Knitted Felted Bowl Pattern
Size 11 circular or double-pointed needles for the beginning, double-pointed needles for the end, when the decreases begin.
One skein of Noro Kureyon or another worsted-weight yarn. I used color #74. (If you want to double strand to make a very firm bowl, you will need two skeins, or a bulky wool yarn instead of worsted-weight.)
I would recommend knitting the bowl with two strands held together if you want to put anything heavier or bigger than coins or jewelry in it. For instance, I need a bowl knit with two strands to keep my reading glasses in.
What Kind of Yarn?
Believe it or not, you do not need to use 100% wool (or other animal fibers) in felted items. I have used Lion Brand Landscapes yarn in one of my felted bowls, which is 50% wool and 50% polyester, I believe. HOWEVER, you should always do a test swatch on a new yarn before starting your project. If something doesn’t felt successfully, there’s not much you can do with it. You generally can’t frog it and re-use the yarn, and if it hasn’t felted, you can’t cut up the felt and use it for other things.
You can also use a 100% man-made fiber as a carry-along with the natural fiber, as I did in this bowl:
I would definitely not use any yarn with less than 50% animal fiber, though, and I would definitely do a swatch with any mixed fiber yarn. Also, do not use superwash wool. It’s been specially treated to NOT felt in the washing machine. In addition, white or off-white yarns do not felt well, as the bleach has usually destroyed the fibers to some extent.
Cast on 75 sts. Place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Knit in st st until piece measures 5 ½” from CO.
Decrease as follows, changing to dpn as nec:
Round 1 *ssk, k11, k2tog; rep from * to end of row – 65 sts
Round 2 Knit
Round 3 *ssk, k9, k2tog; rep from * to end – 55 sts
Round 4 Knit
Round 5 *ssk, k7, k2tog; rep from * to end – 45 sts
Round 6 Knit
Round 7 *ssk, k5, k2tog; rep from * to end – 35 sts
Round 8 Knit
Round 9 *ssk, k3, k2tog; rep from * to end – 25 sts
Round 10 Knit
Round 11 *ssk, k1, k2tog; rep from * to end – 15 sts
Round 12 *ssk, k2tog; rep from * to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 – 8 sts remain
Here is the bowl right before the decreases:
As you can see, it’s essentially a hat.
Cut yarn, leaving about an 8″ tail. Using a tapestry needle, pull the tail through the remaining stitches on the needle. Weave in all loose ends. Remember that felting will make the ends virtually disappear – however, you must eliminate any largish holes or gaps by darning them before felting. Felting will not close them up completely.
Before you felt, make absolutely sure that there’s nothing in the knitting that you don’t want there permanently. In other words, stray threads or lint, etc. It will get felted into the fabric permanently and be virtually impossible to remove.
Put the bowl in a lingerie bag or pillowcase tied at the top. This is important because otherwise you could end up with all sorts of fuzz in your washing machine that takes a few loads to get rid of. Put in the washing machine with a small amount of soap, at the hottest temperature possible. Also add a pair of jeans that you don’t mind shrinking. Agitation is as important as hot water for felting, and if the bowl is in there by itself, there won’t be enough agitation.
Start the washer. Check the bowl every few minutes to see how it’s doing. There should be virtually no stitch definition left when it’s done. Keep resetting the washer if necessary. Don’t let it go into spin cycle. The spinning can stretch the bowl out. When it’s finished to your satisfaction, rinse in tepid water, squeeze out the water and roll the bowl up in a towel. Press out as much of the water as possible. Dry the bowl over the next couple of days. It’s good to put something in it to weigh it down and flatten the bottom. I use a full coffee can.
You can download this pattern as a pdf here.