Telling your felting where to go

This post is relatively technical and if you are not a knitter, you may want to stop reading now before the boredom hits too hard, but please look at the pretty pictures anyway…

I have figured something out over time while I have been doing some of these felted hats. I may have been told these things somewhere back in the distant past and forgot them, but I will never forget them again. There are two major contributing factors to the shape of a knitted hat, only one of them being the stitches that are put into it.  Any knitter that has blocked a lace shawl (or a sweater for that matter) knows the power of the pins.  Felting in the washing machine and dryer is no different but you are not in there with the stuff to control things and there is no board to pin things on.

I would never expect to wash a lace shawl without blocking it so I am not sure why it took me so long to figure out I had to corral the hat before I felted it.  This is what went horribly wrong with the Remembrance Day hat back in November (before the epiphany).  I just put it through the washer and dryer and let it get tugged around by the wringer and the other laundry willy nilly.  It shrank but there was no control to it.  I went back today and re felted it with a string around the cinch point.  The hat may still have issues but that one is fixed…

It now looks quite a bit like the 20’s style cloche I was originally trying for but thought I had failed miserably at.  I also had only put it through the wash and dry once.  It really felts a lot the second time through.  Actually often it seems only two washes with a dryer in between is enough; take a good look after the second wash and decide if you really need to put it in again or not.  Things seem to depend on water temperature (hotter felts more) and the amount of other laundry in there with it (space to move felts things more).

So yesterday on the Doctor Who fez, I actually ran strings through the cast on and cast off edges.  I pulled them to about the tightness I thought they should end up at and eased the fullness around before I sent them through the washer and dryer….and P.S. be a Girl Scout…tie a reef knot so it will not come undone in the washing machine (ask me how I know!)

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