18 January, 2012

Felting the Easy Way

I found this lovely coral sweater at a garage sale Friday. He wanted $2 but I talked him down to a buck. I just knew that all that cable goodness was going to felt into an interesting texture.

You can find a lot of books about felting. You can spend a bit of money to get way too involved or you can felt the easy way. I bet you know how to do it already!

First off, find a sweater that is marked 100% wool.

Alternately, LOOK for Dry Clean Only.

Next, you are going to throw this into your washing machine. Who hasn't mistakenly done this to a beloved sweater only to find it child-size later?
You also want to throw in an old towel to help agitate  the fibers. Tennis shoes that need cleaning are perfect for agitating wool. You also want to add some detergent, or a drop or two of hand-washing soap like Dove,   or forget - like I did.

Remember to use old towels, because the by-product of felting is lint
- that gets on everything.

This is after one cycle through the washing machine. The back has shrunk but the front and the sleeves are still not quite felted enough. Conjecture and all that. You may have to throw it through a second cycle. Don't fret.

I also threw this through the dryer for more shrinkage power. Be sure to check your lint trap if you do this step.

This Shetland wool ended up with a lot of fuzzies. Go outside and shake thoroughly.

Before you track it down the hall to go find the camera.

This is from the doll bedding my sis and I made our great-niece for her doll. This striped sweater was 100% Lambswool and felted without hardly any lint. Very smooth texture.

Excuse the colors. It still is the same lovely coral color but it is raining cats and dogs (no snow, grumble, grumble). Photo was taken inside with the yellow tone lighting in the kitchen.

You are aiming for a thicker version of the sweater and much smaller. Adult Large down to child's large. You should be able to cut anywhere without it unraveling. You can store it easily by cutting it apart at the seams. I tend to leave it as is until the perfect project comes along. I can see making this into part of a purse and utilizing the buttonhole band for a pocket closure. So, I don't want to cut off the buttons just yet.
You may want to use the sleeve wrist banding or even the neck banding  The cables are still discernible.

I still need to de-fuzz the rest of the lint balls sticking up. I've already shaken this outside. I usually wait until my project is cut out and pick off the pills as needed for the piece I have cut out. I think I actually have a battery operated sweater de-fuzzer thingy - somewhere.

That's it. No special equipment. Better yet, no books to weed through. No experts steering you in the 'right' direction. Felting the easy way.

You can find 100% wool sweaters at almost any garage sale or thrift store.
Give it a try.


  1. Thanks for this. I wouldn't have thought of using the button holes. I met a lady at a craft fair who makes brooches from felted jumpers.

  2. I wonder if I could do this with the socks that have shrunk.


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