Knitting & Crochet

Knitted and felted hot water bottle cover

By: Beverly Galeskas

Author: Canadian Living

Knitting & Crochet

Knitted and felted hot water bottle cover

By: Beverly Galeskas

You may have seen a luxury-fibre hot water bottle cover offered through an exclusive catalog for several hundred dollars. Not to be outdone, I chose an angora blend for my luxury cover. If you are more the woolly type, substitute any wool that will felt to about the same gauge.

Materials
Size
10" by 14" (25.5 by 35.5 cm). The st count may be adjusted to accommodate other sizes.

Yarn
Light to medium worsted-weight yarn, 300 yards (274.5 meters). Always test your yarns to be sure that they felt to a nice fabric at the gauge given. The hot water bottle cover is shown in Classic Elite Lush (50% angora, 50% wool; 123 yd [112.5 m] 50 g): #4434 wine, 3 skeins.

Needles
Size 10 (6 mm), 24" (60 cm) circular. Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

Notions
Markers; fine waste cotton thread for basting; 18" [46 cm] of waste cotton to thread through eyelets of bottle cover while felting; silk ribbon to thread through eyelets of bottle cover after felting; tapestry needle.

Gauge
Unfelted: 14 sts and 21 rows = 4" (10 cm) in Stockinette st (St st).
Felted: About 18-20 sts and 26-28 rows = 4" (10 cm). Gauge will vary with the amount of felting and is not critical for these patterns.

Felting
Follow basic felting instructions (see Page 2), felting to desired size.

Directions
Loosely cast on 90 sts. Place marker and join, being careful not to twist sts.
Knit in rnds of St st (knit every rnd) for 85 rnds or about 16" (40.5 cm).
Dec rnd: *K1, k2tog; repeat from * -- 60 sts.
Knit 2 rnds even.
Eyelet rnd: *Ssk, k1, yo; repeat from *. Knit 22 rnds even in St st. Change to garter st (purl 1 rnd, knit 1 rnd) for 5 rnds, ending with a purl rnd. Bind off loosely knitwise. Cut yarn and fasten off.

Finishing
Sew cast-on edges together to close bottom of bag. Weave in loose ends on WS. Thread a length of waste cotton through the eyelets to hold them open during felting. When felted and dry, brush the surface lightly with a stiff bristled brush to bring up more angora. To maintain an air of luxury, thread a matching silk ribbon through the holes after the cover is felted and dried.

Page 1 of 3 -- Find more instructions for your felted bottle cover on page 2.

 


Excerpted from Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas. Copyright 2003 by Beverly Galeskas and Interweave Press, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Interweave Press, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Controlled felting in the washing machine
There are many ways to felt a piece of knitting, and you will find a wide variety of instructions in patterns for felted knits. The following method comes from my experience of felting hundreds of items -- some successfully and some not. This method may not be the fastest one, but it allows you to get just the size you want.

(Note that these are general directions. Some projects in this book have special needs and require that you follow additional steps or instructions. Remember to always check your pattern for specific information before proceeding.)

The felting process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour. If you're interrupted or need to take a break, just turn your washing machine off. It will not harm your project to leave it soaking for a while. If you return to find that your water has cooled, you may want add more hot water.

Step one
Place your knitting in a zippered pillow protector, or at the very least, a fine mesh bag. The mesh bag is adequate for most wool, but a pillow protector gives better protection if you are felting with Icelandic-type wool, mohair, or any other hairy fibre. Modern washers are not designed to handle the amount of fibre that is washed out during felting.

Most machines cycle water through the pump during agitation. Over time the loose fibres accumulate in the workings of the pump until it begins to leak. This problem is easily avoided by using a bag, so please don't let the fear of damaging your washing machine keep you away from felting.

Step two
Set the water temperature of your washer to hot. Standard hot-water tank temperature is sufficient. Adding boiling water does not speed felting time and can result in painful burns. Hot water helps to soften the fibres and raise the scales of the cuticle, but it is agitation, or movement, that causes the friction between the fibres and accomplishes the actual work of felting.

