Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Small Felted Box with Lid

I'm into containers lately. Places to store things. Baskets and boxes made from natural materials are the preferred choice (no plastic please). It is best if the container has a lid so you don't have to see what's in there all the time.

I was looking for a quick project and thought to knit and felt a small container for myself. (I needed a break from my husband's black sweater.)

A quick look at some of my favorite knitting sites did not yield any patterns for a lidded container so I decided to write one. Here it is for you to try. Let me know what you think.

Small Felted Box with Lid

Note about yarn: I used Lamb's Pride because I had some in my stash but a less hairy yarn would be preferable for this project.

Bulky wool yarn (about 40yds)
Small amount of heavy worsted or bulky wool yarn in contrasting or toning color for trim
Three buttons about 5/8” in diameter and thread to match main color

Sewing needle

Size 11 or 13 double pointed needles
Size M or N crochet hook
(Note: Gauge is not especially important since the piece will be felted in the washer.)

Finished measurements after felting:
Approximately 5”long x 5”wide x 2”deep

Using double pointed needles CO 14.
Knit 18 rows in Stst.
Leaving stitches on the needle pick up 14 from other three sides.
Knit 10 rounds.
BO all stitches. Weave in ends.

Using double pointed needles CO 15.
Knit 19 rows.
BO all stitches. Weave in ends.


Using crochet hook and contrasting/toning yarn single crochet around the top edge of box and edge of the lid (about 3 chain stitches for every 4 knitted stitches). Next crochet a loop of 10 chain stitches in the center front of the lid and two loops of the same size on the back of the lid about 3sts from each corner. (You could also crochet loops at the same time as the trim. Just be sure the loop begins and ends in the same stitch.) Weave in ends.

Felting (or fulling):

Put the box and lid in the washer (preferably front-loading) and run for the full wash cycle. Check the size and pull into shape. You may need to run it through another cycle or part of a cycle checking the size periodically. When the box reaches the desired size, put it back in the washer for one rinse and then spin.

Pull the box and lid into shape and lay flat to dry.

Sew on the buttons and your box is finished.


  1. You said front-loading. First time I have ever seen front-loading as the recommended machine! Actually, just the opposite if style of machine is mentioned. I have a front-loader, and some purses needing felting, and have been thinking about going to the laudromat!

    Care to elaborate about your methods?

    I like the box and will give it a try. I agree with you - no plastics. Except for shaping the drying box, maybe!!


  2. Do you have any ideas on how to make this a larger box. I would love to make this (only larger) to use at my Wedding to hold cards. Thanks.

  3. This i love! Practical and cute! Thanks so much for sharing your pattern.

  4. Thanks for all of your encouraging comments! I will try to address the questions.

    Machine Felting:
    A front-loading washer is preferable in my opinion for fulling knitted pieces. It tumbles rather than twists so you're more likely to get even felting. However, if you're fulling smaller items a top-loader should work. Here's a link to a page where this topic is being discussed. They are often referring to felting raw wool but talk about fulling knitted items too.
    I tend to follow the work of British felters where a front-loader would be assumed in most cases.

    Larger Felted Box:
    It should be simple to make a larger box. Here are some of my ideas. Measure your cards adding a 1/2 inch to the width for a little extra space. Plan to knit the box twice as large as your measurements so that the box can be tightly felted. Also use a chunky wool to get a thicker felt. Cascade's Eco-wool might be a good choice using Ecru for the main color and Oatmeal it you want a contrasting trim. Do a gauge swatch to determine how many stitches you need to reach your desired size.

    If you need pens to sit nearby you could knit and felt a cylinder with a bottom. Put some stones in the bottom to make it heavy so it doesn't fall over. Aim for 3" in diameter and 4" to 4 1/2" tall.

    I'd love to see what you come up with.

    Hope this helps!

  5. Hello, I have been looking for a pattern to knit a box with lid, and this is absolutely adorable and perfect for what I want to make. However, I dont understand the pattern at all. Do you mean cast on 14 stch onto each of three needles, and then how does one pick up 14 more and make this box shape? Is this pattern in a book that I could buy? Thanks. ~Carolyn

  6. Hello. So sorry for the lame question I posted a few days ago. I have not knit in a very long time and had brain freeze. After printing your pattern and thinking about it, I remembered how to pick up stitches. I cannot wait to finish and felt my little box! Again, so sorry, and thank you for such an adorable pattern! ~Carolyn

  7. Thanks Carolyn. Let me know how your box comes along. If there are any problems with the pattern please let me know. I'd love to see a picture of your finished box, too.

  8. Hello, I want to thank you again for this incredibly cute pattern. I made two boxes and then a smaller one with a CO of 10 and adjustments, thinking a set would be cute. I am THRILLED with how these came out! I didn't felt the first two quite enough, so I threw them in with the new smaller one on a longer hot cycle, and they came out great! ~Carolyn

  9. Hi,
    Thanks for the instructions! Could you recommend a bulky yarn that felts fairly smooth? I tried making a tray based on these instructions sort of, but with worsted weight. Picked up too many stitches on the side which don't want to stand up now, so I think I'll start anew.


  10. This is adorable - I've been all over the web looking for a project like this. Perfect.

  11. Does anyone have a pattern for something like this but knit flat in garter stitch with no stitches picked up? It does not have to have a lid and I don't mind doing a some sewing. I would make my own pattern but I am not sure if it would felt right. I think I know how to make my own but am not sure... does anyone know if the sides would stay up if I just made two pieces in garter stitch- one for the bottom and one to wrap around the bottom piece for the sides- and felted then sewed them together? I am sort of afraid to try because I do not have a lot of wool and do not want to waste it.

  12. Kathryn-

    If you want to find more projects like this online, try Knitting Pattern Central. It has tons of free knitting patterns and there is a whole category for felted items. That's where I got this link from.

  13. Anon, you could try drawing out a pattern on graph paper like those little paper boxes the teachers used to have us make in school then just count stiches like graph squares and knit it in that pattern. Cast on for the sides and cast off when you get back to the main body again. Do a google for paper box patterns?