What the Felt: Colorplay and Felted Crochet

In this continuing series, I will be sharing insights and previews from my upcoming book, What The Felt: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Felted Crochet. Click here for the last post on Swatch Stories.

baja swatch

Felted swatch with modified stripe pattern.

Stripes add color without stress.
Striping is one of the first skills you add to your repertoire after you’ve mastered the basics, and it is the easiest way to add color to any project – even a felted one. Some of my favorite stitch patterns create the appearance of complex colorwork but are actually based upon simple stripes. The photo on the right shows a felted swatch with a variation on a simple stripe pattern. (Shhh… I’ll be using this pattern stitch in a garment that will be featured in my upcoming book.)

Self-striping and variegated yarns do the colorwork for you.
If switching colors is more work than you’re in the mood for, consider a yarn that can do the work for you. Self-striping and variegated yarns create colorful patterns with fewer ends to weave in when it comes time for finishing. The felting process also tends to soften the appearance of pooling in variegated yarn, making it more visually pleasing. However, keep in mind that your favorite self-striping sock yarn probably won’t work for felting. Instead, you’ll need non-superwash yarn that contains a minimum of 80% animal fiber (wool, alpaca, etc.)

A single pop of color adds a great deal of interest.
When it comes to felting, we are never limited to solid colors, but some may ask, “What’s the point of doing colorwork if you’re just going to felt it?” I say, “I’m doing colorwork BECAUSE I’m going to felt it”

Felted Ninja

Felted Ninja features a pop of intarsia colorwork.

As we all know, the felting process smooths out the texture of crocheted fabric. A great way to guarantee that felted pieces maintain visual interest is to add a splash of color. In my giant amigurumi Felted Ninja, I added a single of block of intarsia to the face then embellished it with hand embroidery. It was the perfect opportunity to create a high impact design element with low pressure colorwork.

Let felting free you from fear of colorwork.
I’ll be honest – most of my crochet and knitting designs do not feature tapestry, intarsia, fair isle or stranded colorwork. The main reason for this is my own perfectionism. I get frustrated with my own mistakes and end up with more frogging than stitching. Yet when I am planning a project for felting, I feel free to play with color because the stakes aren’t so high. Miss a stitch in Color B here or Color C there? No worries! Hot water and friction will blend away small mistakes during the felting process.

Stay tuned for more previews from my upcoming book, What the Felt: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Felted Crochet. But you don’t have to wait to get felty. Sign up now to download my free mini-guide to felted crochet, Crochet Never Felt Better. Or follow me on instagram for more yarn and swatch previews.