Apr 29, 2016

Felted Casserole Cozy

With the warmer weather comes those special events we all love: pot lucks, barbecues, family reunions, and sports outings.  This project is exactly the thing needed to keep those tasty dishes insulated while transporting them to their destination.  The thick felted wool creates the perfect barrier to help hot dishes remain hot and cold ones stay chilled in the sun’s warming rays.

Knitting Loom: KB Hat Loom set to large gauge (pegs in every other hole), 28 pegs used.

Yarn: Approximately 950 yards of worsted weight 100% wool yarn, two strands held as one. Sample used Patons Classic Wool Worsted (2 skeins in each of the colors Jade Heather and Rich Red, 1/2 skein in the color Leaf Green, 1/4 skein in the color Winter White) 210 yds/192 m.

Notions: knitting tool, 6mm crochet hook (for cast on and help with possible missed stitches, etc), stitch markers, scissors, knitting pins, yarn needle, row counter, one large and a few small decorative buttons, as desired.  Also needed for felting process: hot water, either in washing machine or in large tub, 1 tablespoon laundry soap or baking soda, thick towels, old jeans or dryer balls to aid in the felting process if using a washing machine.

Gauge: Approx 9.33 sts x 17.75 rows= 4 inches (before felting)

Finished Measurements: Before felting: 17″ x 12″ x 5″ After felting: approximately 15″ x 9″ x 3″  (The size of this cover can be adjusted by changing the number of pegs used and rows knitted, as well as custom fitted by felting the item to fit the specific pan desired for use.)

Skills Needed: E-wrap, Chain CO (or CO of your choice), Basic BO, seaming method of choice (sample used single crochet), felting techniques.

Abbreviations:
CO: cast on
EW: E-wrap stitch
KO: knit off
WY: working yarn
BBO: basic bind off

Pattern Notes:
This pattern uses 2 strands of yarn held throughout.

The instructions below are for the exact color combination used for the sample.  If another look is desired, simply work in the color pattern of choice, keeping the total row count the same as the original.

Felted Casserole Cozy-side

Instructions

Set loom to work in a flat panel using 28 pegs in every other hole.

Top Panel

CO onto all 28 pegs. (Sample used Chain CO)

Rows 1-11:  Work EW on all 28 pegs using 2 strands of Rich Red.

Rows 12-16: Cut 1 strand of Rich Red to 4″ and hold 1 strand of Jade Heather with uncut strand of Rich Red and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Rows 17-27:  Cut strand of Rich Red to 4″ and hold 2 strands of Jade Heather and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Rows 28-32: Cut 1 strand of Jade Heather to 4″ and hold 1 strand of Winter White with uncut strand of Jade Heather and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Rows 33-43:  Cut strand of Jade Heather to 4″ and hold 2 strands of Winter White and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Rows 44-48: Cut 1 strand of Winter White to 4″ and hold 1 strand of Leaf Green with uncut strand of Winter White and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Rows 49-59:  Cut strand of Winter White to 4″ and hold 2 strands of Leaf Green and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Rows 60-64: Cut 1 strand of Leaf Green to 4″ and hold 1 strand of Rich Red with uncut strand of Leaf Green and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Rows 65-75:  Cut strand of Leaf Green to 4″ and hold 2 strands of Rich Red and work EW on all 28 pegs.

Loosely BBO all 28 pegs.

Bottom Panel

CO onto all 28 pegs. (Sample used Chain CO)

Rows 1-88:  Work EW on all 28 pegs using 2 strands of Jade Heather.

Rows 89-100: Continue to work in EW, but decrease 2 stitches at each row using the following method:

*Move the loops from the 2nd pegs from both edges to the outside pegs.

*KO the bottom loop over the top loop at the outside pegs.

*Move the loop from the outside pegs inward one peg to fill in the gaps.

*Work row.

BBO remaining 4 pegs.

Sides Panel

CO onto 12 pegs. (Sample used Chain CO)

Rows 1-200:  Work EW on all 12 pegs using 2 strands of Rich Red.

Loosely BBO all 12 pegs.

 FRONT before felting

FRONT before felting

 BACK before felting

BACK before felting

Finishing

Pin the long side panel evenly onto both the top and bottom panels, keeping the extra length of the bottom panel free by centering the side panel at the flat edge opposite the tapered edge. There should be approximately 4″ left free before it starts to taper to a point.  Being careful not to pull too tightly which will cause puckering, neatly stitch the edges of the panels together (sample used a single crochet stitch  in Leaf Green, but a blanket stitch or mattress stitch could also be used. To keep continuity of the contrasting seam, a single crocheted edge was also applied across the bottom panel’s tapered end as well as ends of

side panel.)

Weave in all ends that will be visible at the opening, and simply make a square knot and trim all other ends.

Felting

**Please Note!** During felting, the wool will shrink significantly. Careful watch over the felting process is required to ensure that the piece doesn’t shrink too much.
If using a washing machine, place the piece inside a laundry bag or tightly tied pillow case before felting.  This will help keep the extra fuzz produced in the felting process from clogging the machine. Set the machine to the hot/normal cycle and add a pair of old jeans or two (ones that will not bleed color) or dryer balls for plenty of agitation.  Add a tablespoon of laundry soap or baking powder to help soften the wool fibers. Let the cycle run for approx 15-20 minutes, checking regularly to make sure of the size of the finished piece.  **Donleave them unchecked too long, as it can quickly shrink beyond what is expected!  If the machine is felting the piece unevenly, simply add friction by hand to those places that still require extra felting.  This allows better control over the felting process so that certain areas don’t felt too much.
Alternately, felting can be accomplished using a large tub filled with hot water and plenty of applied hand agitation with good success.  An ice cube tray, or a new plunger can also be used for added friction. 
Once the desired size has been achieved, rinse piece with cold water. Carefully squeeze out excess water without ringing. Roll cozy in a thick, absorbent towel.
Working while the piece is still damp, carefully stretch the sides of the panels so that they are straight and even and are at the correct measurement. Insert desired baking dish and fit the cozy to its shape (sample’s dish had handles to mold the felting around, but this was done quite easily, because the wool was still damp and pliable).  Stretch and push the piece as needed, pinning the flap in place.  Leave to dry completely.  **Note: Because felting will continue to shrink a bit as the moisture in the wool evaporates, continue shaping during the drying process, so that the project will remain in the desired shape.
 Felted Casserole Cozy-button flap

Using sharp scissors, cut a small slit in the center of the tapered point of the button flap, along the same direction as the knitting. The felting process will have firmly knotted all the fibers together, so the knitting can be cut into without worry.  If desired, the slit can be reinforced with some stitches of yarn. Stitch the button(s) onto the corresponding place on the top panel where the button flap will close, as well as anywhere else desired for decoration.

Felted Casserole Cozy-buttons,sm

To leave a question or comment for Bethany Dailey, simply add your comments to the section below! :)

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