Thursday, July 18, 2013

Felted Patterns Gone Bad

Have you ever purchased a pattern and made it up only to find that the size, despite the gauge being correct was way off?

Now, I can correct most any pattern to make it work but the yarn I waste in the meantime frustrates me because if you knit or crochet you know yarn, especially wool yarn, is not cheap.

Here are some tips on felted patterns. I have come up with these suggestions as a general guide after much frustration.

When you buy a pattern and it calls for worsted weight yarn be very careful to look at the gauge. Even so, I suggest you knit a swatch and felt it to see if you get the correct felted gauge. Worsted weight is so general and can be anywhere from 3-5 stitches an inch...big difference in the finished product. Even if you are using the same yarn they did keep in mind that everyone felts differently depending on the techniques, machine, water temperature, etc...

Here is a pattern I used recently.
It is a beautiful hat but it was supposed to fit a 23 inch is 16.5 inches on the inside! I will have to make major adjustments to this one, not so much in the length because it is not too far off but the circumference is a mile away! That kind of tells me perhaps something is amiss with the pattern but there are no corrections listed.
That brings me to another point. If you ever purchase a pattern, look to see if there have been corrections before you begin knitting/crocheting.
When I create a pattern I write it down as I go along. After I am finished I write up the pattern so it makes sense to the community then I make another item following the directions to make certain there are no typos. I have found errors in doing this so I am very happy I included that step.
Be careful when you are making a knit or crochet item to felt that you use the same brand/weight of yarn so they (probably) felt us evenly. Even still, you should do a small swatch to make sure. If you are using different colors you also want to do a sample first to make sure the colors will not run together. I have had very good luck with Cascade 220 & Lamb's Pride by Brown Sheep but Patton seems to bleed more and the color also fades more...for me anyway. If you are making a solid color item this does not matter. I really love the Cascade 220 yarns, they have a wonderful variety of colors and I get very consistent results. If I am making something in winter white or natural I really love the Fisherman’s by Lion Brand. If you have ever tried to felt light colors you know it can be challenging and often by the time you have the correct size there is a lot of distortion. This yarn does not distort and it felts really fast...5 minutes in the washer with hot water and Dawn. Most fibers take about 20 minutes which means setting back the cannot felt in a front loader, you have to have an agitator.
For more information on beading, kitting or crochet see my blog at  Divella Delights

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