Boiling/Fulling/Felting Wool

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Jenine 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #15385 Reply

    One of the really amazing features of wool is that you can shrink it into a fabric that is wind, water, and abrasion resistant. “Felt,” as it is commo
    (See the full post at: Boiling/Fulling/Felting Wool)

    I'm an author here at How Did You Make This?.

  • #15386 Reply


    Interesting post. I though that fulling/felting wool was achieved by a combination of both heat and friction, both of which are present in the washing machine method. However you have clearly done it just with heat. I wonder what the science of this process it really is.

    It’s cool that you can control how much you are fulling the wool with this method, with the washing machine way that is completely out of your control.

  • #15387 Reply

    I think that the boiling action generates a lot more agitation/friction than it seems like it would. The whole piece being tossed around plus bubbles going through it early on (before it starts tightening up) is probably just a gentler equivalent to a washing machine. Just sitting in hot, but not boiling water, probably wouldn’t do much at all to shrink the wool.

  • #15388 Reply


    I didn’t think of the boiling action providing friction, but I guess it would do that.

    P.S I noticed you always use bamboo knitting needles. I love them too, they are so nice to use.

  • #15389 Reply

    I love them, too. The only time I make an exception is when I’m working with US 0-1, my bamboo needles make me so nervous because they bend so much. I switch to steel needles then!

  • #20865 Reply

    Cindy Quinn

    What a fascinating article! I recently learned from a knitting store owner in Syracuse, NY that when it comes to intentionally fulling or felting wool, the “whites” and “very-lights” frequently do not want to cooperate! Thus, it is NOT a good idea to mix a white or light with other colors when the knitted item will be fulled in boiling water to finish. It probably has something to do with the chemical process(es) involved in getting the fiber to a “white” color; the fiber is simply ‘too exhausted’ to sufficiently full, unlike the other colored yarns of the same exact fiber/fiber line. I remember she specifically mentioned that Cascade’s (220 non-superwash) whites will not full! I’m grateful I learned this in advance of a disaster!

  • #21892 Reply


    Hi, thanks for the info. We’re an industrial felt producer. Fyi, boiling or felting or fulling, it doesn’t matter, the effect is the tangling of animal fibres by means of contact, heat (friction) and lubrication (chemicals). The less the wool fibres are heat treated before the felting process, the better felting properties they will have. So raw coloured wool should be best but lighter colour dyed wool is good as well. All animal fibres felt including human or dog hair :) but as the fibres get finer (below 20 microns), such as alpaca or cashmere, the cross section increases and has better felting properties due to the increased area. This yields more fibre ends on the fabric surface, which gives a bulky softer touch similar to a raised fabric. 90 degree celsius washing at the washing machine, if loaded with other articles would introduce friction on the fabric, which would yield better felting results.

  • #23319 Reply


    Hello, I am curious to know if the process of felting can be applied to a piece of fulled wool using the felting technique as in creating an abstract image for a wall hanging.. I can envisage some problems with the sizing/shrinkage and wether the felting would attach in the rolling process, but would appreciate your opinion. Thanks,

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