Knitted Felted Beads

by Daisy

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Felted beads are sort of irresistible– soft, colorful, versatile. Fuzzy. String them, embellish them with tiny embroidery and I-don’t-know-what-all else, but whatever it is it’s bound to be cute.
The usual way to make felted (or fulled) beads is to begin with wool roving, felt a snake of it, cut them into small pieces, and felt them further by rubbing each piece into bead shape between one’s hands with hot soapy water. But . . . I have all these little remnants of feltable wool yarn from other projects in my stash and little roving. So I knitted bobbles first and then felted them. I use large needles and it takes only a few stitches to knit a bobble, so it goes fast.
The pattern for the bobbles is basic. Let me know if my instructions need clarification:

Knitted Felted Beads

Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Bulky, assorted colors (but not superwash–those are not good for felting under most circumstances)
Needles: US size 13

CO 1
Knit into front and back of this stitch, twice. You now have 4 stitches.
Purl one row, knit one row, twice.
Bind off by lifting the second, third, and forth stitches over the first stitch.
Cut yarn about four inches long. Remove last stitch from the needle and put the cut off end of yarn through the loop of the last stitch and pull tight to secure the end.


Thread this yarn on to a tapestry needle and take a running stitch around the circumference of the bobble. Tuck the tail of the yarn (from the beginning of your knitting–trim it if it is more than 2-3 inches long) into the middle of the bobble to hide it. Pull up yarn to tighten and form the bobble.
Take a couple of stitches to secure end of yarn and put the yarn through the bobble to hide the end. Trim yarn off at the bobble.
Make as many bobbles as you want beads.

To felt the bobbles, submerge them in hot water with a small amount of soap. Rub the bobbles under the water, rolling them between your hands like you are making clay beads. You will know when they are felted–a significant change comes over them and they go from being mushy and yarn-like to being dense and felt-y. They will also sink in the water. Rinse out the soap in more hot water, continuing the clay-roll movement. You can blot the felted beads with a towel. Leave them to dry. It may take a day or two to get completely dried out.

They can be bracelets, necklaces, whatever you can dream up.



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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Al June 18, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Hi! I’m really new here, and I am really loving your site! Tons of great ideas!

I particularly love this idea. I have alot of holiday colored yarn left over. So I was thinking of taking this idea and making a Christmas tree garland out of it.

TL June 18, 2009 at 6:57 pm

What a neat idea! I love it!

charly August 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm

ah! thats CUTE!

Tomato Lady August 23, 2009 at 8:16 pm

charly–Thank you!

Vicki October 26, 2009 at 9:25 am

This is a great idea for remnants. I just felted a hat. It needs a little something and this may be a great addition to give it a little more interest. Thank you!

Tomato Lady October 27, 2009 at 7:38 am

Vicki–Neat idea. I like it!

Sasha June 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Hi-

About how big are the finished bobbles? I need to make some that are about 1″ in diameter. Should I make the initial knit part larger and by how much do you think?

Thanks for your help and the basic idea!

Tomato Lady June 13, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Sasha–The finished beads, after felting are a scant half inch, I’d say. Maybe double up on some bulky, do a test felting and see if you need to go bigger.

Kimberly June 17, 2010 at 11:41 am

I love this idea! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

Margaret September 27, 2010 at 11:41 am

Can’t wait to try this. Was thinking of making some felt beads with my leftover yearns for a Kid’s jewellery Club that I’m doing at school. Was thinking of crotcheting the bobble instead of knitting.

Heather December 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm

OMG! I love you! Thank you for this tutorial!!

Tomato Lady December 10, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Heather–You’re very welcome!

pam September 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm

If these are larger they make natural anti static balls for the dryer. Great for cat toys too!

Carol Watkins October 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

Thanks for this tutorial!!!
I’ve always had difficulty getting beads hard enough – as opposed to “squishy”. Using your method with my heavy Lincoln rug yarn makes a nice hard dense center. These beads also felt up faster . Thanks for sharing this information. Also, to the person who asked how to make larger beads just double or triple the yarn for the bobble.
Sincerely,
Carol

Mikayla November 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

These beads can also be felted by putting hot or very warm water and a little soap in a clear jar, and shaking the daylights out of it. I haven’t tried it yet, so don’t know if it’s any faster.

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