Felting - A Lesson Learned

I have always been amazed by anything felted. I remember the first time I saw something that was felted. My 4th grade teacher, who taught me how to knit, made many felted hats and brought them to class with her. I remember thinking that it was so cool that you could knit something really big, and wash it in hot water to shrink it. While I love to admire the felted projects of others, I was always too scared to try it. The reason being that once something is felted, it cannot be undone. Felting can only occur when animal fibers are used (wool, alpaca...). These fibers are lined with scales that, when felted, interlock with each other and form a solid fabric. In order for a fiber to felt, you need 3 things: water, heat and agitation. (Which are the three things you have to avoid if you are not trying to felt!)  Once something is completely felted you can no longer see individual knit stitches. You also can not unravel it and try again like you can with almost any other yarn project.

So, this story starts with a Nook. Last Christmas I got a nook and I decided that I wanted to knit a little Nook cozy for it. I really like the way this cozy turned out. (It is even the banner of my Etsy Shop).

Once this cozy was done I had a lot of extra yarn that just happened to be 100% wool. Since I already got the cozy out of it, I decided that I would use the rest for my first felting project - a bag. My first mistake here was that I didn't make a swatch, felt it, and see how much it shrinks. My second mistake was that I didn't know that knitting shrinks more lengthwise than it does width-wise. My third mistake was that I didn't look at any patterns, but made up my own instead. (It worked with the nook case...) Unfortunately I don't have a before picture of this felted bag, but trust me - it was not this shape before it was felted. It was much more square, and I thought it might even make a nice bag. So, I through it in the washing machine and,

well, my husband has named it the "felted underwear with no leg holes." Anyway, that disaster happened back in February or March and I haven't felted anything since then. Until yesterday that is.

Last week I got one of the new Nooks with a touch screen and decided that it needed a cozy of its own. I had a bunch of wool scraps lying around and thought I would make a striped felted Nook case. This time I did a little more research and made the case longer than I thought it should be. (I added an extra 25% width and extra 30% height.)

Once it was done, I put it in the washing machine, then let it dry overnight. When I got home from work today I went to check on it. Except for the way that the top flares out, when they are side by side it looks alright.

Then, once the Nook is inside, it doesn't quite fit.

The top of the Nook sticks out - it shrunk too much. Again. Oh well, I think I'll stick with non-felted Nook cozies. But now I have a felted bag and don't know what to do with it. Any ideas?