Hand Felting

There are many different ways to felt animal fibers.  Choose a yarn that is predominately made of animal hair fibers (wool, alpaca, mohair, etc) and wash it with agitation and changes in water temperature.  Superwash wools have been specially treated so they will not felt.  Plant based yarns (such as cotton or linen), silk, and acrylic yarns also will not felt.  When you felt a yarn, you loose your stitch definition.  Felting is a great project for beginners, because all of your mistakes will disappear when you felt your project!


Hand Felting

Shrinking a knitted object with hot water and agitation actually defines the process of fulling. We refer to it as felting because it is commonly referred to as such in the hand knitting community. By definition, felting uses unspun wool to create a cohesive fabric.


Supplies

Sink or basin

Liquid dish washing soap

Exfoliating gloves or rubber gloves (optional)

Old bath towels




1. Fill a sink or basin with water that is hot to the touch, but not so uncomfortably hot that you cannot immerse your hands. Add a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and swish around.


2. Submerge the project you want to felt.


3. Rub vigorously using your choice of gloves. Wearing exfoliating gloves while rubbing the piece will cause the surface to felt more quickly. Or, wearing rubber gloves protects your hands from the extended exposure to hot water and provides a slightly more abrasive surface than your bare hands alone.


4. You may want to apply drops of the liquid dishwashing soap to specific areas of the project that need more encouragement to felt.


5. When the project is felted to your satisfaction, rinse it thoroughly in cool water. Roll it in a large old towel and squeeze (do not twist) gently to remove extra moisture.





6. Lay the project down on the towel. Pull out and finger press into the desired shape, pinning if necessary. If you are blocking multiples of an item, measure each one to make sure they are all the same size. If the item is three-dimensional, stuff it with wadded up plastic bags or smaller hand towels to help it maintain the desired shape while drying. Be careful not to stuff it too full—leave some room for air to circulate so it will dry quickly.


Stovetop Hand Felting


Supplies

Stock pot

Liquid dish washing soap

Kitchen utensil for agitating (potato masher, large spoon)

Old bath towels


1. Fill a stock pot three-quarters with water. Add a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap and swish around.


2. Heat the water on the stovetop until it has reached a very gentle boil.


3. Submerge the project you want to felt.


4. Stir the project gently but firmly in the hot water. Try to agitate it evenly so all parts felt equally. You may find several kitchen utensils to be helpful in this process. For example, a potato masher is good for repeatedly pressing and releasing each section of the project. Tongs can help rearrange the project so all sections can be reached.


5. When the project is felted to your satisfaction, pour it into a sink and rinse it thoroughly in cool water. Roll it in a large old towel and squeeze (do not twist) gently to remove extra moisture.


6. Lay the project on a large, old towel. Pull out and finger press into the desired shape, pinning if necessary. If you are blocking multiples of an item, measure each one to make sure they are all the same size. If the item is three-dimensional, stuff it with wadded up plastic bags or smaller hand towels to help it maintain the desired shape while drying. But, don’t stuff it too full – leave some room for air to circulate so it will dry quickly.