Felting wool knit

I had the thought recently that I could use some of my non-superwash wool to felt deliberately. I tend not to use it because, well, felting! Because I had primarily odds and ends I decided on a small project like a potholder. That may be one of the first things I ever crocheted so I’ve come full circle.

Looking it up I found that everyone recommended washing the finished item in the washing machine, pulling it out at intervals to check the progress. Obviously this can only be done with a top-loading machine and I have a front-loader. Rats. Then I remembered something about boiling wool to felt it. Ah ha!

I measured the two potholders before boiling so I could get an idea of how much they shrank. I also didn’t mix different yarns (different colors of the same yarn were ok) so I wouldn’t get uneven felting.

Patons Classic Wool in Rosewood (100% wool)

Valley Yarns Stockbridge in Stone blue and Kiwi (50% wool, 50% alpaca) [now discontinued]

I knit this yarn (all worsted weight) on #11 needles since there was an emphasis on knitting loosely for better felting results. I cast on 30 stitches and knit about 55 rows in garter stitch.

I boiled them individually because otherwise I figured there would be significant color transfer. 

Starting boiling.

5 minutes

10 minutes

15 minutes

20 minutes

30 minutes

After 45 minutes of no change I gave up and rinsed it in cold water. No felting whatsoever.

As you can see, nothing. It was even bigger than it had started!

I had some hope that a different yarn would behave differently:

5 minutes

Giving up after 15 minutes. This one was bigger too.

At this point I decided that it wouldn’t hurt anything just to throw them in the washer. I put both of them in (the purple one had already lost lots of dye and the blue had turned light green in the other) with some assorted rags and washed it on hot with a little detergent.


I tossed them in the dryer for about 15 minutes on medium just to tighten it up a little more. 

The purple shrank from 8 x 8.5 inches to 6.5 x 7 inches. The green shrank from 8.5 x 8 inches to 6 x 6.5 inches. There is supposed to be more shrinkage lengthwise than in width, and this can be planned for when trying to make a square (knit it longer than it’s wide).

I have another square in the works [Lamb’s Pride worsted in Oatmeal and Deep charcoal (85% wool, 15% mohair); you can see it in the top picture] and I’ll let you know how it turns out. I will be skipping the boiling and going straight to the washer this time!

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