Felting a Knitting Project without a Washing Machine

There are many reasons to felt a finished object. It is one of the most fun and interesting ways to embellish your project. When working with a project to be felted, once you finish knitting it will look slightly large, as the felting process will shrink it, as well as providing a more structured form.

The most common way of felting is using a pillowcase and a washing machine, but if it is not available, you can still felt! All you need is hot water, and agitation. First, you need to fit your knitting project into a cooking pot. Using one that is big enough is imperative. Obviously, this technique of felting is for a small object, such as a hat. I suppose if you had a sweater it could be done in this method as well, but unless you have a cauldron lying around I would suggest felting a small object.

Once you have the proper pot, bring some water to a boil. You wouldn’t want to fill the pot completely, halfway to two-thirds should work fine. Place your object in, stir with a spoon gently, and wait a few minutes. The general rule that applies to machine felting also works here: check it every 2 or 3 minutes for size. Felting is impossible to undo, so the more often you check, the happier you’ll be with the result. Once you get the size you want, move the object from the pot to a bowl of cold water. The cold water will stop the wool from shrinking.

Once it cools a bit, you can squeeze out the water, and reshape. Be careful not to twist too much when removing excess water, as it will ruin the shape. If it is a hat, simply putting it on your head will reshape it. It will be a bit hard to put on your head initially – but you can do it! Place on a towel, laid out flat. Once it dries, you have a felted object!

When beginning a knitting project that you want to felt, you need to remember that unless the yarn is animal fiber, it won’t work. Caring for the felted object is similar to any sweater or delicate clothing item. All you’d need is some Woolite, or some other gentle soap. Wash by hand or on the gentle cycle, always using cold water.

A good beginner felting project is a cloche hat, or bucket hat. It is a very cute look, an easy pattern, and very easy to reshape. The only downside to felting a hat is that while reshaping it after you felt it, your hairstyle will be ruined for the day; don’t ever felt a hat before you need to go to a dinner party. If there are no imminent parties to attend, felt away!