Felting adds an interesting texture to wool crafts and clothing. The process is spurred by water and soap, which break apart the strands of the wool and cause them to mat. The process also shrinks the wool. You need heat, agitation and soap to form felted wool, and this often is done in the washing machine. High performance machines or front loading machines require you to load the clothes and detergent at the same time. This doesn't allow you extra time to agitate and the locking mechanism on the front loader doesn't allow you to check how the felting process is going.
Things You'll Need
- Pillow case
- Wool detergent
- Old jeans
Load your item into a pillow case that is big enough for it to move in. Felting will work on almost any type of wool, but make certain the fabric or yarn actually is wool. Put the pillow case in the front load washer.
Add the detergent. You will need approximately half the amount you usually use for a load of clothes. Add a well washed and faded pair of jeans. The jeans will help with the agitation process.
Set the washer to hot wash with a cold rinse. Let it fill and run through to the end of the wash cycle. Stop the machine and let the water run out. Check the felted item to see if it has felted to the level you require. If it has not, add detergent and start the machine for another cycle.
Allow the machine to finish if you are not able to interrupt the cycle. Let the item rinse, but you may find some creases that are hard to remove after a cold rinse.
Remove the item when it has felted to your satisfaction. Lay it out to dry and smooth out any crinkles. In the future do not wash the item again or the felting will become too tight and the item will shrink too much.
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