Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Felting help

I'm trying to make the felted boxes, but they haven't felted properly. I put them in a hot wash with a cold rinse, as called for, but they only felted slightly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am using the Lambs Wool Bulky that the book called for.

If you haven't done so already, throw in a pair or two of jeans. Run it through again...and again if you have to. If you're using a front loader, it will probably take much longer. Hope this helps; I'm sure others will chime in...do a google search, and you'll come up with a lot more tips.
Try running through the machine again, sometimes it takes 2 times. I also put in some jeans (like Terri says).
I've also had success with throwing in a sneaker....

However, some colors in Lambs Pride Bulky just won't felt. I tried to felt a yellow and white backpack without success (ran it through over & over). Someone suggested that it's because the wool had been bleached first & wouldn't felt.
Sometimes front loaders won't get the job done. A friend of mine ran hers through 3 times without success. So if you have a front loader, visit someone who has a top loader. :)

I put my project in a zippable pillowcase to prevent the fuzzies from clogging my washer. Sometimes I'll throw a pair of my Reef flip flops in it for extra agitation.
Tennis balls also work well for agitation.

It's true about whites and light colors - the bleaching process strips the fibers of the little microscopic "scales" that catch onto each other in order to make it felt. That said, I've made bleached fibers felt well enough as long as there's only a little bit of them, mixed up between stripes of feltable colors.

Also, if you're stuck with laundromat felting, I found that my really stubborn felting job got done only when I put a bunch of sodding wet sweaters in a commercial dryer, on the hottest setting for more than an hour. That did it fabulously! I blogged the whole story here: http://aastrikke.blogspot.com/2006/07/seriously-good-luck_27.html (scroll down to the second part of the post).
I have a front loader and have had no trouble felting (though I had thought I would). My loader does allow me to open it during the cycle as long as I do so before the spin. Anyway, the addition of flip flops, jeans or tennis balls really does help a great deal. I also up the heat in my washer by putting in a few pots of boiling water. The other thing that may help, are you using dishwashing liquid? That acts as a wetting agent. Wool takes a while to actually saturate and the dishwashing liquid helps that. Laundry detergent doesn't act as a wetting agent. It doesn't take much of the dishwashing liquid, but it really makes a difference for me.

Best of luck!
i did the boxes, and I had run thru with 2 pair of jeans like 3or4 times...it would start the rinse cycle, and i would take them out and look at them and just go back and keep doing it, until I thought they looked good. AND THEY DO! good luck.
I have an newer "low water" washer (Calyp*so), and it often takes me three or four cycles even with all the tips--try a few more cycles before you give up. You can always try felting by hand (get thee some rubber gloves) or dishwasher felting if you feel the washer isn't getting it done.
I always add some boiling water as my water heater is not set at a really high setting. I check before the wash water drains and if not felted enough back up to wash again and add more hot water. I use just a little dishwashing liquid and a zipper pillowcase. I have read about hand washing in a bucket with a plunger. I have also used the dryer after going through several washings without enough felting. Just don't let it dry completely. You need to shape it when damp.
I had the same problem with my buttonhole bag. It hardly felted at all the first time through. I thought it was due to the fact that I used hot water to dye the wool but after a few more warshings (at a ... gasp! ... laundromat), it's felting up nicely. I think one or two more times will do it. To save my sanity (and quarters), I just chuck it in every time I do a load of darks.
Just thought of something...

Have you ever seen the dryer balls at Bed Bath & Beyond or Linens & Things? They're spiky balls that you throw into the dryer instead of using fabric softener sheets. I'm wondering if I could throw them into the washer, and if they would help with felting...

You can check them out here:
A reborn knitter, the box was the first MD object I made - I used the wrong size needles (learned to check for pattern updates/corrections/improvements first) and mine didn't felt well either - ran it through SEVERAL cycles. Since it was knit so tightly (due to needle size) there really isn't much room between stitches for it to felt. I am still really happy with the outcome and plan to make more.
Turn up the setting on your hot water heater to "HOT." Then make sure you add a few towels. Put your washer on heavy duty. I've had to run my felt projects in 2-4 times.
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