Felting for Father’s Day

Before Mother’s Day, I told my husband I didn’t want him or the kids to go out and buy me presents. Instead I wanted gifts of their time: something handmade and thoughtful. He went above and beyond, gifting me with gorgeous knitting needles and a yarn swift. In return, he mentioned that for Father’s Day, he’d like a new pencil case to replace the crocheted one eaten by the dog. Since I’ve been on a felting kick lately, I decided he needed a felted case.

The design itself would be simple, but I wasn’t brave enough to try to wing it without a pattern, mostly because I don’t have a good sense of how much things shrink when felted. There weren’t a lot of free options on Ravelry but I did find one I liked the look of: the Felted Acorn Pencil Case. Shortly after that, I was at Joann and found some variegated gray Patons wool that looked nicely masculine. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy enough, and sitting there waiting to cast on, I was too lazy to drive out to Joann. Instead I drove the two minutes to my LYS and bought a solid black Galway to mix with the Patons.

The knitting went quickly, as did my realization that this case would be much bigger than I expected. I finished it, though, and felted it. The Patons didn’t seem to want to felt, and I did have to do some handfelting after two rounds in the washer. But it finally felted enough and I added a nice button and called it done. It was about 5″x8″.

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So I had a case that was too big, and plenty of yarn left over. I went back to Ravelry and did more pattern hunting until I found this Felted Pen Case. I decided to just do one strand of the Patons variegated, cast on 30 and knit until I thought it looked long enough, which was tricky since I didn’t know how much it would shrink. And, well, it didn’t shrink as much as I anticipated. It’s a good width but a bit longer than I wanted. It will work well for newer (i.e. longer) pencils but it’s too long for his pens. Plus the Patons really didn’t want to felt this time; I had to fight with it in the kitchen sink for quite a while. I do like the pattern, and I’m pleased with how it came out.

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Here’s a better shot of the button. Buttons are one of my favorite things to add to my knits.

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Overall, I think he was pleased with his gifts. I enjoyed making them, but I won’t choose Patons for felting in the future. I think I’ll use the rest of the black Galway to knit up another pen case, in a pen-appropriate length this time. 

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