Design Week Day 2: Techniques

This week I'm working along with Stacey of Fresh Stitches' Design Week, today's topic is Techniques. For more information about the whole series, check out this page. 

I employ knitting and felting for many of the projects I'm doing for my book of knitted slipper patterns. The design I'm working on this week is for a baby slipper inspired by vintage baby shoes, and I'm planning to felt this design. For the slipper to look nice on a baby's foot, I wanted something that would not be super-chunky, so I am thought I'd try working with a fingering-weight wool.

Designing projects that will be felted requires the extra step of figuring the rate at which the working yarn felts, and for yarn that I use frequently, like Cascade 220 or Lamb's Pride, I pretty much know how it will behave upon felting, so I can usually work up a "draft" of a knitted item and it will be close to the final knitted sample. But I'm working with a new yarn at a different gauge so I knew it would be necessary to do a felted gauge swatch. 

I knit a small swatch and marked 2" in either direction. 

Then I felted the piece thoroughly.

Then I measured the distance between the ties- 

Knitting felts at different rates vertically and horizontally. In this case, 2" of height became 1.125" and 2" of width became 1.5." So now I know how to size my knitted piece so the final dimensions will be correct. 

I'm really pleased with how thin this swatch is, I think it's going to be perfect for this design! This yarn is also perfectly suited to this project, more on that tomorrow.