[HNW] wool cap refuses to felt

Sue Clemenger mooncat at in-tch.com
Tue Apr 12 06:46:14 PDT 2005

Soap and agitation (rubbing with your hands, or throwing it into a 
washing machine with a couple of towels or a pair of jeans or something).
The "shrinking knitting to felt something" instructions I've gathered 
all use a combination of hot water, soap, and the agitation.  I've 
noticed that different weights of wool felt at different rates, 
though...I made one purse (for a friend) from Lambs' Pride Bulky (bought 
bulky yarn by mistake), and it took 5 or 6 runs through the washing 
machine before it was more or less felted.  An otherwise identical 
purse, but made with Lambs' Pride Worsted, felted solid in 3 washes.
I've also heard that some colors don't felt as well as others.  And I've 
heard that the initial piece of weaving or knitting actually needs to be 
fairly open, to allow the fibers to move and mat, I guess.  The 
worsted-weight purse was done on size 10 needles, and it felted solid. 
You can still sort of *feel* that there's a structure under the fuzz, 
but just looking at it, it looks like solid felt about 1/3 to 1/2 of an 
inch thick.
You can also do it by hand, with smaller items.  When testing my 
swatches for my felted flat cap, I used a combination of lots of Dawn 
dish soap, very hot water (kept in a suitable pot on the stove), and 
very cold water (running in the sink next to the stove).  I'd plunge the 
sample into the hot water, let it sit for a minute, snag it out, get it 
good and soapy, rub and scrub it a little, and rinse in the cold water, 
while continuing to rub.  Then back into the hot water, and repeat.  It 
seems to be the combination of agitation, soap, and hot/cold shocks that 
work, and it only took a few minutes before my samples were 
satisfactorily felted....

Carolyn Kayta Barrows wrote:
> I made a knitted cap to go with my Privateer costume (we're not pirates 
> - we have our Letter of Marque...).  It's wool, and it should have 
> felted when put into boiling water or into the hot dryer.  But all it 
> does in water is release quantities of dye, and all it does in the dryer 
> is to get dry.  Yes, I've tested it, and it's really wool.  Any advice?

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