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how to gauge size before felting


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I'm new to felting having only done one purse using a pattern. How would you go about judging the size of doing a purse before felting to get the size you actually want after felting? Is it just a guessing game and hoping for the best? For example if you wanted a purse to be 12X12 after felting how big would you make it before felting. Also about straps. I prefer shoulder straps so how long would you make them and is it better to join them to the purse before felting or after? I appreciate any helpful info you can give me.

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From my experience felting crocheted and knitted pieces is no exact science. It all depends on the wool, the type of stitches, the tension, the hot water and so many unforseeable factors.


With that said, this is how I do it. Is it correct, who knows. Is it how everyone does it, I highly doubt it because I've read so many different opinions on how to do it.


First I make a swatch with my wool in the stitch and tension I plan on using. Measure it and then felt it and then measure it again. I figure the ratio of how much it shrank and plan my dimensions from there.


Example: I have found through projects that for me Patons and Lion wool shrinks by about one third. (I have found Knit Picks Andes shrinks a bit more.)


So if I want my finished project to be 12" x 12" I would make it 18" x 18" and I figure it would come out roughly the size I want. Remember when the piece is wet you can streatch and shape quite a bit.


The stitch and tension play a big part here. I usually only use one strand of wool in a half double crochet stitch. For me this give the best finished look. BUT... when I have used a different stitch the amount of shrinkage was different.


I have also found in knitted items it shrinks more in the height than the width.


As for the straps, I've done them both ways. Attached and seperate. I still figure they will shrink by about one third. If they are attached I hang the blocked purse by them to dry. The weight of the purse (you can add mor weight if desired) will straighten and lengthen the handles. If they are seperate I will hang them from a hanger with a clothes pin and put a weight on the bottom to streatch and block.


When making a seperate strap I figure what I want it to be and then I figure it will shrink by about 1/3rd. If I want 2 straps I make one long rope or strap to cut in half once it is dried. remember if fully felted you can cut your fabric and it will not unravel.


Like I said before, none of this is an exact science. You just have to experiment and see what works best for you given all the factors.


Good luck.....I Love Felting!

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thanks angieinCA for the very good info. I will give what you said a try and see what happens. I'm making a purse from the new May 2008 issue of Crochet magazine. It was the first prize winner of their contest they had. I am using the Patons Classic wool and hope it turns out. Again thank you very much

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