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How To Felt With Novelty Yarns

by Barbara Breiter

Felted knit and crochet projects, especially for bags and hats, are popular and give the item a terrific look. When you felt, the scales of the yarn become entangled. This causes the project to shrink and become matted.

Some projects, like many of my patterns at Knit A Bit, also combine novelty yarns, adding to the final look that's achieved.

A pattern will have already tested the two yarns together to see how it works out. But you may want to design your own project or substitute a yarn.

The best way to find out if the novelty yarn will hold up, which ordinarily you probably wouldn't toss into hot water and agitate which you need to do to felt, is to knit and test a swatch first. This will also give you a good idea of the amount of shrinkage you can expect.

You might be surprised at the different effects you get. So swatch and test. Something you may never have expected to work, may end up with an effect you love!

Here are some examples of swatches I tested:

Brown Sheep Nature Spun Wool/Berroco Metallic FX

This was a nice combination. The novelty yarn didn't end up with loose loops and they have felted into one fabric.

Brown Sheep Nature Spun Wool/Katia Joya

After the wool felted and shrunk, it left Joya with lots of loose loops. Not attractive. A heavier yarn may have solved the problem.


Crystal Palace Yarns Iceland Wool (top)/Crystal Palace Yarns Labrador Wool (bottom, a thick and thin yarn)/Crysal Palace Yarns Whisper

The novelty yarn looks very different after felting. Also note you can no longer tell the bottom section of the swatch was knit with a thick and thin yarn.


Crystal Palace Yarns Labrador Wool/Crystal Palace Yarns Tingle

Other than the swatch is now smaller, there is little difference in the appearance of the swatch. The eyelash yarn remained looking very nice and lush.

Brown Sheep Nature Spun Wool/Crystal Palace Yarns Light Pipe

Another nice combination in which the yarns felted into one fabric. Note how the iridescent thread portion of the novelty yarn is now showing subtle colors running through.


Crystal Palace Yarns Iceland Wool/Crystal Palace Yarns Squiggle

There appear to be more squiggles of yarn visible after felting but it's only because the wool has shrunk.

Need more knitting instructions?
Knitting Help: Learn to Knit

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Knitting
& Crocheting (3rd edition)

by Barbara Breiter & Gail Diven

learn to knit
Available in book stores everywhere.

Order from Amazon now!
List Price: $16.95 Amazon Price: $11.87

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Knitting and Crocheting, has been a world wide best seller. The third edition was published September, 2006 and is available in bookstores everywhere. Information on the book and a preview of the patterns included is available at Knit A Bit.