Here come the (felted) bangles!

A couple weeks ago my sister-in-law told me “heavy wrists” are in style this season – the more bangles the better – so I decided to make some.

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My marble rolling pin made an excellent form for drying and shaping the bracelets. (I only set them on the wooden tray after they were thoroughly dry, and then only long enough to take a photo.)

Late last year I made a few felted bracelets following a pattern someone else developed.

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These were my first attempts, using the other pattern. I decorated a few with needle felting, but broke several felting needles because the bangles are so dense. Needle felt at your own risk.

Some turned out really cute, but some wound up with a groove down the back where the edges curved in during felting. I knew there had to be a way to make smoother edges, so I created my own “pattern” by knitting and felting i-cord.

What’s i-cord, you ask? It’s a small tube of knitted fabric that looks kind of like knitted rope, and is often used as drawstrings or handles on bags.

Knitting i-cord is faster than knitting the same number of stitches in a flat piece since you never turn it. It’s sort of like a micro version of knitting in the round – using only two double-pointed needles.

This is a 5-stich i-cord.

This is a 5-stich i-cord.

My “pattern” is simple: knit about 12″ of i-cord from feltable wool yarn, then whip stitch the ends to form a circle. Some are made using 3-stitch i-cord, some with 5-stitch i-cord, a couple with 7-stitch i-cord.

Once you’ve knitted a few, pop them into a zipped laundry bag or into a pillow case tightly closed with rubber bands (I usually knot it, too). Set your washing machine for a small load and hot water. I like to add a tablespoon or so of baking soda to alleviate the “wet wool” smell. They might felt perfectly the first time, but sometimes it takes two or three cycles to achieve the look you want.

This is my trial batch, before felting:

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Looks like a bunch of hair scrunchies, huh?

The same bunch, after two feltings:

A bunch of little bangles, all in a row.

Like magic, the stitches seem to melt away during felting.

I put them on a marble rolling pin to dry because it seemed about the right circumference for bangles. It was perfect. My first batch was made with single stranded wool using size US 10.5 double-pointed needles. Next, I decided to try double stranding on size US 13 DPNs. That let me mix colors as desired. The result: slightly bulkier bracelets.

These also took two feltings.

These also took two feltings.

I kind of like mixing and matching the thicker and thinner bracelets. Pardon the odd angle, but it’s a bit tricky to take a photo of your own arm…

My favorite warm tone bangles...

Some of my favorite bangles all in a row!

Heavy wrists might be in vogue, but I think I may have overdone it a bit. In  my defense, they all went well with what I happened to be wearing that day.

If you’re a crocheter who’d like to try making felted bangles, let me know. Crocheted stitches don’t dissolve as nicely as knitted stitches, but I’m up for trying to test some ideas for crocheting some felted bangles, too.

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About Paula Hendrickson

I'm a full-time freelance writer with an addiction to yarn, cooking and all kinds of crafty things. I come from a long line of creative and entrepreneurial types on both sides of the family, making creativity almost like competitive pursuit.

Posted on April 16, 2013, in bangles, bracelets, DPNs, Felting, Knitting, patterns, Projects, scrap yarn, yarn and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Paula, You’ve done it again! Those are very unique and just plain “cool”. Perfect for Fall and Winter if one’s coat and gloves don’t come up high enough or just fashion forward. You are the best when it comes to knitting and crocheting….very creative and always beautiful items.

  2. Paula Hendrickson

    Thanks, Charlyne. I know I can teach you how to make them. They knit up quickly. The hard part is waiting to have enough knitted so you can felt a batch. The felting process is so much fun. Might be a neat project to share little Miss A.

    You’re right – the bangles are great for fall and winter. They’re nice on cool spring days, too. Just not for summer.

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