types of wool sweaters to felt
most types of wool sweaters or other wool garments or items can be felted. it is important, however, to make sure that the wool is not machine washable or preshrunk. some wool products are pre treated so they will not shrink when washed in a washing machine and as such these will not felt. other items, like say an old wool blanket, may have already felted and shrunk over the years so the finished effect may not be so dramatic.
wool mixes are likely to felt, however this is dependent of the percentage of other fibers mixed with the wool. yarns made from fibers such as cotton and silk will not felt. therefore if a wool sweater has stripes or a pattern knitted in a different yarn, when felted the wool will have shrunk and felted and the cotton or silk will remain its original size. this can create interesting textured results.
how to felt wool sweaters
felting wool sweaters is very simple…all that is required is a washing machine. place the wool sweater into the washing machine on a hot wash cycle and let the washing machine to do the rest! for best results it is a good idea to have other items in the washing machine to add friction and agitate the wool sweater. old towels or jeans will work well.
while it is almost impossible to go wrong when felting a wool sweater or other wool item, there are a few tips that will help to ensure great results:
- remove any buttons or embellishments before felting the sweater. they will be more difficult to remove later.
- to stop the arms from felting together, thread an old pair of tights or stockings through each arm. the nylon will not felt to the wool and this will help to keep the arms open.
- the dyes used to color some wool items may run at hot temperatures. it is best not to felt deeply colored wool items with white or light colored clothes.
- use the hottest available cycle on the washing machine for maximum shrinkage.
- remember…the felting process is irreversible so be absolutely sure that felting is the desired result before proceeding.
buying wool items for felting
wool items that are suitable for felting can be found at yard sales and thrift stores. as pure wool items are regarded as luxury and long lasting items, they are sometimes sold at a premium…but damaged, stained or flawed items are all perfect for felting! simply cut away any damaged or stained pieces after felting. ebay is also a good option for people looking for items to felt. the popularity of this craft, however, means that wool items can often be sought after and therefore this might not present a cost effective solution. why not hit up your family and friends? once they know that someone is collecting wool items for felting and crafting, they are often delighted to be able to pass on their cast offs.