Felting with Kraemer Yarns
Felting is a very old craft, used to create fabric for large panels in carpets or clothing, and items that are shaped over a solid form including shoes, slippers, and bowls. Felting happens when wool fibers are tangled up together on the microscopic level. Just like human hair, animal fibers (wool) have scales. These scales are what make many fibers sticky to each other and sometimes when heated and agitated, these scales can bind together which results in felting. That’s what happens when you accidentally put that sweater you worked so hard on in the washer and dryer and it comes out smaller and denser.
In today’s post we wanted to share with you a few examples of knit felting (also known as fulling). First, let’s clear up a technicality: Fulling is when you apply heat, moisture, and agitation to a knit or crochet fabric. Felting is when you start with loose fibers (like Mauch Chunky Roving). Oftentimes the terms are used interchangeably, but there is a difference!
Start by knitting or crocheting with Kraemer Yarns Mauch Chunky, Naturally Nazareth, or one of our 100% undyed non-superwash wool yarns in the Naturals line. Adding a bit of heat, moisture, and agitation will work to tangle up the wool fibers, resulting in a dense fabric.
For our demonstration purposes, we have knit a square and crocheted a circle, both in Mauch Chunky. Our square is approximately 7” x 7.5” and the circle has a diameter of 9”.
The source of heat, moisture, and agitation is a washing machine! We tossed our swatches in with a few pairs of jeans for extra agitation and a tablespoon or so of laundry soap. We set the cycle for the lowest water setting, the roughest agitation, and made sure the temperature was turned to hot. Depending on your project, you may wish to pause the cycle and check the progress every 5-10 minutes.
Take a look at the swatches now. Notice that the stitches are harder to distinguish as individual bits. Also, the size of the swatch is different! Our knit swatch now measures 6.5” by 5” and the crochet circle has a 7”” diameter. When you are felting a project, if you notice a certain area isn't felting quite as fast as the rest of the surfaces, you can spot-felt by hand by rubbing and abusing that specific area!
Wet wool items, even felted woolens, are extremely malleable. Depending on your project, block hats over head-sized bowls or a balloon. Bags can be blocked with boxes for sharp corners or shove them full of plastic grocery bags to achieve the perfect style. Stuff bowls with plastic cups for a round, attractive opening. And let them dry completely - it could take several days, so be patient.
If you’re looking for a quick last minute gift, we used just a bit of Mauch Chunky to knit the Earbud Cosy, a free pattern from Corina Cook. When the knitting was complete, the project measured 8.5” tall by 6” wide. After felting, it measures 8” tall and 5.5” wide. It needs just a little extra detail for adding a button or snap, and it’s ready to keep earbuds untangled!
We hope you give felting a try! We have a number of projects on our website to get you started, simply search for Felted. The technique is not difficult and requires little tools or experience. Let us know how it goes by leaving a comment in our Kraemer Yarns Facebook Group or tagging us in your photos on Instagram.