Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Felting your own wool-so easy!

Hello friends! Last time, we talked about wool and using it for applique.  Felted wool works best for applique because it doesn't ravel while you are applying it to the background fabric.  Unfortunately, felted wool can be a bit pricey.  In an effort to keep my wool obsession from breaking the bank, I started to felt it myself.  My favorite source for wool to felt is my local thrift store.  I look for 100% wool sweaters.  Wool blends will not felt so look at the label for fabric content.

   Felting makes the fabric shrink considerably so I usually look for men's sweaters.

The felting process is so easy.  Because there is quite a bit of lint generated in the felting process, I start by putting my sweater in a zipper pillow cover....it saves cleaning out the washing machine later!

Fill your washing machine with hot water and add about 1-2 tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent.  Adding something heavy like an old pair of jeans of a throw rug will help the felting process.  Add the sweater and let the machine agitate on the longest cycle available.  Before it spins out for the rinse cycle, turn the dial on the machine back to the beginning of the wash cycle so that it repeats the agitation.  I find it works best to let the wool "wash" for about 30-40 minutes before it goes through the rinse cycle.

Remove the sweater from the washer and place it in the dryer on a high setting. Again there is lint, so I check my lint trap several times during the drying.  When it is dry, the wool is ready for use.  Your sweater will be a lot smaller than the one with which you started!

Felted wool is water and heat resistant so it makes great coasters like this one.

 Mittens like this one are going to be used for gift card wrappings.  You can see that the cuff of the sweater makes a great top for the mitten.  The mittens were so easy to make.  Just cut two pieces of felted wool in the shape of a mitten.  (I used a large cookie cutter for my pattern.)  Applique a design on one of the pieces if desired.
Then sew the two sides together.  I used a button hole stitch with three strands of embroidery floss.

This white wool star ornament is embellished with silver stitches,a vintage glass button and tiny pearl beads.

This felting process is easy, fun and can provide you with a neat variety of wool felt.  Give it a try!


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