Why bother felting the Giganto-Blanket?

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why I bother going through the elaborate felting process for my Giganto-Blanket. Mostly, people are confused because the pattern calls for superwash wool, which by design isn’t supposed to felt, so they wonder if it’s really necessary or even effective to bother felting it.

The felting process does indeed work on the superwash wool, and the main reason I do it is to puff up the wool so it’s larger in volume and can be split into two strands more easily. Check out this before and after photo:

Roving Before and After Felting

On the left you can see the roving after I’ve gone through the felting process, and on the right you can see the original roving. The main difference is the width (it’s taller, too, but you can’t really see that in the photo) — the felted roving is about twice the width of the original wool. Also, the texture changes a bit, so hopefully this makes the wool sturdier and cuts down on shedding.

I hope that helps!

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37 Comments

  • Gina says:

    I felted my alpaca roving in front load washer on gentle and it came out flatter and narrower about the reverse of your pic above. Should I use the felting tools to fluff it up before dividing it?

    • Laura says:

      Hi Gina — unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with felting in a front-load washer or with Alpaca, so I couldn’t tell you how to modify the pattern to your wool. Good luck!

  • Rebecca says:

    Why do you split the roving ?

    • Laura says:

      Splitting the roving gives you twice the yardage/length to knit with and also makes the wool a proper width for knitting with the PVC pipe. If you didn’t split the roving the gauge would be very tight.

  • Leslie says:

    I bought a bunch of roving from a woman at a funky bookstore that sells yarn in Chattanooga. The woman spins it herself and I am totally new to this, but my daughter found this blanket on Pinterest and fell in love with it so I jumped in! The problem is…having never purchased roving before…I have no idea if I have Superwash or not and I have no idea what the name of the place was. I’m back in Florida now and want to get started…any ideas?? What will happen if it isn’t? Is there a way I will know right away so I can stop before I ruin it all??

    • Laura says:

      Hi Leslie — Well, first of all, I would just try to test-felt a length of the wool you have and see what happens. I’d do it with a decent length and try and recreate the same conditions as when you’ll actually be felting the whole amount. So, maybe wrap a bit in a pillowcase and tie it up in the “sausages” and stomp on it. Then you’ll be able to see how it works out most accurately. The wool puffs up a lot after drying — just after felting it may not look any different, but after drying for 24 hours it almost doubles in size. I hope that helps!

    • Flo Conner says:

      It’s called All Books, and the owner’s name is Polly Henry. There is a basic page on Facebook.

  • Emily says:

    Hello Laura, could you detail how to go about felting the roving? That would be wonderful and very helpful.

  • marie says:

    im so xcited about this blanket. Do u have to wash this super wash wool and if so how do u recommend it to be done?

  • Kaitlin R. says:

    Would you recommend trying to felt the wool in a top-loading washer, using the same technique you suggested in your pattern? It sounds like it might work, so I’m curious! Thanks!

    • Laura Birek says:

      Kaitlin, it’s totally possible to do it that way, but I’ve tried both methods and I find the bathtub method is way more reliable. I’ve found that using the washing machine makes the ends that are poking out of the “sausages” overfelt and thus the texture of the wool ends up being kinda inconsistent, with some nubby bits every once in a while. That said, if you don’t have the ability to use a bathtub, the washer will work, you just have to watch it very carefully! And be careful tying up the sausages — make sure they’re nice and tight, and that you’ve tied it close to the ends. Hope that helps!

  • Pat Wafer says:

    Hello Laura,

    I have already purchased the pattern and am excited to get started, although I have not purchased wool roving yet and did speak to Carol at The Sheep Shed Studio, I hesitate due to conditions where I live not being friendly to all I would have to do to get it felted. I live in a condo community where we have a laundry room that we pay 1.75 to wash, 1.75 to dry. The machines are not designed to stop cycles to spin dry. If I do it in the bathtub I’d have to figure out a way to get it from the tub to the dryer down the opposite end of the hall. I may have to do what I saw suggested and purchase Fleece and cut into strips and sew ends together to get my yardage. I will try the PVC pipe though. Your pattern is very unique.
    Pat

  • kat says:

    If I wanted to dye my roving, would I do that before or after the felting process?

