How to Calculate Felting Handknits

It’s really easy, but I’m going to post a tutorial for anyone who’s interested.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Feltable yarn and suitable knitting needles
  • Old-fashioned wash-board
  • Cotton embroidery floss (contrasting)
  • Embroidery needle
  • Liquid dishsoap
  • Sink or tub

Knit a swatch. Determine gauge – both sts/ inch and rows/ inch. Using the embroidery needle and floss, mark your gauge. Since my row gauge was 15 rows/ 2 inches, I decided to mark a 2″ square, 12 sts by 15 rows:

stitching

In a sink with a really large drain (clogs = bad) or a tub, get the swatch wet with hot water (the hotter the better) and add some dishsoap to the swatch as well. The soap will help the felting process.

swatch

Start scrubbing the swatch against the washboard vigorously. Animal fibers felt primarily because of abrasion. Make sure you apply friction and pressure to the swatch evenly – i.e. felting the corners as much as the center:

felting

Continue felting the swatch until you reach the fabric-weight desired. Rinse with cold water. Pat dry (or air dry). Measure the space between the floss markers now:

after

My row gauge decreased by 25% and my stitch gauge by 12.5%. Sooo, to get a garment or any FO that’ll be the size I want, I’ll need to use some reverse algebra.

Say I want a 10″ x 10″ square of felt. How many stitches do I CO?

  1. Felted, my stitch gauge is 87.5% of the original swatch
  2. 87.5% is equal to 7/8
  3. 10″ x (8/7) = 11.4″
  4. 11.4″ x 6 sts/ inch = 68.4
  5. I’ll CO 68 sts.

How many rows do I work for?

  1. Felted, my row gauge is 75% of the original swatch
  2. 75% is equal to 3/4
  3. 10″ x (4/3) = 13.3 inches
  4. 13.3 x 7.5 sts/ inch = 99.75
  5. I’ll knit on 100 rows

Hopefully this makes sense.  If not, leave a comment and I’ll try and fix it.  Have fun felting!

4 thoughts on “How to Calculate Felting Handknits

  1. Pingback: Another tutorial « the quacking fiber addict

  2. penny

    awesome. my problem has been that smaller knits felt faster (and more evenly for me) than the larger ones. How do I felt (by hand) say a hat/bag/bowl more evenly than a small square?

    Reply
  3. johan

    Dear Sir /madam,
    I just wondering, do you know how to calculate circular knitting fabrics?
    eg. material is cotton 20S, the circular loom diameter is 34 inch, and the customer wants to have material weight aroung 200- 210 grams.
    I need its calculation formula.
    Thank you

    Reply
  4. Shelley

    A friend of mine wants me to knit him a sweater, which I’ve done before so that’s not a big deal. Problem is, he wants it felted. As someone who’s never felted before, I have no idea how to calculate that. Do you think your method here would work for me? Can felted material be blocked the way knitted material is?

    Reply

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