop cast on. To cast on the same number of stitches as you bound off.
So youíll end up with the same number as you started before the bind off.
And to demonstrate that really quickly, you just twist the yarn around your thumb, and
slide it on to the needle.
And this is a way of casting on when you only have one strand to work with.
Itís not the greatest cast on for when youíre starting a project, but it works really well
in cases like this.
Thatís the backwards loop cast on.
Youíll work that bind off and the backwards loop cast on on both sides of the bag, of
course, so that you have two handles.
And next up weíre going to talk about making the top of the bag look really smooth and
even where youíre joined in the round.
You should have a finished bag now. It doesnít look like much [laughs].
It is huge and floppy and curling up in places and hardly recognizable as this bag.
But thatís all going to change when we felt it.
The last thing I want to show you how to do before we actually go to the washing machine
with this, is in the spot where you were joining ñ where the beginning of your round was,
you probably have a pretty significant jog here, and you have an end to weave in.
So Iím going to show you how to use this end to make this really smooth, so the bag
has a nice finished top when youíre done with felting.
So letís take a look.
Okay, of course this is all curling up on me!
Because thatís the nature of stockinette stitch here.
Iím going to take my tapestry needle, and while Iím weaving in this end Iím going
to do a little trick to smooth that out.
So hereís where the yarn is coming from, hereís kind of the gap, and here is the part
I want to connect it to.
If I can pull this over to the other side, and cover this gap, and make a V out of it
so it matches everything else on the top row of this bag, no one will ever be wiser that
there was ever a join here.
So, what Iím going to do, is Iím going to skip this first V here. And Iím going to
go through both legs of the next V with my tapestry needle.
Then Iím going to go back down into the same spot that my yarn was coming from, that this
end was coming from in the first place.
I pull that through and tighten it up.
You see how much better that looks?
It is smooth across the top now.
Now Iíll just weave this end in.
You, of course, you want to weave all your ends in before you felt, or you can have some
crazy consequences. [laughs]
Okay, and now thatís good enough. I can cut that end short. That will be fine.
Next up, we get to start felting!
We are now just about ready to felt, and felting is always kind of an adventure.
So weíre going to go on this adventure together!
Uh, before I put this in the washing machine, thereís something that I want to do.
I happened to use yarns that I had left over from other projects for this bag, and Iím
not sure that I would normally pick two such high contrast colors.
Because there is a chance that this red is going to bleed into this cream color, and
Iím not really going to have a lot of control over that in the washing machine.
But there is something I can do to help with that before I go to the washing machine.
Iím going to soak this for just a few minutes in a sink with water and about a cup of vinegar.
Cold water, about a cup of vinegar.
Just the cheapest white vinegar they sell in the grocery store.
I probably actually use more than a cup. Because it is so cheap and I just really want to make
sure that the colors are going to stay set.
That will help set the color, soak it for ten or fifteen minutes, that should be enough.
Then when I go to the washing machine, what Iím going to do first is Iím going to turn
the water on to hot and let it run for a little bit.
With an empty basket. Iím not going to put anything in the washing machine yet.
Iíll let the water get hot and start running hot. Because I do want the absolute hottest
water in the washing machine for this.
And then Iíll spin that out, and actually fill the tub with the hot water.
Iím going to put this inside of a lingerie basket. Because when youíre felting things,
a lot of wool flies, and you want a lingerie basket or a zippered pillowcase to catch that
wool so it doesnít eventually ruin your washing machine if you do a lot of felting.
And Iím going to also throw an old towel in there. Because it will help agitate this,
and it will help it felt faster.
So Iím going to go take this first to the sink for the vinegar bath, and then to the
washing machine to wash it in hot water.
Iím probably going to give it about seven minutes at first, and then next up, weíll
check the felting process together, so you can recognize when something is finished felting.
[lid slams]
[dial clicks]
[water running]
Okay, Iím just in from the garage with this partially felted bag, and I want you to take
a look at what it looks like when itís partially felted, so you can see that thereís still
some stitch definition, itís not ready to go yet.
So letís take a look.
It is fuzzy and hot and wet and stinky right now.
And if you take a look you can see that we can still see little Vs. That means that itís
not done felting yet. Thereís way too much stitch definition.
Another thing you can go by is the size of the bag.
You probably want to felt it down to about the same size that I have, and this is still
much too big and floppy.
So this is going back into the washing machine for a while.
Okay, back from the washing machine, and I think we have a fully felted bag here.
Um, something you want to keep in mind, is that felting is always an adventure, like
I said, but it makes a difference ñ the different yarn that you use, your washing machine, how
hot the water is, even different colors of yarn will felt differently in the same brand
and same type of yarn.
But I think weíve got it here.
First letís take a look at the stitch definition. You can see there are no more Vs here. This
bag is completely felted.
Okay, and itís also very fuzzy, and Iíll be pulling off the bits of fuzz as we go.
I want to talk to you a bit about shaping this bag. I should probably keep this here.
You can see that this is really lumpy and lacking a lot of shape.
And so what Iím going to do first is to square out the bottom of it.
And of course I have the color break there to show me where the corners should be, where
the edges should be.
And I usually like to felt things a little smaller than I want them to be in the end
so that I can successfully do this stretching part to get things smoothed out.
Okay. The bottomís pretty squared out. So now Iím going to stretch out the sides a
little bit, paying attention to the fact that I want this bag to go out and back in again
on the sides.
And then I can stretch out ñ you see how Iím grabbing where the corners would be,
where the corners are here, and Iím pulling it like that.
That will help put a lot of definition to the corners.
Oh! [laughs] This bag is really warm and itís warm today, Iím starting to sweat a little
bit doing this.
Now this is something that I can fuss with shaping a felted piece for a long time to
get it just right.
And, this one is actually the shape is really holding itís own really well. Itís holding
itís own really well. It looks pretty good.
You can see the difference here already.
This is looking much more like the bag it should look like.
Now when I let this dry, if you followed along with the Easter Basket felting project we
did together, I said keep felting it until it stands up on its own, donít stuff it with
This is different. This is a much lighter fabric, and it wonít dry standing up on its
own. It will flop around while itís wet and heavy.
So I always use ñ you can use plastic bags. Plastic grocery bags. I like to use this fabric,
this tulle fabric.
And put it inside.
And shape it like this.
The fabric is certainly quieter on camera to use than the plastic bags! [laughs]
You see how thatís really going to help.
And then the last thing I did while I was shaping this was I used a couple of clothes
pins and I closed the top together so it wouldnít stretch out while it was drying.
And then, um, it really dried in no time.
I should mention, before I pulled this out of the washing machine, I turned the washing
machine on to spin for 30 seconds to get most of the water out.
Then the last thing youíll want to do is to let it dry, and see how itís holding itís
When I did this bag I let it dry, and I still felt the bag was too floppy after it was dried.
So I put it in for one more felting cycle.
So this bag in these colors, I probably felted this for a little over 20 minutes total. Probably
like 23 25 minutes.
This one felted for just about exactly 20 minutes, and it seems to be a little bit smaller.
Yes, it is a little smaller. It felted a little bit harder and a little bit faster than the
other one. Feltingís always an adventure like I said.
Anyway, you let this dry and youíll have a finished bag, and a good lesson in felting.