[Although I just winged it, here are some tips from Martha Stewart herself.]
Step 1: Buy a wool sweater that’s a size too big. This will be hit-or-miss, so definitely go to a used clothing store on this one. I found this Benetton sweater at Value Village.
Step 2: Wash the hell out of it on hot, stopping the cycle before it gets to rinse. You might not have a machine that will let you do this, so simply wash it on the hottest, strongest setting it has. Alternatively, you can agitate the sweater in a tub with boiling water, being careful not to permanently scald yourself. Use soap.
Step 3: If the sweater is still too big, put it through the drier. If you’re not sure, don’t risk it. Lay the sweater out on a table and block it – this basically means pulling it into roughly the size you think it needs to be.
Step 4: If the sweater has no holes, you’re done. Felted wool has a great look and feel, and will generally be warmer than regular wool due to the tighter weave. On the other hand, if you do have a hole…
Step 5: It’s time to get felting. Felting requires some pretty specific tools, and you might be asking yourself if it’s worth the expense. Take this easy quiz to find out:
Statement: I tend to get rid of sweaters with holes in them.
Statement: I am a millionaire.
If you consider both statements to be true, you probably don’t need a felting kit unless you’re particularly crafty. If you consider the first to be false and the second true, you might need a kit, or a larger clothing budget. However, if you think both are false, you might need a felting kit!
Step 6: Purchase the following items: a Clover felting tool; a Clover felting “mat”; wool fleece. They don’t really need to be Clover, but since Clover tools are made in Japan they might satisfy that consumer itch.
Step 7: Tear a small piece of fleece, roughly the size of your hole, and place it on the inside of the sweater, than do the same for the outside. You can also use the interface…nevermind that. Use fleece. Martha tells you to draw an outline, which in hindsight would have been clever. Place the mat on the inside of the sweater. Working from your elbow in direct downward strokes, plunge the needle through the felt and back up in steady movements. Eventually you’ll see the fleece begin to felt into the sweater, covering the hole.
(What happens when you don’t use an outline. And I guess the previous picture would have been nice.]
And that’s how you do it!