40 Years Felted Platter

Friday, August 24, 2007
Some dear friends (and surrogate local parents) are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this weekend. They're having a bash! And... they're craft-friendly people - in fact, V is one of the most talented knitters and seamstresses I know. She used to knit the most beautiful fair isle sweaters for her whole family EVERY YEAR, and was the queen of smocking. Have you ever been picked up over the head of someone who is 6'8"? I have - and I was a teenager at the time. B used to be the adult male roles in my ballet performances! They love the mountains, music, good food, fellowship, and Dairy Queen. Better people are not to be found.

In honor of their 40 years together, I knit them this bowl/platter. From one edge to another there are 40 "tree rings" in the bottom, one for each year of their marriage. I can imagine it holding little toys and things for their grandchildren - biological and "spare".

Finished dimensions: 12in diameter by 1.5in tall (30cm by 4cm) Please note: This has very shallow sides as written; you may wish to lengthen them to get more of a bowl and less of a platter look.
Gauge: not important; whatever you're comfortable with (I tend to knit loosely; you may want to go up a needle size if you're a tight knitter).

1 skein Patons Classic Merino Wool (100% wool), Colorway: Dark Natural Mix [3.50oz/100g to 223yd/205m]
US 9 (5.5mm) circular needles, 24in long, plus either one more circular needle or a set of double pointed needles, all in same size
Darning needle
10 stitch markers (Note: I used small lengths of cotton yarn tied into loops, rather than "official" markers)

Cast on 5 stitches. Join for knitting in the round, and place first marker to denote beginning of row.
Row 1: Knit in front and back of each stitch [Kf&b] (10 sts).
Row 2 and all even rows: Knit all stitches.
Row 3: (Kf&b; place marker) 10 times (20 sts)
Row 5: (Kf&b; K1) 10 times (30 sts)
Row 7: (Kf&b; K2) 10 times (40 sts)
The general idea is that you will knit in the front and back of the first stitch after the marker, then knit to the next marker, and repeat. Continue working this pattern until there are 200 stitches (20 stitches between each marker).

When you have reached the 200 stitches mark, stop increasing and work in knit for 10 more rows. This forms the shallow sides to the bowl. If you wish to have a deeper bowl, keep working in knit until it's a bit deeper than your desired post-felting depth.

Bind off all stitches VERY LOOSELY using a 3-stitch I-cord bindoff. You may want to go up a needle size on this one. Instructions for doing an attached I-cord abound; I used this video from Knitting at Knoon.

Weave in ends.

Felt in the washer to desired size/density.

Note: This is not a platter that will support weight while carrying. It's mainly for putting stuff in when it's already on the table. You could try a version with the yarn doubled for more stiffness.


  • Alison

    Beautiful! I love the 40 rings concept, and the colorway. Such a thoughtful gift!

  • Carol

    Great and thoughtful idea! Makes for a good reason to buy some ombre wool too! Thank you!

  • What a lovely story, and a beautiful bowl.

  • I just finished felting the bowl, but the sides are much too big - lots of waves! I did use two strands of yarn for the sides, but thought this would just provide sturdier sides. I'd like to try again, but am a bit discouraged. Suggestions? I used Patons merino. Thanks - Julie

  • KT

    Julie -
    Did you hold the yarn doubled for the base as well? If you didn't, then I'd guess the problem is that doubled yarn both knits and felts to a different gauge than single stranded knitting... If this doesn't make sense let me know and I'll see if I can explain better! ;)
    - KT

  • I'm sure that's what it was - just doubling the yarn for the sides. I'll try it again with keeping the bowl single yarn both bottom and sides. I love the look of your bowl! Even my wavy sided bowl is pretty neat. THanks - Julie

  • I tried the bowl again this time using just one strand of yard for the bottom and sides. There is again what seems to be excess in the sides that I can only create a wave with (fluted) so there will be sides. Seems like there should be some decreasing done for the sides?? Any ideas as to why I am getting extra here? Thanks - Julie

  • KT

    The only other thing I can think is that when you block it after felting that you're folding the sides up too early... which would mean there are still increases. There should be no ripple if you've got the same number of stitches along the sides as on the last round of the base. Could you try getting the latest version wet again (to break the fold) and reshape it?

  • Kristy

    Love the bowl , but I got confused on how to start...do you start on dble pointed needles and how do you join just 5 stitches?

  • Carolyn

    Love the idea of the 40 tree rings -- What a nice gift!

  • I am also confused about the joining the 5 stitches....... I am guessing that is where the second circular needle or dpn comes in..... going to try again tomorrow.

  • KT

    Hi Kristy and Rosalind,
    I think it's easiest to cast on the five stitches to one needle, then distribute them across whatever number of needles you're using for knitting in the round. If you're using double points, put 2 stitches on the first two needles, then just one on the third. If using two circs, put three on one needle and two on the other. It's a bit awkward at first, but since you increase so quickly you'll get a good number of stitches fast - making it much easier. You might find the videos at Knitting Help useful (scroll down to "knitting in the round - small diameter knitting"): http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/advanced-techniques.

  • DebraC

    I love your bowl pattern! I have a daily calendar with knitting patterns and its one of them (January 23rd actually). Can you give me any hints for starting? I'm having trouble keeping the stiches on the double points and increasing and joining all at the same time! Thanks!!

  • KT

    Hi DebraC,
    I agree, the first few rounds are a pain in the rear... my suggestions are these:

    - Try using only two needles for the first few rounds, switching to 3 when you've got a few more stitches on the needles.

