Wet felting is done in several stages. Make sure that when you are in the initial stages of latching the fibers together you use warm soapy water. Hot water is used later in the process to shrink the fibers after they have been latched together.
When I began to handknit, one of the hardest things for me to do was cast-on. Over the years, I have learned that there are numerous ways to cast-on and that no one way is right or wrong. I think I may have accidentally invented a way or two of casting on.
I will share with you one of the easier methods I learned for casting on. It’s called the knitted cast-on.
Make a slip knot and put it on your left hand needle. Insert your right hand needle into the slip knot and knit a stitch. Place this stitch on your left hand needle next to the slip stitch. Repeat this process by inserting your right hand needle into the stitch you just made, knit it and place on your left hand needle. Now you have 3 cast-on stitches. Repeat until you have the required number of cast-on stitches.
Gauging the Gauge
Have you ever found the most adorable sweater pattern, purchased the suggested yarn and as the directions encourage you to – knit a swatch to get the appropriate gauge. The pattern even tells you what approximate needle size you will need to obtain the gauge. The pattern usually reads something like this, “Size 10 needles or size required to obtain the gauge.” I hate those words. I toil for hours trying to find the right needle size to obtain the gauge. It’s a frustrating process for me. To be perfectly honest, I hate making swatches.
Having bitterly complained about making swatches to obtain the correct gauge, I will now tell you that, gauge is a vitally important first step in the knitting process. The only handknit items that I don’t make a swatch for to obtain the correct gauge are scarves and wraps.
Early in my knitting career, I thought I was above obtaining the correct gauge. I didn’t need to make a swatch because my sweater was going to turn out to be a perfect fit. Of course it looked a little too small in the beginning so I added a few stitches only to have it became larger than life. What a disappointment! All that hard work and I end up with a sweater I can’t wear!!!
Here are some things I learned about gauge:
- Gauge measures the number of stitches you are getting per inch. Everyone’s gauge is a little different because everyone knits with a different tension—tightness or looseness.
- Use the correct type of needle that are called for in the pattern to obtain the gauge. If the pattern calls for circular needles, use a circular needle to knit your swatch.
- After completing your swatch, you find that you have fewer stitches to the inch than the pattern calls for, use a smaller needle and start again. If you have more stitches than the pattern call for, use a larger needle size.
If you haven’t already discovered “the knitter’s handy book of sweater patterns” by Ann Budd, you need to. I love her books because she gives you directions for projects in different sizes with 5 possible gauges. So you can pick a yarn you love, work a gauge swatch and follow her directions. You can change the design as long as you know up front what your gauge will be with that design. This book has made the gauge less daunting.
When binding off, bind off loosely. If you bind off too tightly your finished piece may bunch and not lie flat.
Bind off in knit: At the beginning of the row, knit 2 stitches, then pass the first stitch over the second. You will have one stitch on your right hand needle. Knit the next stitch and pass the first stitch on the right hand needle over the second stitch. Continue in this manner until you have one stitch remaining- cut yarn leaving a 6 inch tail. Pull the end of the yarn through the remaining stitch.
Bind off in pattern: To bind off in pattern (for example if you are binding off in a K2, P2 ribbing pattern), knit all of the knit stitches and purl all of the purl stitches. You will pass the old stitch over the new as for knitting.