To achieve enough agitation for successful felting, you need a relatively small amount of water and strong agitation. So set your washer for a small load, and moderate to high agitation. Experience (and lots of test swatches) will determine the best settings for your washer and the type of fibre you're felting.

Step three
Add a small amount of a mild detergent -- or better yet, a rinse-free wool wash such as Woolmix or Eucalan (available at many yarn shops or by mail order). The detergent or wool wash combined with the hot water will further soften the fibres and prepare them for felting.

The obvious advantage to using a rinse-free product is that you can skip the rinsing step. If you do choose to use detergent, employ a mild one without added bleach or fabric softeners. A clear, mild dishwashing liquid works well and may be easier to rinse out than some laundry detergents.

How much washing agent do you need? For a small item or two, a tablespoon or less is sufficient. You want to use enough to help with the softening process, but too much can actually hinder the felting by coating the fibres. If your water feels slippery and you have mounds of suds, that is too much. Drain some sudsy water and add more water to dilute the soap.

Page 2 of 3 -- Find the rest of the instructions on page 3.

 


Excerpted from Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas. Copyright 2003 by Beverly Galeskas and Interweave Press, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Interweave Press, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Step four
If needed, add a larger object to increase the agitation. Agitation is necessary for felting to occur, and one or two small items in a washer by themselves will only bob around gently. Unless you are felting a large project, adding something heavy like an old pair of jeans will greatly increase the agitation and speed up the felting process.

Other safe items to add include tennis balls, rubber flip-flop thongs, or any fairly heavy piece of old clothing that will not shed. It's important not to add something that will shed lint into the water, because it will become part of your felt. Many felting projects have been decorated with flecks of terrycloth from old bath towels. (Even old towels can lose a fair amount of lint in each wash.)

Adding a load of the family laundry to your felting bath is not a good idea, either. The amount of agitation needed to felt something is usually far more than what is needed to clean your clothing and will only subject the garments to extra wear.

Step five
Start your washer and set your timer. Check the progress of your item every five to 10 minutes at the beginning, and more frequently as your project nears the desired size. Keep resetting your washer to continue agitating as long as necessary. Do not let it drain and spin!

This agitation period is the "controlled" part of the felting method. You have to regularly fish your project out of the washer, squeeze the water out, and see how it's doing. Depending on your wool, your water, your machine, the phase of the moon, and any number of other factors, it may take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to get the results you want. By checking frequently you can stop the process at just the right time.

How to felt more than one item at a time
If you are felting more than one item at a time, be sure to check all of them. Each item needs to be taken out of its bag, examined, shaped and admired, then returned for more agitation as needed.

When your project appears to be the perfect size, remove it from the washer. Do not leave it in to spin and rinse. The spin cycle may set permanent creases
in your felt and machine rinsing will cause further shrinkage. Remember, there is no magic predetermined stopping point for felting, so you have to stop the process when you have what you want.

Step six: Rinsing
You can skip this step if you use a rinse-free wool wash such as Woolmix or Eucalan. If you need to rinse, do it by hand in cool to warm water. Holding a felted object under very cold, running water will sometimes help firm up the felt -- if that's what you desire. Otherwise, rinse the object in lukewarm water. Either way, be sure to rinse until all traces of soap are removed.

There are many ways to felt. If you get results that you are happy with by using methods other than this one, by all means use them. On the other hand, if your pattern recommends a method that sounds risky to you, such as putting your project through the washer and dryer with a load of laundry, don't hesitate to substitute a more controlled method.

Let your washer do the work while you stay in control!

Find more great craft ideas here.

Page 3 of 3

 


Excerpted from Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas. Copyright 2003 by Beverly Galeskas and Interweave Press, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Interweave Press, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Share X
Knitting & Crochet

Knitted and felted hot water bottle cover