Instructables

why won't my knitted wool hat?

I knit a cloche for my sister out of Icelandic wool and felted it and it came out too small.  So I reknit it with the same damn yarn, though a bit bigger, but this one won't shrink even the tiniest bit.  I've washed it (front loader, dried it in the dryer, and now I've been boiling it for 20 minutes.  It's getting furry, but the stitch definition and the size are basically the same.

Vyger3 years ago
The reason wool shrinks is because it has little barbs on the hair fiber that interlock. As the fibers are moved against each other they get tighter because they work further past each other and continue to interlock. Kind of like pulling a zip tie tighter. Washing in hot water does not effect it nearly as much as agitation. Its the tumbling part of a dryers cycle that makes wool things shrink rather than the heat. That's why your supposed to hang wool items to dry. Once the fibers have reached a certain point they will not go further in terms of interlocking so after the original shrinking any further shrinking will be small. Again, like a zip tie that has been closed all the way, there is no more capacity for it to shrink. If you want to avoid shrinking in the future you might try washing, with agitation, the wool first so that it has most of its shrinking done before you make anything.
bearaase (author) 3 years ago
Thanks! I had just figured this out... Sink full of hot water and rubbing/scrunching etc. I have no idea why it worked the first time... It's drying on bowls, hopefully my fussy sister will like this one!
Can I suggest that you give credit to Vyger with "Best Answer"?

This way the question also gets marked as "answered".
+1 !!
Kiteman3 years ago
Don't you need to rub wool as part of the felting process?