Phase #1 - Stretchy, doughy
In this 'how-to' I started the process with boiling hot water and a few drops of dish washing liquid. I use what I think is a potato masher and press on the piece and stir it around a little. As the water was too hot to get in with my hands I just left it for a bit.
A few minutes later I pulled out one just to show you that it has become really stretchy (pic above right), like a piece of thin dough. Stitches are still intact. At this point you want to keep working the piece by stirring if it is too hot or working it with your hands.This will also happen when you use cooler water like 40 degrees.
Phase #2 - Doughy to Wet paper
When the item is cooler I put between both my hands and with bit of soap rub it like I'm washing my hands, with firm pressure and moving quickly like in pic #1. Because I am working on a round piece I keep rotating it so I work the stitches in different directions. During this phase I don't worry too much about the shape of the item, but not pull on it too much.
After about 5 to 10 mins you can actually feel the fibres start to lock up and from a doughy feeling, the piece will start feeling like wet paper pulp. Now you want to start becoming a little gentler and use small circles and continue to massage the piece, like in pic #2. I realise that the shape at the piece at this point starts to fix, so you want to start pushing or pulling the item back to the shape needed. Also massaging it while submerge will help the fibres lock. The item now looks like pic #3, you can see the soap suds on it.
Phase #3 - Cold shock
Before rinsing with cold water I normally squeeze the water out and put the piece against the light to see if there are big gaps I could work on more to close them. Once I am satisfied (not all gaps will close), I carefully work the piece to be as round as possible then turn on the cold water.
Nothing dramatic will happen when you shock the item with cold water, unfortunately. It just feels cold and fixed. I will then carefully press the items between my palms to get rid of as much water as possible, then pad dry with a towel. I normally then place this wet piece as flat as possible on my drying rack. Usually it will dry over night.
Here is the result -
Usually there is minimal shrinkage of about 1/4" per 4.5". I've not gotten more than that. So give it a try and let me know how you did!