Thursday, July 20, 2006

Felting notes: how to do it!

I thought it would be useful to share this with you fellow felters out there. There are loads of links on Blogger and Google for felting so don't be afraid to search. But here are my notes about my first felting project:

  • I like to felt my bags in the washing machine.

  • Make sure you put the bag into a pillow case and secure it closed with a hair band or elastic band (we don't want any lint or fluff clogging up the machine).

  • Throw some towels and old jeans into the washing machine to aid the agitation.

  • On my washing machine I am able to reduce the amount of water used in a wash by pressing 'mini load'. If you have a similar function I would suggest using that. Try to keep the water to a minimum.

  • I am also able to stop my machine by cancelling the wash programme. This allows me to remove the bag and check it when I need to (every 10 minutes approx?) to see how it's progressing. It's wet work but worth it in the end. If I think it needs more time in the machine I simply restart the programme.

  • Take this opportunity to stretch and pull the bag into shape. I'm a bit more cavalier and have been known to just shove a bag into the machine and leave it on for a full cycle - gasp - without stopping it once!

  • Wash it on a hot cycle! Depending on the wool you're using you could get away with washing it on a 40 degree cycle but I would try 60 degrees to be on the safe side.
  • Some felters recommend that you don't allow the washing machine to go to a spin cycle as this can crease the felt but I don't bother with this rule.

  • You can also use a tumble dryer to get the bag to shrink more if you find it's not getting any smaller in the washing machine. (The owner of our LYS uses King Cole Merino superwash wool to felt with and she says that her tumble dryer actually shrinks the superwash wool. Amazing! I thought superwash wool was unshrinkable!?!)

  • Once I have blocked my felted bags, I like to put them on the top shelf of our airing cupboard/hot press to dry. My B4 Bag dried out within 24 hours.

  • My first felting project was the Swatch & Block pattern from Magknits. If you have any wool left over, I would suggest making the coin purse (Swatch). It's a nice little project and it leads nicely into the bag (Block) as it uses the same techniques.

    I felted my first bag by hand and that was more than enough - this link will take you to the 'experience':

    I hope you find this information helpful. It's not an exhaustive list but it's a start.

    Best wishes...bernie


    Sharon said...

    I have just printed this out, thanks for sharing.

    Piglottie said...

    Thanks for this info Bernie, especially the bit about tumble driers.