Felting with the Boiled Wool Method

by Callie Ketner
(Naples, Idaho, United States)

Felted Alpaca, Possum, Camel

Felted Alpaca, Possum, Camel

For this cap and most of my caps, I needed a process to tighten and soften the stitches for better feel and fit. Having Woolcrafting bookmarked for the plethora of information it provides me in every topic, I decided to use the boiling method of felting as it seemed to me it would be an easier way to monitor progress. It is! I love it.

If you can get past the smell and keep an eye on the clock it is the perfect way to "gently" felt. All you need are tongs, pot of water, bowl of cold water and your crocheted item. I'm quickly learning about the individuality of different fibers I use, from yak to camel, possum, alpaca, merino, mohair, etc...

I'm posting a shot of the felted stitches of my natural handspun alpaca & New Zealand possum/camel cap that is the ultimate in soft & made for wearing against the skin. I coupled amazingly soft natural handspun alpaca yarn with an equally soft and silky natural handspun Camel purchased locally in North Idaho. I find felting camel fiber gives it more of a silkier and softer feel.

The espresso colored yarn is New Zealand Possum; know for its warmth. This fiber takes on a cashmere feel when gently felted - I promise!!

You can see this whole cap and others I've felted using the boiling method at my shop at Brown Creek Exchange on Etsy.

All my caps, with the exception of a few bright colorways, are felted using the boiling method. It works great! Thank you!!

Comments for
Felting with the Boiled Wool Method

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Feb 22, 2008
Getting the desired effect
by: Anonymous

Hi~!

Using the boiling method I have been able to make my project look like one solid piece of fabric. As you probably have found, there are many variables. Yes, if your stitch is looser you may need to boil longer. I do tend to stitch looser myself. A biggie for me is the type of fiber I'm using. Some, even if they "should" felt beautifully, don't always. Others like New Zealand Possum tighten up and felt quickly. Project to project it’s never the same.

What I have done if I don't quite get the desired effect boiling and I don't want to take the chance of "over" boiling, is after boiling, I shape the item, lay it flat to dry and then when it is damp (in a day or two) put it in the dryer for 8-10 minutes at a time with a dry towel that won't pill my project. I keep a close eye on the dryer and run as many times as needed until I get the desired effect. Typically, not very long. After I reshape, I let the project finish drying all the way.

I hope this helps. Good luck!!

Feb 21, 2008
boiling works
by: Anonymous

I want my knitted piece look like one solid piece of fabric. The boiling method doesn't seem to be working for me. Maybe I knitted too lose for it to shrink in a reasonable amount of time. I really need to manage this method. Help?

Jan 27, 2008
What Beautiful Fibers
by: Jill

Callie,

I'm excited to see that you're experimenting with felting and different exotic fibers. Isn't it fun to find out what certain fibers do in differing felting conditions? Some fibers 'bloom' and fluff up, others go thick and firm.

Felting is so much fun. Happy crocheting and felting to you!

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