Thursday, March 8, 2007

Crochet Felting Tips

It has been a few weeks since my last blog entry so I thought I better put some of the info I have been preparing up!

So- first there are some tips on CROCHET FELTING that I have found helpful with my own experience. Please note that everyone has a way that works for them... try it and see what works for you. Experiment to acheive the individual look you are trying to achieve for your project. Then feel free to let me know what you made and how it turned out!
Secondly- I have a pattern for a crochet cotton felted ( or fulled) bag. It will not have the appearance of a wool bag, but then that is what gives it a sense of style and panache-- at least that is my personal opinion!
Enjoy and experiment and see what your imagination can do!

I have had some comments about the felting technique I use when crocheting. Please note that this is only with CROCHET FELTING and ONLY WHEN I USE 100% COTTON.
If using wool then the fibers will shrink a bit more densely and create a fabric with a solid appearance where the individual stitches will not show. With crochet felting the stitches will still be discernable, but very tight and kind of stuck together.

Guidelines that I use when crocheting to felt.

1-I make the item about 1/3 larger than I want it to be in the end.

2- Use only 100%cotton or if using wool make sure it is not "washable" wool which is treated so it will not shrink and therefore will not felt; and make sure the wool, alpaca, llama, cashmere, etc equal at least 75% of the fiber make up.You can use something with rayon or acetate or such as long as the predominant fiber is a natural untreated one.

3- If making something that will be used like a bag or an article of clothing use a hook size up one or 2 from the recommened size you can comfortably use with the yarn you are working with. If the packaging says to use an F hook then go up to a G or H.
Worsted weight and sport weight can take a G or H hook in a sc or hdc for a nice tight even felted appearance.

4- Make sure you put your item in a lingerie bag or stocking if putting it through a cycle in the washer since it is likely to stretch out in the spin cycle and may end up irregular in shape. And the fibers won't clog your washer's filter.

Felted Bag-

This is an easy to do project:
Using 100% cotton ( I use peaches & Creme worsted weight cotton) and a size G hook

row 1-chain 52, hdc in 2nd ch from hook and in each remaining chain to the end ( 50 hdc) , ch 2 turn
row 2- sc in 1st stitch and in each to the end, chain 2 turn

row 3- hdc in1st stitch and in each stitch across to end, chain 2, turn

continue repeating row 2 and row 3 until fabric measures about 18 inches tall.

Felt the fabric in the washer in a stocking or lingerie bag or by hand.

I prefer by hand for one or 2 pieces and use a bucket or basin filled with scalding hot water with a small amount of detergent.
Wearing rubber gloves is the best advice against burning your fingers! Agitate the fabric really well– squeeze it, rub it against itself and really swish it about in the hat water. Let it sit for a few minutes then repeat the agitation again.
Remove from the hot soapy water and rinse under running hot water.
Wring out then lie flat on a bath towel folded in half. Roll the fabric up in the towel tightly sqeezing the water out as you go.
Unroll and repeat again until fabric feels nearly dry to touch.
Lay fabric out on dry towel to air dry.
You should see burs on the fibers where it looks like they have shredded and knotted together as they shrunk. This is the felted look and with cotton will not be as dense as with wool. You will still see the crochet stitches, but they will be very tight without space between.

Once the fabric is dry fold it in half lengthwise then stitch up the 2 sides.

To make a lining for the purse I like to use a handkerchief.
I get the 97 cent ones at Wal-Mart since they are inexpensive and large.
Open the hankie and cover the purse with it right side down.
Pin the sides closed and mark the top edge about 2 inches beyond the edge of the purse then remove from the purse.
Stitch up the sides leaving about 1.5 inches open at the top on each side then turn right side out.

For plastic or bamboo handles you can easily stitch them in place now using either needle and thread or yarn and a yarn needle.
Fold the edge of the fabric over the handle and stitch it in place so there is a handle on each side of the purse.

Now place the lining over the purse form with wrong sides touching and stitch the top edge of the lining down along the line where the purse handle was attached folding the top of the lining under about 1 inch as you go.
When that is completed just turn the whole thing right side out and you will have your finished felted purse
To dress it up add crocheted yo-yo’s or flowers to the outside or try crocheting over or wrapping a plain bamboo handle with the purse yarn or a contrasting yarn for additional flare.
I like to use solid colors for flowers on variegated yarns and variegated on solids so they stand out.
I also like to use brightly colored handkerchiefs for the lining for a nice contrast or a splash of unexpected color!