Crochet felting is a process of turning wool fibers into a dense material that is strong and durable. Crochet patterns that work well for felting including bags, purses, slippers and hats. Felting wool dates back to ancient times with cultures used this durable wool material to make shelters that are weather-proof and warm. You might have encountered an accidental felting by laundering a wool sweater in warm water with agitation. While it is not desirable to have your favorite sweater shrunken to a doll-sized garment, a planned washing of your crocheted project results in a planned felted item that serves a purpose.
A 100 percent wool yarn works best for felting, but you can combine other yarns with the wool to create a designer felted fabric, such as a strand of mohair or eyelash yarn. Superwash wool yarn does not felt because it undergoes a special process to make it washable. In order for a crochet project to felt properly, it must be crocheted loosely with a larger hook than you would normally use. A mitten that you want to felt should have open stitches and crocheted so it is two or three times the size of a normal hand. The item will shrink and the fibers will join together so the finished project is the correct size.
Felting is not difficult, and you can easily do this project at home as long as you have a washing machine and some gentle laundry soap. Place the item in the washing machine with the soap and the hottest water you can get for the wash cycle. The mixture of hot water, soap and agitation is what felts the wool. Check on the item after the first wash to see if it has the desired felted look, and repeat the hot water wash until you get the desired size and look before running it through a cold water rinse. It is important to remove the item immediately from the wash and use your hands to smooth and shape the item. Air dry the felted item on a flat surface, or stuff the inside with plastic bags if it is a bag or has a round shape.