Friday, February 2, 2018

The Art of Dryer Felting

Click on photo to enlarge

A couple years ago I got a new washing machine which put a sudden halt to my felting days. It’s a top loader but doesn’t do fabric any favors in the felting department. I know a lot of the front loading washing machines aren’t designed to be opened during a cycle so felting with them is a nonstarter too. I think my new machine agitates too strongly with less water so it pulls the yarn apart widthwise before it can pull together. I’m no engineer so I have no idea really, just speculating on that but it doesn’t felt no matter what the technical issue is. So I basically had given up any thoughts of felting anymore knit projects….until ‘Ozlorna’ of Ravelry fame mentioned in a group conversation thread that she felted in her dryer.  I asked more questions, tried a couple swatches and am now a believer.  After the swatches, I proceeded to a hat pattern that I’ve been wanting to try and now I have 3 hats!  I’m onto my felted clog/slippers next.  ‘Ozlorna’ has had many successes with the dryer method to include slippers, hats, bags, etc.

Here’s the ‘how to’:

Give your finished project a quick wash and rinse by hand.  Squeeze out excess water and put in the dryer on high for 5 minutes.  Remove and rinse with cold water.  Put back in the hot dryer for 5 minutes, then rinse in cold water again.  Continue with the cold rinses in between the 5 minutes in the hot dryer until it felts to the size you want.  Watch it carefully.  It will go fast towards the end so I checked it every 2 minutes or so then.  Depending on the item you’re felting, the yarn and how far it needs to felt, it may only take 2 or 3 times in the dryer.  Honestly!   One of my hats took 3 five minute cycles and the other took 3 cycles plus a couple extra 2 minute cycles.  Then block and air dry as usual.  Note that you don’t put any other clothes in the dryer with it, just put it in by itself.  Of course, you can add more items to the dryer but it's not necessary.  Just don't overload the dryer.

If you’re lucky enough to have a washing machine that felts predictably and you’re happy with it, by all means continue to use your machine.  But this is a fine alternative if you don’t have a machine that will dependably felt.  Other than not felting because you don’t have a machine that cooperates, I can see a couple other plusses to dryer felting.  There’s far less time involved and much less water used.  

Happy felting!!

P.S.  This wonderful hat pattern is available for purchase in Marg Jones' Ravelry Store.  The title of the pattern is Felted Hat on Bulky Machine.

P.S. Again:  As long as Marg posted the link to her pattern in her comment below, I will add it here for easier reference.  Hope you use it, it's a great pattern.


  1. Looking forward to giving this method a try on my next felting project. I know it's just a matter of time till my machine bites the dust. Thanks for the great instructions.

    1. Hoping it works as well for you as it does for me! I think you'll be very satisfied.

  2. Thank you so much! I just tried felting once with my Miele Toploader and it was such a nuisance with all the time spent waiting for the temperature to fall beneath the "unsafe" hot level every time I wanted to have a look - I just gave up. But now I will give it a try in the dryer, I have to cast on a felting project immediately!
    Love your blog!

  3. Thank you for your nice comments. Yes, you must give the dryer felting a try. It works really well for me. I too had given up on felting til I ran onto this.

  4. Hi Sandy, I just made some felted slippers using your method. I was skeptical, but by golly it worked! I too have the newer machine type and was disappointed it wouldn't felt things. Love your hats, btw.

    1. I was skeptical too so I started with a couple swatches. Amazing, isn't it?

  5. Replies
    1. You're very welcome. Hope it works well for you too.

  6. Hi Slisen: Thank you for the mention about my hat pattern. In case anyone has trouble find the link to the pattern, here it is:
    BTW your felting method looks good, I'm going to try it on my next hat!
    Thanks again