Friday, February 15, 2013

More bowls (tutorial)

I've been knitting and felting more bowls. I've used bulky yarn, worsted held double, and handspun. I looked at a great many free patterns to see how they were making bowls. The most common construction element was the part I didn't want to do - knit the bottom and pick up stitches. I've gotten over it. Here's my basic recipe for knitting a bowl with the intention of felting it.

If using bulky yarn or worsted held double, I recommend an 8mm circular needle. I think mine is 16 inches long but I'm not sure. You could also use DPNs. It may not be obvious, but you should be using 100% wool. I wish I could tell you an amount, but I've been using scraps and just sort of winging it.

First, knit a square in garter stitch. You want to knit roughly twice as many rows as you have stitches. That is, if you want it to me somewhat circular/square (depending on how and if you block it). This is where you could change things up. Add more rows or knit less and you've got something more rectangular or oval. Increase towards the middle of the piece and then decrease again, make a triangle, get creative.

When you're happy with the base, pick up stitches around the remaining edges. At first I tried really hard to keep the same number of stitches for each side but.. honestly, it doesn't really matter. Pick up enough stitches to not leave huge gaps. At this point, begin knitting in the round.

Knit straight up. Change colors, throw in some charts, make it all one color, add some beads. When you've reached the height that you want, or you're close to running out of yarn, bind off with an applied i-cord. I really like the rounded edge that creates. You can weave in your ends and be done here. Or you can add some i-cord handles (or any handles, really). Sew them on and admire your floppy bowl. At this point my kids and I like to put the bowls on our heads and laugh at each other.

Once done, throw the bowls in your washing machine (I have a top-loader and wouldn't know what to do with a front-loader, sorry!). I set the washer to a hot/cold cycle on the lowest water setting and the heaviest wash cycle. I leave the lid open so that it doesn't rinse and spin right away. I'll check the bowls and restart the cycle if necessary. When I'm satisfied with how the bowls are looking, I close the lid and let the cycles finish. I don't block my bowls exactly. I form them into shapes while still damp and leave to dry.

Some yarn turn seriously fuzzy after going through the wash. We have a super industrial dog hair clipper set. I use that to shave the fuzz until the fabric is nice and smooth. Voila! You are done.


  1. I've been wanting to knit or crochet bowls to felt, but don't know how to read patterns. Guess it's time to teach myself! Yours look beautiful!

  2. these are so cool, I might make some like baskets for the kids, thanks for that. Won't use potatoes to felt them though ;-P

  3. I LOVE friend at Wabi Sabi Wanderings gave me a set for my birthday last year, and I have YET to make them. My kids love them for storing marbles, wooden animals, and any other small things. They're so pretty!

  4. I love these too, and have made a ton! I find to shape them putting a jar, food can, coffee can etc, what ever size you want it to be in them and letting them dry works really well. I have a large honey jug I use most often.