    • Laura Birek says:

      Kat, that’s a good question I don’t really know the answer to! Dyeing that large of a quantity of wool would be a pretty big job and I’ve never done anything that ambitious with dye, so I don’t want to steer you wrong!

  • Jess B says:

    Hi there,

    Love your knitted throw!

    I just wanted to ask how you felt such large quantites of wool? I saw you mentioned using the bathtub however, if you put, for example, one kilo of wool roving into the bathtub doesn’t all the fibers stick together?! How would you get around this?

    And once you’ve left the wool in the soapy water in the bathtub you still have to felt it yourself by rubbing it using a bamboo sushi mat or by hand, which is very time consuming! Any ideas?

    Thanks!

  • Jamie Lynn says:

    I’ve purchased the pattern and am a bit confused by what to buy exactly! I just discovered this wool at Blitzy – see link below! can I use his and would I follow your felting process for this?
    Thank you! 🙂

    https://blitsy.com/products/wool-roving-12-25-ounce-8-pkg-the-bouquet

    • Laura Birek says:

      Hi Jamie — ideally, you’re looking for wool roving that’s sold in bulk and in one long, continuous strand. That wool you linked to is going to come in strands that are too short to work with properly. My pattern calls for 6-7 pounds of the Brown Sheep Superwash as found on this page: http://thesheepshedstudio.com/NewSuperpage.html

      I hope that helps!

  • Marianne Fibaek says:

    I have bought your pattern and it is so cool, but I can´t get the wool from where you buy it, as I live in Denmark. But I have found some places here to buy.
    Mu question now is – how many meters/yards is 6 pounds of the wool, you use?
    There is so many different wools to choose between, and I can´t figure out, how much I need, when I don´t know the required length.

    • Laura Birek says:

      It’s approximately 117 yards of raw roving for the blanket, but then you felt it and split it so he actual yardage knit is about 234. I got this by measuring out 8 ounces of wool and found it had about 9.75 yards. Hope that helps!

  • Ruthanne RIch says:

    how do u felt and split the yarn i am not familar with this process thanks

    • Laura Birek says:

      Hi Ruthanne — the process is described in fine detail in my pattern! Check out my FAQ and you can find links to buy the pattern. I hope that helps!

  • Susan Campbell says:

    Please tell me what the washing instructions are for the finished knitted blanket, both superwash and non-Superwash wool.
    Thank you,

    • Laura Birek says:

      CARE INSTRUCTIONS: Spot clean with wool-safe soap. Dry clean only whne necessary, or soak with a no-rinse wool wash in the washing machine — do not agitate. Drain, and GENTLY spin out excess water. Dry flat, or as flat as you can. Because this is only gently-spun wool, fiber shedding is normal, and washing will exacerbate fiber loss.

  • Helen says:

    Hi, Would you please tell me if instead of Superwash roving I could use Wool roving? Your response is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • Kristen says:

    If I don’t want to go through the felting process, what yarn would you recommend and how would I adjust the pattern for that yarn? Thank you!

  • Lyn says:

    Hi – just finished felting my yarn and laid out to dry but I am worried it doesn’t look all that different from the original yarn. Did I under felt the yarn or does it get puffier after drying?

  • Marissa says:

    I felted my roving in the bathtub and threw it in the wash machine on spin to get the water out and I think I over felted it, if there is such a thing? It came out flat and hard and not fluffy at all. Is there some way I can fix this? Imy not sure what I did wrong

    • Laura Birek says:

      There’s 2 things I can think of: 1) your wool might not have been superwash, so you over-felted it. 2) You might just need to let your wool dry — it fluffs up a lot during the drying process. Hopefully it’s #2!

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