how does the shrink fac­tor work?

Mak­ing sure your work felts to the right size.

Simply Crochet - - Workshop -

After felting, the gap be­tween the fi­bres has re­duced, mak­ing the fab­ric denser and re­duc­ing the over­all size of each swatch. The fi­bres also be­come much softer and colour­work pat­terns are gen­tly blended. The ‘shrink fac­tor’ is also a key as­pect of felting, and cro­chet fabrics usu­ally tend to shrink more width­ways than they do length­ways be­cause of the larger gap be­tween the stitches than the rows.

Cal­cu­lat­ing the amount that your fab­ric shrinks is vi­tal to be­ing able to cro­chet an item that will mea­sure a cer­tain size after felting, and swatch­ing is a vi­tal part of this process. Let’s take our swatch worked with a 10mm hook as an ex­am­ple – it has 10 sts and 12 rows to 13cm square be­fore felting. After felting, it’s 10cm wide and 11cm high. To cal­cu­late the shrink fac­tor, work as fol­lows: Mea­sure­ment after felting (10cm) di­vided by mea­sure­ment be­fore felting (13cm) = Shrink fac­tor (0.77). You can use the shrink fac­tor to work out how big your item will be after felting. For ex­am­ple, you’ve made a rug 145cm square, so work 145 mul­ti­plied by 0.77 = 112cm after felting.

You can also use the shrink fac­tor to work out how big to cro­chet your item to achieve a spe­cific mea­sure­ment after felting. For ex­am­ple, sup­pose you want a felt hat that’s 60cm cir­cum­fer­ence, so work 60 di­vided by 0.77 = 78cm. So you will need to cro­chet the hat to 78cm cir­cum­fer­ence. Then use the swatch to cal­cu­late how many stitches you need to achieve that 78cm, by work­ing: De­sired size (78) di­vided by Swatch size (13) = Stitch ra­tio (6). Stitch ra­tio (6) mul­ti­plied by Stitches in the swatch (10) = Stitches needed (60). You’d there­fore need to cro­chet 60 stitches for your hat.

Be­fore

after

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