Friday, October 2, 2015

Easy Soap Sweaters

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Soap Sweaters 
Just when you thought we had run out of things to cover in yarn...

Soap sweaters have taken over my knitting life this week. These adorable things are a pretty great twist on felted soaps. Instead of felting the wool around the soap, these are seamless knitted sacks that felt around the soap as you use it.

But why make or use felted soaps / soap sweaters? This question comes up a lot with felted soaps. And because it's me, I have a handy dandy bullet pointed list:

The tl;dr version:
  • Felted soaps & soap sweaters exfoliate. 
  • They prolong the life of your soap. 
  • It's fun and showers are boring. 
The long version:
  • You are a Knitter with a capital K. If it can have a sweater, then it will have a sweater. Plus you have all that wool just laying around not earning it's rent. 
  • You can't beat the lather it makes. Creamy bubbles for everyone.  
  • Scrubba, scrubba, scrubba! It exfoliates your skin gently.
  • The wool becomes infused with the soap as you use it and will continue to lather long after the soap has melted away. 
  • Heat + agitation + pH changes (wool is slightly acidic, soap is slightly basic) = felt. On your body. While you're getting clean. SCIENCE!
  • Sometimes there are colored bubbles and that's kind of neat. (Let's be honest, you're washing wool in water hotter than the normal "cool" recommendation and scrubbing it with soap. Embrace the colored bubbles your first few showers. It won't stain your skin or your tub, and shouldn't change the color of your soap sweater.)  
  • Wool wicks water away and is slightly acidic, making it naturally bacteria resistant. Have you noticed that your cotton sweaters need to be washed all the time, but your wool sweaters don't? Same principle. Wool doesn't hold on to bacteria like cotton does. 
  • Prop it up in a well-draining soap dish to dry & air out between uses. That sweater is going to be fine for a long, long time. 
But how do I make one?  Like this...
Dyeabolical Id Squishy Sport Singles (1 hank makes about 5-7 sweaters) [Use the "search in this shop" section to search for all Id colors currently in stock, or navigate to the "Yarn-Dyed to Order" section to special order a color.]
US 9 double pointed needles
Tapestry needle
Stitch Marker

Notes: Yarn is held double. You can also use a heavy worsted, aran weight, or light bulky held single. If you are making a yarn substitution, make sure you are using a yarn that will felt! This pattern is for double pointed needles, but can easily be converted to magic loop. The soaps used measure 3.5" long x 2.5" high x 1" wide. If you have a wider soap then you may want to do more increase and decrease rows.

Gauge is somewhat flexible. I used about 4 sts/inch. A tighter soap sweater is better than a baggy soap sweater.

 Instructions (hold yarn double):
Holding yarn double, cast on 8 stitches over 2 needles using Judy's Magic Cast On or Figure-8 Cast On

Knit all the stitches on the first needle. Knit all the stitches on the second needle. Mark the beginning of the round. Redistribute the stitches evenly over 4 needles.

Row 1 (increase row): Knit 1, kfb, knit to the end of needle 1. Knit to 2 stitches before end of needle 2, kfb, knit 1. On needle 3, knit 1, kfb, knit to end of needle 3. Knit to 2 stitches before the end of needle 4, kfb, knit 1

Row 2: Knit

Row 3 & 4: Repeat rows 1 & 2

Continue to knit in the round until your piece is as long as your soap.

Row 5: (decrease row): Knit 1, ssk, knit to the end of needle 1. Knit to 3 stitches before the end of needle 3, k2tog, knit 1. On needle 3, knit 1, ssk, knit to the end of needle 3. Knit to 3 sttiches before the end of needle 4, k2tog, knit 1

Row 6: Knit

Row 7 & 8: Repeat rows 5& 6

Insert soap in to your soap sweater. Kitchener stitch the opening closed.

Weave in ends. This is going to be felted as you use it, so I just leave the cast on tail inside the soap and pull the bind off tail up to the inside of the sweater. Leave unblocked.


  1. Hi
    Love this idea!Thanks for sharing it too.
    Just wanted to see if the total number of stitches should be 26? I love to work in the round on 2 circular needles, so I wanted to know the actual stitch count.

    1. Hi! It is 24 stitches (16 to start, plus 2 increase rows of 4 increases each). It doesn't really matter for this pattern, though. Keep increasing until it is the size you like.


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