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Felting is a technique by which an item crocheted using pure wool yarn is washed in very hot water for a short period of time, either once or multiple times (depending on the level of felting and tightening that you want to achieve), and then rinsed in cold water to set. The more times you felt the item in hot water, the less distinguishable the individual stitches become. You can either wash the item in the machine or by hand (be sure to wear gloves!). The process makes your crocheted item smaller, thicker and tougher, so it's an excellent method for creating handbags, slippers, and throw rugs.