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knittymom
New Pal

47 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  2:43:05 PM  Show Profile Send knittymom a Private Message
I knit some mittens for my DH while he was away on a business trip. He was delightfully surprised to find knitted mittens when he arrived home however, I must have a slightly generous idea regarding the size of his hands. I made the mittens considerably too large. (I also made the gauge a tad big for mittens as they are very floppy and not very warm.) I think these mittens would be a good candidate for my first foray into felting. (They are made from 100% Rowan tweed wool.) My only other choice is to frog the pair and knit them again. (yuck). Here are my questions:

- Is there anything I've said here that would indicate these mittens aren't a good candidate for felting?
- Can items be lightly felted? The mittens only need to shrink from mittens that would fit an extra large man hand to ones that would fit a medium man hand.

Thanks for any input!
Sharilyn

stitchmd
Seriously Hooked

716 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  3:32:04 PM  Show Profile Send stitchmd a Private Message
You can felt to any degree you want. It's easier to control by hand but you can do it in the machine by stopping it and checking them. You might start by simply soaking in warm or hot water to shrink them. The risk in felting mittens is that the layers, especially in the thumb, might felt together.

You can't have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
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yarnlover
Permanent Resident

1748 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  4:00:04 PM  Show Profile Send yarnlover a Private Message
quote:
The risk in felting mittens is that the layers, especially in the thumb, might felt together

I've made lots of felted mittens, I throw them in the washer with no resist in the thumbs and have never had any problem with felting together, not even a hint of it. It may depend on the yarn, but I've used handspun and commercial with no problems.

To shrink the mittens just a bit, put them in the sink in hot water with a squirt of soap, dish soap works ok, and once thoroughly wet, work them by rolling them, cuff to tip to shrink the length. They will shrink in the direction you work them, so if they are too long, work from tip to cuff - if too wide, roll lengthwise, and work that way a bit. If you happen to have a washboard, you can roll them on that. You may need to add more hot water as the water cools.

Since you only want to reduce the size a bit, this should not take too long. But, I've found with hand felting, sometimes it seems like nothing is happening, then all of a sudden, the shrinking begins. Just watch carefully, and since they are a pair, I'd try to work them together to keep them as close as possible the same size.

If you don't want to try the hand-felt method, toss them in the washer to felt, but check every few minutes. I don't know how quickly your brand of yarn felts, but if you aren't sure, knit up a small swatch and felt it first to get a feel for how quickly and how much it felts. If they go too small, they are probably your mittens and your husband will be out of a pair of mittens
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Sharyn
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
418 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  5:24:36 PM  Show Profile Send Sharyn a Private Message
Sharilyn,
Definitely felt those mittens - you may never make unfelted mittens again! Felted mitts are so much warmer and water resistant. I'm a felting fiend, and I've started to lightly felt a lot of my finished wool items. By lightly felting, any woven in ends will be locked securely into place and the stitches will still be clearly visible - but I don't get much shrinkage. I think it gives a softer hand to the wool, too.

If you felt completely, you can expect the length to reduce by 1/3, but not as much in the width. If you don't need to shrink these mittens that much, then follow the tips that yarnlover suggests (or you may want to shrink them for yourself!)
Sharyn
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knittymom
New Pal

47 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  7:46:42 PM  Show Profile Send knittymom a Private Message
Thank you all...I'm definitely going to try felting the mittens tomorrow. Thank you Yarnlover for the detailed directions! I'm going to give it a try by hand first just to witness the whole felting process first hand as it were. And as was rightly pointed out, if they go too small, well, I've gained myself a pair of mittens. Goes to show you that you should knit in colors and yarn you like too -- just in case

Wish me luck!
Sharilyn
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