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The Joy of Felted Knitting

Updated on January 18, 2015

Felted Knitted Hats and Flower Pins

Felted Knitting

I discovered felted knitting during a long, dark west coast winter. To keep busy, I picked up my knitting needles, but I didn't want to make the usual hat. I felted it and wow ! I loved it - although it was tiny (I adjusted the pattern). The transformation was amazing. Felting a project takes knitting to a whole new dimension. Plus, It's really gratifying to shrink something on purpose! I am always excited to see what a project will look like after felting - it's quite magical! The technique is quite simple, but the results are amazing.

An appealing effect

Some of My Hats at the Craft Fair
Some of My Hats at the Craft Fair

There are several methods for felting wool and I am in awe of artisans who felt unspun wool - I've seen some truly beautiful works made this way. I learned to make felted (technically, "fulled") things by knitting and crocheting them first - supersized to allow for the shrinkage - then felting them in the washing machine. I had to use what I had on hand and I think that is the beauty of this technique - supplies are easy to get and the process is pretty straightforward.

Knitted Hat Before and After Felting

Knitted hat before felting - Boring
Knitted hat before felting - Boring
Knitted Hat After Felting - Ta Da!
Knitted Hat After Felting - Ta Da!

What is Felted Knitting? How does it work?

An overview

Simply put, a knitted project, made with wool is "processed" (I used my washing machine) and the knitting is transformed into felt-like material. This means the wool fibers have locked together and the item becomes more solid rather than made up of individual yarn stitches. The item can be felted a little or a lot - the more it's felted, the smaller and more solid it becomes.

Imagine your wool sweater washed in hot water - Yikes! It has been felted!

Here's How Felting Looks Before and After

See The Transformation!

Before and after photos of a pink wool hat I knitted then felted.....

Who's Felted? - Have you tried this technique?

Shamrock
Shamrock

Why do it?

I am hooked on felting for so many reasons. It is very satisfying and I can honestly say I enjoy every piece I make.

  • Felting is easy - no special equipment required
  • A felted knit is more durable - it can't unravel
  • You can reform, reshape or re-size
  • It's warm and insulating
  • If it goes horribly wrong, you can cut it and use pieces for applique or sewn together

Have you tried felted knitting?

See results
  • Hats
  • Flowers
  • Slippers
  • Totes
  • Tea Cosies
  • Trivets
  • Rugs
  • Toys
  • Mittens

What to Choose to knit and felt

Projects to felt - Some knitted felting ideas

There are many projects which are perfect for felting. I sometimes find large knitting projects too intimidating or never seem to finish them (guilty) - it's so easy to buy a dozen balls of wool and a gorgeous pattern, the first few rows are enjoyable, but then it gets harder and harder to keep going - these small knitted and felted projects provide almost instant gratification. I made close to a hundred coasters and trivets for Christmas - they were super fast to knit and looked amazing when felted.

My Foray into Rug Hooking

My hooked rug and picture at Bowfest (Hubby's pulling a face!)
My hooked rug and picture at Bowfest (Hubby's pulling a face!)

Here's my hooked rug and hooked picture. They're made with fabric strips. I made 2 rugs, and don't know if I will make another one. The hooked picture went a little quicker, and I have since made 2 more. I might make more.

The rug is an example of a craft I tried and found quite laborious - although, I loved the results.

Care to "tip your hat" and leave a comment? - Thanks for stopping by!

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    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens, great job!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      I love the felted hats. Blessings!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      It is obvious that you enjoy making things very much. Knitting is one craft though I am not confident in at all.

    • missyjanette profile image

      missyjanette 5 years ago

      nice!

    • Pixelhound profile image

      Wayne 5 years ago from west vancouver BC Canada

      Still going strong eh!

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ive been felting hats for a while know I sell Gnome Gear hat on Etsy. It's such a fun technique, like sculpting with wool.

      Nice lense :)

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for the information about felting. It was just what I was looking for

    • profile image

      kriskeese 6 years ago

      I have just started felting some of my crocheted projects, bowls and coasters. Your hats are beautiful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I started noticing felted knitting last year (I don't get out much LOL) and it is just gorgeous! The before and after pictures you included here was perfect, it really shows how beautiful this craft is! Loved the pic of you and hubby too! Welcome again to Squidoo! Kathy

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      It is beautiful.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      It is beautiful.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You have really impressed me with the work shown in this lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • SweetMarie83 LM profile image

      SweetMarie83 LM 6 years ago

      What a great, interesting lens! I'd never heard of felted knitting but I'm going to try it for sure now, the results are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Nimblepins profile image
      Author

      Nimblepins 6 years ago

      Yup....it's rug hooking!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Okay, I took your challenge...was it "rug hooking"? Love your crafting lens by the way!

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      Interesting stuff, looks like fun :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have seen felted hats before and wondered how they were done. Thanks for this lens. Yours are very prettyr.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have seen felted hats before and wondered how they did it. Thanks for you lens.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      First, to answer the challenge, your hooked rug and picture is an example of another craft you've tried - right? :) Your felted hats are fantastic. I crochet, but not with wool... and haven't tried knitting for many years. But I do admire what amazing items crafters have been making via felting. Beautiful hats here!

    • Yourshowman LM profile image

      Yourshowman LM 6 years ago

      Really great lens :-)

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 6 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      It's a great craft for those who like to knit as well and you don't have to go out to get the rough wool of a sheep. I used to make felt right from the wool after the sheep were sheared. Quite a different proces.

    • Pixelhound profile image

      Wayne 6 years ago from west vancouver BC Canada

      Great first lens Sweetheart!

    • I-sparkle profile image

      I-sparkle 6 years ago

      Great first lens! You have really sparked my interest. Have you looked at Squidoo's Zazzle information yet? This would be a perfect for that department. Good luck on Squidoo.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      As I knit Aran sweaters, there is no way I would felt them, but once in a while I make a scarf out of some leftovers and I think I would like to give felting a try. Look forward to the How to lens that I hope is the follow up to this one. Welcome to Squidoo!!!!

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 6 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Now I understand what it is, but I'm clueless as to how it is done? It seems like a desirable thing! Perhaps you could explain the process a bit.

    • Nimblepins profile image
      Author

      Nimblepins 6 years ago

      @hotbrain: Yes! Absolutely! How-to lenses coming right up!

      Thanks!

    • Nimblepins profile image
      Author

      Nimblepins 6 years ago

      @ChemKnitsBlog2: Thanks for your comments - this fun! I've wanted to try oven mitts - what a great housewarming gift!

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      I make felted oven mitts for housewarming gifts all the time :) What a great first lens!

    • profile image

      anuncommonguide 6 years ago

      Keep up the good work.