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Felting never really works the way you hope it will

Faced with the semi-failure of my first completed Wildlife Rehab Nest For Baby Boids, I decided to try felting it.

“Felt it!” is probably the #1 most common piece of advice I see offered to knitters whose knitting has failed them in some way. Gauge too loose? Felt it! Piece too short? Felt it! Bowl not bowl-shaped? Felt it!

This advice is similar to to the advice to take a botched cooking project and use it to make a casserole. Boom, now instead of having a single bad meal, you have a whole bad casserole. Remind me again how this is an improvement.

The sad truth is that felting rarely salvages a botched project. All it does is take up more of your time before you give up and throw the thing away. Worse: once you felt it, you lose the option of ripping it back and using the yarn for something else.

But whatever. I felted it.

wildlife nest

I chose hand felting because it’s the only way you can have control over the felting. It’s hard on the hands, sure, but the last time I tried felting something by running it through the washing machine, one half of the item got felted and the other half was fine. Maddening.

wildlife nest

True to form, I ended up with something that was almost exactly the same as what I started with, but my hands were redder. Oh well, maybe they can use it for kittens or something.

Tune in tomorrow for yet another example of my “third time’s a charm” knitting curse.

6 comments to Felting never really works the way you hope it will

  • Otter

    I am another victim of the “3x is the charm” curse. I thought I was the only one! You have my deepest sympathy

  • auntiemichal

    What a shame about this nest. Two ideas for your consideration: 1) sew a round or two of running stitch near the top of the nest, draw up, and knot or 2) begin another nest with a square or somewhat square tending toward circle (hexagon?) flat shape, pick up stitches around the other edges, and knit up circularly. There’s more than one way to nest a bird.

  • Dani C.

    I have always had luck with hand felting only whe I scrub and wring the item against itself, i mean… be really rough with it. Has worked for me everytime. Also, i dont use hot water, as it’s the actual friction of rubbing the fabric back and forth against itself that makes it felt. Good luck!

  • Xeres

    I feel your pain. I suck at felting! Except, of course, when I don’t *intend* to be felting something (cashmere sweater, for example, that snuck into the normal wash).

  • You can turn it over to my Madman – he’s felted any number of things. Not purposely, of course…

  • I always wanted to try felting, but it looks like alot of work. My hats off to those who do felt.