The Felting Process – Fulling Wool to Felt

The process of making wool felt is simple yet the metamorphic change from fiber to felt is magical.  In my work, I knit an item loosely on large needles.  I knit until the item is 1 1/2 times longer than I want the finished piece to be and an inch or 2 wider.

This hat is about 14 inches long and about 12 inches wide, at its widest.  The bottom edge rolls. The hat is floppy on my head and hangs past my collar bone.  Every stitch is visible and makes a hole.  If fact, the hat is full of stitch holes!

I use a net bag to contain the fiber that might shake loose in the hot wash/cold rinse washing machine cycle. The item goes in the bag and is zipped or tied tight so that it doesn’t escape.

In the hot wash cycle, the fibers become saturated, heated, then shrink and adhere to each other.  The change from knit to felt is profound.

Viola!   A Felted hat has no stitches visible and no holes!  The fulling process shrinks the fibers, thickened them and makes the hat;  sturdy, warm and holds it shape.   The hat can be ‘blocked’ or shaped when wet to become slightly taller and narrower or shorter and fatter.  The

bottom edge will lay flat or make a brim, flat or curled by blocking.  A finished felted hat is thick, warm, moisture and wind resistant.   It can be worn in the rain or snow.  Simply shape it again and let it dry!  View the following post to see another view of this hat.

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