Fall into Felting
Now that fall is here, I've been thinking a lot about felting projects because I like to make felted items for holiday gifts. In the past I've made felted slippers, bags, beads for necklaces, and coasters. The coasters are a favorite because I just knit yardage in stockinette stitch, felt it firmly, and cut it into circles. Stack in groups of four, tie with a pretty ribbon, and viola! A set of coasters.
This year my time is a little more limited than in the past, so I'm going to do some needle-felted items. My inspiration is this darling little bird that a friend gave me for my birthday. It's so sweet. It looks like a mass-produced item, but no, she made it herself. So impressive!
The little bird is needle felted and then finished with wire feet, straight-pin eyes, and a felt beak and tail. I love him; he sits on my dresser and greets me each morning.
I'm not sure I can do something as lovely as the bird, but I wanted to try needle felting, so I took on a small flower project. This rose is made up of different sized hearts that are arranged to form the flower, which is a great idea. I used a mold for this, but you could easily use a couple of sizes of heart-shaped cookie cutters.
This project was so easy and FUN! I attached a little pinback to the rose so the recipient can wear it on a winter coat or a (felted) handbag.
My last show-and-tell is a fabulous scarf (if I do say so myself). This is a mixed project, knit with two different yarns that felt differently. It's beautiful and so much easier than it looks! It's knit out of a merino-silk blend (the two brown sections) that felts and a silk yarn that doesn't felt so much as soften up in the wash.
The effect gives the scarf a ruffled look, and the silk blend is divine. You can try this technique yourself by experimenting with fibers that felt differently. You can also combine different pattern stitches—this one has lace—to get different effects during the felting process.
Fall Felting for You!
I was taking a gander at our free felting patterns and I came up with three that are perfect for fall knitting and felting. Here they are!
The Montana Felted Eco-Tote appeared on Knitting Daily TV, Episode 313. Adina Klein, the creative director for Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc., talked about making eco-friendly yarns and provided this pattern. I love a big carry-all and this fits the bill perfectly. I'm not sure I'd carry wood in the bag, but groceries or farmers-market purchases? For sure.
The Formal Boot Bag (at right) might be my favorite felted bag pattern EVER. I love the mix of felted bits and unfelted bits, the shape and size of the bag is perfect for me, and those buttons? Love them! This is a Laura Irwin pattern—you might recognize Laura from her book Boutique Knits, which is a wonderful collection of unique, fashion-forward accessories. The Formal Boot Bag appeared in Bag Style, and it's been a popular pattern since it debuted.
The Shibori Scarf, by cutting-edge designer Leigh Radford from her book Alterknits Felt (STC Craft), packs a lot of punch and is an easy project. You make the "bobbles" by drawing up 1-inch sections a stockinette scarf and wrapping the sections with small rubber bands. After felting, you take off the rubber bands to reveal the unique bobbles. Amazing! And this pattern provides directions for a scarf or a cravat. This project appeared on Knitting Daily TV during the first season.
I hope you choose to knit one or more of these projects this fall.