Friday, December 9, 2011

How to make felt out of wool knits

Take a piece of wool knit which you have bought or knitted yourself and turn it into felt. The procedure is so simple and the results are so unique.
First of all you need wool yarn. It doesnt have to be 100% wool but but it should be at least 70%.
Through this procedure your knitted wool will shrink so it's best that you measure the piece before and after using a sample piece so you know how much the shrinkage will be.
Whatever yarn size you use your needles should be 2 sizes higher than the size you would normally use. Don't worry if your design comes out baggy, in the end it will shrink enough t olook perfect and all imperfections will disappear.

This is the easiest method for shrinking wool knits. The temperature needed depends on the yarn you will be using. Basically you should use 85 degree temperature, not higher, or else your knit may loose its color. So pop your creation in the washing machine and let it do its work. If in the end the shrinkage isn't the desired one , you can put it in the washing machine again and repeat the same procedure until it looks like real felt.

I f you are a beginner and not sure about the washing machine method you can do it by hand. Fill a big pot will boiled water, put on a pair of gloves, add detergent soap and soak your knit. Leave it for a a while and then rub it together, as if you were washing it, for about 10 minutes, let it rest and rub it again. When it has shrunk to the desired size rinse it with cold water.


When it comes to  felting, you don't have to limit yourself to pure wool. Alpaca, camel, yak, cashmere, mohair and angora all have great felting potential. But because every yarn felts differently, it is important that you knit and felt a generous swatch to understand how a particular yarn will behave. Try blending blends of these fibers with nonfelting fibers - silk, Tencel, rayon, or soy - for an inspiring adventure. Swatch and wash to discover the possibilities.

There is no magical formula when it comes to the shrinking factor of a felted project. Therefore, it's always a good idea to take the time to knit and wash the swatch. Every yarn felts differently - even colors of the same yarn can have very different results. Small projects are best handfelted. 

* Be careful not to let the inside of a project fuse together. Check the progress periodically and never underestimate how quickly an item can go from floppy o felted.

* When felting in the washing machine, place the project in a lingerie bag or pillowcase to reduce the amount of fiber that can escape and clog the machine or attach to the next load of laundry.

* Keep in mind that what appears to be a felting disaster may in fact be a wonderful opportunity.

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