the Felting Process
Secret #3: I felt things by washing them in hot water with two pairs of blue jeans and a little squirt of Dawn Dish soap. Scrubbing Hot Bubbles = Felting.
Secret #4: Put your item in a laundry bag or zippered pillowcase to avoid fibers everywhere - it all sheds!
Secret #5: Keep a long handled *tool* to fish the thing out of the HOT water. A pasta spoon makes an excellent scooper.
Secret #6: Check often after about the five minute mark - different yarns felt faster depending on the fibers used and the way they are spun. I find looser spin = faster felting. I almost shrinky dinked a hat in 5 minutes because the yarn was very soft.
Secret #7: Really Block the thing. For a hat, steam the heck out of the brim on the wrong side (while the hat is still damp). A steamer is best but an iron over a cotton towel works well.
Secret #8: To block a hat, use something that is about the same size around as the hat covered with a dish towel and shape the hat. Pretend its PlayDough and pinch and push and pat until it looks the way you want it to. Pretend you are a Master Parisienne HatMaker and bend it to your will.
Here's a little video I made showing how to felt, block & shape a wet felted cap on a foam shaper (with artsy shots & music!):
Secret #9: Don't have a foam shaper? Try this instead...
why is she wearing that hat inside???
I am wearing my damp hat around the house to custom fit it to my head after patting it to shape. Now it will dry and fit perfectly.
You can protect your hair with a little plastic bag like this:
Or use any of these household items to shape your hat:
from l. to r.: bowl, garden pot, coffee can, & a clean empty (!) ice cream carton
Secret #10: Do not be afraid! If you don't like the way it turns out, you can soak it in warm water, roll it in a towel to remove excess water, then BLOCK IT AGAIN. A hat I made for my Mom took three rounds before it behaved - I was just being too gentle on a mule-spun wool that was very hearty.