A little more caution.

Disaster has struck.

I am actually in complete shock. In all of my years knitting and spinning, I have never (EVER) felted anything. Anything. Ever.

Family members and my own husband have felted things because items got caught up in the laundry, thrown in and washed on normal cycles, whereas if I had been loading the washer, I’d have known to remove and hand wash the item. I’m much more careful now and have separate baskets for hand wash items.

Well. Without anymore beating around the proverbial bush, I am here to say that I have officially felted my first knitted item.

And to boot, it was the most perfect fitting sweater I have ever knit. Ever. So to pour salt on the wound, this sweater was amazing. And it’s FELTED.

© Rachel Smith Anderson
There is not stitch definition, no definition to the cables. This item is completely, totally, irreversibly felted.

Bless his heart, my husband tried to be sympathetic and understanding. But he didn’t/doesn’t really understand. And when we were talking this evening about what went wrong and why it felted, I could tell he was trying not to laugh as I swore through tears about the “best sweater ever” being “completely ruined” and how “now I have to knit another one” and “this is so unfair!”

Yes. Absolutely. I sounded like a three year old. And I live with a lovely 3-year-old so I have a pretty good idea of what I sounded like. And yes, I can see the humour in the situation. I have to admit, prolific swearing helped a lot since there was some alliteration and … well, it helped.

However! As we talked, cried (that was all me) and (eventually) laughed, I honestly couldn’t put my finger on exactly what happened ::

  1. I had washed and treated the swatch exactly the same way as I treated the sweater. The swatch didn’t felt.
  2. I washed the sweater in lukewarm water, as I always do, and spun it for a few moments in the washer. As I have done with countless sweaters.
  3. Somewhere in the process, it was too much agitation and the fibres felted.
  4. The sweater is not just a little fulled, it’s completely, totally, irreversibly felted.

I think what happened is that the lukewarm water was slightly warmer than I usually use (it must have been more like warm, even though I didn’t think so at the time?!). I agitated it too much when it was in the bath. The washer for this SUPER fine 100% Merino wool was too much. After consulting with a friend, we both agreed that this must be super, SUPER fine Merino to have done this as it was so extensive. The icing on the cake if you will.

It’s a very bitter pill to swallow that after all of the knitting and spinning I’ve done that finally, I really have treated a garment too rough. I have ordered the exact same yarn in the exact same colour to knit the exact same sweater … Again. I’ll give the felted sweater to my mom and ask her to sew a doll for Norah. I don’t think I can cut into my precious sweater, regardless of being felted and not having any problems with steeking.

This is a good reminder that sometimes, it’s an extremely good idea to use a little more caution when finishing my yarns after spinning and washing knitted garments for blocking.

When #knittingattacks, I guess we just have to get up and keep on knitting, huh?!


Join the Conversation

  1. What a bummer! Every time I was things I have a slight moment of panic about felting, even if it’s something I’ve washed a dozen times already…What if *this* is the time? Ack!

  2. oh my dear! I’ve done this and the grief is real. In my experience with dyeing and felting, another factor is temperature changes from warm to cold, more so than the other way. I’m glad to hear you got more yarn to knit another perfect fitting sweater!

  3. Oh my dear. I’ve done this and the grief is real. Glad you got more yarn and can put some distance between yourself and the horror of it all.

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