    - Use a removeable marker attached to the cast on area for the beginning of the round, and just count stitches until you get about 5 between each increase.

    - Don't do this in the car or when dropping a needle will be a problem. (spoken from experience)

    - Don't worry about things being a bit sloppy at the beginning. You'll have a chance to tighten up the stitches when you sew in the cast on tail, and then it'll be felted so will also smooth out then.

    Good luck! KT

  • DebraC

    KT, your suggestions worked! I was able to knit on two needles for the first two rounds and then join! I am having the same problem with the blocking after felting as Julie...suggestions? Did you use a bowl as a form? I placed it in one bowl and put in a smaller bowl to shape it but it was flimsy and the sides were fluted. Any help is appreciated!! Thanks.

  • KT

    What worked best for me was to stretch the bowl out flat (I did it on my washing machine) and then straighten out the sides starting where you stopped increasing. The bottom should be flat, not curved. I have a feeling the fluting starts because you're trying to pull the sides up before the bottom is done increasing. Remember the sides as designed are pretty short. It's shaped like a quiche dish or maybe a tart pan.

  • Sandralu

    I finished my bowl and am really pleased with it, except my colors didn't show trough after felting. It's all one colors, even though I used a multicolored yarn. Can the side of this be starched to keep them a little sturdier? Thanks so much for the pattern. I'm planning on giving these as Christmas gifts.....if I can master the beginning. I had to get my knitting neighbor to help me!

  • I love this bowl but plan to make it narrower and deeper...are the finished dimensions listed in the pattern before or after felting? Also, what if I purled one row before starting the plain knit for the sides...I'm thinking it might create a "sharper" division between the bottom and the sides. I can't visualize whether a purled row would end up looking inverted.

  • KT - I am having the same problem as Julie, when I felt the bowl there is excess and it is fluting. How do we block this bowl correctly? What do you mean by folding the sides up too quickly? One you felt it can you re wet it to fix the shaping? Any more suggestions would be much appreciated! thanks

  • KT

    Hi there -
    Note that the sides are really short as written - only about 1-2inches. You don't want to start the fold until the part where the decreases end (that's what I mean by "too quickly"). I would suggest laying it out flat and pushing from the center outwards until you find the part where it no longer is flat. That's approximately the edge between the base and the sides. If it's fluting you've folded too far in to the base. The ripple is because there are fewer stitches at the fold than there are at the bindoff.

    I'm considering adding instructions to leave some thin cotton yarn or dental floss in the first round of the sides so that people have a guide for the blocking that is easily removed.


  • Rebecca

    What a great gift to create for your friends on such a special occasion. Thank you for sharing!

  • Nice idea but the pattern actually makes a flat plate, 10 rows is nowhere near enough for the sides, wouldnt hold anything at all.

  • KT

    Hi Helen, thanks for your comment. Please notice in the "Finished Dimensions" section that the sides are only 1.5inches tall after felting. It's meant to be a very wide, shallow platter.

  • I love your bowl but after reading the comments I feel for you. Lol I don't have a blog but if you can I think you should edit your entry and make a bigger more elaborate statement about the depth of the bowl and blocking. I think you might have fewer headaches from others who keep commenting on wavy sides and such. You could add a list of tips like - Dont knit base with one strand & sides with two because ...X... Will occur... Either use 1 or 2 strands throughout pattern. And of course make a huge deal out of stating the pattern produces sides that are X inches deep. Maybe then adding that knitting X more rows will produce an additional inch to sides.
    You probably won't want to post this. I was reading all of it and thought , "I bet this woman's like me, too nice to say 'read the notes, I told u it was shallow!!' and she probably wishes she never posted it in the 1st place!" I have a knitting group and I have similar issues. People don't 'read' every word any more. It's like they scan your clear lovely description and then instead if rereading it after theirs turns out shallow, they post asking u to fix it. They haven't even read the other answers (or you wouldn't b typing same answer repeatedly). Lol
    With my group on our boards and in emails I find bullets work well to stress certain points that I'm afraid might b scanned over and they'll b asking about. Bulletremarks addressing any forseeable issues.
    I hope I've made you smile and maybe helped you a bit Youve a very lovely blog and I hope to read lots more. Good luck to you and hope you have a wonderful 2010.

  • Thank you for posting this. Do you know, can I just continue expanding the pattern if I want to get to 50 rings and I will just end up with a bigger platter? Or am I thinking about this wrong? I just completed the increase rows but I am still a moderate knitter so I am not too adventurous. Thanks again.

  • KT

    Hi Betsy,
    Yes, if you keep increasing you'll get a bigger platter - just be aware that it gets pretty floppy at some point. Also that you'll need more yarn! :)

  • I love this and made it as a fairly deep bowl and used a piece of driftwood for a handle. Now I want to adapt the pattern to be a platter whose sides slope up and can't figure out the increases. (I'm also open to suggestions for items to use to block it once it's done...all I can think of is a hubcap which gives you an idea of the shape i want but don't want to try explaining to the local gendarmes why I was borrowing that hubcap!)

  • Christian

    I'm in process on the bowl, but I am confused about one thing...After you have 2 markers (40 stitches) and you begin increasing after each marker, when do you add more markers? I waited until I had 40 stitches between each marker and then I added 2 markers separating it into 4 sections of 20. Is that right? Now I will increase 4 times per row. Correct? It is looking very hat like instead of platter like right now. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!


  • Leslie Lim

    I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.


  • Leslie Lim

    I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.


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