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How to Felt with a Top-Loading Machine

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How to Knit for Felting
Unfelted swatches.

Knit swatches before felting.

© Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Felting has become very popular among knitters, and it's easy to see why. There's something magical about knitting something that starts out huge and awkward and ends up being a completely different fabric after spending some time in the washing machine.

Just about any knitted object can be felted, from flat pieces like coasters and afghan squares to bags, belts, hats, home accessories and more (check out my collection of felting patterns for more ideas). But felting can be a little mysterious and intimidating to those who have never done it before. Here's a quick rundown on how to felt any knitted object using a top-loading washing machine.

For your first felting project, you might want to start with some simple knitted squares, so you don't have to worry that you're going to mess up something you spent a long time working on.

For this article, I knitted two sample swatches of about five inches each, casting on 25 stitches with Paton's Classic Wool and knitting until the swatch was square. Any kind of 100 percent wool yarn that is not labeled "superwash" will work. One sample was knit in garter stitch and the other in stockinette. It's a great idea to use a knitting needle a couple sizes larger than the ball band calls for, because the open spaces between the stitches actually make the felting easier.

When you are finished knitting your swatch, make sure you weave in the ends very securely or they could come loose in the wash, making a hole in your felted project.

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