It's important that you use a yarn with 100% wool (or some but not all other animal fibers) content that is not washing machine safe. Otherwise it won't felt and you will be sad.
You can use any colour pattern; however, a pattern with large chunks of colour shows up best. It's best if you choose contrasting colours as the edges of the design blend together as you full. Have fun, experiment, feel free to share your creation with me by leaving a comment here with a link to your blog.
One more thing, technically, this isn't felting. A true felted object is produced quite differently. The process of knitting a structure out of wool yarn, then shrinking and condensing it to desired size and consistency is called fulling.
Two contrasting colours of Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann.com or any worsted weight all wool yarn suitable for fulling.
4.5mm double point needles
- Cast on 25 sts in main colour (dark)
- Knit flat
- 5 rows stst, make button hole (you can omit this and use a different means of fastening the flap), 5 more rows stst.
- Change to contrasting colour, knit two rows stst.
- Begin pattern (see graft, or make your own.) - note, you have one more stitch than pattern repeat, this is for semitry, just knit the next line of the patter as if you were continuing with the established pattern. - For the flap, I knit the pattern with inverted colour combination so that the light yarn is the background. For the body I reversed the colours to make a nice contrast. See photo. But you can do as you like.
- When completed 3 pattern repeats, use both colours and cast on 23 more sts. Join to work in the round. At this point you can invert the colour pattern if you like.
- Continue pattern as established until more than twice the length of the flap (Remember, it knits about 40% larger of what you want to the finished project to be as it will shrink when fulled).
- Using both colours, 3needle bind off.
- Sew in ends.
I like fulling by hand best as I have the most control of when to stop. Fulling takes place when you apply temperature differences, moisture and agitation to wool. Here's how I do it.
- Fill a sink with water as hot as you can stand it and a little bit of mild, eco-friendly soap. Put the object in the sink, squeeze it a bit and leave it for 10 min to soak up the water.
- Agitate the object in the water as much as possible. For me this involves rubbing it against itself between my knuckles like crazy. Others have a wash board they rub it against.
- When you are tired, drain the sink, fill it with clear cold tap water. Agitate.
- Take a break, stretch your arms, empty the sink again, fill it with hot (not too hot as to burn yourself) water. Agitate.
- Keep repeat these last two steps until your project is the correct size. (for me, two times tends to do it).
- Block your object to desired shape, allow to dry. This can take up to three days depending on the weather.
- Sew on a button or fastener.
Now you are done.
As usual, if you have any questions or comments, &c. leave a comment here.